I was covering The opening of The Field of Remembrance (the crosses with poppies laid every year by The British Legion) at Westminster Abbey, which this year was by Prince Harry, when I first heard about his trip to Oman and Dubai.The Telegraph’s Royal correspondent Gordon Rayner was down to go and I explained how happy I’d be to accompany him. A few forms later and I was on the list to go. Not a big list but a very manageable one for the Palace press office. John Stillwell from the Press Association, Chris Jackson from Getty, Time Rooke for Rex Features and Darren Fletcher from The Sun.
Harry was arriving on Tuesday night and I got there Tuesday morning having flown through the night. The arrival was pooled , covered by Tim and Chris but Darren and I still turned up at the rather plush hotel just in case we were allowed to crash the pool. We weren’t so we retired to the bar for a beer then met up with the others to travel back by minibus to the hotel we were staying in. It was “National Day” in Oman and the traffic was horrendous. All the locals seemed to be out in there cars wearing masks and hooting and beeping their way around Muscat. We ended up having to walk the last few hundred yards to our hotel which gave us the chance to take a few frames of the festivities. Everyone seemed really friendly, they were having a great time, though a few had had their exhausts adjusted to make a sound that was very similar to gunfire, which did throw one particular reporter to the floor of the bus when we heard it for the first time.
The following morning was a 6am start for the minibus journey to Nizwa Fort. Charles and Camilla visited earlier this year and took part in some local tribal dancing involving swords so obviously we were crossing fingers for a repeat royal performance.
We retired for several coffees whilst we awaited Harry’s arrival and took the opportunity to take some pictures of some of the children and some of the locals who were waiting to meet the Prince.
I did a combination of pictures on my iPhone 5S and my normal Nikon work cameras (D4S D3S and D3)
The picture of the man with the walking stick was then put through ‘Snapseed’ and ‘Instagram’…the version that looks warmer was not. I do like to use my iPhone for work pictures but I’d never have the guts to shoot an entire assignment on one….unless of course I was asked to.
A lot of photographers complain that filter Apps like ‘Snapseed’ and ‘Instagram’ make everyone capable of producing “great” photographs. I tend to disagree. If you haven’t got the right image there’s nothing an App can do for you. So far Apps can’t find a picture for you, yeah they can polish a turd but it’s still going to be a turd.
Apps are tools as is the camera on your iPhone. You still need to know how to use the tool to get the most out of it.
Anyway, Harry played ball. Not once but twice. He had a go on the sword then went for a tour , then had another go on the sword. Our local Omani embassy chap did a brilliant job of positioning the dancers in front of Harry twice. We all got what was required.
The next day was going to be a long one. Harry was visiting The Grand Mosque in Muscat first thing then we were flying to Dubai followed by a bus-ride to Ghantoot Polo ground, Abu Dhabi, for Harry’s ‘Sentebale’ charity match. We were told all sorts of celebrities would be attending..in the end it was only Geri Halliwell and her new fiance that anybody recognised.
We went home and Harry stayed to watch the Grand Prix…a few people cynically commented that that was in fact the reason for the visit.
Anyone for a pre-Christmas shopping trip to New York ?