Sometimes when I look at iconic photographs of fantastic moments frozen in time, I’ve often wondered how much photographers luck – you know, being in the right place at the right time and with a camera – plays a role in capturing unique, candid moments.
The image below was shot at the recent Hobbit premier which occurred in Wellington in December. It’s of New Zealand singer/song-writer Brooke Fraser signing autographs and greeting fans while she walks the red carpet.
Although it is a complete stroke of luck that she just so happened to sign autographs right in front of me, there were also several other factors that enabled me to get this image. I don’t own a step lander and there was nothing for me to stand on to look over the crowds. So I spent three hours standing, guarding my chosen spot in the crowd from the marauding hordes, with protesting legs and back, before people began to walk down the red carpet.
The camera was mounted on a monopod and triggered by cable release. Being a bright and sunny day, I had preset the exposure for the highlights and had the flash zoomed in to 80mm so that only a confined area of the image would be lit by the flash and I pre-tested the flash exposure. Focus was also set manually and I used a wide-angle lens to help gain the maximum depth of field.
So even though it was pure luck that Brooke did stop exactly where she did, I only had about a minute or two to nail the shot. Luck does play a role in capturing good photographs, but I guess there is no substitute for being ready and prepared!