Rochester Sweeps Festival 2nd-4th May, Rochester, Kent
The modern day Sweeps Festival is a colourful mix of music, dancing and entertainment with more than 60 Morris sides and entertainers celebrating throughout the three-day festival.
The annual Sweeps Festival recreates the joy and laughter enjoyed by the chimney sweeps from 2nd to 4th May; the one time of the year the sweeps could leave the soot behind and have some fun. Their fun included the Jack-in-the-Green ceremony, a seven-foot character that they used to waken at dawn on Blue Bell Hill, Chatham. The Jack-in-the-Green would walk with the chimney sweeps in their parade.
This is a great event for photography with many colourful characters to photograph as well as the local area.
We would suggest you take a wide and tele zoom lens if you have these plus a flash which will be very useful to fill in shadows if the weather is sunny. We recommend you arrive in the morning as there are events all day and a parade of all the characters on each day. The tourist information centre in the high street gives out free programmes which you can also download here. Public transport is the best way to get to Rochester and the railway station is only 5 minutes from the high street. There is parking available if you are driving but you are best off parking in Strood which is just over the river Medway and has a lot more parking available.
Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade 2nd-4th May
A three day festival celebrating the Narrow boat. Includes a boat procession, food and music. This is a colourful event in London - close to Maida Vale and Edgware Road stations - and includes Morris Dancers and lots else to photograph. As for equipment, a wide-angle lens will let you capture some great images and a standard zoom will cover most eventualities. A tele-zoom lens will let you capture portraits and interesting details from a distance. A Polarising filter would also be great as this will help increase contrast, boost colours and cut through any atmospheric haze which is more likely around water.
Campo Viejo Streets of Spain - Southbank Centre 1st-4th May
4 day Spanish festival at the Southbank Centre. Includes music, dancing and Spanish food for a lively vibrant Spanish experience. A standard zoom lens would be ideal. Full details available at http://www.streetsofspain.com
Shuttleworth Season Premier Airshow - Sunday 3rd May- Old Warden, Bedfordshire.
Shuttleworth's Old Warden airfield is a great location for aviation photography with the aircraft coming really close to the crowd line. Anything from a 200mm lens upwards will allow frame filling images - something like the Tamron 150-600 or Sigma 150-600 are fantastic for airshows and highly recommended. Full details are available at http://www.shuttleworth.org/events/premiere/
Covent Garden My Fayre and Puppet Festival - Sunday 10th May
With Folk music, Morris Dancers, a Maypole plus puppet show, clowns and other entertainment this charming festival is a great event to photograph. Again a standard zoom lens would be ideal with a tele-zoom useful for isolating your subjects and selecting details.
Full details available at http://www.coventgardenlondonuk.com/event/covent-garden-may-fayre-and-puppet-festival
Museums at Night 14th-16th May
Annual event where museums stay open late - a great opportunity to visit after hours. Full list and opening times is available at www.museumsatnight.org.uk . Make sure you check the venue for whether photography is allowed and whether tripods are acceptable. If you cannot use a tripod then a fast aperture lens will be useful and increase your ISO setting to give you a useable shutter speed as required.
Chelsea Flower Show - 19th-23rd May - Royal Chelsea Hospital
Held in the grounds of the Royal Chelsea Hospital, this is a great event for people watching and photography. Some superb flowers and gardens are on display so be sure to take a range of lenses to cover wide to telephoto angles plus a Macro lens if you have one. Tickets are available at https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show.
Photo London - 21st-24th May - Somerset House
Huge photography exhibition with work being shown from world famous photographers including Sebastião Salgado- not to be missed. Details are available at http://photolondon.org
V. E Day Anniversary Air Show, IWM Duxford , Cambridgeshire 23/24th May
The first airshow of the year at Duxford looks to be a great one. Over the two days of the show, Duxford will commemorate VE day with a wide selection of WW2 related aircraft displays as well as 1940s themed events on the site. Well worth a visit. For frame filling shots of aircraft in flight you need as long a lens as possible - The Tamron 150-600 or Sigma 150-600 lenses are both highly recommended. For propeller aircraft we suggest you aim for a shutter speed around 1/500th and then pan with the aircraft. You can drop your speed lower to get a better propeller blur effect - 1/320-1/250th is usually sufficient to achieve this. For Jets a faster shutter speed is recommended - at least 1/1000-1/2000th gives best results. Full details and advanced tickets available at http://www.iwm.org.uk/exhibitions/iwm-duxford/ve-day-anniversary-air-show
ITU World Triathlon - Hyde Park 30th and 31st May.
A major sporting event in the centre of London this should be a great photo opportunity with competitors swimming, cloying and running. A Telephoto zoom or fixed lens would be ideal as well as a wider zoom for when the competitors are closer to you. Full details available at http://london.triathlon.org