Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Shoot Story - Royal London

On a very cold morning one Sunday in January Higg and I set out to central London to do the photo shoot that is in the current edition of Cycling Active. It was for a ride story themed around riding  in the "royal" neighbourhoods of Kensington, Chelsea and a bit of Westminster thrown in, since the Queen's residence sits within that area.

I wanted to create a stylish upmarket feel to the story without pretending to be a sloane or a lady who lunches. I didn't want the pics to look like something for The Lady magazine either. It was more about something smart but without looking ostentatiously upmarket.

In the end I wore my Tweed Run gear. Tweed definitely keeps you warm - possibly a little too warm for spring when the popular stylish bike ride takes place. However, on this very clear crisp morning in January not even Tweed could shield me from the chill in the air!

Underneath my trousers and jacket I had on two pairs of tights and two thermal base layers plus a thick anorak to wear between shoots. However, having to remove the outer layers, plus my big gloves and hat every time I was going to be photographed disturbed the rhythm a little and the snapper was got quietly frustrated under his breath with the countless times I kept him waiting!

In a couple of pics I actually forget to take off my big gloves or scarf so I guess some of those pictures didn't make it into the edition which was supposed to be portraying a warm day in Spring!

By the time we finished our day of shooting pics around central London I wasn't the only one glad to be calling time on our session. Higg's fingers were so cold he was having difficulty operating the controls on his camera, while I was finding it hard to maintain a relaxed demeanour when I was freezing my bosoms off. This stop-start riding in the cold sunshine was not funny anymore!

It was really useful to get into London early on Sunday as we were able to get decent shots of famous landmarks on relatively empty roads. Only the hardy tourists were out before 9am on The Mall, and as this road is closed to traffic on Sundays it made it even easier to get clear shots of the Queen's London residence. The keen tourists who were out and about at Buckingham Palace that morning became quite curious when they saw Higg photographing me. When we told them we were doing photos for a magazine they thought they could hang around in the vicinity and get their 20 seconds of fame!

By contrast, the passers-by in the Cadogan area of Chelsea were not so curious seeing us taking pics. They were more suspicious, maybe worried we might spot a celebrity or politician and snap them while they were showing their not-so-good side! It was also a bit more of a challenge trying to find a clear street in Cadogan Square. At times it was just a parade of prestige cars and sports cars with drivers who were in no rush to go anywhere!

Talking of Parades, we managed to see a Changing of the Guards ceremony at Horse Guards Parade. In an effort to catch the pomp and glory as it happened Higg left his bike against a post nearby while he photographed me near the mounted guards. The Police got rather tetchy about his bike. Initially they gave a friendly, "watch your bike, sir - you don't want someone to steal it." But after a few minutes they became abit more irritable and said what really was on their minds: "your bike is a security risk and will be removed if you don't keep it with you." Jeez, it's a bike not a bomb!

All in all it was a fun day, once we had thawed out.

Photos by Higg
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