Saturday, 25 July 2009

Pilgrim's Point — a rare one in colour!

Well, here's a bit unusual for me, a colour shot!

Pilgrims' Point, Mayflower Steps, Plymouth

Background and funny story behind the shot

I had received a cheeky request from a print magazine for photos of Plymouth they could use (unpaid, mind! but at least they did say they'd credit the photographer).

Well, I haven't taken any touristy colour shots for a long, long time and I thought I should brush up my skills a bit. I don't live more than a 15 minute walk from the Barbican so I headed down there to shoot the arch and point.

Although it was a sunny day, there weren't that many folks around. I waited until the area was clear and tried a few angles, positions. While I was checking out this, my final selection of viewpoint, a German couple showed up in my viewfinder, within the area set off by the handrail.

The chap, I'll call him Hans, was armed with camera and video recorder. To understand what followed, you must realise that I am British, with all that means with regard to queuing, a sense of what's, well, fair, combined with a stoic but non-committal silence when faced by breaches of what should be the adopted etiquette — "when in Rome...".


So Hans took his time over a bunch of photos, with his misses kinda staying in the background, maybe trying to keep out of my way? But not Hans. Oh, no, out came the video camera and, again, he took his time over it — setting it up, videoing this and that. Then it was a slow walk round while videoing the handrail (it's engraved with pictograms and text explaining the journey of the Mayflower). Then he videoed first one plaque, then the other — from this angle and that. Hmmph!

Cheeky %&^@* !!

Every so often, he glanced down at me (I was on the steps below, looking up, extra low spring tide lapping at my feet). He could see I was waiting patiently to take my shot (still!!!) and then you know what finally happened? The blighter had the cheek to start videoing me, looking up at him!

Revenge the British way!

Well! I did what any British gentleman would do, I gave him the sternest of my mild surprise looks, tinted with just the merest traces of annoyance and scorn (like feather daggers they drifted his way to pierce his karma). Hans has never had the privilege of being oblivious to such exquisite subtlety of mildly-pained-and-slightly-surprised expression before. That'll teach him, thought I!

I think it must have worked on some level of Hans' subconscious because, not too long after, he stopped videoing me, took his time putting his kit away, and without a backward glance he and his lady were off.

Now, I started by saying I'm sure they were very nice people and all that, but you know, come on!

About the shot... I intend to revisit it in the digital darkroom because I stupidly didn't pay heed to the chromatic aberration (the magenta edging to the lhs of the arch) - until the end. Darn it!
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