The moment I saw this in a department store, I wanted an image of it.

IMG_5419_WPThere was one small problem. It was on the wall behind the doors of the secluded corridor housing the ‘facilities’ (restrooms, washrooms, loos, WCs). I was toting my Canon G10 as usual (in hand) and the corridor wasn’t wide enough for a head-on shot so I realized I would have to shoot diagonally. You can’t really loiter outside ‘facilities’ with a camera, and there were ladies in the corridor too, so I went in ‘my’ door (having pocketed the camera) and then re-emerged. All was quiet – corridor empty. Out came the camera. I decided to use flash to assist the contrast of off-white wall and black graphics. Camera all set, aimed diagonally toward the end-of-corridor door…..

There is a very slight lag on a compact camera. That was enough for the flash to fire precisely as a lady opened the corridor’s door!

To say she was momentarily startled would be a slight understatement. There was the briefest of pauses before she continued her journey through the doors, eyes firmly fixed on me. ‘I was just taking a picture of the graphics’ I explained. ‘I’m a photographer’, I added helpfully. She said nothing, her face frozen. What was going through her mind I will never know. She walked purposefully through the door of the ‘Ladies’ without hesitation and I swiftly headed for the exit. Phew!

Very nearly in hot water – all in pursuit of  an image!


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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27 Responses to Tranquility

  1. ” …. and that, M’lud, is the case for the defence.”

    Photography can be a hazardous business Andy!

  2. LOL…that’s too funny. What will we do for an image.

  3. Len says:

    Patience works again Andy. Great and funny story too.

  4. ShimonZ says:

    Best not to experiment in the facilities, Andy.

  5. says:

    I take photos anywhere legal. That was certainly not illegal and I love the content. Please advise when you learn how to accomplish tranquility ? : )

  6. Ah, the joy of being in the wrong place at the right time! Is it not the duty of every photographer to follow their instincts and take that elusive shot? Part of the fun of being out with a camera is venturing into places that others may shy away from. On this occasion you have a great shot and a very funny anecdote and one that I’m sure many of your followers will relate to. There are many occasions where heading into uncharted waters with my camera have resulted in genuinely positive exchanges and further photo opportunities (although I’m sure that was never going to be an outcome near “the facilities”!). Only yesterday after heading into an industrial yard I was invited to take photos of the onsite micro brewery! A few months ago I was given a tour of a hi-tech printers. Allowing your feet to follow your inquiring mind is a great way to find those shots that others may miss. I enjoy reading your posts as much as the images you share. Best wishes, 🙂

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for that great comment PC. ‘An enquiring mind’ is a very appropriate term to use to describe how learning the ability to See images drives us into venturing into unknown territory – whether that be territory that is simply out of our normal photographic comfort zone, or just seeing a back alley or a church door and wanting to know what lies beyond.

  7. Jim Nix says:

    haha great story Andy, but a worthy pursuit my friend!

  8. Very funny story – and I can imagine that poor woman didn’t feel too much tranquility at the time!

    My favorite bookstore (Book People in Austin, Texas) encourages graffiti in the restrooms, and it can be very entertaining. I’ve taken photos of it before, but only if I am the only one in the restroom at the time….

    • LensScaper says:

      The problem is that with a compact you think you are on your own, but by the time the camera has woken up and taken the shot you may not be alone. It was very disconcerting the way that lady effectively blanked me. I could have handled anger, or a light hearted riposte, but the inscrutable demeanour left me completely in the dark.

  9. oneowner says:

    I think I know what was going through her mind. I took some photos in an old restroom in an old opera house that I thought was not in use. I set my camera on a tripod and shot a few frame when I heard a toilet flush. I could’t get out of there fast enough.

  10. ehpem says:

    Very amusing story Andy – your likeness has been burned on that woman’s retina – her own personal photo thanks to you (so nice to give gifts!). I hope you don’t meet her in some important social context!

    FYI, and since you have asked about the camera before, the G15 I sometimes use has no discernable shutter lag, including with the flash.

    • LensScaper says:

      Glad you were amused – all part of the service! The G10 is something else I really ought to update – but then I rally want an iPad and an iPhone 5S, and the money drains away faster than the bathwater!

      • ehpem says:

        Maybe you could compromise and get the Nokia Lumia 1020 – essentially a compact camera disguised as a phone. I just bought a phone, but not one of these, and I wish I had more exposure control on the phone. I have yet to take a decent shot with it.

  11. Marcie says:

    I just love this. Love the message…love the story…love the whole thing. Well worth startling that woman who was coming out of the washroom – :-)!

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