Tuesday, 3 May 2011

PnP Exercise 14: An organised event

Have concluded that the only way to make progress on this course is to adopt the spirit of street photography by going with the flow and taking my chances as they occur. So next up is ‘An Organised Event’ because we had a village party to mark the Royal Wedding. This was a mix of ‘people aware’ and ‘people unaware’ and I was also on a mission to get a village photo for the local paper.

The evening posed a variety of challenges – we started with bright contrasty sunlight and games on the village green,  and then in fading light we moved to a dimly lit barn for a few drinks and supper. I didn’t want to carry vast quantities of kit, but a flash was inevitable, so for anything candid it was a case of patience and guile. There was also the challenge, since I’m preparing a CD for the village, of trying to ensure I captured everyone present. And finally – I was supposed to be enjoying myself!

I shot with the E-3 and a 14-54 zoom (28-108 equivalent), and the PEN with a 17mm (34 mm equivalent) swopping the flash as required.

I finished with around 120 shots for the CD – and a few others which I’ll share privately with the subject. For the purpose of this blog I’ll add a selection here which show the range of shots I produced.

First up a couple of character portraits with people I knew fairly well:

Village party 1        Village Party 3

And then on to the green for some games. the first of these three is a fairly straightforward shot, in the second the couple in the background watching the two boys caught my eye, and the third was an attempt to catch the spirit of the impromptu rounders match.

Village Party 4    Village Party 5     Village Party 6

Then a couple of happy accidents. In the first I feel that the real subject is the chap in the background, in spite of the foreground figure being larger and sharper – which feeds into something I’ve been reading in Angier’s book about the need for the subject to be in focus. The second is in the barn, when for some reason my flash failed to fire properly – I think it provides a nice semi-abstract of the partying. In the final one my daughter has still not really explained what on earth she was doing, but it does make for a fun shot.

Village Party 2   Village Party 7   Village Party 8

Finally a couple of village shots – the first of the sports, and the last a more formal shot for the local paper which I took from a tripod so that I could dash to the back and be in a photo.

1000/433       Village Party 9

Thoughts and reflections

In some ways this was relatively easy on me, in the sense that I was at least passingly familiar to most of the people there (I could scarcely gate-crash a party full of complete strangers) – although turning up at such an event with relatively fancy kit does create some expectations of output so there was pressure of a different kind.

There was still a need to generate some rapport with the party-goers as some were a bit camera shy.

A large dark barn tested the limits of my kit – it required direct flash, which is always difficult to make attractive.

The wider angle was particularly helpful in the barn, and the 17mm on the PEN was my most widely used focal length (although I took more shots with the E-3/zoom combination) sometimes giving a feel of being involved in the action, and at others giving the impression of being stood back, when in fact I was surrounded.

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