Chris Demott Photography » Portrait & Wedding Photographer

What a difference 100 years make!

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The image for this month was prompted by last months fifth anniversary of the Bedford Clanger, It obviously got readers thinking about birthdays and anniversaries and it turned out we were on the brink of the centenary of the blizzards and storms that hit Bedfordshire in 1916.

Looking into this further I found that this is remembered just outside of Kempston on the the Great Ouse. There is a sign detailing how the area was devastated and the trees that were replanted by Frederick G. Bonfield.

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So my picture revisited that spot exactly 100 years on, there was a big difference, in fact I think I would have struggled to take a photo any more different to the ones I found in the blogs below.

Although pictures are limited for Bedford it seems that Rushden was particularity badly hit and they were also on the ball when it came to photographing the area. Here is an interesting article:

There is also a great blog by Peter with loads of interesting articles about Bedford and he runs through the details of the two days the area was hit by the storms:


In a car park not from Bedford a group of well wrapped folk spend the night far away from the creature comforts they are used to.

It’s 26th February 2016, 7pm and in 12 hours time it will all be over. I’m just here for a couple of hours taking photos and I’m feeling chilly, this lot are going to have to cobble together shelters from some cardboard boxes and minimal comforts they have with them.

YMCA2016L (7 of 81)Sleep Easy is a YMCA fundraising initiative raising money to help change the lives of vulnerable young people. The aim is simple: spend a night sleeping rough at this year’s event location, which is Viking Storage in Bedford, who are partnering with YMCA Bedfordshire to highlight the issue of homelessness and raise vital funds to support the work of the local YMCA.

YMCA2016L (30 of 81)All money raised goes directly to YMCA Bedfordshire projects; impacting your community and helping their service users build a brighter future.

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Spirits were pretty high, games were played and even some busking went on to earn tokens to exchange for food and hot drinks. It was an awesome effort and it really did turn cold in the night.

St John Ambulance were also in attendance which was reassuring.


This month I was asked to go along to Bedford School to photograph a rather special remembrance. On the 3rd of March the school marked that on this date in 1979 the main building burned down.


Josh Taylor, an art student from the school marked this anniversary with a rather bold gesture. He decided that his 8ft painting of the school which had previously hung proudly in the foyer was taken down, and set alight.

This act was recorded and the video of his artwork being consumed by flames was then projected onto the school to acknowledge the devastating event.

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The presentation of the video was well attended, the video lasted about 15mins and started with the lighting of the artwork. What was particularly sobering was how quickly the artwork was destroyed by the flames, the photo is taken at the height of the fire.

Sadly Josh was away on a geography field trip but his family proudly watched.


Friends and family of Jonny Badhan got together in Great Barford, Bedfordshire for a day of fund and awareness raising.

Items were auctioned, raffles held, T shirts sold and the day started off with a jog to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

The days events ended with a party and a fantastic amount of money was raised from everyone’s efforts.

What was really amazing was how many people got together for this cause, everyone is affected at some point by Cancer in some way and look how much stronger everyone is when they stand together.




Following on from the introductory piece in The Bedford Clanger work started on the first image from a readers suggestion. There are a local group of fire performers that practice regularly and perform in and around Bedford. This was too good an opportunity to miss so I headed out one chilly Saturday night to meet them. Turned out that this may well be one of the toughest things I have photographed so far, problems are: It’s dark, the performers are moving, the flames are really bright and to get a great shot you want to capture the light trails. Click, adjust, click, adjust, click, adjust etc etc. This is about the best I got.

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The next week I had another go, for those interested in the rough settings I used to improve from the first effort here are the things to consider.

It’s dark so your instinct may be to use a large aperture, the problem is the flames are bright so they quickly become overexposed and just look like bright white lines, I ended up around F11 but would adjust this depending on what kit the performer was using.

You want to capture movement of the fire so you need to expose for a few seconds, I used a tripod to keep everything steady, I also used a remote shutter release, this way I could be away from the camera and open and shut the shutter while watching the performer which allowed me to do this at more appropriate times.

The last thing to really factor in is that the performers are moving, the first time I tried to photograph them at best they would be recognizable, at worst an orange blur. Flash is the answer, you need to fire flash at the end of the exposure, this freezes the performer just long enough to make them a prominent feature in the photo. Some cameras will do this for you and it is called ‘second curtain flash’. I did this manually so I could capture the performer when they were facing the camera or in an interesting pose.

Here are a few that I was most happy with, what’s really exciting is next time I go along I know I’ll be able to improve again.

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The website for the fire perfomers is here,