The Cape Town Military Tattoo 2010 has come and gone

The wailing of the pipes and the thumping rattle of the drums echoed in the Kat archway one final time, as the Drums and Pipes of the Cape Town Highlanders, and the Pipes and Drums of Cape Field Artillery and 1 Medical Battalion from Durban left the arena at the Castle of Good Hope on Saturday night. Their departure signalled the end of the last performance of the Cape Town Military Tattoo, which took place this year from 3 to 6 November in central Cape Town.

View from the top of the Inner Wall towards iconic Lion's Head and Signal Hill

As the spectators filed out of the main entrance, chattering excitedly among themselves, it was clear from their smiling faces that they had thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and that the 2010 Tattoo had been a resounding success, like its predecessors. Groups of behind-the-scenes personnel and performers clustered in the beautifully lit-up front arena for some photos, as the team of wranglers searched the grass for shell casings from the Mock Attack earlier in the evening.

One of the wranglers from the Regiment Westelike Provincie picking up the empty shells

The mood backstage was euphoric, with a sense of relief that everything had gone off smoothly, without any major mishaps – although there had been plenty of minor unexpected… um… challenges, shall we say. But fortunately the large team behind the tattoo has some years of experience behind them, and thanks to their hard work, commitment and lateral thinking, combined with their military training and their commendable willingness to go the extra mile, such challenges were par for the course and dealt with speedily.

The spectators are streaming into the Castle in the darkening light of dusk

From a personal perspective, there was also a tinge of melancholy, as the realisation began to sink in that this was the end of a lengthy period of preparation with its gradual build-up of anticipation and mounting excitement. I realised that, for the first time in days, I would not have somewhere to rush off to in the morning, or to be until the late hours of the night.

All the various challenges of staging such a large event had been overcome by the need to pull together, to give one’s best, because “the show must – and will – go on”. This common goal had brought people closer together.  As a result, an amazing camaraderie had built up backstage. I had also met and chatted with so many friendly and helpful people, who really made me feel part of their family, that I felt a sense of loss.

But first, it was time to push aside such thoughts and to celebrate, toasting to the success of the CT Mil Tattoo 2010… and then to go home and to get some much-needed sleep.

WO2 Wort, Major de Cruz and WO1 Robertson: "Right, men, let's synchronise our watches!"

For the photographers, like the irrepressible Brent and Lorraine, Leon the Vlooty 😉 with his impressive zoom lens and myself, and for Andrew the videographer, the 2010 Tattoo had not come to an end yet: Instead, it was the start of many more hours of work in front of the computer, increasingly bleary-eyed, going through the thousands of photos and video clips we had taken, tossing away the blurry or excessively grainy ones, deleting the ones that even Photoshop wouldn’t be able to rescue, cropping and re-composing, amping the light, sharpening, softening, shifting the colour tones, removing digital noise… those myriad post-processing techniques that are required, to borrow a term from Brent, to really ‘punch’ those photos!

As you can see here, Brent has been doing a LOT of punching. 😉

So, the next couple of posts will show you some of the photos I took during the four nights of performances. It might take another day or two for them all to be uploaded, so please check back from time to time.

For now, here are some behind-the-scenes photos. Enjoy!

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Gallery of Photos

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