Friday, July 10, 2009

I recently found myself at the legendary Glastonbury Festival in the UK Doing a bit of photography in one of the venues... all very jolly and I had a good time - but it did throw up a few problems. First of all, how secure is a tent? When you are lugging around £5,000 worth of equipment you only want to put it down and leave it alone when it's fairly secure. Now my tent did have a pretty cute set of waterproof zips on it, but even I could see that it wouldn't take a criminal mastermind to work out how to break into them. Even a criminal who had only managed to get a basic qualification in tent breaking would probably have been able to manage to unzip them and run off with the valuables. Heck - a criminal dunce could have just kicked the tent over and walked off with the whole lot had he so desired. So the reality of the situation was that I actually spent most of the festival lugging my bag around with me all the time.

The second problem I was worried about was battery recharging. The Nikon D3 battery life is pretty amazing - one charged battery lasts pretty much a whole day of busy photography, but even so I didn't want to risk running out of power after a few days in the mud... I know, I should probably have more batteries - but you know me, I'm a real cheapskate these days and also I was trying to keep the amount of stuff to be carried from car to campsite down to the bare minimum. However, I need not have worried. It's a remarkable thing about Glastonbury - but it really is a small city that rises up out of the green fields of Somerset. The electricity supply back-stage at the venue I was working in was plentiful and reliable, thanks to the huge generator that was parked right next to my tent. Even when it stopped working on the Sunday morning because of a broken widget it only took an hour or so to get an electrician to come and diagnose the problem, get the spare part and fix it. Honestly, you can't get that level of service in Clapham.

My third problem was keeping the gear clean. This is a constant problem even when working in sterile hospital type conditions... and say what you like about Glastonbury, sterile isn't a word that comes often to mind. Losing one of my lens caps in a bar on the first day didn't help matters much either. I tired to keep lens changes to a minimum, but still dust and stuff gets inside. It was while I was photographing a certain Mr. Phil Jupitas performing on stage that I noticed a little creature crawling across the inside of my viewing screen. I tried wiping it away from the outside, but no, he was, somehow, inside. No major problems with dust on the images, but the camera is going into the workshop next week for a good clean. I hope they are not breeding in there.

Oh, and one last problem that I hadn't anticipated. While watching (and photographing) the legendary Mr. John Hegley, I was laughing so much I was worried about the safety of the camera. I really thought I was going to drop it at one point. What a star that man is... I met him briefly backstage as well, and he said some nice things about me and my camera, so I'm a big fan now...

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