I've got this friend Luke, and he's got this project on the go, which is to get together a collection of poems by local writers. I'll go into that in another post, but the point of this post is that one day I was over his house discussing the project, and he turned to me and said, "Oh yeah, by the way, I'm on the radio tomorrow," so I thought oh cool, that's really great. It turned-out he was going to be on BBC Radio Wales, so that's pretty big news. Ever since Luke got me involved in the book project I've been helping him out with trying to build a brand. Its all stuff that I've been learning about through my escapades in photography, about how to get your name out-there and that sort of thing. It's basically been me been passing-on (a very limited) knowledge to help build a blog and a Facebook page, and all that sort of stuff. So in light of that, I said, you know, he should get some photographs while he was there, and we can stuck them up on the blog and that, and use them to promote the Facebook page etc. As I'm saying this now, I realise how stupid I was being at the time, but, to be honest I didn't realise it at the time. He looked at me with this look that said - 'You're supposed to be a photographer!', and there I was, saying he should ask someone to snap a few frames on their mobile or something! So he just said "Well why dont you do it, you know, do you want to come along?". I'd never done aythig quite like this before, and to be fair to Luke, he does give me lots of opportunities for interesting experiences, so I though yeah cool, let's go. Although I would have liked more notice - we were having this discussion at about 10pm and he was supposed to be on at 9am the next mornig. I'll be honest, at first I was a bit apprehensive, but I thought, yeah go on, it'll be good experience. And it certainly was that!
We got there, got in, all ok, no problems, great. But one of the first things I noticed about being in the BBC building was that I was surrounded by young, professional, attractive people - so clearly I was out of my depth in 3 different ways! We eventually got to the place we needed to be, and there were basically two rooms, one was the actual studio where the presenters were, and then there was another, seperate room with the mixing desk etc, where the producers sat. The producers said I would be allowed into the studio to shoot a little, but I would have to come out before Luke actually went on air. So that meant that obviously I wasn't going to have much time, and unfortunately I wasn't going to get any shots of the actual intereview, which did present me with a bit of a problem. So I went into the studio section, and it was really quite tense, as I was really conscious about not wanting to make any noise or anything. The presenters were really cool about it though, it was Jamie Owen and some other lady whoise name I can't remember. I said for them to just tell me whenever I needed to leave, but Jamie Owen said not to worry, I could just stay in the studio and it would be fine (even though I had just been told by the producers that I wouldn't be allowed to do that). So I thought great! More opportinnuty to shoot, cheers Jamie Owen! So while they were still off air, I was ahooting-off a few frames, but it was a little difficult, as Luke wasn't actually being interviewed at this point, he was just sitting at the desk, which led to some fairly mild and uninteresting images.
There were also a few issues, photographically speaking, with reagerds to relatively low lighting etc. Now, I quite enjoy street photography, I like documentary / reportage etc, but that all revolves around a degree of emotion, action or intereaction between people and / or people and things. But in this specific situation there wasn't actually anything happening. At this point in time, the presenters were shuffling through paprerwork while they were off the air, and my friend Luke was just sitting at a desk, waiting to be spoken to. I also had to ramp the ISO right up, I cant remember exactly, but it was on at least 800 or something, which is pretty high for my gear. I've got a Nikon D80, which is a little old, so high ISO is pretty grainy - it's not like having a Canon 5d mk II or a Nikon D3s, where it's like, 'Oh yeah, I can ram it right up to 3200 or something and shoot an entire wedding by candle light' - unfortunately I really cant quite get away with that sort of thing on my camera. Plus the lens I'm using (a Sigma 18-125mm f/3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM doesn't stay wide open at the longer focal lengths, so I was down to f5.6 too.) The biggest challenge though was the fact that I was only in there for about 2 minutes max, during a period of fairly mundane inaction, and then I had to leave when the real action started. Then some kind of countdown began, and the producers called me out of the studio, and into the production room. I managed a few shots through the glass in the partitioning wall, but it didnt really work.
The interview itself was somewhat on the interesting side, as at one point Luke talked about how he got expelled from school for cutting a kids ear off with a can of Coke. He quickly added that he hadn't actually done it, he was just scape-goated. I had the pleasure of being in the production room at this point and experiencing the audible silence that followed this statement, along with the dropped-jaws, aghast faces, and wide-open eyes. Nice one Luke, subtle mate, subtle...
Anyway, after the interview was over, I went back in to take a few straight-up promo pics, including such classics as, 'Yeah, shaking a man's hand,' and 'The standing-awkwardly-next-to-a-minor-celebrity-whilst-awkwardly-smiling' shot etc, etc. But yeah, I think overall it went well, certainly a good experience. By the end I had a few good images, that I was happy with, and certainly worked well for the blog and Facebook page, and that was the main reason I was there.
I'll be writing another post soon about another shoot I had with Luke, and that one was even more of a challenge, so I think that'll probably be my next post.
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