I mentioned before about taking breaks as they happen and heres what happened to me last year. Around 17 months ago I got introduced to a lady called Kate. Now Kate works with Dan, Dan thought it a good idea to get together over a coffee mid Winter to throw some ideas about for a once in a lifetime event, happening right in front of us. What was it? Well the Olympic Flame was about to come through our town in a few months. We all had different agendas and a blank piece of paper.So over a coffee, a vision and an idea come about.
I had met Dan a few times and not really knew a great deal about him. Kate I had just met and knew even less. But you know that feeling when you sit down and actually talk to someone, the feeling of these people can really achieve something, well these pair just gave you that reassuring ‘Can do’ attitude.
So fast forward a couple of months, a few email exchanges and another meeting arranged. This thing was really coming together now. We knew the route, we knew the key moments, all very hush, hush and spoken over in quiet tones. So not wishing to be a burden on these pair, armed with an idea of the route I scoped out the route on sunny day, cycling around the town I was born in, visualising this amazing event was about to happen in a few months time right here. I couldnt help but thinking this was going to be something else on that sunny Spring day.
From my perspective being completely selfish and not knowing what or how Kate and Dan’s roles were going to be on the day I had this vision of photographing the flame as it passed by from above. I had seen various shots on TV but nothing that different. Now if I could get above, or a high perspective that would be something right? So, being me I chanced my arm and mailed Kate with a list of hotspots – read into that wish list. Within a couple of days I got mail back saying that she had sorted it and was to meet with an Inspector at our local Police Station who would gladly show me to the roof of the building on a certain date! Now you know when you think, how, why? So I turned up at my appointment. Guess what? I was shown to the roof of the Station and it was perfect! All I had to do was nail the shot on the day.
I should point out at this juncture, that Kate, opened lots of other doors, for other photographers via people that she knew. Again, try doing this a member of public walking into a building and saying I would just like to photograph from up there on the biggest date the town has had in decades. So between them Kate and Dan broke all of these barriers and gave me an open book policy to do my thing, with the pretext of come up with something different.
The day was approaching fast, numbers were swapped and hope to see you’s were exchanged. Dan organised Press Passes – amazing I could cut through the crowds and tough security now, Kate had sorted the building with a view, then it dawned on me ‘Nah this cant be right’ I thought. Id had various emails, texts, phone calls from other photographers around the UK saying good luck we got nowhere near, you’ll be lucky, we got nothing etc.
So the day rolled around, weather was perfect! I took the family and went to the Police Station at the given time expecting to wave them off. I was handed over to Kev Pitt who said you bringing the family up to the roof – Great! No, no, no this isnt happening. So we all piled into the lift and onto the top of Walsall Police HQ along with Kev. My wife was tasked with tweeting, something she had never done before. Dan in the Press Office was then picking them up and out to a wider audience. Along comes the flame just like clockwork. Now, Im not making excuses but I never quite pulled off the shot I wanted – gutted!
Instead of beating myself up I split from the family raced down to Ground Level and off to Council House, hoping to get something back from the day. Crowds were ten deep and heres me trying to push my way through. Gets to the front of the building with seconds to spare. Up to the security guy, this is where my luck runs and the day ends in tears, right? Nope, hello, make your way through. What? Im here, in place and here comes the flame. Bingo! So Im on – I have to get a shot, something unusual. As ever I always go with a shot in mind and this was the one I had envisioned. Id like to think I kind of pulled this one off.
A series of events unfolded which really arent for here, but again a right place, right time moment for me. Apparently I photographed The Wanted – cue me Googling on the phone as to what they looked like so as not to miss them, wheover they are – clueless or what? I saw a glimpse of Kate on an unusual warm day with a quick Hello and speak later off we went to do our own thing. A quick hello to Dan, who then disappeared as quickly as he arrived.
So here I was in the Council Offices, alone, thinking I had blown the gig. Sure Id got a shot in the bag, but not the one I wanted. What do I do? Well making the most the most of situation I thought a shot of the scene out the front of the building. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people there and here was me, in a building that hadnt seen anything like it in my lifetime. So I grabbed some shots and waited for the flame to come out.
Here we have the flame leaving Walsall Council HQ. Yes! Id got that shot from above, that unusual perspective. Not technically perfect but the failings were mine and Im to blame end of. But it was close to what I had envisioned.
A few months on an email tripped into my inbox. I had been invited to a luncheon at Council HQ for all those involved in the day. Me? I mailed back asking if there had been a mistake? Why me? No came the reply. Apparently I had played a role in the day. I met up with Kate again that day who made time to speak to me, said hello the Inspector who had made that part happen. Amazing times!
So Im ending the post with the image I took from the offices when I had that moment on my own – that one nano second when you know your in the middle of something great. This summed up the whole Summer for me, where we celebrated being British and boy did we do it well. Id like to think in years to come my grand children will dig this stuff up and say look at this daft idiot.
What I know is, that day I discovered that great people make great things happen.
Thanks Kate & Dan.