The day started for me at 4.40am, when the alarm I had set at around 12.30 the evening before gently sounded from my bedside table. I had shaved before retiring, laid out my the clothes I had planned to wear and downstairs the place was already set for breakfast. I was out and up and brushing my teeth within the first minute of finding and switching off the alarm on my iPhone.
I rarely start a day without breakfast and this day was no different, having finished I gathered up my camera and briefcase and was out of the door mentally ticking off the checklist I had in my mind and that the keys and wallet were in my pocket before closing the front door behind me. The car needed all windows and mirrors wiping of rain before setting off for the M1 and my meeting with Adam Woolfitt in Muswell Hill. I made good time in typically heavy but moving traffic, and so on arrival in London and ringing Adam’s doorbell, I was earlier than planned. This meant that Adam had to open the first floor window and let me know he would be awhile! We had a chat and I joined him with a cup of tea, before making our way to the bus stop for the journey to Highgate where we took the tube to London Bridge.
We navigated the maze of passages to the main concourse where in the time we had spare before our meeting with Geoff Dann and our train, I took out the camera and experimented with trying to capture an effect I had once used for a brochure for Barclays International to tie together a series of their Banks across the continent – people blurred to capture there sense of speed as they hurried to work. I remembered that I had found one particular speed to give me just the right effect, and I set about seeing whether it still held true – and it did (I leave others to find just what shutter speed that was!). I also took some shots from the base of the Shard in the dismal light of a rainy London day, and Adam needed to find something to eat, so for a while we both went downstairs to walk around in the comparative warmth and then we returned to wait for Geoff and then we all set off for Reigate.
There upon arrival we found there to be no taxis in sight, but after a short while we found the taxi’s office and were soon on our way to Canon, the fare was remarkably inexpensive, but we learned later, there had been an intention for a shuttle service from the station provided by Canon! The building is splendid adjoining and connected to the former Woodhatch House set in wonderful countryside. We all signed in and were shown to where we were offered refreshments and informed where everything was to take place, everyone was welcoming and cheerful, and we sat down for a spell to decide which demonstrations we would visit, and our first was to learn about Flash techniques. This was hosted by Andy Kruczek and Dave Newton and featured model Louise and owl, Peanut, and proved to be both entertaining and informative, so we also joined for round two later. Interspersing our day with visits outside to practice taking shots of some wild birds brought along for the day and we were able to use a variety of different long lenses.
We also listened to to a talk by Marc Aspland, Sports Photographer for The Times, but we somehow managed to miss the talk on Landscape photography by David Clapp, which was a shame. However, it was a splendidly enjoyable and productive day for which we were very grateful to Canon, who were fantastic hosts. We phoned the cab company for a lift to Reigate station, but after a wait during which we spoke to one driver it was then we learned that Canon had laid on a Shuttle bus to and from Redhill! However we were far from alone in not learning of this because the driver informed us he had only had one taker and had just returned from taking him back to the Station, so we clambered aboard together with a charming Indian who turned out to be part of Canon’s Localisation team.
I did however have one disaster; as I managed to leave my briefcase in that vehicle but only realised once in the station, which caused a drama so Adam left for London without me and Geoff stayed with me as we tried to contact Canon and the driver – very fortunately all turned out well and after several phone calls I learned that it had been found and would be sent on to me, but not that night. I was very grateful to those who sorted this all out, and I now will wait for its return by post. Phew! Geoff and I got separated at the Underground, because I needed to top up my Oyster card, and I journeyed on to Adam and Penelope’s where I was treated to dinner, somewhat later than planned, but thoroughly enjoyed. After bidding then farewell, I headed home. A memorable day.