Posts Tagged ‘doves’

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Friday, December 20th, 2019

London’s big Italian festival which takes place every July in the streets around St Peter’s Italian Church in Clerkenwell is alway an interesting event, and one that although it has changed over the years since I first photographed it in the 1990s, still retains much of the same atmosphere and feel.

I always enjoy both the procession and the festival that accompanies it, which is apparently a much more recent addition to the event. When the festival first began in the 19th century – and special permission was needed for this Catholic procession – the area around the church had a large Italian population.

Now that population has moved away, with many in the suburbs or outside London and Italian communities come to the event from places like Watford, Luton and Woking, and the Sagra provides them with something to eat and drink and to meet people they may only see once a year at the event. And to dance.

It also provides something of a day out for myself and a few photographer friends, who take advantage of the cheap and reasonably priced Italian wine and sometimes the food too. THough rather more the wine!

I was a little disappointed this year by the release of the doves, which for the last few years has been done by three clergy who were each given a dove to hold in their hands before releasing them more or less together. It was something they so obviously enjoyed. This year there were again three of the clergy, but all they did was stand behind the basket and watch as the lid was opened and the birds made their own way out.

It is always something of a challenge to capture the moment the doves fly, though I’ve usually managed to do so. It is of course made much easier with digital cameras, where you can use rapid sequences of exposures. Back in the days of film, few of us had motordrives, and we needed to wind on after each exposure. This meant you only had a single chance to get the picture, as by the time you had wound on the film the doves would usually have been high in the sky.

This year I took the picture with the Olympus E-M5MarkII using the 14-150mm lens at its widest setting, equivalent to 28mm. It was a bright sunny summer day and I set the camera to ISO 640 to get both a fast shutter speed to stop motion (1/400s) and a small aperture (f10) to get plenty of depth of field so that the background float with its statue of Our Lady would also be sharp. I say I set them, but in fact the camera was on ‘P’ setting and I simply checked it had suitable settings. As the moment approached I changed the camera into sequential shooting mode. I used the high setting which gives around ten frames a second.

One bird came out first and was several feet in the air before the other two emerged. The frame at the top of the post was my sixth and the last to show all three doves. There were I think 5 further frames with the last two doves, and the Exif data shows that I had taken 11 frames in just over a second. Using film I could have got at most two, though I would have hoped to get one that showed the peak of the action, I could well have missed it. Once the doves get going they can move extremely fast.

More pictures and text:
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Sagra


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