Here’s one from what I regard as one of the country’s finest exclusive wedding venues; Notley Abbey, near Thame. As we head inexorably toward the close of play 2012, I’ve been taking a wander back as part of this year’s 365 into the weather files, prompted in part by a question from a client this week; “But what happens if it snows?” 365#344 is proof that snow doesn’t stop play, but you’ll certainly need your prime lens collection as much of what you do swaps to the interior, it becomes a low light capture fest.
The estate agent introducing Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh to Notley Abbey must have known he’d secured the sale even before Sir Larry turned the medieval key in the gothic door of this historic pile. Now THIS, is what I call a driveway. If the travellers come knocking offering to tarmac it, it would only be marginally cheaper to rework the stretch between 8/9 and 10 on the M4.In venue terms, I know you’re not supposed to have them or at least moot the subject, but this remains one of my firm favourites when it comes to photographing weddings.
I think of this as the Charleston moment, that wasn’t. From memory now, this song was Jack Johnson, I think, perhaps, maybe. Whatever the song, the moment has boundless energy, raises a smile and perfectly reflects this bride’s charisma. There are a couple of vantage points I try to assume during the dancing. If the band’s lights are directionally faced outwards (unusual but it does occur sometimes), bingo, I’m across the room, looking right back fighting the exposure compensation dial for a slice of light to either silhouette or rim light the dancers. On this occasion at Notley Abbey, my back is facing the band and disco, light was at an absolute premium and I employed some flash to record a handful of important reaction record shots. Strictly speaking would I have preferred to tap into an available light source? Yes, but sometimes it simply isn’t there, and as much as I champion available light shooting, I wasn’t about to miss what was unfolding before me for the World.
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE WEDDING VENUE: Notley Abbey
SHOOTING DATA: Canon 5DMk3, EF24mm, F3.5, 1/125, ISO 4000
There was a reasonable amount of background chatter that prevented me from hearing the exact on going discussion, but this image hooks me to want to know more. I’m intrigued by body language and how humans communicate and a psychologist would have a field day with this image I’m sure. Photographically the shadow play works well and as a low light wedding photograph, the wall and the floor acts to dramatise the casts being made by hands and body. There’s expression, there’s mood. Ah, but is it a wedding photograph? Where is the cake? Where is the bride? Where are the deliriously happy exchanges you expect to see as staple album images? For me, this is a record photograph from the day’s Notley Abbey wedding and record images should not just be endless close ups of ‘man drinking beer,’ or ‘woman laughing uncontrollably whilst wrestling exploding chicken volovant.’ This has it’s overall place and as a low light photograph it’s enduring proof that flash, even fill flash, would have pulled the drama out of this capture by reducing or even subtracting the shadow.
BUCKS WEDDING VENUE: Notley Abbey
SHOOTING DATA: Canon 5D Mk3, 24mm lens, F1.4, 1/640, ISO 5000, under exposed by two thirds.
So here’s a documentary wedding image featuring a little frivolity, and I’m unfortunately the butt of the joke. See, this, is seconds after I smashed a glass and silenced the room. It’s taken from today, so it’s right up to date and is the first to be featured from a wedding shot exclusively on the 5DMk3. I was trying to capture a grab shot of these guests taking each others portraits, but as I squeezed around a table close by, my jacket took a glass with it, fortunately empty. The photograph I think you’re witnessing, is guests looking at the back of a camera featuring a picture of me scurrying around clearing broken glass away. As a documentary wedding photographer I talk at length about unobtrusive wedding coverage. Smash a glass though, and your cover is blown, with bells on. However, I’ve become the story, just for these few seconds. What to do? Cover it. Start shooting.
BUCKS WEDDING VENUE: Notley Abbey
SHOOTING DATA: Canon 5D Mk3, 24mm lens, F1.4, 1/400, ISO 1600, over exposed by a third.