So it started 2 weeks ago really. I’d been after a new lens for my 350D for a while, and I finally decided on a Tamron 28-75mm/f2.8 lens. The next step was to find somewhere in Sydney I could buy the lens.
After searching various online retail stores, I had an approximate reasonable price. With that in hand, I set out searching. Theres two camera retailers within 10 minutes walk of where I work – Ted’s Cameras and Fletchers. I tried Fletchers first, since in the past their prices have been more than reasonable. Their quoted price was significantly higher than the online retail shops, which was to be expected.
Next stop was Ted’s, which is about 50 metres further down the road. To my utter astonishment, their price was *lower* than the online retail shops. I put a deposit on the lens straight away, and was told it would be in Thursday or Friday next week, due to the Easter holiday weekend.
I eagerly rang on Thursday only to be told the lens had definitely shipped the day before, but had not yet arrived. Patiently I waited till Friday, and called again. This time I was told they were very busy since they had a sale on, and that 45 boxes had arrived that morning. They might be able to get to it by the afternoon, but the person I spoke to wasn’t very convincing.
I figured I’d get better results by visiting the store. But I got told the same story. In desperation I rang about 4:10pm, figuring it was my last chance to get my lens. Sarah answered the phone. I explained the situation, and she told me the person that normally takes care of incoming shipments hadn’t been in at all today, so no-one had been opening the 45 boxes that arrived. Typical retail store, I was resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t be getting the lens in time for visiting the Royal Easter Easter Show on saturday.
But the next sentance out of Sarah’s music was a delightful surprise. “I can go and see if I can find it if you like. The boxes usually have on the outside whats in them”. I couldn’t say “yes please” fast enough. I went home that night with my shiny black heavy new lens in my bag, along with possibly the cheapest tripod I’ve ever seen. It was $20, reduced to $17.30 by their Friday 13th save 13% sale. The tripod would be perfect for taking photos of the fireworks.
Fast forward to saturday morning. I packed my backpack with camera (with the Tamron attached), 75-300mm kit lens, spare batteries, extra CF cards, my tripod. Oh, and some sunscreen and water. We caught the train from Lidcombe station at about 10:30am. The showlink ticket cost me $31 🙁
Anyway, I took heaps of photos during the day of various sights and some random people. The f/2.8 stop got a real workout in the food and craft displays in the Dome. Took a fair few shots at the woodchopping championships – the 75-300mm kit lens came in handy then. I took a heap of photos at the Psycho Sideshow, although with the Tamron 28-75mm lens, so no great closeups there. We arrived about halfway through, not realising it even existed before we walked past the packed and noisy stadium.
I had an interesting experience in the fashion display. Most of the exhibition was just fashion shops, no exciting catwalk with interesting fashion being worn. In fact, the only “model” (I use the term very losely) seemed to be dressed up as some sort of cat. I was getting my shot lined up, and made one final check to make sure I was in Manual mode. Unfortunately this check was my undoing – by the time I got the camera back up to my eye, one of the organisers stood protectively between me and the model. Seeing my confusion she explained, “You can’t take photos with big cameras, only little ones”. Bah!
We got to the main arena fairly early, around 4:30pm. Its vital to arrive early to get any sort of a decent seat, especially when you need to find a heap of them. As soon as we entered the arena, one of the official volunteer usher type people asked me if I wanted to take photos, noticing the camera slung around my neck. I replied in the affirmative, and he directed us up the lift to level 4. I was pretty excited, thinking we’d scored some awesome spot to take photos. Unfortunately it just turned out to be the upper deck of the normal stadium. Still, it was a much better vantage point for photos than the lower deck.
The polo was pretty boring, and the main parade wasn’t that exciting either. The rodeo was pretty interesting though – they rode both horses and bulls. Pretty wild. There were only 2 V8 supercars, so no dangerous stunts there, just a bit of drifting and some really tight donuts.
The freestyle motocross was really awesome, its just a pity I didn’t get any good photos of it. The cage of death was quite cool too. 14 foot sphere made of metal grid, with 2 motocross bikes weaving around inside it. Then a guy stood in the middle while they did it again. Nuts. The fireworks show was quite good too, although understandably brief. I hadn’t realised before just how hard it was to take photos of fireworks, but now I know.
And then it was time to go home. You can see the photos in my photo gallery, under Royal Easter Show 2007.