Sunday, 4 August 2019

Another hot day

The weekend away from sheep and shows must have recharged my batteries because I was keen to get to Garstang on Saturday, even though the forecast was for another hot day. I took along the 35mm intending to use that most, with the superzoom available for its close focusing ability. In the end I took one picture (deleted) with the 35mm and used the do-it-all lens for most of the rest of the time. The exceptions being a few taken with the 20mm I always have with me. So much for my good intentions.

The more shows I go to the more difficult it becomes to find fresh pictures. I also have at the back of my mind a vague idea that my photographs might serve as a record of these events and as such shouldn't be too 'arty'. This has come about through looking at Martin Parr's pictures which, while they make a social comment, don't always explain what's going on. So I'm always trying to strike a balance between good pictures which work on a formal level and pictures which serve as records to tell a story. Of course there's flexibility allowed in this. Especially for 'detail' shots.

I started the day with the Jacob sheep, which always get a lot of last minute primping. Although I closed in on some details, which I've photographed before, I also realised that these preparations are a sort of group activity and had a go at capturing that aspect.

As I spend more time looking than photographing with the novelty factor wearing off I also do more talking, or maybe more listening, to sheep breeders. I don't know if what I hear informs my picture taking or not, but it is interesting to learn about sheep husbandry, the history of breeds and other aspects of the breed societies.

This show doesn't have a big Lonk class, in fact it was almost cancelled this year until some last minute entries made it worthwhile. The Gritstones were thin on the ground, only one pen in the any other breed section, and they were (rather unusually) halter trained.

The unloading of sheep still attracts my attention and this was when I used the wide angle. I guess I keep photographing some things on a regular basis in the hope of getting that one 'killer' image if I try often enough!

The same reasoning goes for photographing the judging. Although this time I made an effort to try and capture inspection of both ends of the Lonks.

Catching up the sheep after they've been 'let go' for the judges to watch how they carry themselves is something else that is likely to make for good pictures. And so it was I rattled off lots more frames destined for the waste disposal.

The flippy screen is handy for low level shots. Although there was a barrier between me and the sheep in the frame above, had there not been I could have got out of trouble faster standing holding the camera low using the screen than kneeling down using the viewfinder. However, I found the autofocus in liveview dismal - yet again. There's only one focus area and no option to let the camera pick where it goes. I might start taking my fishing camera along to use in that mode as it does a much better job of it.

By the time the sheep had been judged it was as hot as predicted and I was beginning to melt. My second plan for the day had been to look round the rest of the show after the sheep action was over, but I was too hot and bothered. I took a few shots on my way back to the car, but nothing of note. Maybe if I travelled a bit lighter I would survive longer in the heat. I might be more nimble, too, and more inclined to get lower for different angles.

Lots of options next week, midweek and weekend, which I'll take up remains to be seen. It might be a challenge to go to a less favoured show with just one camera and one lens of a single focal length. That would take me back to my days as an impoverished student who could only afford one lens!

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