Friday, 17 September 2010

Camera Fly Swatting in Albi...

Technically speaking - this is a 'Pillow Shot'. Taken in October 2008 from my third floor bedroom window cill at the Mercure Hotel, Albi - south west France - on the southern bank of the river Tarn - and the original home of 'Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the celebrated, bohemian poster artist of the Moulin Rouge'.

This was pre-'Raw' snappyshotty days for me. More like photographer pre-puberty in truth. A condition I've still yet to assail according to my kids. Standard plastic Canon lens on a 350D, no idea which 'programme mode' I'd selected, but I had probably determined quite earnestly, that maybe the flash should at least be 'on??!' - knowing the minute depth of my camera knowledge - as blissfully ignorant as I was, way back then - "In The Day"

Didn’t know about self timer algorithms, aperture enigmas, shutter priority etiquette, vibration sensoring tripods, remote cable detonation and all the other essential techno blah de blah de blar. Did have a bright red Canon 'EOS' (!!) camera strap though, which I found to be a most effective fly swat upgrade - ie, I could happily dance around my hotel room for hours, swinging my Canon camera round and round above my head, by my red 'EOS' (!!) camera strap - battering flies and mozzies all the way back to the stone age.

Cautionary Note: Best not to do this after beer & wine practice, especially whilst using your mobile phone with your other hand. I did, and without any warning at all that I can remember - it beat me on the back of the head and laid me out cold. Hmmm.

I even experimented with the concept of gluing down the Shutter-release button - setting it to continuous shooting mode - then trying to capture some 'last moment before death' action shots of various flies and bugs as they glanced back to take one eternally lasting, fairly concerned look, at the large unidentified flying camera object which was a mere nano moment away from kersplatting their sorry little derrieres into digital oblivion.

The above concept is mostly sound by the way. Problem is the autofocus react time just isn't up to the job on the '350D', and the synchronised flash just doesn't seem to synchronise with the continuous shooting speeds - which in turn results in much wasted time later, processing several hundred and fifty three blurred images of panicked flies and bugs either with their eyes clamped shut - or with their eyes wide open, but way too much 'red eye' for a more professional looking capture. Which can become very tedious when all you really want to produce is one or two decent eye popping "Arrggh!!" moments of a big juicy bug going catatonic - for all your imagined new friends over at National Geographic. Although I suppose on a decent pro camera this is probably never a problem.

Anyway....and seriously, once again - back to the 'Pillow Shot' explanation.....Some hours earlier, I'd taken a hike over the 'Tarn' and on upward into the center of Albi. Eventually, I managed to worm my way into a lively looking rugby club bar for some chilled and amber tinted nourishment - and then this startlingly large, be-stetsoned French geeza with a weary looking porcupine under his arm, straddled an adjacent bar stool, leaned right up to my ear - and said.......

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