If you can’t photograph a charity volunteer on Children in Need night then I don’t know when you can. So with this in mind I set off along Northumberland Street today dodging the WWF and Amnesty International people (no offence to either organisation but they have been around forever and hassled me once or twice too often now). As an added bonus the Christmas lights had been switched on which is something that I have been waiting for to get a bit of bokeh into my shots.
Once I saw Lauren with her face painted I decided that I was going to ask her but after a bit of a slow down in my project it took me a minute or two to pluck up the courage (especially after a rejection earlier today). She was collecting along with another student and they both looked somewhat surprised when I asked and immediately asked why but seemed quite happy when I explained. Her friend added the proviso that I donate to their charity (I expected nothing less) but said that I had to put the money in his tin because Lauren was way ahead of him today. I popped £1 into his tin but (with an apology to her friend) immediately evened things up by doing the same to Lauren’s tin. Nonetheless I did help him out by keeping Lauren occupied for the next few minutes – apologies Barnardo’s … although you are getting some free publicity ;).
Lauren is a 1st year Psychology student but was torn between that and a Law degree but eventually decided to pursue the former although she may well undertake a conversion course later to pursue a career in Law.
When I was ready to photograph Lauren I asked her to step into the middle of the street to get a cleaner background and took a couple of shots of her but she didn’t particularly like the one that I was happy with so I took one more and got a bit more of a smile and more importantly one that Lauren was content with – although she still didn’t seem overly happy with it :(.
At this point I was about to thank her and say goodbye when she volunteered that today is her “Birthday Eve” as she is going to be 19 tomorrow. She will be doing a bit more collecting for Barnardo’s and her parents are coming up to see her but she has no real plans other than to chill and enjoy the day. Saturday birthdays – you can’t beat ‘em ;). So with that I thanked Lauren, wished her a good day for tomorrow and left her to rattle her tin a bit more.
Lauren, thank you very much for taking the time to help me with my project – if you do look it up then I hope that you like the shot more on your computer than you did on my camera.
On to the boring stuff (Lauren and others may want to ignore this bit) …
Technically there was a bit more effort in this shot than others – when I first arrived at Northumberland Street I switched my camera to manual metering and focus – focused at 0.6m (which with hindsight was ridiculously close) and photographed the Christmas lights using a range of fast shutter speeds and wide apertures to see how much the lights blurred and ensure they weren’t too bright. After a few shots and photographing my hand (using the popup flash only) I eventually settled on 1/200s and also opened up to f/1.8 which is a bit beyond my usual f/2.2 comfort zone. Amazingly for me I even remembered to switch back to autofocus before setting off to find a “stranger”.
When I photographed Lauren I used my SB-800 Speedlight on camera and angled one click from vertical and with the bounce card extended – I was quite surprised how well this lit Lauren and on reviewing the shot on the computer it actually blew the highlights on her forehead a tiny bit which I had to recover in Photoshop. Next stop … manual flash … haven’t a clue what power to start experimenting with!
Please feel free to provide constructive critique on the technical aspects of this photograph.
This picture is #56 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