Friday, August 25, 2017

Bear Lake County Fair - After Dark

The Bear Lake County Fair in Montpelier, Idaho is always a wonderful event.  There are rodeos, entertainment, food booths, animals, rides, craft displays, and of course a big photography display.  But after dark the fair really comes to life, and the lights are a great opportunity for photographers.

Carnival photos are best just after sunset so there is a little light and color in the sky.  This Ferris wheel changes color, and if you change shutter speeds you can get anything from colorful spokes of light to a blurred circle in infinite variations.  This one was ½ second exposure.

This is the same Ferris wheel from the other side, with carnival game prizes in the corner.  This one was taken after the sky got totally dark, and the shutter speed was 1.3 seconds, resulting in an entirely different pattern.  To reduce camera shake, a tripod is a necessity and a remote shutter release or self timer also helps.  If your camera has image stabilization, turn it off while using the tripod.

This photo of entertainers Dave Anderson and Thatch Elmer was taken on the outdoor stage.  The lights were bright enough to take the photo without a tripod, but in order to pick up details in the light and shadow, three photos were bracketed two stops over and under normal, and combined in the computer using Photomatix Essentials.  The software did an amazing job removing blur caused by people moving.

This food booth photo on the midway was taken with a 2.5 second exposure.  It is fun to use these long exposures to blur moving people.  Everyone becomes anonymous using longer exposures.

Longer exposures can also be used to make abstract images.  This giant swing was exposed for 0.8 seconds, but as the dangling swings were being lowered I increased the exposure to 2.5 seconds to create the abstract image.

So, look for bright colors, movement, and lights to get unusual photos at the county fair.

Please note that my photos are copyrighted and must not be used without permission, and usually a small fee.