So I was away for 3 days in Hanmer Springs for our annual work conference. Its the only time the whole team gets together in one spot, as we work in teams scattered all over the country.
Its a fun few days, there is some work done, and the highlight is the Awards evening and partying and hijinks that goes on afterwards
I was asked to be the event photographer, initially I was unsure if I was going to make it as I appeared to be coming down with a cold, but it went away over the weekend. So I charged up all my batteries, and got my kit loaded into the car and zoomed off.
Day One – weather is AWFUL. A southerly had gone through in the weekend, and wasn’t quite finished and it was freezing cold and wet and occasional bursts of hail greeted all the arrivals at the airport. I was there to help recieve and direct them all to the buses, then eventually hit the road. Driving up was horrible with all the spray from cars and trucks, but eventually I got a clear spot and it fined up a bit, so the rest of the drive wasn’t bad. Arrived in URGENT need of the Ladies tho LOL
We arrived in time for lunch and then a couple of hours of speakers. I realised about half way through I probably should be there taking some photos, but my gear was still in the car (we weren’t allowed into the rooms yet) and it would have taken too long to go get it.
Dinner was quite relaxed, until the MC got started. He did have a *brilliant* idea for an icebreaker, one I have never seen before. He gave out heaps of the long skinny ballons with special devices to blow them up with, and had a Balloon Hat Competition. I have no idea who won but clearly lots of people had fun. I was very tired so I went to bed early, and missed various amusing things.
Day Two – glorious blue sky and a frost to start the day. Once it warmed up it was quite warm and stayed that way for the rest of our stay.
This day was the day with all the events to attend – 3 sessions of an hour and a half each, with lunch in the middle. I got time to find a family of ducks resident in the pond with 9 ducklings, and they were comfortable enough that I had time to go get my 70-200 and beg some bread from the kitchen, and go back and get some shots.
The Awards evening is always on this night, and we all get glammed up for it, men in suits and ladies in shiny dresses and heels. I had managed to forget a critical part of my outfit, so I was in jeans, but I did put my pony tail on which got a lot of comments
I was there to shoot all the Award Winners, and then crowd shots for the evening. I had to use my flash as even my 50mm 1.8 struggled with the very dim and yellow lighting. I still don’t really understand how to properly set my flash up and played with it a bit during the evening. I eventually settled on a fill in flash on the main subjects, leaving the surrounds in darkness.
It suceeded with varying amounts of success. Often got quite a dark vignette effect. It was also interesting to note the difference bouncing the light of the ceiling, it lit up *heaps* of the background, but I didn’t like the ‘top down’ lighting effect it was giving.
I didn’t think about it at the time, but I wonder if I had pointed the flash behind me a bit – what that would have done?
I took about 700 people shots and after I had edited out all the doubles and eyes crossed and people/arms/heads in front of the camera, I got it down to around 350. Lightroom is chugging through them now, I am exporting in chunks as my PC is old and slow.
What I Learned On This Trip:
- buy extra flash batteries even if you don’t think you will need them (I coped on one set but it started to get slower towards the end of 2nd evening)
- if having to organise a group photo of 100+ people PACK A STOCKWHIP AND BULLHORN!
- everyone happily smiled and posed for shots, in fact I got a better response on asking for shots, than if I just took candids
- shooting people on a dancefloor gives you some ‘interesting’ shots
- shooting people of different heights is a challenge (one of the managers posing in the Award shots was quite tall)
- I am still getting the hang of shooting with a flash but it was a good event to practice with
- focus was an issue – I think I was a bit close for some shots and they are a bit OOF
- check the image on the camera – lots of people close their eyes, and its easy to take a second one while they are there
- get in at the stage setup to make sure you get a good space for posed shots – I was lucky in that The Boss called me down to ask what was needed and we all managed to fit everything together and I got a good space (all things considered)
- take your camera with you, even when you are ‘off duty’ – I had sat down to catchup with friends and missed some great shots, cos I had left my camera elsewhere
Mostly it was fun, and I learnt a lot, and had fun talking shop with other photographers there. I have a better idea of what was required, tho it was hard to both be an attendee and a photographer.