Festival photography is tricky. Too much gear, and you risk not enjoying the event you’ve come to see, due to lugging three bodies and ten lenses around JUST IN CASE. Rely on phone photography, and your battery will be drained before 5pm, leaving you unable to locate your friends in the seething hoardes. Which is why I absolutely love the Olympus XA4 for taking to festivals – small enough to go in a super-stylish bumbag, and sharp enough to take great photos, whatever the conditions.
I’ve seen a few nice results from push-processing Agfa Vista 200 (the stalwart Poundland film), so when I went along to a folk night, I thought it’d be an idea to give it a shot (harr harr) myself. The results were pushed to 800, and developed by the lovely people at AG Photolab – I’ve not used them before but they were blindingly quick and the negs came back in great condition.
I chose my trusty Cosina PM-1, a camera that’s never let me down, and for which I have a few nice pieces of glass (used the 28mm for these shots) which has turned out to be lovely and sharp. The colour cast was really red, and I couldn’t seem to get it to look normal in Lightroom, so I converted most to black and white. It was easier to bring out the details in the shadows, and I prefer the monochrome shots to the one colour shot I ended up with.
Next time though, I’d take a different camera – the Cosina, being a chunky SLR, is not a quiet beast. The mirror slap had to be timed in with the music. Fiddle dee diddle dee SLAP. Maybe the Olympus XA4 would be better? I’m sure another night will come up, so I’ll test it out then!