The Ninety Second Shoot

Luck happens. But also luck comes to you if you are looking for it. Sometimes it happens fast and when you least expect it. You need to be employing that ‘seeing eye’, camera in hand, ready to react, almost without thinking. You see it, you catch it, you move on.

It happened yesterday. A large serendipitous dollop of it.

We were in London to meet up with our son at the V&A museum to see the ’British Design 1948-2012’ Exhibition (well worth a view, by the way). We were on the point of leaving, passing through the main lobby. Actually in a little bit of a hurry to move on to the Chelsea College of Art and Design to see the final degree show of my wife’s nephew.

On a previous visit to the V&A I had spotted the potential for an image of the information desk where people stood in front of a yellow flood of ground level light. But previously I had not seen a worthwhile shot. As I passed the desk there were three people lined up just right. I dropped down on one knee – Image I.

Charlotte and Richard were already heading outside. I turned round to exit through the revolving doors and saw Image 2.

Another reactive shot, the background is burnt out but what I wanted is there – the constant comings and goings of a busy museum on a Sunday afternoon, people close up but also in the background.

I stepped out through the revolving doors to see a line of shadows cast across the pavement. Instant thinking: it will convert to B&W – Image 3.

Strangely pointed shadows – Why, What? Looking up I was astonished to see an awning of upside down traffic cones. No time to think ‘What the heck……..’. I took a shot but didn’t like it – no light on the cones. Enabled the flash and shot again, being careful to line up a tall lamp post with the tip of a cone. Image 4.

The EXIF data confirms the first shot was taken at 15:42:54. The fourth shot was taken at 15:44:22. Precisely 88 seconds from first to last.

I couldn’t believe my luck, I still can’t. Thankfully I had my compact and not my SLR. No fussing around with lenses. The camera was already in my hand, just aim and shoot. The only fiddling with the dials was ramping up the ISO for Image 1 and remembering to reset it for Image 2.

And what are those bizarre traffic cones doing there? Apparently they are part of the advertising for the Heatherwick Studio exhibition. Something we will return to visit.

That was quite a surreal day – certainly the last shot is surreal. It will probably be a very long time before anything quite so crazy as that happens to me again – if ever.

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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18 Responses to The Ninety Second Shoot

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you for showing interest in this post. Please read my copyright notice before you re-blog a post from my Blog as this action requires my consent. On this occasion I give my consent retrospectively, but I would appreciate a request, first, if you wish to re-blog in future. Many thanks

  1. Adam Allegro says:

    Nice work! Pretty cool how these little priceless sequences come about. Neat 88 seconds.

  2. Good stuff, Andy. Luck plays a part in what we capture but having the skills to pull it off seals the deal. Nice!

    • LensScaper says:

      Many thanks Jimi. I hardly had time to think ‘Skill’ – it was point and shoot. The real good point about this shoot was that the camera settings were correct. So often when I’min a hurry I start shooting before realizing I had changed the setting for a previous shot and failed to re-set them back to normal.

  3. oneowner says:

    These are all strong images, especially the shadows and the figures against the yellow wall. Oh, the last shot had me wondering until I read the text. Very nice.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. That last shot is certainly weird. I didn’t have time to make any enquiries on the day. Just googled V&A plus ‘Cones’ in the evening back home and got the explanation.

  4. You have a very keen eye Andy. Terrific set of images. I have to say my favorite is the first image.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you so much Edith. This is the third visit to the V&A in about 3 months. And it’s the first time I’ve found some obligingly shaped legs in front of the Information desk. I haven’t had the nerve to go up to someone and ask them to rearrange their legs! I might not have liked the response! Eventually the shot ‘happens’.

  5. Len says:

    Very nice sees of images Andy. Those cones are so interesting. Very unusual subject.

  6. hdrexposed says:

    Wow, that is one helluva 90 seconds man! Right place, right time! Awesome set for sure Andy.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Dave. I myself was really rather surprised to find it all happened in just 90 seconds. In situations like this you seem to lose track of time.

  7. Love these spontaneaous captures Andy.

  8. rigmover says:

    Great set of quick shots, I tried dropping to one knee to take a shot once, couldn’t get back up.

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