As a corporate and press photographer it’s not always possible to predict what will happen on any given day and last Tuesday was one of those days when a very welcome surprise dropped into my lap.
I’d woken up thinking my regular Tuesday networking meeting would be followed by admin and blog-writing, there being no bookings on the diary that day. However one regular client had other plans for me.
The Olympic torch relay was setting off from University of Bath for the city’s leg of the torch journey, and it just happened that the university’s staff photographer had been taken ill. I got an early call during my meeting asking if I could cover at the last minute.
I didn’t need to be asked twice. I’d hoped to catch a glimpse of the procession as it passed through Frome, but to be given the chance of a paid commission to cover the event setting off from Bath was too good to miss.
Even on days when I’m not expecting a last-minute call I take the core of my kit in the car when I leave home, and on this occasion I already had most of what I needed with me. I just had to pop home for my 80-200mm f2.8 lens and slap on some sun cream (nothing worse that standing around in the baking sun waiting for an event to happen and slowly getting sunburn).
I arrived well ahead of the event for a briefing session and was told the one shot the University really needed was a torch-bearer in front of the sign at the campus entrance. This wasn’t a shot I could set up because you can’t just dive in and interrupt the procession, so it was a case of keeping nimble and thinking fast.
The shot very nearly didn’t happen. The sponsors’ buses came through, then there was a gap and I could tell the torch bearer was coming up the driveway because of the crowd reaction. What I hadn’t quite anticipated was a socking great press truck which had to turn slowly at the junction where I was positioned, the only point at which I could get bearer and sign in one frame, which blocked my view of the bearer at the crucial moment. I had to think and move fast.
The frame you see here is one of only 4 I had time to grab before the changeover was done and dusted and my chance to get THE shot gone forever. I’d have liked a better view of the sign with fewer Met police runners blocking things up, but there’s only so much you can achieve in about 15 seconds.