Sherwood put out the call to a number of renaissance festival photographers to come and assist in photographing the Sherwood Forest Summer Camp. I was able to take a few days off work to help out.
The summer camp attendance has grown each year by over 70% and for this year the number of youth camp attendees for the first week-long run was over 110, sessions 2 and 3 are sold out. The attendees are grouped together and the groups attend different classes that are going on at the same time.
Photographers get a list of classes they’ll be photographing every hour, usually 2-3 per hour. It’s really like photographing at faire. Run and gun, adapt to the class and light, e.g. sometimes indoors (high ISO, flash to freeze subjects), dappled light outdoors, under a tent/structure where the subjects are in shade but the background is in bright sunlight, full shade, etc…
- Stay hydrated! (Huzzah for water and Gatorade stations!)
- Check your class line-up/locations and clump them to minimize running back-and-forth across the grounds.
- Minimize your gear – you’ll have it on you all day in the heat.
- Talk with the instructors before sessions begin – they’ll be able to tell you what they’re covering and where the “safe” zones are for photographing (think inexperienced kids with bows and arrows :-), or info. like the birds don’t mind flash.)
- Figure out which classes have spin-up times. Some classes have start-up times where safety and procedures are being covered prior to getting to the hands-on portion. If you want photos of the hands-on portion, then you may want to put that class coverage later in the hour.
- Generally all classes of the same subject matter on a particular day (e.g. leatherwork) are repeating the same topics with different groups. Friday classes are picked by the kids themselves based on their own interest, they’ll be a bit more advanced than the previous days.
- Try a variety of shots – e.g. still-lifes, portraits, group shots It’s all good.
It was fun interacting with the kids and Masters (instructors), and I learned new things just being in the classes photographing for a while. It gives me a whole new level of respect for how much time, knowledge, and practice go into mastering these subjects. Makes me want to attend the Adult Summer Camp sometime to really learn some of this more in-depth myself!
The subject matter of the classes is really cool! It’s a terrific way to allow kids to get a taste of skills that they would not be exposed to in the standard school curriculum and get some hands-on experience working with:
- Musical Instrument making
- Theatrical skills (Acting, Stage Presence, …)
They won’t be experts at the end of one week, of course, but it might spark a flame that could lead to a life-long career or passion.
There are a number of photographers that are photographing the summer camp (it’s a big job) and the resulting photos are collected at the Sherwood Forest Summer Camp – Facebook photo albums page.