This year marked what I believe was the largest gathering of the steampunk community ever seen at the Lincoln Asylum Steampunk Festival. This event is held in the historic UK city annually and takes place over a 4 day public holiday period at the end of August (known as a Bank Holiday in the UK). My take on steampunk is that the participants dress in a way that would not look out of place in a Jules Verne or Charles Dickens novel. There are also strong elements of fantasy and science fiction thrown in to the 'Victorian' mix, and it all comes together to form a kaleidoscope of colour and extraordinary costumes (the new TV series of Carnival Row, starring Orlando Bloom, has very strong elements of steampunk and is well worth a watch).
This was the first year I attended the Festival on all four days and on each day I worked for around 4 hours of photography. My aim as a professional is to try and capture images that are of high quality and may attract a sale from those I photograph. Like all photographers there are sometimes problems with autofocus lock, movement, background distractions or other unforeseen issues that mean photos will not make the grade and will not be put in the gallery. I did have quite a few 'soft' photos this year (at times I was using a very shallow depth of field, and critical focus on the eye is important to me) and attribute it to combinations of movement, camera shake and some autofocus inaccuracy. I always try and keep my minimum shutter speed and my ISO set to give the best image quality, although sometimes even speeds around 1/125th are not fast enough when holding a weighty lens in a busy environment (at times there were crowds of photographers jostling for position).
On the final day there was a parade of the steampunk participants and it was at that point that I was truly taken by surprise at just how many hundreds (thousands) of people had taken part. Whilst I thought I was in a good location to take images, I had, in fact, only scratched the tip of the steampunk iceberg. Next year I shall advertise my attendance as a professional well in advance and hopefully I'll be able to take even more photographs. With so many hobby or amateur photographers in attendance their presence can work against you (not all understand the importance of customer relations and reading the emotions of those being photographed), nonetheless my attitude is to continue to improve my technique and simply offer outstanding images that grab the attention of my potential customers.
Now that my 2019 gallery is complete I thought I would put together 10 images from the Festival (not including young children and other individuals who I know were sensitive about having their photo taken, which does rule out some great shots). These images may have beautiful tonal quality, aesthetics or a certain 'je ne sais quois' that holds the attention. I hope you like them too, and if you are part of the steampunk community perhaps I'll see you at next year's event? Until then...
The full gallery is here: LIncoln Asylum Steampunk Festival 2019
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