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I am Rod Wynne-Powell, and this is my way to pass on snippets either of a technical nature, or related to what I am currently doing or hope to be doing in the near future.

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Professional photographer, Lightroom and Photoshop Workflow trainer, Consultant, digital image retoucher, author, and tech-editor for Martin Evening's many 'Photoshop for Photographers' books.

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Monday, 9 December 2019

Fairford Leys 2019 Christmas Concert

Each year, Fairford Leys provides a Christmas Concert in the central square, and the Aylesbury Concert Band performs under the overhang of the colonnade to provide possible shade from the weather.
When we arrived, there were warming flames from braziers to welcome us, and the seats were already arranged for the Band, and as my daughter set up her Saxophone, I brought out my camera and placed the camera bag behind the players for security and chose the 24-70mm lens and checked its settings and took a shot of the nearby instrument to see what shutter speed I was having to consider, and despite the lighting being only from candles above us and the spill from numerous individual lights placed on the music stands by individual musicians, it was on the cusp of useable.
This was definitely going to be right on the edge of usability, as the ISO indicated was 12,800 and gave me a shutter speed of 1/5th of a second at f/7.1, which meant, I would often be taking multiple shots and 'chimping' to ascertain whether I had achieved an acceptable image. The one advantage that cameras with focal plane shutters have over shutters with iris blades is that the slit is travelling over the frame faster speed giving effectively a faster shutterspeed.
Another advantage the EOS R has over my other two camera bodies is this full-frame body has a higher pixel count than my EOS 5D MkII, which means the noise is less obtrusive, and with judicious use of noise reduction, the end result is slightly smoother. Towards the end of the afternoon, I was asked to take some group Band shots, and it was fortunate that I had brought along my electronic flash, because I would need to stop down further to encompass the greater depth needed for such shots.
The informality of the Concert here allows me to move around the band taking either individuals or small sections with reasonable ease, but with the narrow depth of the covered area, pillars and stands and other players, still meant getting perfect compositions unfettered by lights on music stands and banners, other musicians, or their instruments intruding, is unavoidable. Also at low light levels, I can easily miss the intrusions of these LED lights, clothes pegs, or sometimes, other instruments. There were no trombones on this occasion, which can sometimes be a challenge.
One noticeable absence on this occasion is Band uniforms, replaced by layers of warm outer garments, gloved fingers, festive headgear, flashing lights and large woollen scarves.
The programme of tunes was governed by the interspersing of other parties providing the Christmas narrative, which meant there were lulls in the Band's playing schedule, which often plays havoc with ever-changing notes due to cold instruments and often frozen lips of the musicians. It is fortunate that the Festive Spirit tends to accept these inevitabilities, and there are other diversions, such as the Cymbals, which add to the enjoyment of the players themselves! Altogether a very enjoyable introduction to the season of Goodwill.

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