In my 13 year career I have had some spectacular opportunities, been to some amazing places and photographed some amazing events, people and things that I wanted to take the time to share. I'm going to be calling this series: "Dan's One Shots."

Here's one:

Photographing the Queen

In 2010, I had been working for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights for a year after having been hired as one of their official photographers. They approached me to cover a super secret upcoming event, the Queen was coming to town! She was unveiling the cornerstone of the museum, a stone taken from Runnymede where the original Magna Carta (Great Charter of Liberty) was signed in 1215. It was to be unveiled in a large display created by Brunet Monuments.

Charles Brunet - Brunet Monuments
The Brunets of Brunet Monuments with their finished display

There would obviously be tons of media at this event but the CMHR wanted a very specific shot, one where a large group of people would be looking at a maquette (model) of what the CMHR would look like when finished. That's it, my whole job was basically just one shot!
That group was to include: Gail Asper, one of the visionaries and founders of the CMHR, Stuart Murray then CEO of the CMHR, Prime Minister Stephen Harper (probably no relation), Arni Thorsteinson, multiple staff and board members from the CMRH, Prince Charles and of course, the Queen herself. They wanted a photograph where our CMHR representatives would be showing the maquette to the Queen which they would only be around for about 30 seconds.
All of the media was confined to a very specific location, but because of my access with the CMHR I had the ultimate angle, far back from the media in my own special spot.

But a strange thing happened. I had a second request for photos. Parks Canada also wanted me to shoot for them at the same time. So, in addition to the stress of making sure I got the absolute single best shot of my career, I had to prepare for a very different shot when the Queen would be walking through the Parks Canada area. (The Forks includes multiple property owners and each one owns a very specific area. Not something I was aware of previous to this event.)

Dan Harper shooting
Me shooting during the event (it's ironic that I have lots more hair now) - Thanks to John Gunter and Glen Cassie for the memories!

When I got on site for the event, as I do at every event, I pre-scouted my space and chose my gear accordingly. The maquette was large so I went with a super wide lens to be sure I could get the whole thing in the shot with all the people. I also set up for my second shot for Parks Canada with a massive zoom lens on a tripod to get as tight as possible because they would be quite far away from my main shooting position.

The time came, the Provencher Bridge was shut down to traffic, tons of people lined the bridge to try to get a look. There were people ALL over the place. All the way down the bridge different associations and companies were there to greet the Queen which included my friends from Festival du Voyageur and La Compagnie de La Vérendrye.

Provencher bridge Queen's visit

The Queen and the large group started out on the other end of the bridge and came slowly towards me. Because of the amount of dignitaries there was the most amount of security people that I've ever seen including New Scotland Yard, the Prime Minister's security detail and many more. They all finally reached the maquette and I was lucky, they stood around it perfectly and I took my shot.
I could hear dozens of camera shutters still going off across from me in the media area, I had what I needed.

The Queen, Stephen Harper, Stuart Murray, Gail Asper, Arni Thorsteinson

After she left, there were speeches and then when that was done, I prepared for my next shot for Parks Canada and as the group walked through the massive crowd took a few nice shots of her walking by.

Parks Canada, the Queen visit

Photos taken but not job done.

Immediately after getting the shot for Parks I walked over to our media lounge where I quickly processed a few of the best photos for the CMHR. I had a great view of the proceedings and was finally able to relax.

I did take other shots during the event and was really excited to have captured so many with the Queen smiling. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to photograph the Queen in any capacity so having some great shots of a living legend, the longest-reigning British monarch will go down as a major thrill and career achievement.

Amazing day and an amazing experience!

Other photos during the event:

Festival du Voyageur - Queen's visit 2010
Members of Festival du Voyageur getting ready to greet the Queen


Members of La Compagnie de La Vérendrye firing off a volley as the Queen arrives

The Queen smiling as she walks across the Provencher Bridge (Esplanade Riel)

Members of Festival du Voyageur

The Brunets bringing their display of the rock from Runnymede

The Brunets setting up their display

The Brunets setting up their display

The Brunets setting up their display

Behind the scenes like only Kenny Boyce does it, thinking of everything!

IOW Don't stand here if you want to see

Tyler Walsh at that time with the Winnipeg Free Press showing his smarts in the sun

The media area all filled up

Prince Charles speaking to a local group

The main shot: Stuart Murray speaking to Prince Charles, Arni Thorsteinson speaking with the queen all while medial look on from the back

The Queen's Winnipeg visit
Stuart Murray speaking

The Queen's Winnipeg visit
Stuart Murray, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Premier Greg Sellinger and The Queen smiling and looking at the display

The Queen's Winnipeg visit
Stuart Murray, Mayor Sam Katz, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Greg Selinger all looking at the display

The queen accepting a bouquet of flowers from two children

The Queen and her procession moving to the Parks Canada area

The Queen and her procession in the Parks Canada area

Mounties with the display

CMHR construction manager Todd Craigen and Patrick O'Reilly with the display

The Queen's Winnipeg visit
In the media room

The Queen's Winnipeg visit
Patrick O'Reilly and Angela Cassie relaxing in the media room

The media room crew

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