20 Photographs from Beating Retreat 2016 – Horse Guards Parade London

9th June 2016

These annual concerts are performed on Horse Guards Parade in front of the beautiful backdrop of St James’s Park each year on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings preceding the Queen’s Birthday Parade, or “Trooping The Colour” as it is often called.

This year, (2016), the Beating Retreat provided the audience with stirring and reflected music to commemorate the Somme, Jutland and other battles. It also had precision drill, horses, cannons, lights and fireworks all combine to showcase the best of British military music and ceremonial pageantry in an unforgettable evening. Some of the bands taking part  included:-

  • The Massed Bands Of The Household Division,
  • The Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry,
  • Pipes & Drums Of The 1st Battalion Scots Guards,
  • The Drums & Pipes of the Irish Guards,
  • The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery,
  • The Band of the Honourable Artillery Company,
  • The Band of The Royal Yeomanry

This year the Beating Retreat commemorate the bonds of friendship that thrive between the fifty-three Commonwealth Countries.

Beating Retreat has its origins in the early years of organised warfare when beating or sounding retreat called a halt to the days fighting, a return to camp and the mounting of the guard for the night.

An order from the army of James II of England, dated to 18 June 1690, had his drums beating an order for his troops to retreat. Originally the beating of the drum was used to order troops to break off fighting and withdraw to the safety of camp as darkness fell, later it signalled the closing of the camp gates at the end of the day and called troops back to base for the night. Today a Beating Retreat is an evening military concert with a marching display.

These pictures were taken from one of the spectator stands which provide great views of the event. As the event starts around 8:15, the main photographic considerations I had to take into account was low light and a zoom lens – a difficult combination but helped by high IOS and a steady hand. The panoramas work better than expected and were quite easy to produce with Adobe Lightrooms.

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