A sense of belonging: the story behind the photo
Adam Plowden is an award winning filmmaker, photographer and member of the Surrey Scouts media team. This summer, he visited Kandersteg International Scout Centre (KISC) in Switzerland, where he snapped a very striking photo.
I was always interested in photography and being creative.
I sometimes took a camera on Scout camps to help remember some of the great things we did and share them with my family. I did Media at A-Level and felt I was going in the right direction. I found something that I was good at, and knew I wanted to go into the creative industries.
This year was the first time I visited Kandersteg.
I was part of the Surrey Scouts contingent, which had more than 500 members turn out. The sea of red you see in the image are all Surrey Scouts and Leaders. We were also with Scouts from Portugal, Canada and the Netherlands. Add in the ‘pinkies’ and ‘greenies’, the amazing volunteers at KISC, and we had a brilliant group of people.
The campfire was truly amazing.
Scouts from all over the world performed songs and skits from their own countries and cultures. It was really eye-opening and great to see something completely new; an amazing international experience. It took place at the end of the week after we had climbed mountains, been rafting, and met some brilliant people. The campfire really brought back those memories; it brought everything together. There was a great sense of belonging.
The shot was captured using a drone.
I could see the camera downlink from the drone to my phone, which helped get it into position to capture some video footage. You can’t fly directly over the top of people for safety, which is why I composed it with the group slightly off centre, getting the tents and parts of the forest in there too. The drone itself can only fly for 15 minutes before you have to change the battery, which doesn’t give you a lot of time to fly, film and take photos! In the mountains it gets dark very quickly, so it was quite a challenge to get the drone to the right height, the right angle and in the right position – I was battling against the fading light and fast-moving cloud, which would quickly cover the drone.
The photo is actually three images stitched together.
It was made up of the low-lights, the mid-tones and a third layer which was overexposed. It’s the combination of the three which gives it that special depth and clarity. It was only when I put the high dynamic range (HDR) image together on my laptop, on the coach on the way back, when I realised how special it really was.
I’ve got the image up on the wall of my office.
Every time I look at it reminds me of the whole trip – that amazing feeling of togetherness and belonging. To me, it sums up Scouting itself.