I was bloody cold...

This photo was taken in January 1993 in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is a favourite of mine.
Once again, it was something that came from nothing - a constant theme among the photos in this blog.
I was working for the Edinburgh Evening News and it was a particularly cold winter's morning. I was out looking for a photo to depict the conditions and was trying to avoid the usual photo of someone wearing a scarf looking cold etc.
In the middle of Edinburgh is a large 'hill' called Arthur's Seat. It's actually an old volcanic plug that rises up out of the landscape and is quite imposing. It's not really all that well known to those outside Edinburgh/Scotland, as it has to compete with Edinburgh world famous castle and a host of other more well known tourist attractions, but it's there in all its imposing glory.
Winding it way around Arthur's Seat about halfway up is a road and it was along this road I was driving early that winter's morning in 1993. When I say early and winter, I actually mean it was around 8.30am. While this isn't super early, the sun rises late and sets early during a Scottish winter, and the sun was just peeking over the horizon.
I wasn't sure what I was going to find that morning but I was driving around hoping to come across something different. Not surprisingly, not many people were out and about so I was short on finding any models to use in any photo I had in mind.
I made my way up the afore-mentioned road at Arthur's Seat and was just starting to make my descent when I looked over the edge and saw the early morning sun casting its shadow across the undulating hillochs of Prestonfield Golf Course.
'That looks nice', I thought and stopped the car.
I got out and attached my 300mm lens (on a monopod) to my camera. I walked to the edge of the road and looked down on the golf course. I sized up what I thought was the best looking photo through the camera and snapped a couple of shots. If anything, the shadows looked nice.
'All I need is someone in shot', I thought.
From where I was I could see the entire golf course, so I looked up and scanned the links. Away in the distance I spotted two players - the only two people on the course that cold winter's morning.
I sized them up through the lens but the photo looked crap - they were too far away and there was too much distracting 'stuff' in the frame. I needed them to be where I'd taken the couple of shots of the shadows.
I was bloody cold - freezing in fact - but I had nothing else to do and decided to wait and see where they went. Slowly they made their way down one hole, then the next - all the while getting closer to where I wanted them to be.
They finished playing the second hole since I'd spotted them, walked a few paces, turned in the direction where I wanted them to head, and tee-ed off. A quiver of excitement ran through me. Having tee-ed off, they proceeded to walk down the fairway in the direction of 'my photo'.
I pointed the lens where it looked best and the players walked into frame exactly where I wanted them to be! I couldn't believe it. They couldn't have done a better job if I'd (somehow) asked.
I fired off several frames and jumped for joy (I needed to - my feet were starting to go numb). I almost shouted out to them a big 'thank you'!
Unlike a sporting or news event, where something happens in a fraction of a second and you're often not sure if you've got 'the photo', this had unfolded very slowly and I knew I had something that looked good...possibly great.
There's no better feeling than knowing you've got 'the photo', so I excitedly raced back to the office and printed up a large copy for the boss. I left it with him and went home, not sure of what they'd do with it.
The following day I found out. I was working another shift for the Evening News and when I got into the office one of the photographers told me to turn to page 17.
Normally page 17 is considered a crap page to have your photo run (the further from the front of the paper the worse), so I flicked through the pages of the newspaper not sure of what I was going to see.
However, when I turned the page to reveal page 17, there was my photo filling the entire page! There was no copy - just my photo with a byline. The Saturday edition of the Evening News was a tabloid edition but, nonetheless, a full page is a full page! And none of my photos had ever been run as a full page shot before (or since).
While I will never know the identity of the two blokes in the photo, they don't know how much I have to thank them for!

Gear used - Nikkor 300mm f2.8 lens, Nikon FM2 camera (with winder), Fuji 800ISO film (possibly pushed one stop to 1600 ISO), probably 1/250 f5.6 (or thereabouts)

No comments:

Post a Comment