The street festival is a photographer’s dream especially on Thursday night and still great on Friday night. By Saturday night the crowds are just too large around each act and clog the streets to the point that photography becomes difficult.
Where else can you sit with a wide angle lens five feet from a performer who camps it up for the camera. It’s wonderful.
I shoot almost 100 per cent available light so that means shooting from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at ISOs from 400 up to 1600 as the light levels fall. Sometimes the less experienced performers will remain in the shade of their tents making shooting really tough. Occasionally they can be convinced, by gestures, to come out into the brighter light of dusk as it falls but sometimes the speedlight on the camera actually comes in handy to bang a little light into their faces.
Again I dress in black and when I walk in front of the crowd I do my very best not to talk in front of someone’s video camera and if possible I sit down on the roadway so as not to impede the view of the listeners who arrived me. I will move if there’s a better view a few feet away but often I can guess the best spot to shoot from as I walk into the scene.
On Thursday night I carried just the D-90 with battery grip and a bag full of lenses. On Friday night I brought the D-300 with battery grip and the f1.8 35mm lens and the D-90 with the f1.8 85mm and that was it.
Carrying two cameras and no camera bag was a lot easier and allowed me to be much more mobile than carrying the camera bag (It was a shoulder Think Tank ShapeShifter bag and beautifully balanced and easy to wear but boy it sure does hold a lot of equipment.)
Summer is a great time for outdoor festivals. Take your camera and have fun. I sure did.