In Focus Friday - We will remember

10 November 2017

SIG: Documentary


This week George Ledger, ARPS, talks us through one of my favourite entries from the first bi-monthly competition.

Hi, George. Can you give us a little background about the shot?

The photograph was taken as part of a paid commission by NERFCA to create a series of recruitment pamphlets for Adult Volunteers to assist with the cadets. The remit was to photograph current volunteers in iconic locations in their area, from Yorkshire through to Northumberland.

What equipment did you use to capture this shot?

The photo was taken on a Canon 5D mark 3 with Canon 24-105mm lens. I used a diffused on camera flash to add a catchlight and lift the exposure of the person. 

What was your plan for the day?

This was the easiest of the three day photo-shoot, as it was closest to my house. I was due to meet a selection of the volunteers just after sunrise at 'The Angel of the North' for the first arranged shoot. This consisted of various group and individual shots. Then it was off to 'Beamish Museum' for another session with other volunteers and finally onto the coast at Seaham for this photo-shoot. The backdrop for the last shoot of the day was 'Tommy' a very popular local sculpture on the town's sea front. The artist is local sculptor Ray Lonsdale, and the piece is actually called - 1101 - owing to the fact the armistice went into effect at 11am on November 11, 1918. To read the story behind the sculpture you can visit -

What’s your routine just before heading out with your camera?

I have the same routine before I go out on either a professional photo-shoot or a days personal photography on my own. The night before I always check the local weather forecast and sunrise / sunset times - so I know roughly what to expect. I also clean my lens (and UV filters) and charge batteries for cameras and flash guns before packing the bag with whats needed for the day. The last check of the day is to make sure there are adequate cafe's in the area for liquid refreshment, failing that I'll take my own coffee.

While you’re out what makes you press the shutter release?

It depends on the what or more importantly why I'm photographing. If its a paid photo-shoot I will normally have a good idea of what I need to photograph and will have worked out a shooting plan with the client in advance. Although extra shots always identify themselves, either due to lighting conditions or juxtaposition between subject and location. On a personal shooting day, although I roughly know what I intend to photograph (wildlife, landscape, street etc.) I will deviate a lot if the weather, light or subject matter changes or a new one happens to show itself. 

However the exact point I press the shutter release will normally come down to three things working together, Lighting, Background and what the subject is doing. If all three are right then a photo will be taken.

Where can we find more of your work?

My website is - although a lot of my work ends up directly on agency or clients websites and printed work. I'm not overly precious about controlling everything and having to have a link to it from my site. I'm lucky enough to have a diverse amount of clients that keep coming back.

What essential piece of advice would give your novice self?

Don't always think you need to buy the latest equipment, its far more important to be able to use the stuff you already have (its cheaper too!)

And finally, what’s the best purchase you’ve made for less than £100?

Purely photography related - a regular supply of OpTech rain sleeves for my camera (a glorified plastic bag) they keep the camera dry come what may and allow me to carry on shooting in heavy rain. I have several more expensive versions, including Canon's own but the OpTech ones are so good I use them most of the time.

Best purchase - good waterproof, wind proof gloves - for the same reason. I need to be warm and dry also to keep taking photos too!

Thanks, George. I like the sound of the windproof gloves for my next visit to the North East coast.