Now that it's officially summertime there are tons of big arena shows on the calendar and for the first time ever I'm feeling comfortable shooting these big shows. In the past I would pass on shooting arena shows when they were offered to me because I just never thought I'd be able to get clean photos since photographers usually have to shoot from the soundboard, which is at least 30 yards away from the stage.
Shooting in these environments wouldn't be so bad if I had, say, a Canon 1DX and a 400mm f/2.8L but I don't so I really have to push my camera's limits. But before I even compose a shot, the first tool necessary for a great shot is a stool. That will put you head and shoulders above the standing crowd and will give you a clear sightline of the stage. Then, I just have to hope that there's enough light since I'm using a 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L. At times for these shots I was shooting at ISO 6400 with a shutter speed of 1/500 and f/5.6 -- that's about as far as I can push my camera and still get photos that aren't cluttered with noise. They're not perfect but for now I'm happy with them.