Today’s technical c*ck up was a good one 😉 …
After photographing Alex I wandered down to the Quayside and onto the Millennium Bridge as originally planned and sat down and waited for a bit to see who happened by. Whilst waiting I took a few shots of the Tyne Bridge trying different angles and orientations, and as the light was still really difficult I knelt down, rested my camera on the railings, switched bracketing on and fired off 3 shots. As I stepped back to review the shots Lizzie wandered past (Elliott having done so a few moments before) – can you see where this is going yet?
Deciding that Lizzie would make a great stranger I wandered up to her and waited a few seconds until she had finished taking a photograph although I think she aborted what she was doing as she became aware of my presence. At this point I still wasn’t sure if Lizzie and Elliott were together or not but he tracked back when he saw me talking to Lizzie so I introduced myself to both of them and explained about the project – they agreed to take part and asked if I wanted individual shots or one of both of them. Although I have done the former in the past I prefer one encounter = one photo so I elected to go for a shot of the pair of them.
After positioning them so that there were no supporting cables in the shot I popped the flash up and took a few shots, adjusting the flash compensation to try and balance things out as again my camera wasn’t magically sorting out my ineptitude. The results were a bit hit and miss though so I dug out my external flash and slotted it on (this is the first time I have used my SB-800 for this project). I continued adjusting the flash compensation until I finally got something usable but if trial and error was present for Alex it was shouting from the top of the hills for Lizzie and Elliott – I actually asked Lizzie at one point if the flash was firing – how’s that for amateurism. Shortly after the encounter I was cursing myself for forgetting that the SB-800 has a TTL-BL mode specifically for back-lit scenes but it was only when I was back at the office that the truth became apparent and I finally noticed the little symbol on the top that told me I still had bracketing on – so as I was adjusting the flash compensation between shots the camera was doing what it was told and adjusting the exposure up or down – sometimes by as much as 2 stops (which if I understand the technicalities correctly means the light reaching the sensor was being altered by a factor of 4)!!! Eventually I did get a usable shot but again this is entirely thanks to the patience of my strangers.
Lizzie and Elliott are 1st year Architecture students from The University of Northumbria and they were out doing some coursework trying to find a suitable building to sketch. They were still looking for inspiration as they crossed over from Newcastle towards Gateshead but I’m sure they will find something – one thing our region has in abundance is architecture. They were both taking photographs when I first approached them so I guess the idea was to photograph the subject and sketch it later – I certainly hope so because as you can see from Lizzie’s hair today was a bit too windy for pen and paper.
Thanks very much Lizzie and Elliott – you were a great addition to my project today and I can now tick off yet another camera setting that I must take care to check in the future. Good luck with your studies.
This picture is #39 in my 100 strangers project. Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at the 100 Strangers Flickr Group page