A Pair of F2s: 18/100. New Sadler’s Wells Opera, London. A full dress rehearsal and photocall of “HMS Pinafore” by Gilbert and Sullivan: Elizabeth Ritchie as Josephine and Nickolas Grace as the Rt Hon Sir Joseph Porter.
Made with a Nikon F2 and Kodak Tri-X film uprated to 800 ASA on Wednesday 30th October, 1985.
I was sent to a couple of photocalls at Sadler’s Wells, the home of London ballet but also, to a lesser extent of opera and operetta. I loved these jobs because you got a full performance with the theatre almost to yourself.
We take our high ISO and variable white balance for granted now, but It wasn’t easy photographing a stage event on film. I remember struggling with a rudimentary 135mm 1:4 lens, neither long nor fast enough, until a pro alongside me came up and said, “Here, why don’t you try this?” It was a Nikkor 180mm 1:2.8 ED, one of the essential Nikon lenses for this kind of work and to this day one of the top ten Nikkors ever made - a proper Nikon legend.
So I got to shoot this job with a lens way out of my league at the time, which transformed my results. An act of kindness I never forgot. 📷
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