National Citizens Service (NCS)

I was asked at very short notice to help out with the award ceremony for the National Citizens Service. It was being hosted by Deloitte LLP at New Square Street in Farringdon. National Citizen Service is a life changing experience for 16 and 17 year olds around the country – they do outdoor activities, meet new people and have the chance to put something back. By doing NCS they learn new skills and have a great experience that looks great on CVs, and applications to universities and colleges.AuditoriumI hate being late for things and I was asked to get there around 5.30 so I could scout the place out. I arrived at 5.15... but didn't think I was in the right place, because of an error when I typed in New Street Square and headed in the wrong direction altogether. Ten minutes later I arrived back at New Square Street and found I had been standing with my back to the Deloitte building all the time.

I was shown in to the auditorium where I met up with Alex my contact for the evening. She showed me around the auditorium and I took stock of what I could do. I had already been given an agenda of the evenings events so I had already planned for when I needed to swap lenses. There was to be a talk first then the presentations of the awards to the graduates. I was asked to try to get wide angle group shots of the graduates when all of them were up on stage. So far so good.

I started with my Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Lens to get close up shots of the first four speakers. I waited and took my time over these shots as I noticed before the event started that they were using a bright green microphone. I had to time my shots to try to get expression on the face while hands were being used to express as well. If I timed it wrong the speaker would look like they were singing in a karaoke bar as their eyes would be closed.

For some of the group shots I had to run up to the back of the auditorium so take the shot as felt it would have taken too long to swap over to the wide angle lens.

There was entertainment from Oli Betterworth, a London based comedian, winner of 2 Fosters awards at the Fringe Festival and all round ginger. Also there was John Loughton, 2008 channel 4 Big Brother winner, also ginger, as well as Fope Jogede winner of the BBC's Olympic competition '100 things about the games'.

Again with a live event I did miss a few things, the graduates were asked to pose for photos when they received their certificate, some did, some didn't so it was frustrating at times but I did get a good number of good shots.

I shot about 480 frames over the course of the event, I handed out a few business cards as well so that may get a few more gigs.

I did notice one thing though. While processing the shots in Lightroom. I noticed there was a large number of vampires in the room. I'm talking about the red eye problem. According to Wikipedia 'The red-eye effect in photography is the common appearance of red pupils in color photographs of eyes. It occurs when using a photographic flash very close to the camera lens (as with most compact cameras), in ambient low light. The effect appears in the eyes of humans and animals that have tapetum lucidum'

Luckily, Lightroom has a facility to reduce this so I have spent most of this evening clicking a virtual wooden stake at everyone of the graduates. It was hell for the group shots!