Olympus run a wide range of events for photographers via their Image-Space website. I applied for a place on their Giffords Circus event which took place in the middle of July and was delighted to be offered a place.
Having shot a circus before, I knew light levels would be an issue. I took advantage of the Olympus Test & Wow scheme and reserved an Olympus OM-D E-M1 with HLD-7 battery grip, Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens and the 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro lens with MC14 converter.
With all this borrowed gear in hand I set off across London in torrential rain to the event in Chiswick Park.
A very warm welcome to the event followed by a short briefing and the opportunity to try out lots of lovely Olympus kit followed - so I added an Olympus 45mm f/1.8 prime to my arsenal.
Then came three acts, all of which involved lots of movement. The first used multiple rings to create shapes and span them around, the second act was a pair of jugglers and the third an act which spun objects with their feet!
As I predicted, the light was quite challenging so the Olympus built in 5-axis image stabilisation on the E-M1 combined with the fast f/2.8 pro lenses were a good choice for this environment.
I shot using the Olympus Art-filter bracketing mode which shoots a standard image and then creates an image processed in camera using the selected art filters. I used the Pinhole effect and also the Dramatic tone filter in monochrome mode with pinhole effect.
Following this high speed action we were then split in to three groups and took our turn at a portrait session.
The session with Neil Buchan-Grant was with a fantastic model in a rodeo outfit complete with guns with a wagon background. Neil has set up a single studio light (Elinchrom Quadra HS with ELB-400 battery pack) and gave everyone the settings for their camera to balance the flash and ambient light.
We then all had around a minute to direct the model and take our shots with Neil assisting as required.
There was then a session in the ring with the Olympus Chief photographer Damien McGillicuddy using a model dressed as a Sheriff and with a lighting setup mixing strobes with available light for a very moody effect. Again each photographer was a allowed a minute or two to get their shots.
The third session was with Tweedy the clown and took place inside the restaurant tent of the circus so had lovely diffuse natural light with again a studio flash set-up for mixed lighting effects. Tweedy was a fantastic model with so many different props and facial expressions allowing you to shoot many more pictures.
Photographer Gavin Hoey was on hand to help with settings and composition too.
The whole event was run fantastically well and I am sure everyone who attended had a great time and got some great shots. Thankfully the selected equipment handled this difficult shooting environment really well and made for some great shots.
Do you want to borrow this camera equipment too? Well, you can!
Simply book your equipment via the Olympus Test and Wow website and select Park Cameras as your collection destination!