Something a bit different
Bagpiper photos were great fun and a bit different to do!
Every so often I get requests from people to photograph completely different things, and whilst there are some requests I’ve said a very decided “no” to (especially the dodgy ones; yes, we all get them!), I often love doing something a wee bit different from my norm.
Being asked to photograph Scotland's premier piper to provide him with images for business, www.scottishbagpipers.com, was something I was particularly interested in for personal reasons.
Piping is something I’ve been into for a long time.
A large part of my time used to be taken up with having piping lessons, going to pipe band practices, competing in pipe band competitions, and going to various piping recitals and concerts – it was my social life, my community, and such a huge thing in my life. Piping in our family is pretty big!
Although I don’t play nowadays and have passed my pipes on to my son, I’m still involved in and follow the “scene”, but somehow I’d never really thought of merging my two, normally very separate interests of photography and piping. I know. Ridiculous, right?
An odd problem to have!
It’s very tricky properly photographing a piper in full dress anywhere in the centre of Edinburgh because he’s a complete tourist magnet, particularly when he’s reasonably young, very tall, in good nick, and has not been hit by the ugly stick.
Pipers in Edinburgh are constantly accosted by tourists asking for photographs, but this piper seems to be taking it with good grace! (NB: this is a behind the scenes phone snap.)
Something which had never occurred to me before, but I soon started to see the problem!
The brief was to get various shots of him playing at iconic and/or attractive spots in Edinburgh, but these areas tend to be full of people.
People with phones and cameras who are desperate to get shots of one of the things tourists go utterly crazy for here: pipers.
Moving from one location spot took sooooooo long because everyone else wanted to photograph him too! Our piper didn't look at all fazed, however - these guys must be so used to it, it must be like film stars signing autographs, doing it in their sleep, probably. At some points even looked like he was enjoying himself. Can't think why ..!
www.scottishbagpipers.com pride themselves on exquisite attention to detail in all aspects of their pipers' dress, and looking at this beautiful plaid brooch and pristine tartan, I can absolutely see why.
We made the first attempt on Saturday afternoon.
Which was pretty daft really … Getting images of him without people jumping in front of my camera to get nearer him so THEY could get shots with him was ridiculously hard, and whilst I started off being very polite and just waiting till they were done, that didn’t last long.
My constant “Excuse me, excuse me” soon turned into “WILL you get off my foot?! I’m trying to do a job here!” and we had to give up.
Part II of the session commenced on the Royal Mile on Sunday at 7.00 am on Sunday morning. You’d think the place would be dead then, once the Festival’s over wouldn’t you? Maybe the odd person doing the Walk of Shame home, perhaps, but that would be all? Ha. No. Tourist buses started parking up on the Lawnmarket at 7.15, and again I had to start asking people to move out of the picture.
We did manage to get up to the Castle though, no tourists there, and some other great wee spots up on the Royal Mile, then we hared off to Calton Hill to get up the monument before the hordes arrived.
Our Sunday morning certainly beat Saturday afternoon’s efforts with the tourists out in force, and I managed to get quite a lot of good shots of him which will help him promote his business.
Comfort zones are over-rated
Definitely out of my comfort zone photography-wise as I'm really not used to tourist-dodging, but I really enjoyed doing something different nonetheless!
The last time I was up Calton Hill at silly o’clock on a Sunday morning was when I was a student – don’t ask! The details are sketchy – so being up there yesterday for an actual job was very different. (Probably a lot safer too. Don't ask.)
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