This week we had the pleasure of inviting Gordon Terris of the The Herald to visit us and talk about his experiences as a photo journalist covering the construction of the Queensferry Crossing. Click the links below to read Gordon’s profile and see one of the stories illustrated by his photography.
Gordon explained how he had been inspired to take up photography at the Edinburgh College of Art, before joining The Herald in 1996. Gordon is well known by his colleagues for owning a pair of Sean Connery’s underpants! Gordon also enjoys fashion photography and showed us some examples of his work shot on Gullane beach and Aberlady Bents, plus a creative shot made in the Edinburgh Camera Obscura. Gordon uses minimal equipment, and can get by with just 2 speedlights and a reflector.
Gordon then took us through the story of his coverage of the building of the Queensferry Crossing. As a journalist, he had the opportunity to view the construction from viewpoints that were not available to the public. He photographed the construction of the caissons which provided the foundations of the bridge, and he joined some of the construction team in their crane-hoisted “cherry-picker”, which offered unique views of the construction below. He also photographed the bridge construction from the shore and from distant viewpoints in Edinburgh and Fife. The one view that eluded him was an aerial shot of the bridge, which was too close to “no fly” zones for drone photography.
Gordon explained how photography for journalism is very different from hobby photography. Opportunity, speed and accuracy are key factors in photo-journalism, Gordon needs to make sure he is the right place at the right time. His shots need to tell the story, and they must be delivered to the editor as soon as possible. Often the newspaper would have a story waiting to go with a slot ready to receive one of his photographs. For this reason, Gordon shoots in JPEG and very rarely uses Photoshop. For him, each shot needs to be captured accurately in-camera and be ready for delivery as soon as he has finished shooting.
Gordon finished his presentation by showing us some of his equipment (over the Zoom video). He has two camera bodies: an old Canon EOS 1DX and a newer Canon 5D Mk II. He uses 3 lenses: 16-35mm and 70-200mm zoom lenses and a 300mm fixed focal length lens. He occasionally borrows an 11mm fish-eye for creative shots, or for shots in awkward spaces.
Overall it was a fascinating and enjoyable evening. We hope to invite Gordon back to hear more of his stories when we are able to meet face to face, and get a closer look at his well-used but functional equipment.