Robert Burns

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Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796), also known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire, Ploughman Poet and various other names and epithets,[nb 1] was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these writings his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest.   – Wikipedia 

Over the last week I’ve been working closely with the Ulster Scots Agency in Belfast and I’ve been photographing several of their Burns events. This included the flag ship event in the Waterfront Hall which featured the Ulster Orchestra right the way through to a Burns dinner in the Linenhall Library.

The reason I’m talking about the Robert Burns events here is mainly because of the wide ranging environments in which I had to take photos. Starting in the Waterfront hall because the BBC was filming I wasn’t able to use flash. Thankfully this wasn’t such a massive issue thanks in part to the awesome stage lighting but also due to the great ISO control in both my Nikon D750’s. I’ve had these cameras for well over two years now and theres nothing out there at the moment that I can see as a replacement. They’re still that good.

The next event was an evening with Robert Burns himself! OK it technically wasn’t the real thing but it was top Robert Burns impersonator, Christopher Tait. The tricky point of this event wasn’t (again) that I couldn’t use flash but that moving around and taking photos due to noise would be a constant issue. First thing that I had to do was ditch my shoes. Moving around in socks is much, much quieter though it does usually mean odd looks from the audience. The other noise based issue was the camera. Every SLR (not mirrorless) makes various clicking noises when you hit the shutter button and unfortunately the D750 isn’t quiet. In fact its hilariously loud despite having a quiet mode. I had to time the shots when the audience gave a round of applause or Christopher was making more noise than usual on stage.

The final event of the week for me was a good ole traditional music session in the Discover Ulster Scots Centre in Belfast. Whilst this event wasn’t well attended it was probably my favourite event. Anyone who could play was invited to join the famous Stonewall Traditional group in playing Burns based or inspired songs. The players sat in a huge circle and took it in turn to suggest what to play. It was a super relaxed evening which meant I could move around where ever I needed to get the best shot.

For more information on Robert Burns head over to the Ulster Scots Agency webpage or check out the Wiki article.






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