Porlock Pantomime and Drama Society present: SHOWTIME – David

Starting Thursday 25th to Saturday 27th October in Porlock Village Hall at 7:30pm.

Last night I got a sneak preview, I was taking photos at the first dress rehearsal, it is the first time I have done anything like this and it comes with a few challenges.

Firstly the show was very good, so much so that I am going on Friday with Melody and some friends, I am looking forward to being off duty and able to relax and enjoy the performances.

This is what Porlock Visitor Centre has published about the show.

Porlock Pantomime & Drama Society present: SHOWTIME, an evening of well known songs from a range of genres including Musical Theatre, Movie Sound Tracks, Country, 60s Pop, Mowtown and much loved ABBA.
Bistro style seating. Tickets available from: Porlock Home & Hardware; Toucan Wholefoods, Minehead or www.wegottickets.com/porlockdrama

Time: 7.30pm; Bar available from 7pm
Venue: Porlock Village Hall
Price: £8

I think it should be Motown, but perhaps this is a cut above the rest.

My first thoughts for taking photos was that the spotlights would be great, and I would not need a flash.  In fact, I haven’t got a flash that would have lit the stage sufficiently, but the spotlights caused their own problems and my first shots were failures, thank goodness for digital, in the old days I wouldn’t have known until they came back from processing or in the dark room.

A lot of the cast were dressed in black with black stage and silver backdrop, the only white was the faces, the metering didn’t stand a chance, so the first shots were bright white blobs on black suits.  A bit of compensation and constantly being aware of the different costumes and that low angles really didn’t work and finally a bit of post processing that I hope has dealt with those issues.  Anyway, if you come along you will find that the wonderful thing about eyes is that designed long before the digital age they perform so much better.

I’m looking forward to the performance, do come along.

Porlock Carnival 2018 – David

Porlock Carnival Clown

Another year photographing and enjoying Porlock Carnival.  I have photographed the carnival most years since we have lived here, sometimes I have been the official photographer and some like this I have just done it to help promote the village.  Do look at our FacebookPage for post event photos and pre event photos for next year, God willing that I am still here to do them.

Porlock Carnival Town Crier
Porlock Carnival Town Crier

Porlock is a lovely village, that puts on so many events, just too many to mention, but some have and will feature in blogs for the future.  What is surprising is the number of things that go on for a relatively small village, groups are formed, and hard work begins, often one just sees the end result and doesn’t think of those we may never see who have beavered away all year, well done and thank you from me.  If I had royal connections I could recommend them for medals, perhaps the village should have it’s own, MPV Member Of Porlock Village, but I think it my have already been used for Multi Purpose Vehicle but then again I am sure that is an appropriate title as well.

Porlock Carnival Royal Bride
Porlock Carnival Royal Bride

At the moment the village is prepared, bunting and flags are up, and finishing touches are being made to costumes and floats, judges have been hand picked for their eye for detail and integrity, the competition is stiff and all has to be impartial.

Today is the day, and what a great day, the sun is shining it is warm, everything is perfect.  Of course some years aren’t perfect, we all look at the sky consult the weather forecast, as if that is in some way a god, and hope for a brief moment when all will be well.  Surprisingly, over the years it has been, but of course visitors have already decided to flop in front of the television or some other excuse rather than risk a sudden downpour.  I wonder whether I will need more than a tee-shirt, but I don’t it is really warm, the sun shines until the last moments when I adjust the camera for the changing light.

Porlock Carnival face painting
Porlock Carnival face painting

I start taking photos in the car park where everything is coming together, the floats the walking participants, there is an air of excitement and a few drinks.  It is a good place to start except the backdrop, but it is easier to interact, I am sure some of these people know me, but often I haven’t a clue as to who they are.  I find in such events I am almost single minded, everything is shut out and I have my left eye scanning for the next shot while my right eye is glued to the viewfinder.  Perhaps the camera is getting old, in modern technology terms it is ancient, but for the first time I realise I am missing shots as it is taking too long to focus and adjust, oh well.

Porlock Carnival zombie
Porlock Carnival zombie

Moving up to the street I look for opportunities and move up and down the High Street, any other time I would feel self-conscious, but today as I said I am totally focused on the event and pay no attention to the surroundings.

My favourite floats were the Royal Wedding, I am sure the mums just saw it as a chance to get dolled up, and why not, the children were fantastic in their smart clothes and I am pleased with the photos of them.

Porlock Carnival Queen
Porlock Carnival Queen

Also I liked the circus, they maintained such a level of energy throughout, I loved the bright colours and the action.

I did like the zombies, again it was their energy and interaction with the crowd, I have no idea who they were or why they chose the subject, it was a little gruesome for me, a bit too realistic, not that I have any experience in these things, in fact I never watch anything like that in case I can’t get to sleep!!

I get to the end, very tired, it takes a lot of energy to concentrate on the action, I hope I have some good photos and will be spending the evening getting them ready for Facebook.

Just managed to post to Facebook before the end of the day, quite pleased as all the photos are straight from the camera, I am sure some could be enhanced with a bit of work, but that would drag things out and miss the moment.  As I take a look this morning I can say that I am pleased with the photos, I hope they get shared and appreciated by all involved.




Porlock Country Fair on Exmoor

Porlock Country Show Motor Bike Display Team

Melody and I are the official photographers this year, the job didn’t come with a high viz jacket or even a pass.  Sometimes it would be handy as people wonder why you are aiming your camera at them and may even be a bit put out.  But in truth I never wore my ID at work, in the early days people just knew you, in later days sharing office accommodation in a call centre meant I was challenged from time to time, I guess it was rebellious of me.

Porlock Country Fair Punch and Judy show
Porlock Country Fair Punch and Judy show

I arrived early before opening to get some quiet shots.  Probably a bit too quiet as the photos make it look like no one was there, lesson learned for next time.  Continued to lunch time by which time I was just too hot to continue, this must have been the hottest day I have known in Porlock, usually a sea breeze keeps us comfortable while the rest of the country struggles on, but on this Saturday, it was continuous sun from morning to evening.

Melody and I returned later to take more pictures, the numerous stalls:

The races, with young children being very competitive, is that allowed nowadays?  Even some adults being a little reckless, especially in the backward race where one young man hit the ground very hard.

Porlock Country Fair races
Porlock Country Fair races

The dog show, no Monet this year, we decided it was just too hot for him and I think others had made the same decision, but we had all the favourites; waggiest tail, one of Monet’s specialities; dog most like it’s owner; children with their dogs; and other things I can’t remember.

I enjoyed taking photos of the musicians, I always do and it’s something that surprises me, I don’t have a great love for the music it is something else, but I enjoy it and that’s that.

Porlock Country Fair Trombone Player
Porlock Country Fair Trombone Player

The other thing I enjoy is taking action photos and the motorbike display was great, contained within the main arena I was able to use a medium zoom lens to capture the action.  I think that having used a video camera in the early days of video, pre the ability to edit on the PC, taught me to watch the action while taking pictures.  Anyway, I enjoy all manner of action photography and I am pleased with the results of the day, my favourite being before the start when the two riders are on top of two upturned skips just having a chat, I like the interaction, the moment, perhaps it’s that we connect with the riders as people and not just their skill.

Porlock Country Fair Motorcycle display
Porlock Country Fair Motorcycle display

In conclusion, this was a great day, organised well, great weather if not a bit hot, and lots to do and see.  Porlock really does put on many and varied events throughout the year and one must remember the organisers who work very hard towards this.  Since this we have had flower shows an antiques fair, but the next major event on Saturday 1st September is the annual Porlock Carnival, the last carnival in Exmoor National Park, definitely worth a visit!

I have posted more photographs of the day on our Facebook Page

A Birthday Picnic In Exmoor National Park

Birthday Picnic Exmoor - Melody and Monet enjoying the view over Exmoor

I will try to be more specific about the location, but would it mean anything and so much of Exmoor is just open moorland with no specific name.

We travelled the 8 miles or so in our MG, a 2003 TF, roof down sun shining and the throaty sound of the exhaust breaking the silence as we made our way up the toll road from Porlock.  I must do a video of the toll road, going up or down the views are lovely.  Not the quickest road, unless you compete in the annual special stage rally up the hill, but not for me in my nearly classic MG.

Driving the road from Porlock to Lynmouth is so special, the views from the hill overlooking the Bristol Channel and across to Wales are lovely, on this evening the sun was shining on the Welsh coast but also there were low clouds forming because of the high pressure.  A photo would have been good, but in truth some things just don’t work, and it is better to appreciate the scene than miss the moment.

We arrived, turning into the road leading to Foreland Point Lighthouse and parking on the grass overlooking the channel.  The area is currently one of my favourite and I have taken and am planning more photos from this location.

Visited by an Exmoor pony during my Birthday Picnic Exmoor -
Visited by an Exmoor pony during my Birthday Picnic Exmoor –

Greeted by the sound of seven Greyhounds, what a noise, our own Cockapoo, Monet, ignored them taking on an almost superior air as he raced around, pleased to be in the open.  Melody meanwhile looked nervously, expecting that any second seven Greyhounds would cover the 100 metres in record time to catch Monet, she is very protective and rightly so, Monet is a cheerful little dog, a bundle of fluff and not cut out for high speed pursuits.  But all was well, the dogs remained tethered and eventually left leaving us to walk and enjoy the peace and quiet and a solitary stallion that would have been worth a photo.  I tend to plan photos, which means I missed the spontaneous chance to photograph this lovely animal with a foreground of long bleached grasses and dark menacing sky behind, oh well, Melody reached for her iPhone and I look on horrified that it isn’t fitted with at least a 300mm lens and other essential camera adjustments.   As I sit here writing this Melody tells me she thinks the stallion may have been pregnant, I think she understands, but that is the thing with Melody she is always saying things to make me laugh.

Enjoying my Birthday Picnic Exmoor and being spoilt by Melody
Enjoying my Birthday Picnic Exmoor and being spoilt by Melody

Our evening meal was great, only forgot half of it this time, a few occasional flies visiting and being a nuisance, I think I upset them as just as we were finishing our meal millions, if not more, flying ants descended.  The car was covered, Melody and I were covered and that really brought our evening to an end, packing quickly we jumped in the car pursued across the moor by flying ants.  No match for an MG we return to Porlock having enjoyed another special evening in the best restaurant in the world.