You'd think that after 20+ years as a photographer, I'd have learnt to never leave the house without a camera. This is especially the case being a news photographer, as we all dread missing the shot of the proverbial 'plane falling out of the sky' (a shocking thing to happen, I agree, but I'm sure you know what I mean).
So, a few months ago my girlfriend and I were heading over to the house of a mate and his wife one afternoon for a few drinks and dinner. As we were walking out the door of my flat, I looked at my tiny camera bag sitting on the table next to the door and thought, 'Nah, she'll be right'.
We arrived at my mate's place and began cruising into the afternoon. They have a deck at the back of their place with a spectacular view through the Story Bridge to the Brisbane CBD. They live in one of the suburbs right next to the CBD, so everything is close and the view is spectacular. It was a cloudy day, and warm, so sitting outside was lovely.
As the afternoon came to a close, the clouds began breaking up and the Sun started peeking through. Within a few minutes the clouds had separated so that the Sun was beaming through onto the TV towers, located atop Mt Coot-tha on the western outskirts of Brisbane. Not only that, the clouds had parted so that the sun lit up in a long and narrow section of the sky behind the TV towers.I immediately thought 'panorama' and then realised my camera bag was sitting on a table several kilometres away. D'oh!
With the conversation flowing, I kept glancing over everyone's shoulders to the setting sun and the spectacular photo I was missing out on. I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera. The one time I didn't have it was the one time I needed it! The annoying thing was, I knew this was going to happen when I had thought, 'Nah, she'll be right', and I was seething.
Then I realised my mate was a photographer (der!) and I turned to him.
'Have you got a camera here I can borrow?' I said, nodding towards the sunset.
Moments later I was trailing behind him as we headed into the house. I began to breathe easy.
We went into a room where he kept his camera gear in a locked cupboard and he stopped.
'Now, where are my keys?' he asked, screwing up his face in deep thought.
My breathing suddenly became less easy. I had visions of the sun dipping below the horizon while my mate went from room to room looking for his keys and there was nothing I could do because it was my fault for leaving my goddamn camera at home in the first place! And it wasn't like I could come back and shoot the photo another day. It had to be then and there!
After much scratching of the head, my mate delved his hand into a desk drawer and brought forth a set of keys. Soon thereafter he handed my one of his cameras with an 80-200mm f2.8 lens and we hot-footed it back to the deck.
I'm a Nikon man and it was a Canon he handed me, so he gave me a couple of 'how-to-use-a-Canon' lessons in the few metres between the locked cupboard and the deck, then let me loose.
I propped myself against a palm tree handily coming up through the deck and took aim.
By now the light was becoming more glorious as the sun sank lower. The clouds opened a little bit more but the light bursting through still maintained a long narrow shape, perfect for the panorama image I had originally envisioned.
Over several minutes I fired off a couple of dozen frames, shooting tight, wide and in-between.
By the time the light began to fade I knew I had something but wasn't sure which was the best frame.
The one you see here was the only one where the Sun was visible but not so bright that it flared out the shot. I couldn't have asked for better.
You'll all be glad to know that, as I enter my 23rd year as a news photographer, I have finally learnt the lesson that, under no circumstances, should I leave home without my @!%# camera!
To see more panoramas like this, visit - www.giuliophotography.com.au
Gear used: Canon 5D, Canon 80-200mm lens, 800ISO, 1/500 sec at f8 (and thereabouts)