Why would you spend money and travel to a world show?
What makes you want to attend a bird show?
|The Trophy Stage|
|I live in South Central Pennsylvania, USA|
Is it the birds or the people?
I never thought that I would be back in England a year later. Things seemed to fall into place and before I knew it I was planning the 3850 mile trip over to Doncaster. When you under take a trip like that you need to have good connections and mine seemed to fall into place. My friend Ian Anderton offered a place for me to stay and transportation to the places I wanted to go.
1st stop, Doncaster.
Last year was an opportunity of a lifetime. I was able to steward the show and support our local club BS panel judge David Collier, but this year I was on my own. Maybe I had more room to move around with less commitment, but my goal was to get the pictures. I had considered obtaining a press pass but found it difficult to do this by snail mail. I decided to contact the show manager Dave Hislop once I arrived in the show hall and also security officer Pete Smith and everything was agreed to before I started taking pictures. One thing I have learned is to be respectful of what I do, to shoot pictures quickly in order to not make others feel uncomfortable. As a photographer I have learned how to be where I need to be in order to get the shots I'm looking for. Sure I may push those boundaries but expression is what l look for and when I step across those lines when told respectfully retreat.
|BIS Sky cock, Les Martin|
Why did I come?
I love the experience, the opportunity to see this many birds in one place and the best ones I can find. Mostly I love the contacts, putting names of people I've read about and connecting the faces. I was standing by the major winning birds displayed in the center of the hall. Three gentlemen walked up to me and I instantly recognized them. Christian Back, Clemens Keller, and Leo Enders from Germany. It was such a pleasure to speak with them because to me they are like the royalty of the hobby and to approach me is an honor. I mentioned this blog to which they said "oh yes we have seen your blog". I was very pleased that this blog has reached so far and wide. Someone suggested taking a picture and we did. As one behind the camera I don't often have the chance to have my picture taken. Klemens invited me to the German national show to which I asked, "can I get a press pass?" Then he went on to say that there are 50 breeders inside of a 200 kilometer area. Only time will tell if this trip is possible.
Much like last year this years numbers were about the same. I'm told there were approximately 1800 birds benched not including birds for sale. Numerous people mentioned the difficulty of getting their birds into condition and I was not surprised considering the temperature which was quite warm for the times.
How does one capture a show such as this?
I always think we breed our birds because we love them first and the challenge of breeding second. We love comparing our ideas with our friends. If you have accomplished much people pay attention. I look to those successful people in the hobby and study their birds carefully. In many circumstances you ask yourself how they could attain so much feather. Understanding that there isn't a fast track to success. The lesson to be learned is time and paitence. Making friends on the way up the ladder may just be the ticket to the way forward. Its the big picture and what I call "My Challenge"!
What can we do to support the hobby?
I always think about this. Mentoring is vital in keeping those coming through the ranks motivated. Its easy to speak to the difficulties in a calm way that we have experienced so many times. I have tried to support as many local shows as I'm able. Not many have the means and I do these things by saving my money over the year. Because I am self employed with no employees I have the luxury of taking the time off that many can't. I choose to use my skills in media to give back at my level. I get pleasure from offering what limited knowledge I have to build up a junior or a beginner. I think that we all need to give back to the hobby as much as we love breeding and showing our birds, if you are able be pro active. I think it is vital for me to present interesting pictures that attract and promote everyone including the children in the hobby who we know are the future. I love getting down on their level so we can get a perspective of what they see. Lets carry on a tradition of including the lesser ones who have a long hill to climb.
|Having fun while working the show|
A peaceful night was not to be had. Evidently an event was going on down stairs from our room and loud noises radiated into the early morning hours. I woke up exhausted. Then we left for breakfast at McDonalds where we experienced an over zealous inexperienced manager who just didn't seem to get the orders correct and had the propensity to argue at her every whim. In my American accent I attempted to persuade her to slow down and try to listen to her customers yet I felt unsuccessful.
|My model for the day|
It was a relief to enter the show hall and a plethora of familiar faces. I had really captured most of the bird pictures the day before but I wanted to go over the birds one more time. As I was looking at the Grey Greens someone asked me if I had seen the Lutino. We walked over to this amazing bird of which I had never seen in its variety.
I continued looking for people pictures especially young and well known people. I met Luetolf once again he had just spent time with a friend of mine and I wanted to talk with him about it. First I wondered if Daniel world remember me and he did. Last year I sat around a table at Chris Snell' with our group, Geoff Tuplin and Daniel Luetolf. I decided to sit at a table where Ron Payne was and next to him was Mark Gully, later Mark Ramshaw appeared all friends from Facebook. Its so good to put a face to a name and have a conversation. Later I ran into Brian Sweeting a fellow photographer who branded an new camera since last year. He introduced me to Les Martin the winner of this and last years show. In fact Les won 2 years running with two different birds a feat not accomplished before.
I walked over to the birds in the major awards looking for reactions where I saw Gren Norris taking a picture of the Best Young Bird in show. As I walked over to the Best In Show winner once again I met a champion breeder and we began a conversation. I noticed that the tail of the winning bird laid on the bottom of the cage by at least 2 inches and I asked if he thought it has Longflight characteristics. He seemed to think that it might and so I decided to find my closed friend in the hobby in England Steve Holland.
He began to explain what characteristics make a Longflight and right away he said it wasn't one. One of the first things to take note of a Longflight is the tips of the wings in reference to where they lay next to the rump. The rump should extend beyond the wings. I then heard stories of breeders trimming tails in order to show their birds. Later I had a conversation with Rodney Harris who confirmed this among other things the number of flights being one of them.
I planted myself again this year at the front left of the awards ceremony. My goal was to capture the emotion of those who walked past me after receiving their award yet still capture some of the formal shots from the side. Many got their awards who I didn't know but some I did of which I was sure to capture. As the awards were given out along came Geoff Bowley one of the major winners. Blaring from the speakers came the song ----. Everyone had big smiles as Geoff bowed to the master of ceremonies later to have a big relaxed face for the camera. What fun it was to watch with well deserved admiration as he received his award.
As he left the stage the song changed to "We are the champions" as Les Martin approached the stage for the top award. A well reserved man Les received his award and you could see the jubilance in his expression and later as Dave Hislop raised his hand high in the air trophy in hand. A lasting image of the show and a pleasing one at that.
After arriving at home someone brought up the idea of why this show is called a World Show. Many countries are not represented including to breeders in Europe, South Africa and Australia. I argue that the ability to show is available to anyone abroad and obviously there are many reasons as to why some could not show cost being the major point. Whatever the reason I would argue that this show has in fact some of the very best birds anywhere. I'm not sure how a true World Show could take place outside of the internet but then that wouldn't be the same would it?
|David and Alex Woan|
|FA-1 Stud, Ian Ainly and Mick Freakley|
|Gren and Pat Norris|
|T & A Luke|
|Grey Green cock|
|Opaline light green|