That decisive moment

By John Linsie

When I started with digital photography what I found infuriating was the slight delay between pressing the shutter button and actually capturing the image.  A very slight delay to be sure but enough to loose that "decisive moment".  An assertion that takes my mind back to the time I started work as a newspaper photographer with the Ashton-u- Lyne Reporter Group of Weekly Newspapers. (Ashton-u-Lyne is a town of the outskirts of Manchester, Lancashire - and then amidst the cotton mills.)  One day I was called out to an early morning mill fire.  The camera I had then was a Nettel with three double dark slides.  So I could only take six pictures on one assignment!  This particular morning I had taken five pictures of the fire when the whole mill roof went up in flames.  I grabbed a picture and then jumped on the local bus back to the office to change slides.  Yes I had to use public transport to get about on my jobs!  When I returned to the mill I saw to my horror that a worker was trapped on the roof top and that the firemen could not get a ladder to him.  His only escape was to jump off the parapet into the water of the mill lodge below.  Realising this he started to slide off the ledge.  A fireman shouted to him to stop and instead to leap off the ledge.  That he demonstrated by jumping into the water himself.  I watched the endangered man through the view finder and as soon as he jumped I pressed the button.  Then I was on the bus back to the office. Whilst on the bus 1 realised that the camera was still set at a 25th of a second.  So I though I had no hope of a satisfactory photograph.  But on developing the plate I found that I had taken the shot just at the peak of the trajectory and so the man was virtually stationary. But would I have got the shot if I had used my present day digital camera?  Although, of course, over recent years the newer digital cameras have overcome that delay to a considerable degree.

Twin Camera 

by David Butcher

Early 1960s I would be a regular at the Tottenham Hotspurs ground, White Heart Lane. I was always interested in the photographers at work there. Most by this time were using twin lens reflex cameras. A few still used the large press cameras. Then one game I saw a photographer using two large cameras, he had fixed them together at the base one facing forward and the other backwards. He was into action shots! Sometimes there was more action from him than on the field. He would take his first shot and then turn the whole contraption so that the second camera was now facing forward, and then take his second shot. 

I found it amazing to watch! Have you ever heard of this before?


Back to Jo Lommen press camera pages                                    Any Questions or Comments?