Posts tagged ‘Northamptonshire’

Playing Soldiers

Last weekend we went to the English Heritage History Live 2013 event at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire. I think I’m right in saying that this is the largest gathering of historical re-enactors in Europe. It’s certainly on a very large-scale – there must have been a few hundred participants at least and a few thousand spectators. Of course I was there purely for the photo opportunities…….;0).

Actually from a photography perspective this was quite a frustrating event – and I think this shows in the quality of some of the shots. The action mainly took place in the middle of two large arenas and so even with a 70-200mm lens with a 1.4 tele-convertor, on a crop-sensor camera, I was still wishing I had more reach. It was possible to get close to the edge of the arenas but only if you sat down so that the crowds behind could see. The problem then was that it proved difficult to get a clean shot from such a low angle because of the way the arenas were double roped-off for crowd safety.

The main problem though was that because the crowds were often 10 to 15 deep around the edge, once you had chosen your position you were basically stuck with it! Unfortunately you had no real way of knowing, before the action got underway, whether your choice of position was a good one or not. If you tried to move to improve your chances of a good shot then you ran the risk of not getting a shot at all….!!  

© Mark Simms Photography (2013)


Hope you all had a good Christmas and Santa brought you lots of lovely, photography related goodies…..;0)

The shots below were all taken back in July, but for whatever reason I never got round to posting them at the time… fact I’ve got three or four other photo-shoots from earlier in the year that I’ve yet to process but will try to get posted over the next week or two.

Althorp has been home to the Spencer family for nearly 500 years. Their most famous member is without question Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales who tragically died in somewhat controversial circumstances in Paris in 1997.

I wasn’t particularly happy on the day we visited Althorp…..quite simply because we shouldn’t have been there!!

We had travelled down to Northamptonshire the day before so that we could be up bright and early to visit the English Heritage Festival of History 2012 – the largest annual gathering of historical re-enactment societies in the UK. Before you ask, no I’m not a re-enactor myself! However I do like my history (especially the military variety) and have wanted to see and photograph this event for some years. Unfortunately, due to the days of very heavy rain leading up to the event (and a torrential downpour in the early morning of the first day) the river running through the site burst its banks and the organisers reluctantly decided to cancel at the very last-minute.

So there I was looking forward to taking photos of Roman soldiers, Vikings, Medieval jousting, canons and muskets etc……and what I got was Althorp! Now don’t get me wrong, I like visiting country houses and Althorp is a lovely example of one and well worth a visit…..but bricks and mortar don’t really cut-it when what I had envisaged was a day of little-boy, lost-childhood, toy-soldiering indulgence. So I’m afraid (and a little ashamed to say) that I was a tiny bit of a grumpy bunny on that day. I had disappointment etched on my face…..:0(.

Copyright: © The Photography of Mark Simms (2012). All rights reserved.

P.S. Incidentally if you want proof that the rain had been particularly heavy in Northamptonshire….if you look at the shot above with Althorp reflected in the water…..well that water shouldn’t be there!! I think I’m correct in saying that 2012 has now been officially classified as the wettest in England since records began. Lets hope for a better 2013…..

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