Magdalene May Ball 2015

Yesterday I photographed the Magdalene May Ball. This time Flo Best joined me to assist with the external flash. Our plan was that by having the flash separated from the camera we would get more interesting shadows and more depth in the photos. We could also illuminate a selected part of the scene to draw attention to it.

Magdalene’s May Ball is special because about two thirds of the guests dine. They had a tent accommodating 800 dinner guests which was a pretty impressive sight. Flo and I showed up just after nine o’clock, and got ourselves organised making a game plan for the highlights that we did not want to miss and what other things could be interesting to capture. The main act was the Fratellis that performed on main stage. Earlier during the night we had talked with the stage manager and made sure we could photograph in the pit in front of the stage. Oh, I should mention they had some great LED lights and a hazer, which made for a visual feast.

Below are my favourite photos from the evening, the full set will be uploaded later to Facebook in the next few days.

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We started the night by roaming the grounds a bit and getting some photos of the gardens before the sky got too dark.
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Live music from the string quartet created a nice atmosphere.
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They had a helter skelter on the college grounds. That word “helter skelter” is just amusingly weird. Notice how dark the people in the foreground are, then have a look at the next photo.
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Here we used the off camera flash to the left to illuminate the people in the foreground.
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Snapping a portrait by one of the garden gates.
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There were three parallel music acts in the different tents. Here is James Houston.
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Here we were using the flash to the left to illuminate the woman in the foreground.
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In addition to using the flash we were also looking for spots that had their own light sources, like here by the food stand. Here are Thomas Sutton and Sarah Elizabeth Roe
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The band is getting ready to play in the second court. The couple to the right were standing in one of the spotlights. Note the halo of light on the trumpeter in the front.
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Sam Keen on the main stage.
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Who knew you could do this in a white tie? Hao Feng and a random party goer who wonders what on earth is going on.
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Ryan Rodrigues
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Felix Jackson and Poppa Robinson
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Guy Kimber
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Hannah Owen and Tom Porteous.
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Rosalind Peters, Oli MacFarlane, Guy Kimber and Catriona Stirling.
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The Bonbonbons return. I saw them at Trinity so made sure we would not miss them.
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There was a lot of dancing going on. Very energetic.
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Fergus Riche in the smoking tent. Here Flo is hiding in the background with the flash.
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David Matthews, Phoebe Jayes and Ed Twaddle.
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Imogen Mechie on the piano.
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Emily Platten and Joshua Phillips.
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A quick snap shot of Selay Pamir and Max Nussbaumer. Flo is standing to the left with the flash.
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They had a great set of moving projections on the walls of the old building.
Ilana Walder-Biesanz and Jonathan Miller.
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We were taking a portrait by when the flower suddenly emerged behind her head. Sometimes you get really lucky with the moving projections. A few seconds later it was gone again.
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At midnight there was a big projection show.
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…with a bit of magic sprinkled in. Here is Danilo Audiello.
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A bachata performance followed by a dance class for the guests. Here are Andrea Gallego Ortiz and Arthur Beljean.
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Becca Elson, Elise Larkin, Alexander Mackison, Flossie Hibbert and Rozzie Marshall.
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The Fratellis performed on main stage. Here Flo and I are in the pit just in front of the stage.
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Rozzie Marshall and Alexander Mackison.
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Flossie Hibbert, Becca Elson, Rozzie Marshall and Alexander Mackison.
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Flo is a big fan, so we had to get a selfie for her with the band.
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Eardrums aching we moved away from the loudspeakers and did a few shots from the side before retreating into the relative silence of the gardens.
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The helter skelter was operational, so we decided to wait around to see if any guests would be coming down the slide.
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Zara Boyd and Victoria Herrenschmidt.
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Tom Johnson and Sarah Mercer drinking shots in front of a spotlight.
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A friend, Tom Johnson, Christina Sweeney-Baird and Sarah Mercer.
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Johanna Blendow in the silent disco. Here Flo was holding the flash to the right, and I used a 1/10 second as my shutter speed and moved the camera after pressing the shutter to get the light trails.
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Flo found a white umbrella for us to play with.
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Harri Lamden and Jordan Hunter.
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Beth Price and Will Reis.
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Laura Rantala and Flo Best.

Many thanks to Magdalene May Ball Committee and to Flo Best for helping me. It was a great night!

To see more photos from other May Balls check the May Ball category on the blog.

– Johannes

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