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AGS Shows: South West Show 2016

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Started by: Jon Evans

Go to latest contribution by Jon Evans, 02 May 2016, 20:32. Go to bottom of this page.

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Contribution from Jon Evans 02 May 2016, 20:32top / bottom of page

Two weeks ago, when I went to the Solihull show, I drove through snow.  On Saturday, although it was -2 degrees C when we set off at 5.30am, the weather was much better, and we had a pleasantly uneventful drive down the A303, through wonderful English landscapes, on a bright sunlit frosty morning.  Quite unlike the journey many of the other exhibitors who had driven down on the Friday in Bank Holiday weekend queues.

My wife Helen had very kindly agreed to accompany me, as I had been asked to put on an exhibit of photos, and the display I had in mind would take rather longer for one person to put up than I would have available.  With two of us working in parallel, we were able to get the display up in about 80 minutes, finishing comfortably before the hall was closed for judging, despite the odd error in my planning.  I was glad I had brought the exhibit - it made an excellent backdrop for the tables of plants in the absence of the artistic competition which took place here in previous years.  

This exhibit was titled "Where is the Art in Digital Photography ?" and tried to explain what is in my mind while I am taking and processing (digitally) a photograph - what decisions I am making, and for what reasons.  I wanted to explore how much of the process can be inspired by artistic motivations, rather than purely technical ones.  The photos, and perhaps these garbled thoughts, attracted a good deal of attention from judges, other exhibitors and members of the public, and I had constant questions and enquiries while I was doing the show photography.  

On one side of the entrance into the main hall, the local groups staged a display to attract new members to the society, and to the local groups.

Display of Needlework and Embroidery

In the corridor between the show hall and the catering area, Jean Morris was busy setting up her usual display of embroidery.  This contained the very best of her embroidery and needlework pieces from the shows over the years, and an extensive educational display explaining how they were produced. 

Jean received a Gold Award for this display.  I was not privy to the judges' discussion, but I know that she has received a Large Gold for similar displays in the past, and I suspect that the award given may in part reflect the familiarity of much of the exhibit.  For someone encountering this work for the first time, this was a very fine and informative exhibit.

Display of Needlework and Embroidery

The closure of the show hall for judging gave me a brief opportunity to visit the sales hall, although the presence of my wife Helen may have contributed slightly to a more considered approach to shopping.  Certainly the vociferous approach of a very friendly David Nicholson, importuning me to further purchases right in front of her, did not advance his cause.

Iris reichenbachii

When I returned to the hall to perform my duties for the day, the first plant I selected was this lovely iris exhibited by Tim Lever, because I was afraid the heat of the hall would take its toll.  Later I found that it had been awarded a Certificate of Merit.  

Iris reichenbachii

As you can see, at this point in the morning I had the type of light I like - good side lighting from the window, albeit I would have been happier without the bright sunshine which produces bright highlights, and harsh shadows.  But lighting never stays constant - as the sun moved round during the day it would be a constant battle to maintain good lighting, and to avoid hard bands of shadow from the window bars falling across the plants to be photographed.

Kalmia polifolia Compacta Alba

The next plant I photographed was this beautiful Kalmia exhibited by Tim's partner Gemma Hayes; it was on the bench nearest the windows, and I feared for it in the warmth of the sun.  When I received the list of awards I found this had received the Cornwall Trophy for the best plant in the Intermediate Section, and unusually for a plant from the Intermediate Section, had also won the East Devon Trophy for the best plant in a 19cm pot.  Congratulations to Gemma.

Kalmia polifolia Compacta Alba
Tulipa Red Hunter

Pauline Carless, who won the Dartmoor Trophy for the Intermediate Section aggregate, exhibited this pan of tulips, with just two flowers open and a mass of buds to follow.  But what flowers - huge sumptious goblets of scarlet.

Tulipa Red Hunter

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