Straight in at the deep-end, my first day at the show was quite an eye opener! Arriving at 8am, it was straight to the Press Area to pick up my photographers pass for the coming days. After a briefing from Caroline, and a couple of cups of tea to set me right, it was off to explore the hall's and arena and try to get my bearings.
I had been warned that the NEC was huge, but you really can't properly appreciate just how huge it is until you start to explore it for yourself. With 5 exhibition halls, each on its own bigger than the National Show Center in Cloghran where a great number if IKC shows are held, along with a Main Arena, it certainly took some getting used to. Even equipped with a map of the place it was still initially a bit daunting to try navigate through the place.
Of course being the Toy & Utility day, it meant I had quite the job to peel myself away from the Papillon ring. The obvious bias of Papillons in the final photos also demonstrates this. I'd wander off now and then, but kept coming back to Ring 29. I think it's allowed though given that it was my first ever visit to Crufts! Sitting ringside also allowed me the opportunity to try out various settings on the camera to get something that I was happy with. I'm sure there will be a great number of photos that are useless, but the lighting presented me with a new problem so I tweaked as much as I could in order to get somewhat reasonable results.
With the Group judging taking place later in the day it was after 8pm when I eventually made it back to the Shogun - the last vehicle in that particular section of the carpark! 12 hours, plenty of tea, hundreds of photos taken ... I'd consider my first day a relative success.