Our guest blogger is an Abbey Medieval Festival Volunteer Photographer. She writes about her day at the Tournament below.
Why I am an Abbey Medieval Festival Volunteer Photographer?
Like most visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival I became entranced from the moment I entered the gate. As I was greeted with a “my lady” and a snap of my wristband I was transported to another time, another place.
Inside the gates so much to see, smell, taste, experience and especially to photograph! Forget a safari or road trip, I hardly put my camera down! I knew I wanted more than anything to photograph inside the second rope. This was a world of swirling Romani skirts, the clash of sword on armour, the crack of a jousting lance as it shatters, of smiling kids running and playing barefoot. For photographers capturing each and every moment of the experience is paramount. I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer as a photographer for 2011, and again in 2012, not just the Medieval Tournament but also other great events at the Abbey Museum.
We photographers get funny looks. Comments about our “medieval Canons” or the contrast between our costume and the hefty gear we carry around. We try our hardest to keep from blocking others views of the activities. Many times this means spending the day in wet and sometimes muddy clothing from sitting or laying on the ground. I call it being authentic.
So how does a photographers day start? For me it starts months before as I work on my “medieval camouflage”. By blending into the rest of the festival as much as possible I can capture the day better, and combined with my official Abbey Medieval Festival Volunteer Photographer Tunic I’m ready to go as unnoticed as possible.
The night before the tournament begins I set an alarm, and a backup, for early in the morning. Inevitably, I wake early from the excitement and by four I’ve gotten up to check that I have batteries, backup batteries, flash, monopod, lenses, spare lenses, and the all important memory cards packed. I also take the time to gather up fingerless gloves, a warm hat, the list goes on!
Before the gates open and the grass is dry, photographers can be seen setting up, getting photos of fellow volunteers, the morning sun setting the castle aglow, glinting off a sword propped against a shield, or trying to plan out how to best capture everything.
And then the day begins!
For those who have experienced a tournament you know there’s so much to see and do. Photographers get assignments to cover, but there’s always more to fit in. Many times we may forget to eat or stop for more than a quick drink at the fountain because something just happened to catch our eye. From the chilly morning, to sunny bright afternoon, then back to the brisk evenings we’re there in the grass capturing each moment of the festival. But our day is hardly over when the gates close. After driving home we get all our cards downloaded, backed up, and reformatted. Batteries charged, a bite to eat and to bed to try and rest. Meanwhile images flits through our brain, and which ones we want to try and capture the next day! Even long after the final boom of the cannon on Sunday there is work to do, processing, editing and submitting all the photos to the Abbey Festival for use in promoting this great event. While this doesn’t seem much to some people, we photographers tend to have thousands of photos each day and that can sometimes take us all the way up to our deadline a month after the festival.
Guest Blogger: Neda Lundie
Neda Lundie was born in the United States and now a citizen of Australia, Neda Lundie fell in love with photography at an early age. From the moment she picked up her first 110 camera as a kid in the early 80’s, to buying her first SLR second hand in year 11, the important thing for her has been to capture life to preserve memories.
Neda has covered events at the Abbey Museum since 2011 including Abbey Medieval Festival, Kids Medieval Fun Day, Picnic at Pemberley, Kids Dig it Day and new to 2012. the Birds of Prey Experience.