Bestival prep…..

September 5, 2011

With my last festival of the summer approaching I am faced, yet again, with the all consuming dilemma of which camera(s) to take with me.

I usually make a list of my cameras/film and try to compose a list of pros and cons based on the following things:

. ease of use

. ease of carrying

. nighttime capabilities

. individual features


This is not always so simple and everything depends on the sort of time you plan on having. For example, a camera with auto controls yet no flash is perfect for capturing sly shots of drunk larger louts dancing at midday at the isle of wight festival but  completely useless once the sun goes down. Similarly, a fully manual camera is ideal for getting that long exposure of dancing lights in a dark tents, but again is rendered useless once you are wasted. Furthermore, manual controls, although rewarding are less than desirable for those quick moments you need to capture within seconds.

Again the ease of carrying is something less simple than it seems, a camera you can fit in your pocket and a camera you can wear like a necklace are rarely the same thing and again depend on your weekend. The neck camera is fantastic for promenading the fields but not so when you start to dance, (I once got a black eye from my own Holga). Pocket cam is great, but a little harder to get to, (especially if you replace pocket cam with bag cam).

The individual features, always seem to act as a trump card for all my considerations and I end up making my decisions based on the following capabilities:

. Multiple exposures

. Bulb mode (loooooooong exposures)

. Coloured flash

. Sprocket holes

and there are many cameras which hold some of  these qualities AND ease of use AND ease of carry.

The fisheye 2 being one of them.

I don’t know if I mentioned, but its great to take a camera that can correspond with the festival itself….above a lomo fisheye camera seemed the only option for the ‘30000 freaks under the sea‘ theme at Bestival 08.

Maybe the Fujipet thunderbird would have been an appropriate choice for the following years outer space theme….

Unfortunately, I did not own such a thing at the time and decided to replicate the whizzing lights of a spaceship and alien colours with my Coloursplash camera

The long exposure/ flash combo of the fisheye and coloursplash cameras are great for noctornal festivals such as bestival whereas for a sunshine fest in the height of summer like Isle of Wight or Lovebox I might opt for an effect such as sprocket holes….

Or Cross Processing….(this one isn’t camera dependent)

Or Polaroid (got to use impossible project film for this one)

For a weekend equal parts sun and moon (like Glastonbury) I’d say the best bet is something like the Holga which works well both day and night. If you don’t want something so clunky then I’d recommend a compact for the daytime like the Vivitar UWS or Olympus xa2 (this one also has flash) and something a little flashier for the dance tents.

Above Vivitar UWS at Primivera Sound and Olympus XA2 at Glastonbury.

All in all, no matter what I tell myself I always end up taking 10 and using 1.

So I might as well take a disposable….

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