Best of the Tetons, Great Photography Tours In Jackson, WY

The Abstract Fair

Not exactly your everyday images of the Teton County Fair!


You might recognize this image as the Vertigo ride. It is simply a long exposure using a mid-range telephoto lens mounted on a sturdy tripod. The Fair shots for me has been a “journey”. The first year, shot mostly traditional images, many of which were frozen and some with motion blur. Then I started zooming in or out to create a faux “hyperspace” look. Last Christmas, I started experimenting with twisting or spinning the camera. That requires a lens with a collar like my 70-200mm—something I couldn’t do with my regular 24-70 mm lens. Later in the year, I tried the spins on fireworks at the New Year’s Eve torch light parade at Snow King. By the time the fair rolled around this year, I was beginning to combine spins, zooms and various jiggling techniques. The county fair is great because, unlike fireworks displays, I get “do overs”. Each night, I could review my latest captures and start thinking about other possibilities for the next night. The shots below are not in any particular order, but possibly you can see how shots built on other shots. By the end, I was beginning to anticipate results, even if I could NEVER repeat them exactly.


Vertigo: For this shot, I zoomed in tight on Vertigo and exposed it for much longer. The top image was exposed for 1/5th second and the one above was exposed for 1.6 seconds.


Sizzler: This images is created by zooming either in or out during a long exposure. Total exposure: 1 second.


Sizzler (?): When I press the shutter “while” spinning the camera, everything is blurred. Total exposure: 2 seconds.


Sizzler: For this exposure, I pressed the shutter button, paused for a split second to let the bulbs and lettering “burn in” before spinning. That gives me trails behind the bulbs. Total exposure: .8 second.


Sizzler?: For this shot, I “jiggled” the camera while spinning it. Total exposure: .5 second.


Freak Out: The Freak Out ride is crazy enough, but for this image, I swirled the camera during the long exposure. Total exposure: 1.3 second.


Unknown Ride: This one is similar to the technique above. I swirled the camera around during a long exposure, multiplied by the movement of the ride. Total exposure: .5 second.


Sizzler: These lights were intentionally set to be Out of Focus. It was just an experiment. Possibilities? Hmmmm. Yes, I can visualize a few right now! Total exposure: 1/60th second.

Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel: I used a star filter the first night. There were some interesting effects, but I got tired of it quickly. Total exposure: 1/10th second.

Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel: I had to go back and look at images captured just before and just after this shot to know which ride it was. I just swirled the camera towards the colorful lights. Total exposure: .8 second.

Freak Out

Freak Out: I was using a Wimberly Sidekick mounted to my tripod. I locked the pan lever down, but left the up and down knob loose. For this shot, I clicked then raised the lens upward over the period of the exposure. This opens the door for locking the up and down and panning side to side. Next year… Total exposure: 1 second.


Vertigo: This is a six second exposure of a fast spinning ride. Total exposure: 6 seconds.


Ferris Wheel: For this image, I zoomed into an area of the hub of the wheel. I clicked the shutter and held still for the first part of the exposure, then zoomed out, stopping again to get the two sets of circles with connecting lines. Total exposure: .8 second.


Ferris Wheel: This shot has both a zoom and a spin. Total exposure: .6 second.

Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel: Zoom, twist, and move! The new LED light package ran through a series of patterns and color changes. All I had to do was learn the sequence, then wait for my favorite colors to come around again. Total exposure: .8 second.


Zipper: I jiggled the camera as the hub of the ride spun. 1 second


Zipper: Similar to some of the other shots, I just spun the camera during the exposure. Effects are somewhat controllable by experimenting with the speed of the spin and duration of the exposure. Total exposure: 1/5th second.


Sizzler: More spinning. Total exposure: .8 second.


Vertigo: Back to where I started. I angled the vertical post and exposed for a long exposure to let the chairs streak across the image. Total exposure: .8 second.

If you already read the sister post to this one, you’d know I kept over a thousand images from three or four nights of shooting at the fair this year. I deleted quite a few of them on the first pass, but I had trouble wanting to delete the rest. I can’t possibly show them all here, but you should get a good idea of what I was going for this year. The fair ended following the last Figure 8 event on a Sunday night. In most years, the crews broke the rides down and were driving out of town at day break. This year, they had a few extra days to get to their next fair so they took their time. I went to the fairgrounds to take a few photos of the rides, some of which were fully packed and some somewhere in the process. An official looking guy came out when he saw me taking photos. Turns out he was the manager of Frazier Shows. Next year, he said I could ride the Ferris Wheel and they’d stop it with me at the top to allow me to take photos from up there shooting down. I can hardly wait!

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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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  1. All I’ve got to say is….. Very, Very Cool!

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