Autumn brings short days which limit the chances to get out and about in
daylight. Especially for late risers such as myself. With lots of work to
catch up on free time to go take photographs is limited. Besides, my interest
in wandering round looking for random pictures is waning. That said a free
couple of hours on a sunny evening can tempt me out and occasionally produce a
picture that is nice in itself but doesn't really have a purpose.
A fortnight ago was this year's last big show of the season. In normal years there would be two more to follow it, but these are not normal times. I made sure to arrive in good time in order to avoid queuing to park and the lengthy walk from the parking area. That much worked out fine. Even by nine it was baking hot. The show catalogue revealed that the sheep judging was being split into morning and afternoon sessions for lowland and hill breeds respectively. It was going to be a long, hot, day waiting for the Lonk judging.
I looked for some pre-show action but had missed most of that. Took some random snaps of breeds I don't usually spend much time with and tried to find quirky stuff while I waited for the main event.
In the any other breed class were a few pens of Whitefaced Woodlands which gave me some action to photograph during the morning. They are probably the breed which interests me most after the Lonk with them being another of the more neglected Pennine breeds in terms of photographic fans. It seems they are partial to carrots.
Much smaller in size, and undoubtedly cuter, is the Portland. A sheep with ancient roots.
With the morning judging over I went for a wander. The alpaca ring was mildly entertaining, but with the show being spread over two days as a Covid precaution there was no poultry show the day I was there, nor was there much other livestock.
Vintage tractors are, to my eye, limiting in appeal. I think the best way to deal with them would be photographing the restoration work. Otherwise it'd just be pictures of tractors. Which I know does appeal to tractor nuts!
By the time he hill sheep were to be judged the heat had started to get to me. I was feeling in need of a lie down in the shade. As I imagine the sheep were. For whatever reason the turnout of Lonks was low, while the Gritstones were out in force. Luckily they weren't being judged concurrently so I got a chance to look at both. Not that it worked out too well. I reckon that my brain was suffering from the heat and I just couldn't make anything more than record shots.
After the Lonk judging I went back to my car for a rest and a long drink of water. Refilled my small water bottle and tried to catch the end of the Gritstone judging. Although feeling a little refreshed I was still floundering. When that judging was over I'd had enough. I couldn't face waiting for the overall hill breed championship.
Aside from the photographic side of things, which was disappointing, it had been an enjoyable day catching up with sheep people and having a day in the fresh air. Sometimes I think that is why I keep going to these shows. After all, I'm not a documentary photographer. It doesn't matter whether I take photos or not.
It's odd, but I have noticed recently how it's becoming increasingly the case that some hobbyist photographers (which I suppose is what I am) are labelling themselves, sorry I mean self identifying themselves, as documentary photographers in the same way that others call themselves 'landscape photographers' or 'street photographers'. Does it make them feel more important? Do they think it makes their pictures better? I dunno. I'm just a bloke with a camera.
I do know that quite a few of the photos I've seen by this cadre of photographer seem to lack any effort to be made as pictures. Sure they document things, people, places, but there's a lack of structure to the photos which turns them into pictures and makes them say something about what they show. Look at really good documentary photography and you see pictures, often with a degree of complexity to their form which lifts them beyond being record shots. I don't manage it too often, but it's what I strive to do with my photographs. Just another pet peeve of a grumpy old git!