Wilkestock 2011

I spent last weekend covering Wilkestock, a two-day boutique festival that takes place deep in the Hertfordshire countryside. The event features a main stage with live music, a dance tent, chill-out teepees, the Wilkestock Lodge bar area and a campsite.

Having attended the festival last least I was pretty clear about what I wanted to achieve in covering the event and the challenges. It’s about capturing the performances, the audience and the setting, both on and around the stage as well as the wider environment.

Weatherwise the festival was gifted with warm sunny weather and with a southwesterly facing stage, lighting during the day was not going to be a problem. The layout of the stage area also makes it easy to get near the front, so a 55-200mm zoom lens was perfectly adequate.

Having once been a drummer in a couple of bands I always try and get a few shots of the man (or woman) at the back. Whilst angles can always be a bit tricky here but I was happy with what was able to achieve.

The audience at Wilkestock is predominantly young and more than happy to demonstarte how much of a good time they’re having. I frequently had people coming up to me asking if I would take their photos.

As daylight fell the lighting conditions on stage changed of course, as daylight was replaced by stage lighting. The strong colours can sometimes be hard to catch and it’s best at this point to disable AWB (Auto White Balance) and choose a suitable setting. I find that either tungsten or cloudy setting works just fine.

As well as shots close to the stage I also got some very good pictures further back, showing the audience and wider stage environment.

For many of the evening shots I used a fast f1.8 lens, although this is only suitable for front-on shots. Given the narrow depth of field at the wider aperture it’s not suitable for shots from the side of the stage unless you can closely crop the image, which of course depends on the suitability of the composition.

I took over 1500 images at Wilkestock and posted over 200 on my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stevebeestonphotography. There are two galleries – Gallery 1 and Gallery 2.