these gave me a flavour of what was on when and where and were also brilliant for seeing the sort of photographs used to advertise up and coming events and the type of stock images used.
As seen in previous posts I did undertake a few practice runs, some more successful than others but all good learning curves which pointed out failings, or better ways of working or just re-acquainted me with my camera.
I finally decided to cover the festive build up in Rochester Kent. It is an area fairly local to me, familiar enough that I felt comfortable in knowing the area slightly but not overly familiar that I would be complacent with what I was shooting. It has a rich history and is heavily associated with Dickens and their Christmas festivities culminate in the Dickens Christmas Festival early in December.
Within Rochester you'll find a wonderful blend of ancient and modern in the heart of the "garden of England". It is a city steeped in history, dominated by a fine Norman Castle and Cathedral, bounded by the maritime traditions and spirit of past British naval dominance on the River Medway. It has many festivals throughout the year for example the Dickens Summer and Christmas festivals and the Sweeps festival. The whole area is linked to Dickens with the landscape and many buildings taken as inspiration for settings in his books.
Another brilliant place to look at what was coming up was the Rochester Dickens Festival website.
http://www.rochesterdickensfestival.org.uk/ and later on Medway council provide a link to a downloadable PDF of the program of events which also gave me a wonderful idea of what to expect and images they published.
Youtube was a handy place to look...
...for the parade itself and other activities that occur over the weekend.
Having completed all this research I decided this was a suitable event, physically accessible being fairly local to me and possible to complete within the given time frame. There would be a lot of events/ entertainment occurring but being over several weekends of build up and the actual festival being held over 2 days I anticipated being able to capture most of the activities/atmosphere.
I spoke to several of the organisers involved in the run up to the Dickensian Festival and all were quite happy for me to capture their event, I was given email addresses and contact details for a few of them plus future events planned for next year.
Rochester High Street and Castle Grounds are places previously visited but to make sure I knew exactly what I was up against I took the opportunity to check out parking and lighting conditions at various points during the day.
From looking at the online galleries and the Dickensian Festival Brochure I made a provisional shot list and drew up a written plan. All that was left to do (all she laughs) was consider a publishing plan, marketing my work and think about shooting and processing and finally shot the event!