I first got involved with the Wellington circus community back in 2011 when I was breaking into event photography. The Wellington Circus Trust held a free event down at Waitangi Park and I managed to capture and shared some images from the various performances that day. Over the next couple of years I’ve invariably run into the circus crew as they’ve performed around town and I’ve captured quite a few of their shows. I’ve also shot a few environmental portraits of the performers including a recent one with Maddie, Sam and Victoria Coad. So I was honoured to be allowed to spend a bit of time behind the scenes of the First National Circus Awards, also known as the Golden Carnies.
The Carnies are billed as an awards show but they also a showcase of an incredible display of talent, creativity and performance. I am alway in awe not only watch these guys and girls perform: but also how they interact with each other off stage. There is a tremendous camaraderie and a spirit of unity on display here. The Golden Carnies were organised by Tom from the Fuse Circus: and he and all the people both behind the scenes, the performers on stage and the supporters in the audience helped make the Golden Carnies an event for all to be proud of.
The show itself was fantastic: full of variety, action, humour, dance, danger and heart. There were several moments where I put the camera down and just enjoyed the show. Next year I’ll bring my second shooter along to capture the event, and I’m just going to settle in and watch! So roll on next year!
The inaugural winners were:
2013 Overall Winner: The Blingling Brothers
Audience Choice Award: Aaron Burr
Ground Based Award: Mim Conyers
(1st runner up: Zach Washer. 2nd runner up: Nick Steward)
Arial Award: Aaron Burr
(1st runner up: Tanya Drewery. 2nd runner up: Eve Gordon)
Youth Section: Sam Coad and Lucy Egan
(1st runner up: Lisa Komatsubara. 2nd runner up: Emily Gare)
Some of the artists have given me permission to share some of the images from the night here: so I’ve featured them below.
For more on the circus check out the following links:
Sometime next week I’m going to do a quick write up on the other big circus event last month, the Wellington Festival of Circus.
Big Mark Talks Shop.
This was a tough event to shoot. It really stretched the limits of my gear and my photography knowledge. I had to pull out every trick in the book. I cursed silently every time the stage was bathed in different light colour temperatures at different intensities, and pumped my fist in joy in those rare moments I could get my shutter speed up to 1/500th of a second.
My typical settings (Canon 7D) was ISO 3200, f2.8, and I varied my shutter speed from 1/15 to 1/600 depending on the amount of light on stage. I used tungsten white balance with the intention of tweaking in post. I decided to use the dress rehearsal to get the safe shots: I shot relatively wide: was careful to time my shots, and centered myself in relation to the stage so I could get the full impact of the show. For the performance I located myself at Stage Left out of the site lines of the audience: concentrated on shooting at a much more measured pace, and looked for more interesting shots.
This particular event prompted a few changes to my normal post production workflow. As I was shooting I regularly imported to my laptop to make sure I didn’t run out of space on my cards and to make my life easier after the event. Lightroom is the cornerstone of my workflow: for this event I culled, edited, exported and uploaded in six different batches to make sure the whole process didn’t become to0 mundane. I finally made a switch to using an FTP uploader: it has made things much quicker and less error prone, wish I had made the change earlier. The whole post production process from import to upload took about a week: and in total I culled, edited and uploaded and delivered 2000 images (1000 from each performance).