Best of the Tetons


Teton County Fair 2017

Teton County Fair

The Teton County Fair happens each year during the last week of July—smack dab in the middle of the busy Summer season. I’ll be running the snow blower and shoveling snow soon enough, but for now this colorful event offers a welcome break! Our kids are grown and “out of the nest” but that doesn’t mean I can’t return to the Fair for my own form of fun.

Teton County Fair

The Fair is loaded with events and attractions, like Pig Wrestling, Figure 8s, Rodeo, concerts, 4-H exhibits and auction, magicians, and entertainers. The Fair Building is filled with photos, jellies, quilts, arts and crafts, pies and vegetables covered with ribbons ranging from Honorable Mention to Best of Show. I usually “check them out”, but I go to the Fair for the lights and action of the rides and midway.

Basketball Shoot

I grew up in Moore, OK, a suburb of Oklahoma City. I have fairly vivid memories of going to the Oklahoma State Fair in Oklahoma City. My mom would pack us up and we would drive to the fairgrounds, park in a huge lot, pay to go through the gates, then on to the sprawling venue. The Teton County Fair is different! At least for me, the fair is only 1.5 miles from home. I usually park along the curb of one of the side streets a block away and save the $10 parking fee. The “featured” events at the Fairgrounds Arena usually require paid admission, but much of the rest is free to “attend”.

Cliff Hanger

It costs to ride the rides, but it never costs me to go there to take photos. Frazier Shows have no problems with photographers bringing tripods. I love it!


Tripods come in handy on the long exposure shots, allowing the lights to streak through the night skies. There’s an almost invisible world available to a photographer with a camera capable of picking up the ghosts of carts and cages being slung around. The Zipper returned this year with a new paint job and new lights.

Fair Midway

The “layout” is different each year. Two of my favorite rides are missing this year: Vertigo and the Carousel.


The two missing rides are replaced this year with Himalaya and Rock Star.

Ferris Wheel

Technology has caught up to the venerable rides like the Ferris Wheel. Electronically controlled LED lights change colors regularly on many of the rides. Long exposures can capture the changes.


The management at Frazier Shows allowed me to ride the Ferris Wheel for an elevated view. While stopped at the top, I took this four shot pano using a 24-70mm lens in portrait orientation. Of the five or six sets of pano parts, this is the only one Lightroom would process. This is a small county fair with a mountain backdrop. Pig Wrestling was underway in the Fairgrounds Arena when I took this image. After the event, the midway filled up quickly. (Click this image to see it much larger)


The Midway Attractions can make interesting images. I took this one quite a few times, including ones with people walking through it.

Balloon Race

Kids and adults seem to enjoy the Balloon Water Race.

Photo Bomb

This is not the first time, nor the last time I get “photo bombed”.

Fresh Pizza

The workers at Frazier Shows are amazingly cooperative and friendly! I asked the cooks if they would bring a hot pizza to the window and they said “sure”.

Cordell at the Fair

Cordell posed for me in front of his Basketball Toss game. I used a Lume Cube to add a bit of light and triggered the shot with a RFN-4s remote.

Kevin at the Fair

Kevin oversees all of the cork gun sharpshooters.


Cash seemed to want to be in a photo at the Cork Gun shooting range.


The first night, I used a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens on a Nikon D5 body. I was able to stand well off the action and get a few candid shots.

Ghostly Duckies

I used the same lens to capture this image of the yellow duckies spinning in a tub. I processed this as a B&W in Photoshop.


My choice of lens greatly affects how I see the world!


These small jars are set up in rows. You can win a prize if you can toss a ping-pong ball and get it to land atop one of them.


This image was purposefully captured out of focus.

Ferris Wheel

These are out of focus lights on the Ferris Wheel.


This shot was created by zooming during a long exposure.

Stuffed Animal

At a County Fair, you’ll likely see things you seldom see in the “real world”.

Crescent Moon

The crescent moon caught my eye. I just had to find a subject quickly before the cloud covered it.

Motion and Colored Lights

Motion and colored lights are still the star of the show, pulling me back each year! As I make this post, there are three more nights of opportunities. I’ll probably go again each night before the crews break everything down and head to Casper for their County Fair. July of 2018 will be here before I know it!

Spinning Bears

Captured with a Nikon 14-25mm lens.

Check out these posts from previous years:

Additional Photos

4H Auction

On Friday, I headed back to the Fair to get a few traditional photos showing the more “quiet” aspects of the event. This was taken at the Livestock Auction, where 4H youngsters parade their animal to be purchased by the winning bidder.

4H Auction

This photo shows a Best of Show pig, the 4H farmer, and the auction booth.

4H Auction

I suspect the auction is bittersweet.

Photo Contest

The next few photos were taken in the Fair Building.

Fair Flowers

This shot shows a blue ribbon entry.

Fair Quilt

There were several quilts on display, along with plenty of arts and crafts entries.


There’s a large circus tent next to the fair building with a full lineup of entertainers, jugglers, clowns, musicians and talent shows going on almost all day.

Petting Zoo

The Teton County Fair has a large “petting zoo” each year. It’s free, but expect to pay a dollar to see the one ton horse in a separate tent!

Afternoon Ferris Wheel

We had nice clouds yesterday afternoon. I took this shot to see if I could get a sun flair.

Wide Angle From Ferris Wheel

I rode the Ferris Wheel one more time on Friday, taking my Nikon 14-24mm lens with me this time. I was able to get a lot of the fair in a shot, along with the evening clouds and mountains.

Rock Star

Rock Star is a new ride this year. I tried photographing it from below, but when the guitar is inverted, as above, about all you see is the underside of the carriage. I took this one while I was on the nearby Ferris Wheel. You can see the 25 or so people locked into their seats.

Final Night

Big Bear

These photos were taken Sunday night.

Dizzy Dragons

Dizzy Dragons were bright blue, green, and orange. They look much ominous when converted to black and white / sepia.

Distant Shot

This image is similar to one I took the first night. I caught three of the rides in motion this time.

Folded Ferris Wheel

The 2017 edition of the Teton County Fair ended at Midnight on Sunday. By 7:00 am Monday morning, the rides had been collapsed—ready to roll out of town towards Casper. The photo above is the Ferris Wheel.

Photography Notes

The best part of photographing the Fair is knowing I have full license to experiment and have fun. I know the rides run over a period of five nights, so I have plenty of chances to go back with different lenses and “missions”. Over the years of Fair posts, you’ll probably see a few similar shots. You’ll also notice a few experimental shots, like the ones with the “star filters”. I’ve tried spinning a lens during long exposures for all kinds of abstract images. I am considering taking a macro lens to see if I can get up close to some of the faceted LED lights or maybe some out of focus bokeh shots of the same bulbs. I’d like to own a tilt-shift lens for some different shots. I still like using my pro bodies, like the Nikon D4 and D5 because of their high ISO capabilities. The F/2.8 lenses give me a bit more flexibility for both depth of field and gathering light.

If you are in Jackson Hole during our Fair, take your tripod and camera for a few shots. You can probably park close enough to take it back to the vehicle when you get enough shots. If you are not in Jackson Hole, watch for a County Fair in your area. You’ll probably get hooked, too!

Like This Post? Share It

Comment (1)

  1. Kara

    I always find it difficult to capture the magic or fun with the kids. These are great. I’d have to say the best Fair photos I’ve ever seen. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *