Sunday, 10 February 2019

Carry on clucking

Gale force wind and accompanying rain didn't encourage me to go out yesterday. If the wind hadn't woken me up early and I hadn't promised to attend the poultry show I might well have stayed home. At least I'd be indoors taking photographs, which was a more tempting prospect than a sheep dog trial. Plus there'd be the mart café to provided sustenance.

The poultry shows held at the mart always coincide with a auction. I have gone as far as I think I can with poultry auctions, so didn't spend much time in that area. There was a big entry of dead stock in the sale and the bird section was so overbooked that there is to be an extra sale in a month's time, which I'll probably miss through being elsewhere.

The only 'new' picture I got was of some smashed eggs dropped outside the sale ring.

I hadn't expected much more from the show and initially felt like I was going over well ploughed land. The light in the show shed seemed even worse than usual. Very dark to start with as the rain was falling but brightening later. It was still variable in intensity depending where in the shed I was, and the artificial lights were their usual inconsistent colours. I set a tungsten white balance which seemed to do a better job than the auto setting - as it did in the sale ring, but the pictures still needed tweaking on the computer.

The pre-show checking of birds entering the building is one thing that has proved difficult to photograph in the past. When I saw the appropriate name on the carrying box below I hoped it might make for a picture, the cock's comb visible in the other box was down to luck. A better effort than many I've made of this element to showing poultry.

The judging was more of the usual. I'd gone armed with the long, fast, zoom with this subject in mind. It works well for creating out of focus backgrounds and for tight framing to cut out clutter. It can lead to less involved framing though.

This lens doesn't focus very close, so when I was struggling to get some shots in focus I wasn't surprised. What did throw me was that I could focus closer manually. It took me far longer than it should have done to realise I had set the focus limiter at five metres to infinity when photographing the sheep dogs in action last weekend. Once I slid the switch to 'full' I was in business. After many missed shots.

The longer zoom has its uses, but I'm not sure they are all that important or do much more than a simple 100mm lens couldn't have done. Unsurprisingly, the majority of my pictures were taken with the 'standard' zoom. This does focus close, and has no limiter for me to forget has previously been engaged!

With the show being the fiftieth the society has held it was a nice touch that they had special rosettes made for the event. Piled up they made for a picture to help tell the story of the occasion.

Something that has been missing from my show photographs is the unglamorous aspect of doing the admin. I took quite a few shots using the flip out screen and live-view over the day. I even used the face recognition feature while so doing. It's not as slick as it could be. I was tempted to seek out a mirrorless camera just to have live view and face detection that works much better on a flippy screen. The temptation lasted only until I evaluated the costs involved!

My main gripe with using live-view with my cameras is the slow process of moving the focus point around. That's where a touch screen comes in useful. Dragging the focus point with a thumb is speedy. I could have done with it to photograph the chicken below as I wanted the tea tin in focus. Using the four-way selector to move the point took ages.

The day had worked out better than I had expected. It's funny how simply getting on with taking photographs can result in a lack of inspiration at the outset ending in a successful conclusion. Not a big collection of great pictures, more the addition of a few decent ones to the overall body of poultry show work. Two or three good pictures and half a dozen 'useful' ones from 500 or more seems like a good hit rate to me. Nobody takes five hundred great pictures in their entire lifetime!

The reason I had about two hundred more pictures than a usual day's haul was that I had my new regime of taking more shots of one view had been in action. The most time consuming part of sorting the all those pictures out was the editing - editing being sorting out the good from the bad, the useful from the useless, not the fiddling with how they look. When whittled down to 57 (still too many really) for a gallery (here) it took me just a few minutes to process them. Adjust white balance, correct exposure, highlights and shadows, then export to the gallery and some jpegs for this blog. Easy peasy.

No comments: