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Huntington Estate Music Festival

Posted by Sandy Smith on November 28, 2011 at 8:40 AM

Another great Huntington Estate Music Festival behind us!

Wonderful musicians presenting a wide range of musical styles - from Monteverdi to John Cage! (And that was just in the first of the 8 concert programs!) Well done Musica Viva, under Carl Vine's directorship.

The food and wine are also fantasic (thanks Edwena and Tim!) - not that I get more than the odd glass during the festival. But I did buy a carton for later!

The festival allows me to reconnect with my music teaching past (20 years in high schools in Parkes and Mudgee), but also to undertake the challenge of low light photography. The live concert hall is an extremely difficult photographic environment to work in: ever mindful of the need to work silently and unobtrusively yet try to capture the magic of the musical performance.

If you're wondering how we seem to get some 'action' shots without disturbing a performance with the inevitable 'clunk' of a heavy SLR shutter, here's a few secrets: some playing shots are actually taken while settling in before the piece begins. Then there's the magic instant while bows are still in the air just as applause starts. Better still is the small hole in the wall of the packing room. This can allow for some great shots - or none at all - depending on the seating of the musicians. It's the only place from which we can 'shoot' during the performance without being heard. Even then we use the camera on 'silent' (= 'less clunk') mode.

But best of all are the shots when musicians agree to pose onstage, say during interval. Thanks so much to the Adelaide Chamber Singers and to Alice Giles for giving up their time for this. Check out the photo of Alice at the harp: photo #7749 (folder 1). It's my favourite!

It was also a pleasure to meet ABC Classic FM presenter Emma Ayres. Even set the alarm for 6am this morning to catch the whole of her program!

But now, back to editing the rest of those photos!

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