In February 2019, I was invited to document the official opening of Rock UK’s Summit Centre in the Welsh Valleys, just south of Merthyr Tydfil. The development had been supported by the Welsh Government’s EU-fundedn Tourism Attractor Destination programme, and so who better to open such a venue that HRH Prince Of Wales himself.
HRH Prince of Wales
Arriving in good time to prepare & triple-check for this once-in-a-lifetime appointment, the event began with Prince Charles sweeping upto the Summit Centre accompanied by a cavalcade of motorbikes. His Royal Highness emerged into bright sunshine and immediately went to greet the cheering crowd. On his visit the Prince watched children from our climbing clubs demonstrate their skills, talked with young people from the Prince’s Trust, spoke to members of the armed forces who train at the centre and met staff, trustees and members of the local community. His Royal Highness toured the new facility including the café, meeting rooms, residential accommodation and climbing wall.
How did I find it?
Surprisingly, not stressful. Every detail of His Royal Highness’ visit had been planned down to the exact minute long in advance, and with an army of both Rock UK staff & royal aides on hand, so there was negligible room for error. From a technical photographic point of view, at the time I was using a pair of full-frame Canon 6D Mark II DSLRs, with a an EF 16-24 f/2.8 & EF 70-200 attached. The knowledge of having bomb-proof reliability was a comfort, however I did feel very ‘paparazzi’ with the constant clatter of the high-speed shutter. Having since transitioned to a Fujifilm mirrorless system, the ability to use the silent electronic shutter would have been a benefit, however hindsight is a marvellous thing.
The outcome: a dozen photos turned around and online within 15 minutes, with a further hundred images making a standout addition to Rock UK’s photo library.