Taking snaps of a school orchestra at a concert may not sound the most exciting job for a photographer, unless Repton’s Preparatory School Foremarke asks if you could possibly be free to take pictures for a charity function inside The Painted Hall at Chatsworth. Better still, I managed to get all my close-ups of the musicians during rehearsal so I could concentrate on capturing the Hall itself during the actual concert. Fortunately, there is a balcony – normally out of bounds to any visitor – which enables you to photograph the Hall in its wall-to-wall elegance and grandeur. HDR – three separately exposed images blended as one – seemed most apt especially as the effect is described as ‘painterly’. I doubt whether I’ll take many better HDRs than this.
Even the rudimentary task of snapping the invited guests turned out to be eventful. As the guests arrived, I gazed at one elderly gentleman and had one of those ‘No, it can’t be him’ moments. For one thing, I hadn’t been told he was coming and, for another, he looked – this is such an embarrassing cliche – smaller than on TV. Actually, the last time I saw him in the flesh was in the 60s when he was scurrying around Nottingham Forest’s City Ground alongside George Best and Denis Law. I have since dined out on the fact that I photographed one of the ten most famous Englishmen of the 20th century. Would you dispute that when that Englishman is Bobby Charlton? I was later told his granddaughter was playing in the orchestra. I got a nice pic of him with his family, gave them a polite ‘thank you’ and off he went. I was in such awe I couldn’t say any more.