RICHARDS TOP 6
One of the most memorable photographs I have ever taken was the day, on Exmoor, a stag tried to jump over a horse and rider.
It is one of the most talked about pictures I have taken and I have told the story hundreds of times to people in my local pub but I suppose that’s my fault for having a copy hanging on the wall.
As a freelance news photographer I was working on a possible book documenting the last few months of legal hunting. I was with journalist and friend Martin Hesp and we were following the Devon and Somerset Stag Hounds with full permission of the Hunt master and mistress.
Not long into the hunt some of the riders became separated from the main pack and were waiting in the lane for the main pack to arrive, I was standing in the back of a Toyota truck with Martin, looking left I could see a stag galloping down the field on the opposite side of the river. This stag was not being hunted, I watched through the dense trees as the stag gestured to jump in the river and swim across to our side of the water, it stopped then trotted further down the river bank before he did jump in and swim across, it was then that I suddenly realised that it was a distinct possibility that the stag would make his way up through the wood and emerge onto the road exactly where the the horses with riders and a few hounds were waiting, this was a long-shot but as it tuned out one that paid off.
By this time I had shouted to Martin to run as I needed to be closer than I was, we did run for a short distance but then instinct made me stop and raise my camera and at that precise moment the stag came through the hedge and immediately launched it’s self at the horse with the huntsman, the pictures speak for themselves, the stag knocked the huntsman clean off his horse and hard down onto the road with the stag sliding off the horse also onto the road.
The stag got up and ran off but the huntsman lay still, I really thought he was very seriously hurt until he opened one eye, looked at me and said: “Did you get that.”
I had photographed the whole sequence of events, with one image standing out as the best.
The pictures published in news media all over Europe and beyond.
It is very unlikely anyone will ever witness such an event again.
But then, never say never!
The pig in red wellies was shot at the home of the Micro Pig phenomenon at the award winning family attraction
Pennywell Farm in South Devon.
I’d had the idea of attempting this picture for many months and had even had one fruitless attempt resulting in the pig jumping out of the boots and legging it across the lawn. Three months later we tried again with a few alterations to the way we set it up and hey presto
I got just one frame before he again scuttled off across the lawn.
Jess was the perfect photographer’s dog, she was attentive, lovable, obedient and best of all the sheep in the fields loved her, this really did stand her out in a crowd and gave me the idea of Jess feeding the orphaned lambs a bottle of milk.
I had tried this shot about ten years before and failed miserably.
But in Jess everything looked in place to try the shot again. So I remember driving along the M5 going through the motions in my mind.
Jess’s owner was convinced she would be just fine, and she was, even the backdrop of the Devon countryside was exactly how I had visualised things. The moment came when jess had to hold the bottle and she did so like a child who was not going to give up her favourite toy, the lamb was never going to be a problem as the bottle was food no matter who was holding it.
Just four minutes and the image was captured forever.
Five separate TV crews from different countries came to film the world’s best ‘sheep dog’ as well the image appearing in newspapers
across the world’s press. Job done.
As one of only three photographers allowed inside St Paul’s Cathedral for a service celebrating the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday it was quite a weight on my shoulders as I was representing the UK’s regional press, the other two photographers represented the national newspapers and a Royal agency.
Royalty from all over the world were present for the service and all were standing as HRH entered the cathedral, the problem we had was that HRH is not a six footer and we had problems locating her.
So it was a welcome relief when just for a split second HRH turned a corner and as she did her grandson Prince Charles and her two great grandson’s Princes William and Harry all came into perfect position just as HRH looked up and the light caught her face perfectly.
It was that smile what done it…When it comes to photographing the most famous face in the world nobody comes close to The late Princess of Wales, more commonly known as Princess Diana.
Diana visited the west country many times on official visits and always thrilled the huge crowds with her incredible smile and ability to connect with adults and children alike.
It was in the late 1980’s when I first photographed her and all pictures then were in black and white.
Four of the most stand out visits were at a soap factory in Tiverton, a school in Taunton, the Royal Marines in Taunton and a private appearance at a friends wedding in Taunton, then sadly in London for the days leading up to her funeral.
In 2010 my home town of Lyme Regis came very close to having that elusive ‘White Christmas.’
It was December 20th and I awake to see we had a couple of inches of snow, grabbing a camera I walked for five minutes to the top of the main street for a snow shot of the Christmas lights, It was snowing which made the image look as if it was foggy, it was very dull almost dark and the image lacked contrast. It wasn’t until two days later I edited the image and gradually teased out the colours, some were saturated slightly and reflected in the snow I found even more colour and slowly the image took shape, nothing was added or taken away just old fashion darkroom techniques, brightness, contrast and colour adjustment.