BRITISH ARMY PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION 2017
Early in October I received a phone call from AMC (Army Media and Comms) with some rather amazing and fantastic news.
I had, at the final hour, entered a small selection of my photographic work I have been contracted on at MOD Lyneham with Babcock and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. For the past two years I’ve been shooting stills on base covering training aspects, exercises, events and a whole host of other genres. Each year, the British Army holds a competition between all the military photographers from the Royal Logistic Corps and Civil Service photographers…. Myself, being a civilian contractor, didn’t fall into either of those categories, so after a couple of emails to AMC in Andover and a conversation to those running the competition, the green light was given for my work to be accepted and judged alongside the full time army photographers.
“Fist Bump” had been judged to be the outright winner of the Sports & Adventure Training category… The image of Sgt Wells making his way around the ring before his bout, and cheekily fist bumping Lt Col Hirst, 8 Training Battalions CO.
The image itself was one of those that can easily be stated as “Lucky” but I’d have to argue that..
As a photographer you can’t just look through the lens and hope that things will just wonder into your viewfinder. You’re constantly looking in your peripheral vision, listening for any ques and announcements, even listen to conversations and overhearing any tips… Which was how this came about, I had heard “Wellsy, do it, dare ya” from the corridor prior to the start of the event. This was enough to know something was afoot. From the day before I’d had the ability to take light readings not only from the inside of the ring, but also along the outside edges, just in case…
It was dark, very very dark… Only 9 downward lamps lit the ring, and the overspill lighting the edges.
With me I had 2 camera bodies and a collection of lenses.
50mm 1.4 Prime
70-200 2.8L IS Mk2
The set up I mainly opted for that night was the 50mm Prime and the 24-70. Lots of flexibility depending on what took place in the ring.
Through the night to get the shutter speed high enough for the boxing. I wanted it to sit around the 1/320th of a second, fast enough that the edges would be sharp, but any sudden fats punches would have that tiny bit of motion to them… The Fstop I kept around 2.8 to 3.5 and the ISO….. The ISO had to go up, way up….