Life Through My Lens: Photography at the Fair

September 18, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

DucklingDucklingDuckling PigletsPiglets I look forward to The Great Frederick Fair for a different reason than most fair goers do.  It is not the funnel cakes or the tractor pulls or a ride on the Tilt-a-Whirl that attract me -- it's the photo opportunities, of course!

This week, I went twice to the fair.  On my morning visit, I met my friend Gary, and off we went to find the animals.  Even though the day was sunny and gorgeous, most of the animals on display are in barns or in covered pavilions, which means the lighting can be challenging.  Add to that the fact that many of the animals are moving quite quickly (think of piglets nursing and roosters strutting about), and getting clear photos can be quite a trick.

For the animal photos I have included in this blog, I used both my little Nikon P7700 and my larger D7100 DSLR.  The little camera was perfect for getting up close to the cages in the poultry barn, using the macro setting.  I was able to focus beyond the bars of the cage, and when the rooster or hen cocked its head toward me, I quickly snapped away.  Unfortunately, you can get a lot of distracting backgrounds in addition to the photo, so I used Photoshop to replace the background of the rooster portrait with a pleasing texture.

Mr. RoosterMr. RoosterMr. Rooster New CalfNew CalfNew Calf The little ducklings sliding down the ramp into a pool below, a big hit with children and adults alike, were moving so quickly that it was hard to get good shots of them, too.  I switched to sports mode on the camera, and tried to focus on a duckling that was well lit by the available light.  I probably took 30 shots of ducklings before I got a good, clear one of a yellow duckling.  The dark brown birds were equally cute, but hard to photograph in the low light.  

Out in the cattle barns (watch out where you step!), most of the animals were facing head in, so rump shots were pretty much the view of the day.  However, I managed to find a calf resting in the hay.  By bracing my camera on the railing of the stall, I was able to get a good photo despite the low light.  Setting the ISO higher on the camera (mine was set at 1000) allowed me to use a higher shutter speed, lessening the chance for blur.

The MidwayThe MidwayThe Midway Ferris Wheel 3Ferris Wheel 3Ferris Wheel My friend Norma and I wanted to try to get some blurred light photos of the midway rides, so we toted our DSLRs and tripods for what felt like miles of walking before sunset; Norma insists we need to hire "people" to tote the equipment, as we often find ourselves packing and hauling far more than we actually use.  However, we never want to be under-prepared!

We set up in a good location to see the Ferris wheel, and as darkness set in, we experimented with putting our cameras in manual mode, choosing a low ISO (less than 200, if possible), an F-stop of 11 or higher, and a shutter speed at a quarter of a second or longer.  These settings allow in less light, for a longer period, thus causing blur in the movement without "blowing out" the stationary lights.  The tripod is key, because any movement will cause blur that you don't want.  We chose a focal point, such as the R in the center of the Ferris wheel, and did a number of test shots, until we found combinations that worked.  

The SwingThe SwingThe Swing It was fun to go to the fair.  There are still several days left, if you want to try for some great fair photos, too.  Experiment away and learn what works.  Thankfully, digital technology makes it immediate and fun!

(Click on any photo to enlarge it.)

To see all my photos from the fair, click here

 

 

 

 

"Life Through My Lens" is a travel/photography blog written by Cam Miller, copyright 2013

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Email:  [email protected] net

Website:  camscamerashots.zenfolio.com

Twitter: @camscamerashots

 


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