In The Field: High Country in Middletown

Country Singer Scotty McCreery

Last Friday, they were calling for a snowstorm to hit the New York/New Jersey area.

And it did.

But I was slated to shoot a show in Middletown, New York, about two hours – 100 miles – from my little spot here in New Jersey.

I was weather checking all week. It seemed like I could make it up and back before the brunt of the storm really hit.

And I did…but it was close.

At first, I wasn’t sure I’d even leave my apartment complex. It started snowing here around 9 a.m. and kept up at a pretty good rate until at least noon or so.

But, while it was “sticking” the grass, the roadways were just wet. Too warm.

So, around, 4, I climbed into Buford the 4Runner, turned on some tunes and started off for NY.

Surprisingly, I didn’t hit much North Jersey traffic and arrived at the Orange County Speedway around 6:15.

The last time I was here was back in late October, when I shot Stone Temple Pilots.

Tonight, it was a three-band gig: Opening was King Calaway. Middle musician 18 year old Callista Clark. And the headliner was former American Idol and now country star, Scotty McCreery.

First up, a band from Nashville, King Calaway…one L!

I chatted with them backstage before they went on, got a shot there.

Chad Jervis and Simon Dumas

Chad Jervis

Gibralter-born Simon Dumas

Calab Ashton Miller on guitar

Drummer Chris Deaton…who played a box for the set

King Calaway only did a 20 minute set, but it was a good start. Great sound from them!

Next up was a young – 18 year old, on her first tour – singer/songwriter/guitarist Callista Clark. Great music, great lyrics, solid stage presence for such a young age.

Speaking of black & white…this may be my favorite shot of the night – backstage, just a couple of minutes before Callista went on.

But the fans packed the arena on a cold late January night for the ex-American Idol participant, Scotty McCreery. He’s on his Same Truck tour to support his latest album.


I can’t say I was familiar with his songs, but he put on a good show, the fans were really into it.

I was shooting for Coastal Music Group, who’s hired me a couple of times before. Along with the performance shots, I also did a lot of stage and sound board shots for them as well.

The usual gear for this show: The Fuji X100T around my neck, set to B&W. The Canon 5DMarkIV on my shoulder with either the 24-70 or the 70-200 lens. I really think I may need to look into a second Cano camera body. I hate switching lenses during a show. No only do you lose precious seconds, but I have a bad feeling I’m doing to drop one in the transition and break it.

Anyway, the show ended around 11 pm. I grabbed a coffee, had a quick snack of a bag of almonds and was packed up and in my truck by 11:15 p.m., and then had to deal with the drive back.

The first 45 minutes to an hour wasn’t back. Light snow was falling but overall ok. Then once I hit a certain part of the NJ Turnpike, and it was about 1 a.m., that’s when it got hairy. Snow was coming down pretty steady, the ‘Pike hadn’t been plowed yet, it was slick. I was holding a steady 35 mph. At one point, I relaxed my hands on the wheel, only to find my palms sweaty from concentration.

Following a plow off the exit

I eventually got home at 2:15 a.m., and didn’t even download and back up then like I normally do – went right to bed. I was beat the whole next day, not use to these kind of hours.

But, all good! I woke up next to day a late January Winter Wonderland and was able to rest up!

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2022

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