This weekend I went to the Newport Agricultural Show, in Shropshire, to see if I could get any interesting pictures. In my mind I was picturing the National Portrait Photography Prize winning picture of a girl holding a guinea pig. What I wasn’t expecting was such a large and busy event. It was very difficult to get images with clean backgrounds. I was also hampered by not realising what was going on for the competitors and didn’t take their needs into account. For anyone who intends to shoot at this sort of event I would only approach people after they have their animal judged. Competitors take the event very seriously and do not want to be harassed by a well meaning photographer prior to the judging.
I used the event to try out the GX1 to force me to get closer to my subject. I took 381 shots during the five hours I was at the show, but only 47 with the GX1 preferring instead to use my 70-300mm. The next time I go out I’m going to risk leaving the DSLR at home.
This is one of my favourite shots using the GX1. The colours seem too bright, especially the reds, but the small camera size allowed me to get through the bars keeping the visitors at bay. I used Lightroom to recover some of the details lost in the highlights and then smoothed the whole picture to make it look more like a painting. Not to everyone’s taste I’m sure but I like the effect (in moderation).
For me the stars of the show were the farmers from small farms out to show their prides and joys. There were a lot of real characters present and they were very bemused at the attention they were getting. All of them seemed approachable (if not a little shy).
All in all it was a great day out and I had some brilliant weather for the majority of the day. There was a lot to learn about shooting at these sort of events. The main point for me was try not to ‘snipe’ my subjects but get in close and talk to them before I took any pictures – get in close and personal and the images will dramatically improve. This only seemed to fall into place towards the end of the day.