28 November 2008

Fête Nationale - the story of the Press Stand


A close up of invited dignitaries waiting outside the palace for Prince Albert II and his family to appear at the balcony.

I should tell you that I took these photographs from the Press Stand - and of course I have no Press Pass. When I walked over from the cathedral I saw the enormous press stand - two or three tiers tall. I stood in front of it, as did dozens of tourists. Soon afterwards and before the cameras and film crews arrived, an official cleared everyone away - but me. This because I was using a tripod and he must have assumed I was a press person! Well, a blog is a sort of journalism, isn't it?

Later, I gained in confidence and found myself standing alongside the 'big boys' on the top level - me taking photographs with my Panasonic Lumix - they with lenses as long as a football pitch (I exaggerate but only a little). The reason the press stand was so big and holding so many press and international television crews was because rumour had it that Prince Albert would take this occasion to announce his engagement to his South African girl-friend, the Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock. It didn't happen.

Eventually another official came and asked me for my Press pass. Luckily I was talking to two friends, both with official press passes and I said, 'I'm with them' and my friends very kindly pretended they hadn't heard me. I was treated with such politeness by all the officials, even with an apology for asking me. French is such a wonderfully polite language, isn't it? And in my defence, I didn't get in anyone's way.

Truth is, I'm surprised my camera could take this photograph. Even tho it's not completely sharp, it's not bad considering I was an AWFUL long way away.

12 comments:

Kate said...

You're too modest; it's a beautiful shot with clarity and sharpness. I think I should probably get more serious about my own photography. Speaking of seriousness, the group of people seem SO serious except the woman on the right. She looks happy! There certainly is a lot of pomp that surrounds royalty, isn't there?

Kate said...

PS, Which Panasonix Lumix model do you own; not that I'd give up my Canon but I'm just curious. And the tripod??

Jilly said...

Kate
It's a Panasonic Lumix DMCFZ18 - ie an 18 zoom which is super and the camera is not heavy. The tripod is a Velbon CX 540 - really lightweight.

Virginia said...

OH Jilly, you are a photojournalist and you just march up there next time and fall in with the big boys!
I gave birth to my new blog last night. I think I've lost my mind!
V

Tanya said...

It's a gorgeous photo!
My husband frequently goes places he's not permitted, he says the trick is to look/act like you belong ;)

Jilly said...

Tanya, I did! Just felt marginally embarrassed at first and then got into the swing of pretending...it was actually great fun. Your husband has obviously got the right idea.

cyanea said...

Jilly
such fabulous pictures i enjoy your blogs very much

Anonymous said...

the pics are beautiful!! my old camera cost me a fortune and it's buried at the bottom of the closet. Digital-holic's unite !! haa hee however, appreciating good photography, this photo turned out fab considering the distance indeed. it's a good thing that the press took you in what sweeties. Think it was the camera you took?? oh well, maybe you're right the tripod did it!!!

USelaine said...

I imagine you're a great poker player too! As long as nobody is diminished by the bluff (and they weren't!), then keep it up! You benefitted us all, the readers of your publication.

PJ said...

Jilly, I burst out laughing when I read your story. I get away with photographing all kinds of people and things by telling them I have a blog. It seems to throw people off just enough for them to let down their guard. I love it that you worked your way to the top, especially with your little Lumix (which is a very nice camera). Everyone in the photo looks so dignified and elegant. The cut of some of those clothes, well, what can I say.

crittoria said...

Good for you, Jilly! I used my camera to get close to an event a couple of weekends ago and nobody even questioned me! I guess if you pretend to be official, they will assume that you are. ;-) This photo was worth the effort, by the way - it's great!!

Halcyon said...

I love the background story. And I agree with the other commenters, it is an excellent photo! I wouldn't have been surprised to see it in a newspaper.

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