Chasing the Shot: A Day in the Life of a News Photographer
As I rested at home, recovering from a training session, I stumbled across a notification: the Tour of Britain was passing through Ingatestone, a village just a few miles from Brentwood. This was it. The exhilaration of a sudden news event is unmatched – it's what makes news photography so compelling.
Time was tight. I had just 40 minutes to prepare and reach the location. Should I drive? The thought of parking near a bustling event was daunting, and Ingatestone's layout was unfamiliar. An Uber seemed the better choice. Picking the right gear was crucial, too. Opting for my reliable Nikon Z9 and my trusty F2.8n 70-200mm lens, I packed my laptop, dongle, and a versatile stool. The weight was significant but necessary.
Upon arriving in Ingatestone, I was at a loss for the exact race route. Thankfully, the throng of spectators directed me. My destination? A crossroad where the cyclists would speed straight towards me. With the Essex police clearing the path, I set up, camera in hand. Waiting, however, can be nerve-wracking, especially knowing how swiftly the cyclists would approach. An ominous pothole on their path only heightened my anticipation.
The tell-tale signs of the racers' approach grew clearer: a surge of Essex police motorcyclists, followed by the lead riders and their filming crew. My camera fired away at 20 frames per second, capturing the rapid procession.
Although I intended to send off my shots from the scene, the lack of a convenient spot made me change course. Heading home became a mini-adventure of its own – the absence of available Ubers led to a timely rescue by my wife.
I don't review photographs immediately after a shoot. Proper reflection is key. To my delight, several shots were not just publishable but salable, with one fetching a sale within hours.
The day was unpredictable but rewarding. While I value planning and foresight, there's no replacement for the thrill of an unexpected assignment