I know this project is pretty much concluded, but I offered my services as 'official photographer' to the bantam society for their big show at the weekend. My plan was to sort out a cheap and reasonably efficient set up that anyone with a camera could use. In the hope that I wouldn't have got myself committed to future events. Apart rom another club's show in a fortnight...
As I was there I took pictures of my own, some of which have been added to the project file.
Shining up the feet.
Judging book and prize cards.
Judges compare notes.
The results are noted down.
Any road. This was the set up for the official photos. The club already had the board and background as used by their other photographer. Having seen what he did I had a rough idea how to go about things. The LED lights weren't ideal (no control over brightness) but helped to soften the shadow from the on camera speedlight. This really is outside of my comfort zone!
Some of the results were better than others, and some subjects trickier than others. It would have been a lot easier if the pesky birds would stand still for more than a nano-second!
I had a play around using my compact as a video camera, as an experiment. For anyone who hasn't been to a poultry show it looks, and perhaps more importantly sounds, something like this poorly edited footage.
It seems like my photos (the individual birds and the one of the two judges) were good enough for Fancy Fowl magazine. All I have to do now is train one or more of the club members to use my 'studio' set up and I'm off the hook!
There was another show and an auction the other weekend but I really have run out of steam and took very few pictures. Time to work out how to approach a project to do with sheep...
There was an auction and show last Saturday so I thought I'd try a slightly different approach using a small, silent camera I could use the screen to frame shots, and a longer lens on my DSLR. Not sure I got anything different, but it made a change.
One good thing about the local bantam society is their show hall is about ten minutes drive away. Although that makes it hard to resist visiting on show days...
As with anything you visit frequently it gets more and more difficult to find new things to photograph. Over familiarity makes it harder to keep looking with fresh eyes. But every now and then something different jumps out at you. Today it was an old set of scales. Most egg judges use electronic scales, but not today's judge.
I've found that with fewer things interesting me I'm spending more time on anything that does catch my attention. I must have taken ten or more shots of these scales, and a good job too because only three or four weren't either blurred or out of focus! I also spent quite some time trying to make the next shot work. I don't think I did in the end, but it's OK. If the people and poultry don't make shapes or gestures to 'finish' the picture there's not a lot that can be done about it.
Last year's avian flu has had a big impact on the show scene. Birds are now routinely inspected on arrival, and carriers have to be of a certain specification - which has been a boost for manufacturers of poultry carrying boxes! I managed to get to the show early enough to get one reasonable picture of the inspections. A pity they do it under a blue gazebo.
Photos of people taking photos with phones (or using the screens of cameras) have become something fo a cliché, but I don't care. I finally got one I'm happy with.
That's about it. Apart from a snap of one man and his duck which made me smile for some reason.
It being a wet Saturday I thought I might as well go to the poultry auction, even though I felt a bit jaded with the subject. As it turned out I found myself doing something different. Since going digital I've taken against black and white conversions. A personal prejudice. But today I broke my own rule. At least shooting digital I still have the colour originals.
I was never any good at making black and white prints, and I'm no better with digital conversions! Here are a few from today.
I'm not sure if it's the shows or the bacon barms that keep drawing me back to the bantam society shows. Being ten minutes from home probably contributes. Anyway it was egg show day today and although I wasn't expecting much I got a couple of 'cracking' pictures. The pointy wooden egg cracker was something I hadn't seen before. I was lucky to time the shot just before contact.
Then I tried to get the ultimate contents picture. I doubt i managed that, but I got one of my best so far - out of a burst of ten frames I think this one 'tells the stroy' best.
There are other pictures of judging and the usual goings on which are much like those i've taken in the past. I did try some different angles though.
And some 'arty' shots.
Because there were only a few entries for the junior poultry show the club room was pretty much as it is when not in use which allowed for a couple of behind the scenes type pictures to show the brushes and tools used for cleaning up after a show. There's always something to see if I can keep my eyes fresh. Agricultural show season starts soon. There might be poultry, there probably will be sheep...
I got collared at the last show by the organiser of the poultry section of an agricultural show. He wanted some photos taking. I was going to the show anyway so a free ticket and car park pass was welcome. However it sort of put the pressure on me as I guessed I'd have to hang around for the presentations and get some 'publicity' type photos. Not my strong point. e.g. man with trophy growing out of his head...
At least the pictures are reasonably in focus and exposed.
I did get one or two candid shots of the organising team, which I hope they'll like.
Again, smiley people are not my style.
I still don't have a decent picture of the new inspection regime for arrivals at shows. I think this is my best so far.
And queuing for the prize money is another addition to the files.
I got some of the usual setting up and judging pictures.
Plus the trying to find unusual stuff.
It was red hot day and the poultry tent wasn't well ventilated. I'm pretty sure that the heat sapped my ability to find pictures. Particularly as I wanted to do some stuff around the sheep pens - which were as far away from the poultry tent as they could have been, and lacking shade. I got there just after eight and left around four fifteen. I think the two hour sit downI had in the early afternoon saved me from collapsing! My efforts at the sheep pens wasn't any more productive. The bright, high sun wasn't helping matters, but I'll post some pics in my sheep thread later. I got one or two reasonable pictures around the showground in a humorous/surreal 'street' style,and I could spend the whole day oat one of these shows photographing dogs and their owners.
It had been a toss up whether I went to yet another poultry auction or a sheepdog trial at a country show. From the publicity the show seemed to me like it would be all knick-knacks and country clothing and just happened to have sheepdogs. I thought I'd have a change and it t turned out that there was a poultry show too. As I was there to try to get some sheepdog photos (I got hundreds which I'm wading through right now!) I didn't take many in the poultry tent, but I got a few more for the files.
I think this project has finally worn itself out. I was at an agricultural show today and just couldn't get into the poultry at all. Just more of the same old stuff really. It's been fun, I've learned a lot about showing poultry, and met lots of friendly people. I've learned a bit about taking photographs and organising the results too. So all in all a very satisfying experience. So these are probably the last few photos I'll be posting here. Thanks for all the feedback and comments. They've been helpful and appreciated.
Although I spent some time in the poultry marquees at agricultural shows this summer I was mostly photographing sheep. As a result of this I haven't got many worthwhile pictures. And as I've mentioned before, finding new pictures is getting harder. It was more a case of looking for something unusual, or getting lucky.
The local poultry club holds an auction every year and as it's only ten minutes away I popped along to see what was going on. I didn't manage much of the auction itself but got a couple of pictures that help build the bigger picture of this world. I think there is scope to do more in this area.
The bigger auction at the mart didn't provide me with anything out of the usual last month. Just variations on previous themes.
I was late getting to yesterday's local show, the judging was already under way when I arrived. This time I tried a slightly bolder approach, getting in closer, which I think was a good move. Hopefully I'll give it another try in a fortnight at another show.
As I was feeling uninspired after the judging was done I thought I'd have a dummy run at photographing chicken feet to make a grid. To do it properly would require the birds to be out of the pens and standing on a clean surface. Better lighting would be preferred too. Whether I'll ever get round to taking this idea any further I doubt. Planning isn't my strong point...
This project has run its course, but I'll probably carry on taking photos at poultry shows. I might get some fresh ideas!
To my surprise I managed to add a couple of new pictures to my files at today's 900 pen show. One of a bird being taken from its pen and another of a judge filling in a judging book. Perhaps not the best such pictures, but they fill in some gaps.
There was a slightly different take on judging the eggs...
...yet another chicken prettifying shot...
...an owner having a final check before penning...
...and finally one I took because I liked the way the light was falling.
This show was held at the auction mart where there was a sale in progress. I didn't spend much time in there and came away with nothing fresh. It really is time I kicked this poultry habit and moved on to something fresh!
Same venue, different show. I wasn't really in the mood for another poultry show last weekend as I feel like it's time to move on from chickens and was expecting to end up with more of the same old same old. There was a lot of that but in a way it made me think a bit and look out for different angles. I always say there's no such thing as inspiration, there's only work, and the more work you make the greater the chance of new pictures being found. Rather than stopping digging when you're in a hole, carry on and dig your way out of it!
The show was celebrating it's 50th and I was hoping to find a picture to illustrate this. Maybe the show catalogue or something similar. When I saw a pile of special rosettes by the championship row it was a gift. I spent some time trying to make a decent job of it and after trying some 'clever' shots with the rosettes in the foreground and people in the background I thought a straight on view worked best.
Even when repeating myself I have it in mind to take pictures which can be put together in a set to briefly tell the story of the day, or most of it. I find that gives me something to aim for and keeps me thinking.
The now obligatory biosecurity inspection is something that has proved tricky to show in a picture. I think this is my best effort sow far as there is a cock's comb just visible in the right hand box. Although it was the appropriate name on the left hand box which had originally caught my eye.
Then it was on to the judging and nothing out of the ordinary apart from the measuring of eggs which I can't recall photographing before. Certtianly not with such a pleasing colour palette.
With the judging done prize cards have to be sorted out. There's a lot of work goes into running these shows.
But it seems to be enjoyable.
Best in show was barely visible for cards and rosettes.
Next Saturday there is a sheep sale, a sheep dog trial, and a poultry show. This Saturday's sheep dog trial was easy to skip given the gale force wind and cold rain, but next week the chooks are going to have to manage without me. It's time for me to concentrate on moving my sheep project forward.