This was my first WelshotRewards Day and I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but as with all the other Welshot events I’ve been to, it was a very enjoyable day and a great opportunity to meet some fellow Welshotters that I hadn’t met before. It was led by Eifion and Jason and we split into two smaller groups, but swapped over regularly so that everybody had an opportunity to try out different techniques in different locations, as well as work alternately with each of our two models for the day, Andrea and Karianne. The weather obligingly helped out by giving us plenty to work with – deep shadows and strong sunlight, but conditions were difficult for our models who bravely coped with sun in their eyes, a cold breeze making their eyes water, and quite simply a very cold day.
I began the day in Eifion’s group with Andrea as our model, and we learnt how to light someone in an area filled with lots of contrasting light – both shadows and bright sunlight. Changing over to Jason’s group, we found ourselves in a more industrial-looking environment (actually a dimly-lit staircase at the back of a shopping centre) where we learnt to put sufficient light onto our model Karianne whilst retaining the dark background to create atmosphere. Moving on to another spot in a side street with yet more contrasting light, we briefly became the centre of attention for a group of passers-by at the end of the street wondering what we were up to, before we broke for lunch and a welcome opportunity for everybody to warm up a bit.
After lunch, a complete change of location as we headed for the riverside. Once more with Eifion, my group took over the bandstand as we learnt how to photograph Andrea against very bright sunlight. Eifion patiently let me practice one of the techniques I’d learnt at the previous week’s lighting weekend – taking a shot in aperture priority to establish initial settings. Meanwhile Jason led his group over to an interesting block of benches as a backdrop, where one intrepid Welshotter (Sue Mannings) was soon spotted persuading a nearby motorcyclist to lend his gleaming red motorbike as a prop for Karianne! Sadly the biker had moved on before our group took a turn at using the benches as the setting for our photos – another time, maybe!
A nearby flight of steps provided an interesting setting for more photographs and we began with “conventional” off camera flash before adding a second flash in the background to experiment with coloured gels. It was intriguing to see how the gel gave a completely different atmosphere – we hadn’t moved from the spot, yet the combination of front lighting and the gel in the background made it look like night-time with coloured light spilling out maybe from a neighbouring club.
A Welshotter who knew the area then suggested the Roman Gardens as a suitable location, so both groups decamped to make the most of the remaining sunlight. A good suggestion, as the combination of greenery and stone ruins as well as slightly derelict buildings in the background gave plenty of variety.
What a fantastic day it was, despite the cold weather. We had two great models in a wide range of different locations, with different kinds of natural light to contend with, and it was a lot of fun. Thanks to Eifion and Jason, I learnt a lot from the day – not just about lighting but also how to use a location to advantage. They both looked after us all, making sure that we each had a chance to try out the different techniques and that we were happy with our results. I’m looking forward to choosing another WelshotRewards Day soon.
The next WelshotRewards Day will be: Chester @F1.8 – Street and Creative Photography.
What ARE WelshotRewards and WelshotReward Days?
WelshotReward Days are something a little bit different – not like your normal “Rewards Scheme” Welshot rewards Academy Members for “Doing Stuff” rather than spending money. This we believe makes it fair for Everyone – all Members have the same opportunity and are on a level playing field and earning points does not come down to how much money you spend. From writing a blog, entering a forum challenge, supplying us with an image from a Welshot event or just even because we feel like rewarding our Members (800 WelshotRewards have been given to EVERY Member to celebrate our 8th Birthday) – it is really easy to let those WelshotRewards build up.
Then all you have to do is decide how you are going to spend them – from now on specifically designed WelshotReward Days can be purchased from the website – no money changes hands (please see any special T’s & C’s specific to each event) and WelshotRewards are deducted from your account automatically.