Monday, 18 February 2013

Photographing the Royal Family

A Smiling Queen

I’ve often wished I could take photos of the Royal Family just like the ones we see in magazines.  Not the posed ones but those taken at events, walkabouts and on casual occasions.  I know I never will because I don’t have one of those big expensive cameras with all the bells and whistles.

Like the majority of us my cameras are small and basic.  They have changed over the years from the wind-on by hand to the general point and shoot and now digital.  But I still have problems.

There was the occasion when one cold day I stood in The Mall to see The Queen and Prince Philip heading for the State Opening of Parliament.  She looked lovely with a flashing diamond coronet and a white fur wrap.  Camera up, finger poised and - click!  Photo of the hand of the lady standing beside me as she waved.  I waited for over an hour for the return but as I was on my lonesome I wasn’t spotted.  I did get a photo but Her Majesty wasn’t looking my way.

With older cameras taking so long to wind on I did get quite a few photos of royal chauffeurs and the back of the car.  When the Queen Mother visited the Guildhall in the City of London the person standing beside me told me she had given me a lovely smile.  Wish I’d caught it on camera.

When Princess Diana once attended a concert at the Barbican Hall I managed to get a distant photo of her receiving a bouquet.  As the camera took so long to wind on, by the time it was ready for the next snap she was climbing a staircase.

So far as distance photos are concerned, you definitely do need a good telephoto lens.  For the 50th Anniversary of VE Day I got myself to Buckingham Palace at about 6.00 a.m.  And only just managed to squeeze myself in at the railings between a tall Australian and one of the concrete pillars.  Yes, I took several balcony photos but when printed all they showed were small figures.  Mind you, now I’ve put them onto the computer I’ve managed to improve them slightly.

During the late 1990s The Queen and Prince Philip visited Croydon, not far from where I was living.  By this time I was an accredited journalist and was allowed into the press photographers enclosure outside the building they were visiting.  After the Royal Party had gone in all the photographers left to take up positions behind the crowds from which to take their photos.  (They stand on step ladders).   I stayed where I was.
A Royal Smile would have been nice.

I have a wonderful photo of Her Majesty looking at me - and frowning.  There I had been hoping for a smile and she was probably wondering who I was.  A stranger in the camp!  I did, a bit later, get a snap of her smiling.  But I wish I had had a more professional camera.

None of my Royal photos are very good, but to me they are precious.

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