2019 - Trooping The Colour

June 8th, 2019.

A mere four’n’five days ago, London paid host to what historians will perhaps one day forget to refer to as the President of the United States and I managed to even snap a shot of the Beast (that’s POTUS’ car) and its occupant and some of the protests and protesters too.

But now it’s the weekend, and excitingly the weather cleared just in time for me to photograph my FOURTH Trooping The Colour (the others are here: 2016, 2017, 2018). Here’s how it went down:

When I head out for my morning coffee tomorrow, and face the inevitable barrage of screaming out-of-control kids in whatever cafe I choose to sit in, I want to be dressed like this. And I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s because of the soundproofing on the hat will dull the noise…. or whether it’s because of the machine gun… and the handy knife attachment at its tip.

When I head out for my morning coffee tomorrow, and face the inevitable barrage of screaming out-of-control kids in whatever cafe I choose to sit in, I want to be dressed like this. And I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s because of the soundproofing on the hat will dull the noise…. or whether it’s because of the machine gun… and the handy knife attachment at its tip.

“Yes, I’m trooping. And yes, I’m colour”  I’m pretty sure I photographed this gentleman last year. He doesn’t so much want to be photographed as kind of personally and pleadingly insist that you photograph him. He’s kind of the    anti-Scarlett Johansson    in every way, really.

“Yes, I’m trooping. And yes, I’m colour”
I’m pretty sure I photographed this gentleman last year. He doesn’t so much want to be photographed as kind of personally and pleadingly insist that you photograph him. He’s kind of the anti-Scarlett Johansson in every way, really.

“He said you look very pretty. But hey, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that constitutes harrassment sufficiently that using your gun in retaliation is the appropriate way to deal with it”

“He said you look very pretty. But hey, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that constitutes harrassment sufficiently that using your gun in retaliation is the appropriate way to deal with it”

“Yes, the white shirt I’m wearing underneath this is a humiliation that represents a complete failure on the part of my drycleaner, and/or girlfriend. Please don’t draw attention to it”

“Yes, the white shirt I’m wearing underneath this is a humiliation that represents a complete failure on the part of my drycleaner, and/or girlfriend. Please don’t draw attention to it”

The guy in the background is not sending last-minute texts to his pals. At least I don’t think so.

The guy in the background is not sending last-minute texts to his pals. At least I don’t think so.

“No, we don’t take requests, and no we’re not working off a spotify playlist”  It’s finally started, and fans of RnB will be disappointed right now.

“No, we don’t take requests, and no we’re not working off a spotify playlist”
It’s finally started, and fans of RnB will be disappointed right now.

When every single person in the line has an insect on their shoulder….

When every single person in the line has an insect on their shoulder….

“They’re letting me - and only me - Freestyle on this flute. And yes, that’s Run DMC you’re hearing”

“They’re letting me - and only me - Freestyle on this flute. And yes, that’s Run DMC you’re hearing”

Lesser Royals (who are still better people than you and me, obviously) travel to Horse Guards Palace by car, ahead of the carriage- and horse-based Senior royals yet to come.

Lesser Royals (who are still better people than you and me, obviously) travel to Horse Guards Palace by car, ahead of the carriage- and horse-based Senior royals yet to come.

“I just want you to know that I lobbied hard for DJ Impact to host the warmup for this event, but I was overruled in favour of pomp and ceremony. Again.”  Camilla Duchess of Cornwall sat on the right side of the carriage she was sharing with Kate, Harry and Meghan. Sadly that meant Kate was the only one of the four I didn’t really photograph. And while I respect Camilla’s Hip-Hop credentials, I do prefer to photograph Kate.

“I just want you to know that I lobbied hard for DJ Impact to host the warmup for this event, but I was overruled in favour of pomp and ceremony. Again.” Camilla Duchess of Cornwall sat on the right side of the carriage she was sharing with Kate, Harry and Meghan. Sadly that meant Kate was the only one of the four I didn’t really photograph. And while I respect Camilla’s Hip-Hop credentials, I do prefer to photograph Kate.

Giant hats, intermittent shade, a pollen count verging on the apocalyptic, and even on my two-step ladder I’ve got mobile phones and cameras I’m shooting through…. all that and there’s the matter of the carriage carrying these four royals is hightailing it down The Mall. It seems the Royals are running somewhat late.

Giant hats, intermittent shade, a pollen count verging on the apocalyptic, and even on my two-step ladder I’ve got mobile phones and cameras I’m shooting through…. all that and there’s the matter of the carriage carrying these four royals is hightailing it down The Mall. It seems the Royals are running somewhat late.

“See, babes? Black caps with the gold-brass letters ‘L.A.’ are totally IN this year “   Prince Harry and Meghan - the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

“See, babes? Black caps with the gold-brass letters ‘L.A.’ are totally IN this year “
Prince Harry and Meghan - the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

“For next year, I’ve requested eight drums, twelve cymbals, and I’ll be riding an elephant…. or they can have my resignation”

“For next year, I’ve requested eight drums, twelve cymbals, and I’ll be riding an elephant…. or they can have my resignation”

“No, Frank! Don’t head into the light!!”

“No, Frank! Don’t head into the light!!”

Momentary panic as it appears the Queen’s carriage is either empty, or Her Majesty is attired in exactly the same clothing as the inside of a royal carriage. A bold move, either way.

Momentary panic as it appears the Queen’s carriage is either empty, or Her Majesty is attired in exactly the same clothing as the inside of a royal carriage. A bold move, either way.

“Well… you guys certainly aren’t observing any kind of coherent, unified or even semi-formal dress code”  The Queen emerges from the inside of the carriage she was already in. This is the first time (out of four times I’ve photographed this event) that she was in an enclosed carriage. Possibly a pollen thing?

“Well… you guys certainly aren’t observing any kind of coherent, unified or even semi-formal dress code” The Queen emerges from the inside of the carriage she was already in. This is the first time (out of four times I’ve photographed this event) that she was in an enclosed carriage. Possibly a pollen thing?

“And none of our rides has a single cup-holder”  Prince Andrew and Princess Margaret (I think?) at centre and right… possibly Prince William at left. (Correction : Princess ANNE, not Princess Margaret - with thanks to Andrew)

“And none of our rides has a single cup-holder”
Prince Andrew and Princess Margaret (I think?) at centre and right… possibly Prince William at left.
(Correction : Princess ANNE, not Princess Margaret - with thanks to Andrew)

“Okay, so with this window filter One can’t see out, but they can see in? Better than the alternative One supposes”

“Okay, so with this window filter One can’t see out, but they can see in? Better than the alternative One supposes”

With the Queen’s carriage having passed by, we shifted position to the left side of the park facing Horse Guard’s Palace. This is the hardest location from which to photograph, as not only is it four or five deep, crowd-wise, but the terrain slopes downwards from the front. Still…. it passes the time in the hour we have to shift location again before they shut the road down again.

There was a commotion and a horse threw its rider. I didn’t see what caused it or whether the guard was okay - he was carried off on a stretcher, unmoving, a short time later.

There was a commotion and a horse threw its rider. I didn’t see what caused it or whether the guard was okay - he was carried off on a stretcher, unmoving, a short time later.

“One told them One wanted to do donuts in this thing, but One thinks they misheard and sent a guy to get some.”

“One told them One wanted to do donuts in this thing, but One thinks they misheard and sent a guy to get some.”

“Traffic lights? Here? Seriously?”

“Traffic lights? Here? Seriously?”

“If Jason Momoa had accepted the invitation One wouldn’t be sitting in this carriage alone, that’s for sure…”

“If Jason Momoa had accepted the invitation One wouldn’t be sitting in this carriage alone, that’s for sure…”

“Oh, great. One left one’s bumper book of sudoku puzzles back in the carriage…”

“Oh, great. One left one’s bumper book of sudoku puzzles back in the carriage…”

Photography proved tricky even with a 300mm lens on the Pentax (450mm equivalent full-frame) so we shifted to our third location out of four. The main consideration wasn’t just to take more decent photos, but be in a good position for the opening of the gates to allow the public to walk along the Centre of the Mall towards the palace to photograph the Royals on the balcony. Sadly, I went conservative and stayed near the back, but this year unlike the prior two years it seemed they opened the gates at three different locations.

“I went to the drive through window and asked, but they said if the horse isn’t on wheels it can’t go through drive-thru, and they had nowhere to hitch a horse. I’ve got half of my morning croissant left, though, if Her Majesty is really hungry?”

“I went to the drive through window and asked, but they said if the horse isn’t on wheels it can’t go through drive-thru, and they had nowhere to hitch a horse. I’ve got half of my morning croissant left, though, if Her Majesty is really hungry?”

“Actually, when I’m not holding this gun and standing ready to point it where it’s required at a moment’s notice, you’ll find I’m a really nice person.”

“Actually, when I’m not holding this gun and standing ready to point it where it’s required at a moment’s notice, you’ll find I’m a really nice person.”

The crowd on the stairs is sadly missing That Guy from last year who had a giant banner that claimed Queen Elizabeth’s coming was foretold by the Bible. (As opposed to the published programme for Trooping The Colour, which is available online)

The crowd on the stairs is sadly missing That Guy from last year who had a giant banner that claimed Queen Elizabeth’s coming was foretold by the Bible. (As opposed to the published programme for Trooping The Colour, which is available online)

“Some of you want to capture photos, some of you video, some of you sounds…. but I’m after    smells.  ” I don’t know what that thing on the left is, but I fear it.

“Some of you want to capture photos, some of you video, some of you sounds…. but I’m after smells.
I don’t know what that thing on the left is, but I fear it.

“Yes, of course I’m dressed totally inconspicuously. Why?”

“Yes, of course I’m dressed totally inconspicuously. Why?”

The Royals once again slam on the gas and hightail it up The Mall, this time to the palace.

The Royals once again slam on the gas and hightail it up The Mall, this time to the palace.

“No Frank, don’t head towards the light!!”

“No Frank, don’t head towards the light!!”

“You had up to ninety minutes to change into something more appropriate and you changed into THAT?”  The stitching on the Queen’s jacket and hat is quite the thing to see (or zoom closer at, if the police with the machine guns haven’t convinced you that there’s a distance within which you should not step)

“You had up to ninety minutes to change into something more appropriate and you changed into THAT?”
The stitching on the Queen’s jacket and hat is quite the thing to see (or zoom closer at, if the police with the machine guns haven’t convinced you that there’s a distance within which you should not step)

“If only that electric scooter One ordered from ebay had come in yesterday, One certainly wouldn’t have to be sitting here….”

“If only that electric scooter One ordered from ebay had come in yesterday, One certainly wouldn’t have to be sitting here….”

More height than my stepstool, but could I balance myself, two cameras, a backpack, and a Ricoh Theta on a monopod while standing there? Probably not.

More height than my stepstool, but could I balance myself, two cameras, a backpack, and a Ricoh Theta on a monopod while standing there? Probably not.

Final location change : zooming up The Mall to try to get as far forward and central to the balcony. However, there’s only so far (and so fast) I’ll go in my pursuits : one of my friends went further and actually got a spot ON HIS LADDER, central and opposite the balcony. I did not manage this.

Final location change : zooming up The Mall to try to get as far forward and central to the balcony. However, there’s only so far (and so fast) I’ll go in my pursuits : one of my friends went further and actually got a spot ON HIS LADDER, central and opposite the balcony. I did not manage this.

“So does it bother anyone else here that all our photos are going to look more or less the same? Because it bothers me!”  Those are some serious zooms there.

“So does it bother anyone else here that all our photos are going to look more or less the same? Because it bothers me!” Those are some serious zooms there.

“Nice to see you all, and nice to see that the spikes on the front gate continue to serve their function in dissuading anyone from getting closer”

“Nice to see you all, and nice to see that the spikes on the front gate continue to serve their function in dissuading anyone from getting closer”

Well… I was kind of close to the front, just like a couple of thousand other people were.

Well… I was kind of close to the front, just like a couple of thousand other people were.

“But if I think Thanos had some good ideas, does that make me a bad possible future ruler, or just a really good environmentalist?”   While I ponder that, I also want to spend some time pondering whether The Queen’s hat is meant to be that shape from that angle, or whether my lens has a serious defect I need to have looked at.

“But if I think Thanos had some good ideas, does that make me a bad possible future ruler, or just a really good environmentalist?”
While I ponder that, I also want to spend some time pondering whether The Queen’s hat is meant to be that shape from that angle, or whether my lens has a serious defect I need to have looked at.

“One has suddenly decided that One is cool with going back inside and watching the rest on the television, if you all want to join me?”

“One has suddenly decided that One is cool with going back inside and watching the rest on the television, if you all want to join me?”

“One is the Queen and One is very busy : NOBODY spoil Game of Thrones for me. Or Breaking Bad. Or Deadwood, come to think of it”

“One is the Queen and One is very busy : NOBODY spoil Game of Thrones for me. Or Breaking Bad. Or Deadwood, come to think of it”

“So do they also have to pay the congestion charge?”

“So do they also have to pay the congestion charge?”

Amongst all the crowds, I managed to set my Ricoh Theta to autofire at the scintillating interval-shooting speed of 1 frame every 8 seconds (that’s its maximum!) - Amazingly I got the Red Arrows on approach….

Amongst all the crowds, I managed to set my Ricoh Theta to autofire at the scintillating interval-shooting speed of 1 frame every 8 seconds (that’s its maximum!) - Amazingly I got the Red Arrows on approach….

“So… why are we drawing the flag of France in the sky for the Queen’s Birthday? Has anyone asked?” ”No, because it’s more like the flag of the Netherlands and because drawing the Union Jack would be really REALLY difficult” ”Oh, okay”

“So… why are we drawing the flag of France in the sky for the Queen’s Birthday? Has anyone asked?”
”No, because it’s more like the flag of the Netherlands and because drawing the Union Jack would be really REALLY difficult”
”Oh, okay”

Eight seconds later, the Theta takes another shot….

Eight seconds later, the Theta takes another shot….

“Wait.. I didn’t get the shot. Could you go past again??”

“Wait.. I didn’t get the shot. Could you go past again??”

“It’s funny that you’re all singing it wrong. One has always sung it “God Save The Me” ”

“It’s funny that you’re all singing it wrong. One has always sung it “God Save The Me” ”

“Anyway, it’s been great. One is going inside now. You can all leave. Pick up your horses from where you parked them and get gone. One won’t ask twice.”

“Anyway, it’s been great. One is going inside now. You can all leave. Pick up your horses from where you parked them and get gone. One won’t ask twice.”

“Yes, you guys over there can clear out too. Don’t make One come down there., ‘cause One will. Or One’s servants will. Or the guys with the guns who’ve sworn personal loyalty to One will”

“Yes, you guys over there can clear out too. Don’t make One come down there., ‘cause One will. Or One’s servants will. Or the guys with the guns who’ve sworn personal loyalty to One will”

“But you guys can stay. You’re all right”  Well… I’m heading for the pub, myself. And not any of the nearest fifty, because that’s there 95% of this crowd will probably be heading.

“But you guys can stay. You’re all right”
Well… I’m heading for the pub, myself. And not any of the nearest fifty, because that’s there 95% of this crowd will probably be heading.

“Does anyone remember where we parked our horse?”

“Does anyone remember where we parked our horse?”

So, that was that. It was fun, possibly slightly less successful than last year overall, but I had good Nikon, a lens with more reach than last year on the Pentax, AND a camera with 360-degree field of view. And I found a nice pub afterwards to while away a few hours.

Until next time? Hard to say.

May 2019 : POTUS in London

May 3rd and 4th, 2019.

I’m not really interested in overtly politicising my website, so to commemorate US President Donald Trump’s State Visit of London, here’s some photos, no commentary.

Enjoy!

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So…. that was that. Quite an interesting couple of days in London.

I was surprised how easy it was to take photos and walk around - I guess there were more than enough police, and the general level of tolerance by everyone for somebody carrying a camera was nice and high.

Photos taken on 3rd June (3:30pm to 4:45pm) and 4th June (11:00am to 12:15pm)

Until.. erm….?