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Capturing The Moments

 

{Our newest guest blogger is an Abbey Medieval Festival Volunteer Photographer.  She writes about her day at the Tournament below.}

 

So 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.

Photo by David de Groot

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.

Blending in with the Crowd

Photo by Cavanagh

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.

Photo by Jeff Fitzpatrick

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.

Ready or Not!

Photo by M Tullet

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!

All in a Day's Work at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Photo by M Tullet

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.}

New Benches for Abbeystowe!

We have been busy making improvements to Abbeystowe (the Festival site) for this year and are proud to reveal the new bench seats that have just sprung up across the field!

There are 30 new benches in total, each one is 2.4m long and capable of seating between 4-8 people at a time. They have been dotted all round Abbeystowe, particularly in places where you, our fantastic visitors, have requested them – near the food!

“More seating!” has long been a cry of our visitors to the Abbey Medieval Festival and we’d like to thank our team of volunteers who put in the time to transform these lovely new seats from raw slabs of timber to backside bliss. We are now on the lookout for large sandstone or granite boulders to dot the site (let us know if you know where we can get some!).

 

Medieval Banquet Tickets – nearly all gone!

The Medieval Banquets of the 2013 Abbey Medieval Festival!

Now THIS is a banquet of a distinct style!

Medieval Style of Course.  Authentic Medieval Style.  Just for you (and for us too as we enjoy it so much)

Have you got your tickets yet?

Last year we heeded your calls, and planned for two Medieval Banquets in our Abbey Medieval Festival event this year.  Thank goodness we did. We’ve already sold heaps of tickets, and there are not too many left.
I just thought I’d give you a heads-up before they all run out as they always do every year.

Medieval entertainment combines with all the elements of our Abbey Medieval Festival's Medieval Banquet to create an extraordinaryily unique experience for our guests.

Photo: David deGroot. The Medieval Banquet 2012.

It’s the attraction of the atmosphere of our Banquet that actually creates some of the disappointment some of you experience every year.  The intimacy of our gathering limits our seating numbers; this is great for everyone who manages to acquire a ticket – and not so good for those who didn’t quite get their tickets in time.

Of course, one needs clothing for a Medieval night out.  We’ve an on-going series of blog posts right now, as well as some we presented last year.  {You could use our search button on the top right-hand of our site, or follow one of the category listings beside these posts.}  There is much info to be found on our Facebook page as well for you.

And before we start with the whole reason of the Banquet  {the food 🙂 }, should you need a run-down of authentic Medieval style etiquette, then this beauty of a post is not to be missed.    The intricacies of participating in an authentic Medieval presentation of foods require Medieval arts and skills and finesse when dining.  This post will both enlighten and entertain you.

Bring on the Food!

The Menu!

Goodness me.  Just reading the menu is enough to fill me for half a day.  Vegetarians will be really pleased that they will be able to be feeling as resplendent as their fellow diners.  Two removes no less – and each a feast in itself.  And then of course, there is the Issue to balance and finish the meal.

And as always, while the banquet is underway there is entertainment galore to be had.

The Experience of a Medieval Banquet.

Without giving too much away – we work hard to make each year’s Medieval Banquet not only memorable but unique in its own way – I can show you  some highlights from last year.Serving the centre piece of Abbey Tournament Medieval Banquet 2012

There will be our famous Medieval Banquet Subtlety.  This extraordinary dish is handcrafted for the Medieval Banquet each year and the designs are getting more amazing every time.  Here is the 2012 subtlety.

Dining by candle-light, you will be entertained  in true medieval style with authentic music and a show  hosted by our own MC.

And to top it all off you have of course, our amazing volunteer contingent whose entire pleasure all night is providing for your delight!

Don’t miss out!  Here is where you get your tickets.

 

 

Calling our Abbey volunteers!

Join the wonderful volunteers at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Hooray for volunteers!

WE’VE JUST FINISHED our Kids’ Medieval Fun Day, and our volunteers are dragging off their medieval costumes, and cleaning up Abbeystowe.

Everyone is exhausted, but all our volunteers are smiling, feeling really pleased that we have helped build a very special experience for so many children.

The feeling of satisfaction you get from volunteering keeps many of us coming back and spending hour after hour, day after day, helping our community organisations.

Here at the Abbey Museum and Abbey Medieval Festival, we are blessed with over two hundred volunteers.

We want to make sure our volunteers are looked after, and have all the information and encouragement they need to keep on doing their wonderful job.

That’s why we’ve run our Volunteer Induction days. It is one of the best ways to invest in our volunteers.

To have a look at what we did at the last Volunteer Induction Day, have a look at the video footage taken on the day. See the video here for Volunteer Induction Day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw2OoOTwiWc

If you are one of many new (and highly valued) volunteers, we hope you were able to make it.

If so, can you sport yourself in the video. If not, have a look at it. We hope you can make the next one.

In the meantime, we are now getting everything ready for the Abbey Medieval Tournament weekend.

Please leave a comment so we can be sure you have viewed the video.

 

OUR VOLUNTEERS – Saviours of the Day

Every year the most amazing people come forward to volunteer as part the team for the Abbey Medieval Tournament and it is their involvement that makes this Festival the internationally-renowned event that it is today.

The numbers of volunteers required each year continues to grow with the 2012 event looking for over 200 helpers.  Many will be repeat helpers but we are always looking for fantastic people to come and join us, to be involved in an historic way of life for a weekend, to help our 25,000 visitors experience such an eye-opening weekend – to see how rope and furniture was made, to taste food and drinks of the day, to ‘oohh’ at the jousting and to ‘aahh’ at the Birds of Prey.

To volunteer, just complete our Online Volunteer Form and your information will come straight through to us, the Volunteer Co-ordinators,  and we’ll be in touch!!

Roles range from helping people at the gate, serving at the Banquet and being involved in the Kids Festival the week before.  You’ll even get a great costume to wear to help you feel like you’re really part of this ‘wiiiillld’ weekend experience.

Now that it is the New Year we are getting into the swing of things.  The logistics of sourcing 200+ people, allocating roles, finding food to feed the team (it might be a loaves & fishes type-meal!!  We’re hoping for the forever-filling baskets to come forward as budget is preeeeety tight!!) – all this seems pretty daunting at the moment but I’m sure Chrystle and I, as the volunteer co-ordinator team, will find ways and means to make this an unforgettable weekend (in the best possible way!!) for you all

AMF-Jousting Knight

A Knight in Shining Armour come to save the day!!

……

Wishing all our past volunteers a wonderful 2012 and the same to any future volunteers out there reading our new post!!