Royal Photographer, me?

October 10, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

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Late July I was contacted by The Southport Branch of The Royal British Legion and they asked if would be interested in a job for them that involved a very important visitor to Southport to rededicate the towns War memorial. I checked my calendar and I was free, so I replied sure. Any further details, I had times and places but no word on the VIP or VVIP as was mentioned in the mail. They added there would be a press pit but I would be the only photographer allowed free unlimited access to the area. There would be national coverage etc, just me with access. I’m in.

There would also be "briefings" which I should attend and an embargo on all information going out.

First off, if I hadn't met the people getting in touch I would have thought it was a wind up.

But no a few weeks later it was announced it would be HRH Princess Anne, rededicating the Towns War Memorial.

So why me, I had worked with one of the organisers on a Pod cast about of all things using your phone to capture sunsets and as we are on the coast, we do get some crackers.

That Blog here.

https://www.davebrownphotography.co.uk/blog/2023/5/sunsets-and-how-to-get-the-best-image-from-your-phone

Sarah from RBL had also seen on my website my images from previous years Remembrance Sunday Services. Kindly put the two together and here we are.

The briefings were very interesting, the level of minute detail that has to be ticked off is huge and a rare insight I had to this.

Finally me, I had to come up with a game plan that would document the day. From the assembly at Victoria Park for the march down Lord Street. To the Principals arrival at the memorial,  the Service, and a possible walkabout. Meeting the Cadets, Veterans other invited guests, the gathering crowds.

Planning where to be standing as the National Anthem played to get a suitable image just as it ended.

I was informed HRH will under no circumstances, stop or pose for a photograph, so don’t ask. Flash photography to be kept to a minimum and none outside.

So basically a combination of street photography, press work, wedding work, portraiture but mainly tell the story of the event.

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So to my plans, my Fujifilm XT3s will do nicely, additional grips for battery life. We would be outside in the main so the 18/55 standard zoom complimented by a Fujifilm loan of the 50/140 F2.8 for a bit of reach and incredible image quality. I packed my 70/300 but it stayed in the bag. Speedlights or flash units, only on the indoor reception meet and greet,

I have been using my Fuji’s for nearly three years now and they are exceptional bits of kit, great to handle in a very dynamic situation. By now my muscle memory around the camera is complete and everything just falls to hand.

First off, dress smartish, but it is a working day. Good footwear because I’m on my feet for all of it.


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Taxi down to Victoria Park where the parade was assembling, Sun was shining everyone from the most junior cadet to the most senior veteran look smart and ready to go.

Once the RAF Band arrived and made their way to the head of the Parade, it was time to get busy.

Few photographs of the assembly, some informal candid’s, some line ups.

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Then it was a case of following the Parade down Lord Street. Quite a few other photographers joined me at the South end of the road but that all changed as we approached the security barriers, at that point I was allowed through and had the road to myself. Felt very strange if I’m honest.

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Once at the Cenotaph I just grabbed some general images, the crowd, and people getting into their respective positions.

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Then at just before 12 get into position for the arrival.

Close protection introduced themselves and we had a short chat just as the cars came into view.


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Then we were truly off to the races.

Follow the brief and try to stick to my plan.

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For me the day went well, cameras worked a charm and I got some great images.

For the organisers at Royal British Legion Southport, the day went very well, in no small part to the organisational skills of those involved.

Hopefully I showed the success of the day and of Southport itself.

I had to quick edit a group of ten images which had to be Palace verified as they form part of the media package. (Another first, emails to The Palace).


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I think I got a nod just as the cars sped away, I think.

 

Technically a Royal Photographer, probably not, but one hell of a job to stick on my CV.

 

 

 

 


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