I’ve just spent the evening on a photography night shoot with a friend. It was, in short, awesome.
I did notice however that there’s a certain level of power that comes with having a proper DSLR camera on a tripod. There seems to be an unwritten rule that says ‘I’m allowed to get away with stuff that seems a bit weird and might get in your way but you can’t question me because that would just make you a twat’.
Allow me to explain…
At one point we were photographing the Queen’s gaff (or Buckingham Palace as everyone calls it), and we were stood there, having debated apertures, shutter speeds and ISO settings*, waiting for our cameras to finish taking their long exposure shots of Her Majesty’s crib, complete with traffic light trails. We soon realised there was a family of people patiently waiting for us to say it was ok to pass. We ‘gave them permission’, and they hurried past (and I mean they did that awkward run/jog type thing past us) thanking us for allowing them to pass. One of the guys was built like a brick shit-house and yet here he was, totally submissive to us and our three legged toys.
And it didn’t stop there…
At one point I held up people who just wanted to go up an escalator so they could go to a restaurant for dinner. I wasn’t in their way, nor did I have a sign saying “None shall pass” like some multi-lensed Gandalf. No, I was just taking long exposure shots of the moving escalators, and yet here were full grown adults asking if it was ok to use them.
I said no. They had to wait.**
This also happened with my friend who was photographing the same escalators from the top. He made people sit and wait there until he was bloody well finished. They did. We got the shots.**
This degree of power is increased to include a level of importance when you’re both walking along with extended tripods firmly attached to your equipment. (Er…that sentence sounds a bit rude! By ‘equipment’ I meant ‘penis’; ‘CAMERA!’….I meant ‘camera’). Or at least the perception of importance; allow me to elaborate….
Have you ever seen a group of young people in a convertible car on a hot, sunny day with great music playing, looking like they haven’t got a care in the world? I’m sure you have. And what do we think when we see them?
And yet, when it’s US in a convertible car with friends on a hot, sunny day with great music playing, we just assume that everyone is looking at us ‘cos we’re super cool. We feel pretty damn good about ourselves and we know that everyone looking at us are jealous of our cool car gang.
What the hell is that all about?
Well, with photography it’s the same principle.
When I see people with ‘proper’ cameras taking ‘proper’ photos of stuff and not just ‘snapshots’, I think they’re pretentious arseholes trying to look important (“Oooh, look at me, I’m so important with my big camera and my tripod and my selection of lenses that are big enough to compensate for my lack of telescopic focal length in the bedroom”)
And yet tonight, whilst walking along with my mate and our camera gear, I had this real sense of importance. I felt like everyone looking at us thought we were professionals, and that we were super cool, and under no circumstances did anyone think we were pretentious arseholes; not even the woman who asked if it was ok to walk behind us. She could…if she did it quietly.**
But all joking aside, we got some great photos so I thought I’d share one of the Buckingham Palace pictures and one of the Escalator pictures with you. Let me know what you think.
*Yes, we really WERE being that geeky.
**Not actually true.