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In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organised events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organised TED event. TEDxStormont is organised and curated by Eva Grosman, CEO of the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building.

Parliament Buildings at Stormont is a fantastic venue for such an intimate function. The grand hall in Parliament Building is a beautiful mix of stone and marble and is a natural hall worthy of such a prestigious function. The hall is usually a meeting point for people entering Parliament Buildings and you will often see TV and film crews operating in the area broadcasting goings on to the local and wider community here in Northern Ireland.

I cover many events in Belfast from venues such as the Waterfront to the Titanic Ball Room and though I have been in Parliament Buildings for work many times over the last 8 years I have never took photos in the great hall.

Due to the intimacy of this TEDx event and several other factors the most important thing would be that I could not use flash with exception to the press photos which we would take before everything started. Once the event was in full swing I would have to turn the speed lights off. This would prove tricky as the lights in the great hall made it really challenging to get the white balance accurate and consistent. I would have to rely on the power of the RAW files to correct the images afterwards.

Another challenge I would face would be the marble of the great hall itself! Due to its size and construction its naturally amplifies any noises created within. The loudest noise I would have to try and cover would be my own footsteps. Due to the fact I’ve worked in this building before I factored this in and wore my awesome Swim trainers. They look class and due to a semi soft sole, they don’t squeak or sound loud when I am walking about. This means I can sneak around without my foot steps drawing attention.

Like all events distance and disturbance comes in to play here. Due to the layout of the room I wouldn’t really be able to get close to the speakers whilst they were talking as the audience would be sitting directly in front of them. I was able to walk up around half way through the crowd as each speaker came on stage but after I grabbed a couple of quick shots I would have to move back or to the sides of the room. I would then have to employ the reach of my 70-200mm lens which really on a full frame body was just about long enough to get what I needed. Ideally I should’ve had something like the Nikon D500¬†but I made do with what I had.

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