Knowing I wouldn’t be able to hold my camera steady with just my left hand after an operation on my right thumb and dreading the thought that I would not be able to take any pictures for three long months, I had invested in a hideous looking bright pink stick, the idea being, that once it was screwed into the base of my camera it would make it easier to hold with just my left hand. However, I hadn’t remembered the after effects of an anaesthetic and so the day before Le Tour de France was due to arrive less than one hundred yards from my house, I had given up any thoughts of trying to get a picture, even a snappy snap! I felt groggy and a bit spaced out, I suspect the pain killers were not helping!
The 7th July arrived and luckily I suddenly felt a bit better and it seemed such a shame to miss a spectacle that was creating such a great atmosphere and expectancy in our small town. We set off on a short walk to the main road, I pulled my trolley with both cameras in and Martin juggled the chairs! With my thumb safely tucked into my sling, we set off to a place where we thought few people would venture. We found a spacious drain cover about six inches from the main road, set up our chairs, sat down and waited patiently for two hours.
Martin practised his panning shots on any casual passing cyclist, most of whom seemed to be delighted to be photographed, while I saved my strength for the real thing! I took the odd shot holding my pink stick with my left hand and gingerly pushing the shutter button with the middle finger of my right hand, remembering the Consultant’s instructions to keep my hand above my heart. I felt a bit like a contortionist and at one point, when I realised there was no way I could alter my lens, I began to realise that I wouldn’t be entering the Camera Club’s Tour de France photo competition. Martin had to sort the settings out on my camera just before the race was due to arrive. I made one final attempt at panning with one hand and failed miserably, nearly toppling off the drain cover at the same time! I sat down just as the first escorting motorbikes arrived.
We snapped away at the carnival procession, I was hit twice by items unknown, thrown from vehicles travelling at speed. Finally, after several announcements the leaders flashed by. I kept my finger on the shutter button, with the setting on burst, hoping that at least one of the pictures would be identifiable as the Le Tour De France! Finally the main group and team GB approached at speed. I blinked and missed at least twenty cyclists, such was the speed of it all. I took two hundred pictures, mainly on burst, I am not sure my finger would have coped with so many separate clicks.
The photographs above, are the best of a pretty awful bunch! They will however, serve as a wonderful memory of the day Le Tour de France came to our town and sped through the road next to my house. I am so glad I was able to see it and experience the atmosphere, but as for one handed photography and a bright pink stick, it’s back to the drawing board!