Home > Glasgow, My Gallerys, Out & About, photography > The Pope’s Visit

The Pope’s Visit

September 19, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The Pope visited Glasgow on Thursday 16th Sep just in-case you didn’t know, but it was far from the street parade we had seen in Edinburgh earlier that day. I met up with my fellow photographer Bob Lyle (The Glasgow Eye) and we began to scout the outer perimeter of the Bellahouston Park. You Can view our route by clicking here.

We quickly noticed that there seem to be a route set out from the M8 motorway towards the park, so we followed it. We eventually arrived were a small crowd had began to gather at a back entrance to the park, there were some council works cleaning the street and some police officers patrolling. We then noticed that the police had cornered off the road with road cones and they were heading directly into an entrance to the park.

I asked a police officer:

Is this were the Pope will arrive ?
I’m not allowed to tell you.
what time are you expecting him to arrive ?
I’m not allowed to tell you.
will he be in his Pope mobile ?
I’m not allowed to tell you.
does the Pope run around the Vatican in a Broxy bear outfit ?
I’m not allowed to tell you.

Nah !! the last bit I never asked lol, but everything pointed towards that this was the arrival point.

We were at least 50 min’s early from the reported time of arrival of 5:15pm so we just walked around taking some shots of the small crowd and the police going about their duties. At one point a guy sitting on a garden wall minding his own business, was searched by the police for looking like a pretend Pope supporter, don’t know what that was all about.

4:50pm all of a sudden a police van pulls up and police poured out of the side door and spread out along the kerbside telling everyone to step onto the sidewalk, here we go I thought. Now at this point everyone is expecting to see the Pope plod along in his Pope mobile at a couple of mph and give the crowd a wave, so I set my camera at AV priority f5.6, ISO400, Focal Length around 60mm with the intention of getting a few shots of him and a good depth of field.

Next thing my phone rings, it’s my son Mark :

Dad were are you ?
I am at a back entrance of the park, why ?
I’m watching the BBC coverage and he is almost at the park.

I turned to Bob who was further up street and and gave him a node of the head to indicate he was on his way. As I turned back around I notice two police motorbikes come speeding along the road.

Ok Mark I think he is coming this way I need to go.
Ok dad speak to you later.

And as I hung up the phone a fleet of cars and vans came speeding around the corner, my first thought was it must be the security clearing the way for the Pope mobile, then I noticed the first car had four police motorbikes surrounding it. S**t I thought, he’s in an unmarked car.

With no time to change my settings I locked onto the black car and began to rapid fire the camera towards the rear windows, in a split second the car had passed and entered the park.

Bob did you see him ?
No, where ?
He was in that black car.
No, did you get a picture ?
I dont know, I think so, hold on I will check.

I pressed the play button on my cam, ran back through the last few shots and !!! Bang !!! there he was.

sitting in the back seat, not even slowing down to wave to the small crowd that had gathered to see him.

In hindsight I should have used my camera to its full potential and saved a few settings on the user selection dials, one for the depth of field shot and one for the quick moving cars, this way I would have been prepared for what just happened. But lesson learned I will be ready the next time I find myself in this sort of situation.

The crowd quickly realized that he had already past them by and there was no acknowledgment towards them. The disappointed crowd began to break up and leave, so myself and Bob followed the majority of the crowd and continued around the outer perimeter of the park. We quickly came upon what was the main entrance for the 65,000 people whom had bought tickets to enter and be a part of the mass that the pope was now holding.

Ok, we never got much action when the Pope arrived, so lets hang around here for the crowds leaving the park and maybe we will get some interesting shots. I asked a policeman what time was the crowd leaving the park and he replied “around 7pm or 8pm I’m not sure”. The overall feeling I got from the police when I was speaking to them was, treat everyone as a possible terrorist.

It was now around 6:00pm and the thought of standing around in the cold for another 2hrs got the better of us and we decide to continue walking around the outside of the park. Along the way we came across some demonstrators protesting against the Pope’s visit, it was all quiet peaceful and did not look like anything was going to kick-off, pity lol would have given us something to photograph.

Anyway all things considered we headed home happy that one of us got a shot of the Pope sneaking in the back door of the Bellahouston Park and that is what matters, out of all the photos taken on that day we got one good photo….

  1. Joan
    September 19, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I am sure you are not the only one with a camera who went home a little disappointed Mark, at least you did get one of the pope. He does look a little startled thou Mark “what on earth where you wearing” LOL…. Enjoyed reading this a thumbs up!

  2. September 20, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Post is very good – but the photos catch the atmosphere just brilliantly!

  3. September 24, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    Great shot! It’s something that you even captured a shot here. Great post. great job.

  4. Joan
    November 28, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    It’s Holly , good quality photographs although the pope looks scarey

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