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Posted on 22nd November, 2011

Shooting On The Edge, or in the thick of it,

at this Richmond-on-Thames music festival?


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Well, my Tokina 12-24 lens is back, as you can probably guess. After a quick test on Tuesday, the lens was working red hot on Saturday, when I was shooting at the 'On The Edge' music festival, on the Thames riverside at Richmond. Very much in the thick of it as well, as the wide angle of the lens lets you get in close with less fear of losing hands or feet. It also means that focussing errors can be less critical, so most things are in its favour. It does however give exaggerated perspective, but that can also be a benefit, as it can produce dramatic compositions.


2011 'On the Edge' music festival, Richmond on Thames.


Anyway, the lens was red hot not just from my shooting I must say, but partly from the blazing sun that appeared after a long period of rain. Rain so bad that it caused a power-cut, and stopped the unfortunate Jesus Cutino and Son de Cuba in their tracks. But it cleared in time for Karan's Bollywood team to perform 'jai ho' (meaning 'victory' we were told) in heat that would have given Bombay / Mumbai itself a run for its money. The African rhythms of Zambula followed, exciting the audience to frantic activity that gave some decent photo opps.


As a result of my visit to Richmond, I can confirm that Elvis isn't dead. Far from it in fact, as the Memphis icon Mr Presley is actually propagating. I can say this with confidence, as, amongst the movers and shakers, I saw two Elvis's. And I hadn't touched any real ale by then either! Well, they were Elvis impersonators to be precise, but I'm sure you knew that unless you're Roy Stride of Scouting for Girls. I was very surprised and interested to see the two Elvis's, because they feature in an image I've seen by Lee Welton, someone I admire greatly for his street photography. By the way, that specific image is amongst Lee's entries for the Guardian newspaper monthly assignment 'Summer Events'.


Whether my pics of the legend of Graceland match Lee's, I wouldn't like to say: but I am pleased with one or two. This is especially so as I was trying manual focus again, as a means of shooting faster than if I was using auto-focus. I was nervous about the idea though, even allowing for the wide-angle lens, as it was often impossible to keep up with the gyrations of Elvis's who are still sprightly 34 years after dying in 1977. I wonder if I should give AI Servo AF a try?


Another thing I'm thinking of trying is manual exposure, as I'm getting too many pics which are either underexposed, or, blurred. For the underexposed ones, 'fill' lighting (using Adobe Camera Raw) often helps, but for the blurred ones, I think only a kick up the backside works. I'm nervous about this manual exposure idea too, as I don't always remember to check my settings when I move from one lighting situation to another. Likewise, I often fail to check when I move from a static subject to a moving one. In fact, it makes me wonder how I ever get a decent pic to be honest! But then, how many errors do other togs make before getting it right? Quite a few, I hope.


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