CLA Game Fair 2011, Blenheim Palace

This weekend I have been attending the wonderful, but exhausting, CLA Game Fair at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock near Oxford.  As usual at these events I came home battered and barely able to move.  Several days of being constantly on your feet in a rapidly changing mix of humid heat and heavy rains really takes it out of you.

Martin accompanied me on this little adventure as it might be a good opportunity to do some improvised location lighting and also to test out the video capabilities and features of the new Nikon D7000; which performed quite admirably, more on this later.

We spent the majority of our time around the Volkswagen sponsored Falconry Village, as I was raised around falconry and knew many of the people that were exhibiting in that area.  We camped on-site, unlike the ladies at the Volgswagen stand who thought we had far more fun of an evening than they were able to have at their hotel, spending most of them gathered around somebody’s caravan or tent eating and drinking (mostly drinking) until the small hours of the morning.  Fortunately, this time around, I had the foresight to pitch my tent under a tree to prevent it from turning into an oven at 5am as the sun came up.  This meant I could actually have a bit of a lie in and take things easy.

We took a bunch of lights modifiers and other bits with us, as you never know what may happen and what you might need at these types of events, but we had little opportunity to pull them out of the bag.  In fact, aside from a few lighting tests, and a portrait for three of the British Falconers’ Club Lantra assessors, they pretty much stayed in the car the whole time.  The weather just wasn’t working to advantage – it was either too dull and grey to get the overall scene we wanted, or there was not a cloud in the sky and it just looked boring.  It’s always so difficult at these things as the backgrounds are often littered with people, tents, caravans and exhibitors.

We did manage to have a good wander around on the first official day of the show, Friday, survey the area and get some images of various goings on, but we decided to spend most of our time for the rest of the show concentrating on experimenting with the Nikon D7000 and its video capabilities to see how well it handled under the varying weather and lighting conditions.

Most of the video on the D7000 was shot with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8VR (the original one, not the VRII) so that we would have access to some form of image stabilisation, should we need it.  I had somehow managed to forget to bring my monopod though, so most sequences were shot on a tripod.  After some tinkering with the settings it was producing some rather nice imagery, some of which you can see in the video that shall soon be arriving below (as soon as I’ve had the time to sit down and edit it properly, so watch this space).

Late on Saturday evening we did a short video & timelapse for Kingscott Transport Boxes to demonstrate their new Circair Circulation & Ventilation system for bird transportation boxes.

I did not have the opportunity to chat to him properly, but we also stumble across Bernard Cribbins at the Lantra & British Falconers’ Club stands.  He was just about ready to get into his golf cart and head off when I arrived.  Quite the spritely fellow for an 82 year old.

All in all it was a great show, as it usually is, even if it does take 2 or 3 days to recover once you get home.