My first commission – Taking the photographs

This is the second entry in a short series about my first ever commission. The first entry ‘Agreeing the brief’, can be found here.

Having talked through the brief and worked out a time scale for the commission, the next stage was to get out with my camera and take some shots. This proved rather more difficult than I anticipated. The weather in the early part of the year can only be described as atrocious. Heavy and frequent rain, coupled with high winds are not ideal conditions for taking photographs and certainly not the ones which would conform to the brief we had agreed. Whenever I had spare time, the weather seemed to be against me, so the weeks passed by and no shots ad been taken. The time scale was looking increasingly unrealistic but finally the forecast appeared a little more promising and I set a day aside to visit Portsmouth and the various locations listed in the brief – Gunwharf Quay, Old Portsmouth, Port Solent and their offices at Lakeside at North Harbour. A lot to fit in and I knew another visit to some of these locations might be necessary.

Bow in reflection
Bow in reflection – Port Solent

First stop – Port Solent. The idea here was to capture some more abstract images of the sailing boats in the harbour together with their reflections in the water. I must have spent an hour at this location before deciding that I had enough images to work with back at home.  A short detour and I drove down to the harbour and looked across the water to Porchester. There was a good view from here and the clouds were interesting, so more shutter releases were made.

Towards Porchester
Towards Porchester

Next stop and I thought I would visit the location of Vail Williams offices at Lakeside at North Harbour. I had been told I would need permission to take any photographs, so this quick stop was to explore what opportunities there might be for another day.

Office grater
Office Grater – Lakeside, North Harbour

After Lakeside I made my way to Old Portsmouth. It was late morning, the weather still good and although I had visited this part of the city before I was unsure what subjects I might want to photograph, even though I had done some research at home using Google Maps. The area proved to be quite fruitful and I was happy with some of the shots I had taken.

Old Portsmouth
Old Portsmouth

A short break for lunch and instead of taking the car, out of the boot came my Brompton folding bike and I cycled round to Gunwharf Quay. Having the bike really enabled me to move around so much more quickly than I could have done on foot. I knew Gunwharf quite well and had taken photographs at this location before, so I pretty much knew what I wanted to try and achieve.

No 1, Gunwharf Quay
No 1, Gunwharf Quay

By now it was getting fairly late in the day but I had one more place to go to – Gosport, not that I wanted to take photographs of Gosport itself but I was very aware that the views from here across Portsmouth Harbour and towards Gunwharf itself were well worth taking. I had left this location until the end of the day, because the setting sun would be behind me and hopefully the light would be right to illuminate the buildings across the water including of course Spinnaker Tower. I was very fortunate the light could not have been better.

The sun finally set and the last images of the day had been captured. I was tired but satisfied with my days work so I headed home, keen to transfer the files from the SD card onto my iMac and get them backed up.

It had been a very fulfilling day. The research I had done beforehand had been well worthwhile and the weather on the day could not have been better. Blue skies with good clouds and plenty of light to create some contrasty black and white images.

A few days later I made arrangements to meet up with Ian Froome of Vail Williams at Lakeside. It gave me the chance to see round their offices as well as having the required permission to take internal and external shots of the office complex, which was home to many businesses large and small. There were plenty of opportunities here for some quite graphic architectural photography and I enjoyed looking for different angles and reflective surfaces.

The task of taking photographs nearly complete, the next stage would be to process a selection of images for the client to see. This will be the topic of next entry.

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