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Best of the Tetons

Teton County Fair 2014

You Might Want To Buckle Up for Some Lights, Action, Endless Fun, and a Few Unexpected Twists!

Wide Shot Teton County Fair 2014

The Teton County Fair is held each year at the Teton County Fairgrounds. I look forward to the last part of June, knowing it will be in town. It’s a welcome break after being out taking wildlife and scenic photos all summer. And, it’s fun! Frazier Shows rolls in and sets up their brightly lit rides and attractions for the last five days of the fair. It’s a photographer’s paradise!  Let’s see…it’s close to home. There’s no gate fee or admission to walk around the rides and attractions. They don’t have a problem with me toting around my camera, tripod and even a remote strobe. Colors are bright. Actions is constant. What’s not to like? Based on all the big smiles and constant laughter I see and hear, it appears kids and families are having fun, too.

Fair 19

To be honest, the hardest part of making this post for Best of the Tetons is trying to figure out which images to include and how many of them people might want to see! I “kept” over a thousand images from the three or four afternoons and nights of shooting. That’s a huge number for me, but there were so many unique and interesting captures. What the heck!…hard drive space is relatively cheap, and once deleted, they’re gone.  I went through this year’s keepers in Lightroom and highlighted what felt like a “few” I might want to show here. After processing those, I ended up with a folder of around 80 of images. Now you might understand my dilemma! Here’s a quick cross section of the processed images:

Vertigo

Vertigo and Cliff Hanger: I captured a lot of similar images with simple motion blur while keeping the camera still on a tripod. I froze the action on others.

Zipper

Zipper: Some images had dizzying action, along with a little of the area’s mountainous backdrop and summer skies.

Livestock Auction

Livestock Auction: Away from the lights and action of the midway, I found traditional activities like this 4H Livestock Auction.

Wacky Shack

Wacky Shack: On the midway, I photographed a lot of images of the crowds, lights, and attractions.

Games

Salsa: People make the fair, so I stopped and captured some of them testing their luck and skills.

Rewards

Salsa Rewards: Tight—then tighter!

Golfish

Goldfish: There are lots of details! …Details of all flavors, colors and shapes. Toss a ping-pong ball in a cup and you can go home with one these little finned prizes!

Lights

Light Details: Did I mention there are a lot of chances to capture detail images?

Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel: This is a Ferris Wheel? Really? Each night, I spent time doing experimental photography—way above and beyond the traditional motion blurs I did in previous years. A large chunk of the keepers were shots that would be impossible to recreate. They consisted of long exposures, unpredictable motion of the rides along with variations while twisting, moving, and zooming my various lenses during long exposures.

Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel: This year, Frazier Shows replaced the old bulbs with a state of the art “LED Package”. They were proud of it. Lights changed colors and went through a long and varied set of patterns and colors. By the end of my shooting, I realized there is a fair people actually see, and a whole other fair only a photographer with a tripod can see.

Do you want more?

If you’ve seen enough, thanks for viewing! If you want more, the rest of the page will be filled with additional keepers and a little bit of explanation for each. I hope they will be worth your time!

Vertigo and Ferris Wheel

Vertigo, Midway, and Ferris Wheel: The first night, I added a “star filter” to the front of my Nikon 24-70mm lens. I shot with a Nikon D800 body. All of the images on this page are single shots, processed in Lightroom and then exported as JPGs for the post. The star filter was rotated so the stars were at roughly an 45° angle.

Fair 2

Cliff Hanger and Vertigo: I shot a while with the star filter, but a little of it goes a long way.

Cliff Hanger

Cliff Hanger: I found the Cliff Hanger to be the toughest ride to photograph. Why? Most of the rest of the rides have lights on the seats or capsules. After the sun goes down, the airplane shapes of this ride go black and get almost no light from an outside source. That ride needs to be captured just as the sun is going down as seen here. Of course, you can photograph it during the daylight hours, but it lacks the drama!

Zipper

Zipper: The zipper is a very dynamic ride. I rode it the first year we moved here in 1987. I was dizzy for a couple of days afterwards and haven’t been on it since. Kids have no problems. I liked this shot because it shows the ghostly capsules against the late evening light. The Zipper’s motion later in the night negates the problem of the unlit capsules.

Zipper

Zipper: This ride is really a no-brainer! On a long exposure like this one, the ride does all the work! This one was shot at ISO 100, 5 seconds, and F/22 using a Nikon 14-24 wide angle lens. I was shooting almost straight up at 14mm.

Zipper Hub

Zipper Hub: This is the hub of one of the two big wheels. I like to look for broken patterns. In this case, the missing few lights and covers tell a bit of a story and make the shot interesting. Earlier, I mentioned being able to tote around a tripod. I carried my backpack with me most the time and interchanged the 70-200mm, 24-70mm and 14-24mm lenses.

Zero Gravity

Zero Gravity: This is an example of shooting with the longer lens from a distance. This was a 2.5 second exposure at F/22.

Freak Out

Freak Out: On one of the evenings, I went early. I had a cobalt blue sky that day. I was able to stop the action on these fast moving rides, but I wasn’t too excited about the shot. In Lightroom, I grabbed the blue slider in the HSL tab and dragged it around just for fun.

Freak Out

Freak Out: When looking back the other direction, I started seeing thin clouds in the late evening skies. Most of the ride than turned into a silhouette with only a few lights adding shape to it.

Freak Out

Freak Out: Later in the night, it was easy to get long streaking lights. This one was exposed for 1.6 seconds at F/18

Freak Out

Freak Out: I liked the way the kids were having to look straight up on this one. I captured it at 14mm on a 14-24 mm zoom lens. In an attempt to freeze the riders, I opened up to F/3.5 and had to go to ISO 2000 to get a 1/200th second exposure.

Freak Out

Freak Out: Fog came out of the seats at the beginning of each ride on Freak Out. I photographed it over and over trying to capture the essence of that moment. This one was captured at 1/20th second at F/3.5.

Freak Out

Freak Out: I can “spin” my camera when it is mounted onto a 70-200 mm lens by loosening the thumb screw knob on the collar. For this shot, I exposed for a split second to burn in the “Freak Out” lettering, then spun the camera close to 360° during the remainder of the 1 second exposure. It took a little practice.

Two Mikes

Two Mikes: In one of the midway trailers, there was a big screen TV with a split/mirror effect. That’s two of me taking the self portraits.

Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy Factory: Just a simple shot of a vendor on the midway. After the first night of photography, I pitched the idea of a photo spread about Fair signage to SignCraft Magazine. They bought into the idea. The article is already on the streets with about 20 of my images from the fair.

Pizza

Pizza by the Slice: I doubt this person knew I was taking her photo.

Basketball Toss

Richard Fletcher from Hampton, NH not only knew I was taking his photo, he put on his official jacket and struck his pose for me. I took this one with an off camera strobe.

Rubber Duckies

Rubber Duckies 1: I shot this one with a wide open aperture, focusing on a ducky near the middle, allowing the ones in front and behind to go out of focus.

Rubber Duckies 2

Rubber Duckies 2: I shot shot this one at F/22 and used an off camera flash.

Light Sabres

Light Sabres: A photo of a pile of LED light sabres in a bucket along the midway.

The Line

The Line and the Light Sabre: The parents had to stand in line to ride the Ferris Wheel, but the kids were playing with their new light sabres.

Riders

Riders: I see this kind of shot in National Geographic fairly often. Something in the distance is in perfect focus, yet one or two people are severely out of focus in one of the corners. I had to time this one and it took several tries. The kids would zip by on some sort of small car.

Fair73_2014

Ferris Wheel: Lots going on here! The wheel itself is slightly in motion. Normally, you hold the camera still and twist the barrel of the zoom lens to actually zoom an image (see below). In this version, I held the barrel of the zoom lens still and twisted the camera. I clicked and held for a split second, then spun the camera in the collar of the tripod. That combination created a spiral effect during the zoomed exposure.

Sizzler

Sizzler: For this shot, I used the zoom feature on the barrel of the lens during the long exposure. I burned in the shot initially, zoomed, then stopped just before the shutter closed.

Still More?

There’s a lot on this page already! Instead of packing on too many more images in this post, I created a sister post The Abstract Fair from the 2014 Fair with all experimental abstract images.

Related Previous Posts

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If you are going to be in the area and are interested going out with me on a One-On-One Photo Excursion, check out the link and let me know! There are now 4, 6, and 8 hour options including a new PRO option.

Please note: Images on this page are fully protected with an official copyright at the US Copyright Office.  No unauthorized use is granted.

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Comment (1)

  1. Lowell Schechter

    Hi Mike
    you are not only a great wildlife and landscape photographer but you have the skills to approach other subjects like the County fair. I love the way you captured this place and the way you took the standard Carnival like images and made them into great abstract images.

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