I was pleased to get a call recently from Haileybury College, asking me if I was available to photograph a lecture by historian Bettany Hughes. Haileybury is a public school in Hertford Heath and often stages such events for both students and members of the local community. My brief was to take a series of informal photos during a reception hosted by the History Society, followed by a lecture on Socrates in Big School. I was also asked to take a posed shot of Ms.Hughes with a handful of students.
The reception took place in a small meeting room, attended by members of the History Society, The Master and a few teachers. It was an informal drinks and nibbles affair and my role was to capture the proceedings for the school’s website and publications.
My usual approach with such events is to hover around the edge of the room with a telephoto lens looking for opportunities to capture people interacting. The idea is to be as inconspicuous as possible so as to capture nature photographs. As with all such events I never use flash and rely on the ambient lighting, in this case fluorescent tubes.
Proceedings then moved to Big School, the largest hall used for staged events such as lectures, presentations and dramatic productions. The building dates back to 1912 and offers plenty of angles and discreet positions from which to photograph events, including a gallery.
I was able to get plenty of shots of the lecture from a variety of angles, including the wide shot of the hall above, taken from the gallery. The picture also shows the space available to move down the sides of the auditorium without disturbing the audience too much.
Bettany was often quite expressive with her hands and this meant that I had to use a shutter speed appropriate for the conditions. The shot shown here was taken using a tripod and a speed of 1/40s. With such an expressive performer you have to take quite a few shots to freeze the action, whilst also being aware that you might not be the only one that can heard the shutter activating. I always make a point of trying to be as unobtrusive as possible so as not to spoil the enjoyment of others.
I spent about 90 minutes at the event and was able to submit initial images for the schools website the next day, with a CD of processed images a couple of days afterwards. I’m happy to say that shortly after I received a call from the school asking if I could cover another event in the same space, which I was more than happy to attend.
Last week I covered Hertford’s first Food & Drink Festival – a two day event featuring markets, demonstrations and exhibitions.
As well as the usual Saturday charter market there was also a Farmers’ Market of local produce such as fruit and vegetables, bread, cheese, cakes and locally brewed beers and cider. In Market Place Andrei Lussmann and Mat Gomes presented creative kitchen cookery demonstrations whilst the museum staged an exhibition titled A Brief History of Food & Drink.
There were plenty of photo opportunities during the weekend and food makes a very appealing subject! In addition to the food photography, the displays and demonstrations were fun to capture.
The gallery here shows a small selection of some of the photos I took. The creative cookery demonstrations were aided by an overhead mirror which provided some excellent views of the chefs at work.
Not only are Frankie The Gambler great on stage but they’re also naturals in front of the camera. We took this shot at Wilkestock, using an old Chesterfield on the grass nearby (the bar is surrounded by old sofas – a festival quirk!).
We took a number of shots of the band in various eccentric poses but this was by far the standout image. Post-production editing included blurring the background, removing a slightly distracting member of the bar staff, cross-processing the colour and adding a vignette. You can see the original image by hovering your mouse over the picture. You can also click on the image to see a bigger picture.
It was great to cover Wilkestock again this year, taking photos of the artists, activities and festivalgoers. This is one of my favourite gigs of the year with lots of opportunities to meet people and and get new likes on my Facebook page.
This year’s festival was a three day event with two stages, a cinema and two dance tents, together with an extended camping area and 360 degree bar. There’s always plenty to photograph at Wilkestock and no shortage of people willing to have their photos taken!
You can find over 300 photos from this year’s event over on my Facebook page or just click on the links below.
I had a great day photographing Rock At The Castle on Sunday. The event is one of the bookends of the Hertford Music Festival, this year marking the start of the three week festival with a line-up of bands that included The Ghost of Samantha, The Huxleys and Suburban Dirts.
Despite a worrying forecast of prolonged showers, the afternoon turned out to be mostly dry and sunny, with just a five minute flurry of rain.
As usual, I cast my lens around to capture the atmosphere both on stage and in the castle grounds. As a sponsor I was also able to take advantage of a backstage pass that allowed me to take shots from the back of the stage as well as in front.
You can either click on the images below to scroll through the gallery or view an on-page slideshow.
I have two more music events to photograph this year – Rockin’ The Car Park at The Farmer’s Boy in Brickendon and the fantastic Wilkestock, which this year is a three day event (after which I’ll probably need a few days off!).
Over the weekend I covered an 18th birthday party at the Hatfield Forum. The event was attended by around 100 guests, starting shortly after 9:30pm.
The brief was similar to other functions I’ve photographed – to capture the evening and present an online gallery for the client and guests to view shortly after. The venue was a small bar with a capacity of 150. There was also an outside area used for smoking.
I started out by taking a few scene-setting photos using natural light but other than that I used a flashgun throughout.
All of the guests were contemporaries of the hostess with many keen to be photographed, which certainly made my job a lot easier! Many of the girls were happy to pose and the hostess would frequently request photos with guests. As well as the posed shots I also took candid shots of the guests enjoying themselves, both inside the bar and out.
I spent about three hours at the event leaving around 1:00am. The following day was spent selecting and editing images – correcting lighting, removing red-eye and sharpening before posting the online gallery less than 24 hours after the event. A CD of the images was delivered to the client the day after.
I’m delighted to be sponsoring Hertford Music Festival for a second year. This is one of two events I sponsor, the other being Run For Their Lives, a 10K charity fun run. As part of both events I provide photographic services, both on the day and for promotional materials in the weeks leading up to the events.
On Saturday I met up with Festival organiser Kev Saunders at Rigsby’s guest house and restaurant in St.Andrew’s Street, Hertford. The business is the festival’s main sponsor and the brief was to shoot some promotional material featuring some of those involved with the festival using the location and branding as a backdrop.
Every job comes with its opportunities and challenges and this was no different. On the plus side we had an interesting location, accessible branding and good weather. On the downside we had the combination of bright sunlight and shadow.
I took a variety of shots in different locations and these two compositions appear to have worked best.
With bright sunlight you’re always in danger of either shooting into the sun or having your subjects facing it and squinting.
With both of these shots I’ve used Photoshop to adjust the levels, lighten the shadows and add a vignette. In the top picture I’ve also used a high pass filter to add local contrast after lightening the shadows, which has given it an almost stylised look.
Hertford Music Festival opens on Sunday 6th August with Rock At The Castle and runs for three weeks until the Musical Mystery Tour on Sunday 26th August.