It’s something of a tradition around this time of year – the night’s are closing in, the summer season is a fading memory and it’s time for a visit to Blackpool Illuminations.
The spectacular free light show along the promenade at Blackpool is great for photography and I normally try and make a couple of visits at least. In fact I really do need to visit again this year as the weather wasn’t the best on this Blackpool Illumination trip. At least the bad weather provided some stormy light for a few photos before the lights came on, but the wind, rain and sea spray continued to make photography a challenge!
Here are a few photos from my visit. Hopefully I will be back again soon to catch the Festival of Light, when entertainers roam the promenade and the illuminated trams join in a procession along the sea front, later this month.
When it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would visit Blackpool, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to grab some newsworthy pictures.
The visit schedule included a 20 minute walkabout to meet the public on the promenade in front of Blackpool Tower and that’s where I headed.
The last Royal visit I covered was Prince Harry when he was in Lancashire. On that occasion I was part of the official ‘press pack’.My view however, is that unless you have a ‘Rota’ pass (a sort of access all areas thing – only a handful are made available), it doesn’t really offer much advantage and so this time I joined the public, ironically right next to the press pack to get my shots.
I was stood with a lady who had driven up from Shropshire, arriving at 6.30 in the morning to get a glimpse of the Royal couple. Considering the walkabout wasn’t scheduled to take place until 1.30pm, that is real dedication.She did assure me that it wouldn’t rain until after the walkabout had finished but she was wrong! Minutes before Kate and William arrived it started to rain and that was still a good hour before the walkabout, so a soaking for members of the public while the couple got a welcome briefing in the Tower.
Fortunately the rain stopped and the walkabout took place.William went one way around the crowd and Kate headed straight for me!Perhaps she saw my camera or more likely the small child two places along because that’s where she started to chat to people and I was lucky enough to get some shots close up.
I had two Fujifilm cameras, one with a long telephoto lens and the other with a standard zoom, so I had to quickly switch cameras as she got close.
I am reasonably happy with the photos I got but as with all things there are lessons I learned from the experience and a couple of silly errors relating to how I had the cameras set up which I can learn from. So what were the lessons?
Always carry plastic bags to use as rain covers on the cameras
Synchronise the times on the cameras – I had them slightly off and that meant the order on the computer once downloaded didn’t follow the timing of the walkabout properly.
Face recognition focussing was great for shots of the Duke and Duchess when together but as soon as Kate moved to the crowd, the focus was all over the place. Far too many faces!
At one point I needed to switch to continuous focus but forgot so some images not as sharp as they should be – include the image at the top of this blog but I like it anyway!.
Many of the photos I took are available through the Alamy Image Library but given the number of photographers taking pictures it is probably unlikely that any of mine will sell.When shooting events like this it isn’t easy to stand out from the crowd but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the experience.