From a philosophical standpoint I occasionally find it'd a good thing to take a good long hard look at where I'm at and what I'm doing.
In amongst the chaos of logistics, swathes of emails, grief with security, the inhuman hours, endless waiting around, heroic endeavor to get the frames, transmit them out to the world before humping a huge pile of kit back home at some antisocial godforsaken hour to recharge everything and get some sleep, you need a reference point.
Last night, such a reference point became apparent as I sat waiting to go in to shoot the Rolling Stones at London's O2 Arena. I took a good hard look around. I was amongst a select few photographers who were lucky enough to be there. They're all hellishly good shooters and I really had a bit of a moment contemplating that this was THE Rolling Stones! Unequivocally, undeniably total legends! Even if you're a Jazz musician, tough, admit it, they're legends. I absolutely had to do this show justice. It was an unbelievable privilege to be there and to shoot amongst such talented photographers.
As I was humping all my stuff through to the backstage meeting point I was greeted by a familiar smile. Georgia May Jagger blended in perfectly with the crowd and, as I've worked with her before it was really nice to say a quick hello. More importantly the brethren were there; Lord Yui Mok from the Press Association and I exchanged our customary bowed greetings to each other. Joel Ryan from the Associated Press, the lovely Brian Rasic, veteran rock n roll shooter from Rex Features and my Buddy Dave Hogan were also there. There is no other industry where the competitors are also such close friends.
When you're assigned to shoot a show that marks the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones it's time to get serious.
With the PR not being completely clear on the vantage point from which we'd be shooting the show from, I had packed some serious fire power in the form of 3 Nikon D4's and a range of big glass to cope with any eventuality.
As we walked into the arena it was a bit of a relief to see that the distance to the stage from the back of the VIP pen was the perfect range to use the 200-400mm f/4 zoom. It's a lens I've recently borrowed from the office and would afford me extra viewfinder time and negate swapping cameras too often. The 600mm f/4 I lugged across town would stay unused. The mantra here is it's infinitely preferable to have it with you and not use it than wish you'd brought it and not have it.
As soon as we were done Lord Mok and I adjourned at a high rate of knots to file the job from the nearest table we could find. The usual routine, get the best frames out within a couple of minutes, then hot chocolate and banter whilst transmitting a second edit.
This morning I went through the frames again with a little more time and, whilst listening to "Doom and Gloom" by the Stones decided to convert a set to mono which I put here for your perusal.....