Like most UK press photographers, I travelled to London on Saturday 6th May to record this astonishing event. (No matter your feelings on the royal family it was, without doubt, a moment in history that no photographer should have let pass by without recording events in some way).
For many of us this involved applying for, and being allocated, set positions to photograph proceedings across the event location(s). With the tightest of security this meant my of my colleagues leaving there homes and being in position by around 5:30AM.
Luckily (VERY luckily) my allocated position did not involve such an early start to the day. However paranoia ensured I travelled on the 6:05 (the earliest train from Worthing to London that day), leaving me 4 hours to “stew” in a Pret near Victoria, meeting up with a number of colleagues who also had the same midday report time at the palace.
With my allocated position being on the Forecourt of the palace, my Think-tank bag was packed with 3 sets of kit, each with a specific job in mind:
- X-H2S & 150-600 (Royal Family members on the balcony)
- X-T3 & 18-80 (possible wide shot of the whole balcony)
- GFX50R & Laowa 17mm (extreme wide shot of the Fly-past)
- Plenty of wet weather protection for the above.
Despite going over and over my kit list the 2 days before and thinking it through, it was only once I was sitting in Pret and looking at my colleagues kit I realised that maybe I should have brought a monopod for the long lens.
Sitting there chatting was the strangest feeling as we heard the marching bands strike up and the procession leave the palace, knowing our colleagues were now hard at work trying to get “clean” images through carriage windows.
Finally we left the Pret and made our way to the palace, following a very tightly prescribed procedure to pass through security before getting to the palace, where we were assigned a room to wait and set-up our kit.
This led to the second really strange part of the day; sitting in Buckingham Palace watching the coronation and return procession on an iPhone until the time came for our small part.
The Balcony appearance and flypast were planned for 2:30pm and so we left our room at 2:15 and made our way to our location on the forecourt, just inside the centre gates (off centre next the the pillars). The ideal position would obviously have been central to the balcony but there was no way it was possible (for so many reasons) for the 6 photographers and the TV crew to be there.
A few minutes early, the doors opened and the newly crowned monarchs were on the balcony.
Its always a relief (after the event) when you realise that all the pre-event nerves disappeared as soon as it was time to work and the shot went as it had in your head in the days leading up.
My worry earlier in the day was totally unfounded at the stabilisation on the 150-600 is brilliant, as is the eye tracking of the X-H2S. Of course the slower aperture of the lens meant higher ISO than I would have liked but overall I have to say the Fuji kit performed perfectly despite the poor conditions. (The EXIF panel below are the settings from the image of the solo King waving image).
With the position being slightly off centre, I knew the Red Arrows flypast image would not quite work as I would like but seeing as I had carried the kit all the way and as far as I could see, nobody else in this location was giving it a go (plus how likely that I would have this chance again) , I gave it a go. The Lawoa was pre-focused and the exposure set, it was just a case of keeping the image lined up and waiting as the aircraft passed over, leaving it as late as I dare because with the slow speed of the GFX I only had a single frame to get the image.
Ideally I would have liked the aircraft slightly lower in the frame but I lost my bottle, pressing the shutter what turned out to be very slightly early (trying to allow for the shutter lag on a camera that is not really designed for this find of work).
Following the appearance, I headed back to our room, packed up and exited the palace as fast as I would. With the crowds in the Mall, the mobile signal was awful and I needed to file the images as fast as possible (ending up sitting in a doorway out of the rain). Knowing that photographers in other locations had been provided WIFI and cables to ensure they were able to send their images way quicker, I was sure I was not going to get any images published in the UK papers the next day, however international publications were far more likely.
For me though, this job was not about the next day, it was about recording a moment in history, it was about trying to capture an image that would stand the test of time. Have I managed that? I don’t know, only time will tell…
Let me know what you think in the comments below.. Are you a photographer? How did you spent the day.?? Until the next one…
9 thoughts on “The Coronation of His Majesty The King Charles III and Her Majesty Queen Camilla”
Brilliant pics Julie – I was at the Mall and was lucky enough to get to the front for the Balcony appearance too ! Just the most amazing day
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Impressed as always x
Great photos, but you also give us a really great story of a very special day in your working life. Thanks for that. 🙂
What did I do on the day? I was 250 miles away, scanning a load of developed 35mm Kodak ColorPlus film. Not quite as historic.
Maybe not historic in terms of the national story but probably important in your own story
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Great pictures Julie, and very interesting post.
I ended up with a really crappy spot in the crowd in Whitehall. What with the rain, reflections and trying to shoot between the police, who were standing about 6 feet apart, I didn’t get much worth having.
At least my wife and I had the experience! Standing for almost 10 hours in the cold and rain. Not a happy camper. 😜
See you next week in Cannes.
See you in Cannes!
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Been following you since you gave a talk to Willfield Camera Club (now renamed Potteries Photography Club) years ago.
Just had to drop a line to say what brilliant photographs you took at the coronation. These are the best I’ve seen anywhere. Congratulations and so well done. They’re beautiful, natural, and emotional.
Gosh you’re good!
Best wishes, Deb
Thank you that is very kind.
There are so many amazing photos from the day by many of the worlds best press photographers. Every location had it’s “moment”