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Best of the Tetons

Carousel Horse Portrait

Teton County Fair 2015: A Photographer’s Perspective.

Jackson Hole’s Mid-Summer Break Filled with Bright Colors, Flashing Lights, and Non-Stop Action.

Teton County Fair Wide Shot

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, 1/60 at f/6.3, Aperture priority Mode, 1 EV,  ISO 640

Teton County Fair: I find this time of the year fun and exciting. A few miles north, animals and tourists scurry about doing what animals and tourists do. Down the Snake River Canyon, fishermen fish and whitewater enthusiasts paddle through the rapids in kayaks and rubber rafts. In town, and for only a single short week, we are given a chance to experience the thrills of the rides, the familiar barking of the carnival midway workers, and enough color and flashing lights to send our senses into overload. (Click this image to see it much larger!)

Starship 2000

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, 1/13 at f/22, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 2000

Starship 2000: In previous years, I spent a fair amount of my time capturing images with lots of blurs, similar to the shot above. Check last year’s post: Fair Time! Photos from the Teton County Fair.

Mike with Strobe

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 52 mm, 1/100 at f/9, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 2000

This year, I changed my approach some by taking a Nikon SB910 strobe with me.  Not every shot includes the extra light, but having it gave me some additional options. The SB910 was triggered using an on-camera SU800 controller. The normal infra red signals don’t communicate well in bright sun and require “line of sight”, so I added a Radio Popper transmitter and receiver to change the IR signal to radio frequency. To trigger the camera, I used a Vello FreeWave Micro Wireless Remote Shutter Release. It works great on by my Nikon D4 and Nikon D800. Vello makes additional controllers for other brands and models. The wide shot of the Fair near the top was washed with light from the strobe. Without the strobe, the shot would have been dull, flat, and generally silhouetted in the foreground. And of course, some shots worked well without the strobe.

Zipper and Vertigo

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, 1/50 at f/2.8, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 125

Zipper and Vertigo: The layout of the rides and midway changed considerably this year. From a photographer’s perspective, I think the change was for the better. In the past, the general configuration went from East to West. This year, it changed from North to South and was pushed against Flat Creek Drive. This layout eliminated a few annoying power lines behind some of the rides and attractions. Evening skies remained deep blue much longer. The Jackson Hole fair is unique in a few ways. There are no admission fees—so it is cheap to simply mill around each night. The rides and attractions are tightly configured into the allowed space. The people at Frazier Shows don’t have a problem with photographers taking photos, and the workers seem to enjoy having photos taken of their rides.

Aliens

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 44 mm, 1/200 at f/14, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV,  ISO 500

Aliens: For the most part, I go to the Fair to simply have fun, experiment, and learn. Other than taking a few photos for a blog post like this one, I don’t have any particular use for the images, and as a result, don’t have any editorial restrictions. The aliens in this shot were actually vivid green. While in Lightroom, I experimented with quite a few of the sliders to come up with a unique color scheme that makes me smile. The fair gives me plenty of room for experimenting—both in the capture and the post processing.

Tiger's Head

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 200 mm, 1/125 at f/2.8, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 640

Tiger’s Head (Sunday Addition):  Kids are turned loose to roam around on the inside of this Tiger’s belly. They slide out when finished. I shot this scene a few times with different ambient light, but liked this somewhat mysterious version best.

Dots

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 52 mm, 1/100 at f/9, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 2000

Dots: On this shot and on quite a few others, I turned the focus button on my lens to manual and then purposefully put the scene out of focus. After seeing some of the results from these experimental images, I can see how I might use the effect on other, more finished images.

Duckies

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 70 mm, 1/1 at f/14, Aperture priority Mode, 0 EV,  ISO 100

Duckies: The concessionnaires at this attraction let me set up the tripod next to the spinning rubber ducks for a few shots. When the flash settings are turned to “rear-curtain sync”, the flash fires at the end of a long exposure. This allows for blurred movement, but then a tiny bit of sharpness at the end of the blur. Objects near the center of the spinning move much less.

Carousel Horses

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, 1/4 at f/16, Aperture priority Mode, -1/3 EV,  ISO 1000, ©2015 Mike R. Jackson, All Rights Reserved

Carousel Horses: This is a typical shot of the horses, augmented with a little fill flash via the remote strobe.

Motion

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, 1/1 at f/22, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV,  ISO 640

Horses in Motion: This shot was taken with Rear Curtain Sync as the horses flew by.

Horses Oncoming

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, 1/1 at f/22, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV,  ISO 640, ©2015 Mike R. Jackson, All Rights Reserved

Carousel: This is close to “my vision” for this shot. I was looking for long streaks with a split second of stopped details.

Ghostly Horse

Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 150 mm, 1/6 at f/16, Aperture priority Mode, -3 1/3 EV,  ISO 320

Ghostly Horse: I could go to the fair and shoot a thousand more shots of the carousel horses and never recreate this 1/6th second shot. In reality, most photos taken at the Fair fall into the same category. Lights, people, and conditions are constantly changing. Last year, Frazier Shows opted to leave the Carousel out of the fair. I believe they said it was merely a matter of space. This year, the large Ferris Wheel was being repaired, so the Carousel was back. Who knows if it will be in the show next year? I spent more time there than normal.

Lion's Head

Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 150 mm, 1/15 at f/16, Aperture priority Mode, -3 1/3 EV,  ISO 320

Lion’s Head: Without the fill flash, the blue frame and details on the figure would be almost non-existent. Carnival rides are “ridden hard and put away wet”—  to use a cowboy phrase. Very few of them are pristine, as seen here. A few bulbs are usually missing or burned out. The bottom of the crested frame on this element of the Carousel is broken off. Character?

Lion Head In Motion

Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 150 mm, 1/13 at f/10, Aperture priority Mode, -2 EV,  ISO 320

Lion’s Head: Rear Curtain Sync: 1/13th second at F/10, ISO 320. I experimented with the Shutter Speed to get the length of blur I wanted.

Carousel

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8 at 14 mm, 1/2 at f/8, Aperture priority Mode, -1/3 EV,  ISO 100

Carousel (Saturday Addition): I shot this image with a Nikon 14-24mm lens at close range. The ride was next to a large white trailer. I turned the power settings on my strobe to 1/1 (full power) and bounced light off the trailer—effectively making a small light source into a huge light source. In post production, I used some of the “upright” features in the Lens Corrections tab and then finished it off in Lightroom using the Perspective Crop tool.

Kids Train

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, 1 at f/8, Manual Mode, -1/3 EV,  ISO 100

Kids Train (Saturday Addition): Another long exposure with Rear Curtain Sync and a strobe to semi-freeze a few zones.

Cliff Hanger

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, 1/4000 at f/2.8, Aperture priority Mode, 0 EV,  ISO 800

Cliff Hanger: A couple of the rides pose problems for me. The Cliff hanger is one of them. The actual gliders lack lights. After it gets dark, they disappear. Also, when dark, there are numerous intense lights in the hub area that shine directly at onlookers (and photographers). My better shots of this ride have been taken while there was still some ambient light.

Cliff Hanger in Drizzle

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 82 mm, 1/400 at f/2.8, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV,  ISO 500

Cliff Hanger in Drizzle: “Neither rain, sleet or snow will stop the fair rides!” Well, that’s not exactly correct. They do stop the big rides during heavy rain and lightning storms. Drizzle didn’t stop this ride and provided some moody lighting. I would have preferred the “Freak Out” ride was not behind this ride, but that’s not an option I can control.

Cliff Hanger Riders

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 70 mm, 1/125 at f/4.5, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 800

Cliff Hanger (Saturday Addition): I’ve tried to get a similar shot on numerous occasions—but without much success. The riders in the paraglider style carts fly by at incredible speeds and very close to the riders in front of them.

Freak Out

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8 at 16 mm, 1/1 at f/14, Manual Mode, -1/3 EV,  ISO 100

Freak Out (Saturday Addition): I processed this image in Lightroom using mainly the new “Dehaze” adjustment slider (found in the Effects tab). It can add contrast, saturation, structure, and clarity with one slider.

Rain Delay

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 70 mm, 1/400 at f/2.8, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV,  ISO 500

Rain Delay: There are moments of transition following a big rain as the rides begin to start running again.

Ring of Fire

Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 210 mm, 1/160 at f/9, Aperture priority Mode, -1/3 EV,  ISO 100

Ring of Fire: I prefer the night and lights, but some rides translate well in broad daylight. On this day, I drove to the fair early in anticipation of a possible rainbow. Once there, I stayed for the entire transition from afternoon light to darkness.

Ring of Fire

Shooting Data: NIKON D4, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 24 mm, 1/800 at f/8, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 100

Ring of Fire: Direct light on the silver sides of the ring pushed the exposure down and created some drama in the skies. The ride was ending as I set up the shot. A cloud moved in front of the sun by the time the next ride was loaded and the effect was negated.

Ring of Fire

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8 at 18 mm, 1/60 at f/5, Aperture priority Mode, 5 EV,  ISO 640

Ring of Fire (Saturday Addition): This is another of the rides that doesn’t display well at night. The passenger car doesn’t have lights, so the only lights you see are in the blinking sign and the ones around the ring. I don’t believe all of them were even on a once. For this shot, I set the remote strobe to 200mm zoom and with a high output setting. The ring and sign were captured with the ambient light, while the car and upper portion of the ring were lit with the strobe.

Midway

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 70 mm, 1/6 at f/22, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 2000

Midway: I tried this shot with the strobe lighting the fair goers, but that distracted from the the scene. It’s easy to shoot it both ways and pick the one I like.

Zipper Detail

Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/50 at f/9, Aperture priority Mode, -2 EV,  ISO 320, ©2015 Mike R. Jackson, All Rights Reserved

Zipper: Using a telephoto lens, I concentrated on small areas. The lights change constantly, so I took lots of images.

Zipper: Blurred Lights

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 160 mm, 1/60 at f/2.8, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV,  ISO 80, ©2015 Mike R. Jackson, All Rights Reserved

Zipper: Lights out of focus.

Zipper

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 90 mm, 1.30 at f/22, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 100

Zipper (Sunday Additions): The streaks occurred as the cage and wheel were being positioned to let people out.

Zipper

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 170 mm, 1/3 at f/22, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 100

Zipper (Sunday Additions): I didn’t do a lot of zooms and twists this year, mainly because I concentrated on them last year. Just for “old time’s sake”, I did a couple on the last night, but did some extensive adjustments in Lightroom to change the nature and color of the abstract image.

Zipper

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 175 mm, 1/4 at f/20, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 320

Zipper (Sunday Additions): Sometimes, a little of a special effect goes a long way. The shutter speed was only 1/4 second on this one.

Vertigo With Indigo Skies

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 50 mm, 1/60 at f/6.3, Aperture priority Mode, 1 EV,  ISO 2000

Vertigo With Indigo Skies: This is probably my favorite ride to photograph.

Vertigo and Zipper

 Shooting Data: NIKON D4, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8 at 18 mm, 1.30 at f/22, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 320

Vertigo and Zipper: I tilted my camera to slant the horizon on this one. The long exposure created streaks, while the static Zipper ride remained in relative focus. The cages on the Zipper are lit by the ambient light, but disappear in the dark night shots while spinning.

Zipper and Vertigo

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8 at 14 mm, 4 at f/22, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 100

Vertigo and Zipper: (Saturday Addition): You might say the stars finally aligned for this shot! It has been difficult to capture two of the major rides operating concurrently, I finally was there at the right time and with settings ideal to capture the motion. As a bonus, the half moon was visible just to the left of the spinning Vertigo ride.

Vertigo

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 14.0-24.0 mm f/2.8 at 14 mm, 1/2 at f/16, Manual Mode, -1/3 EV,  ISO 500

Vertigo (Saturday Addition): The first night, I took my Tamron 150-600mm lens, along with several of the shorter lens in a backpack. One night I used a 70-200 mm lens for some mid-range shots. On Saturday, I shot mostly with a Nikon 14-24mm lens. For this shot, I was standing next to the fence and aiming up. The perspective is completely different.

Fair_GoldfishAndHand_July24

Shooting Data: NIKON D4, Tamron 150.0-600.0 mm f/5.0-6.3 at 600 mm, 1/250 at f/9, Aperture priority Mode, -1 1/3 EV,  ISO 100

Goldfish: If you can throw a ball into a cup, you can go home with one or two of these goldfish. An aquarium sits in each of the four corners. I was set up taking a few shots of the fish when a youngster put his hand on the corner of the aquarium, causing the fish to move to the other side. I suspect this happens hundred of times a day. A human element can be a big plus.

Brynn and Her New Fish

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 140 mm, 1/200 at f/2.8, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV,  ISO 500

Brynn and Her New Fish: This fish has a proud new owner.

Another Winner

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 140 mm, 1/100 at f/2.8, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV,  ISO 500

Another Winner: For a few dollars more, you can go home with a few fish and mini-aquarium.

Carousel and Riders

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 70 mm, 1/400 at f/2.8, Manual Mode, -3 EV,  ISO 100

Brynn and Father: Hard to beat a good ol’ family shot. I was taking artsy photos of the horse’s head while the ride was stopped when the seat filled with a little rider.

Carousel Horse Portrait

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 98 mm, 1/800 at f/3.5, Manual Mode, -3 EV,  ISO 100

Carousel Horse Portrait: This shot was taken when there was still a considerable amount of ambient afternoon light. I dialed in some heavy negative exposure on the camera, then moved the remote strobe relatively close to the head.

Black and White

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 98 mm, 1/800 at f/3.5, Manual Mode, -3 EV,  ISO 100

Black and White: Same shot after processing through NIK Silver Efex in Photoshop.

Fresh Pizza

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 105 mm, 1/60 at f/6.3, Aperture priority Mode, 1/3 EV,  ISO 640, ©2015 Mike R. Jackson, All Rights Reserved

Fresh Pizza: Kayla Perez and Dominic Fraley were working in the Pizza trailer. I asked Kayla if she would hold the next pizza up for me when it came out of the oven. No problem!

Fresh Pizza

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 105 mm, 1/60 at f/6.3, Aperture priority Mode, 1/3 EV,  ISO 640, ©2015 Mike R. Jackson, All Rights Reserved

Fresh Pizza: Sometimes, all the bright colors can be distracting. I like this one both ways.

Basketball

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 70 mm, 1/80 at f/4.5, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 800

Basketball Toss (Saturday Addition): This carnival worker let me take a couple of quick captures. I stepped to the side to hold the remote strobe off center and triggered the camera with the remote. Other than the harsh shadow of the ball on his shirt, it worked out okay. Given a little time, I could have added another strobe or softened the light source. I liked the color version, but the black and white had a stark journalistic look.

Cliff Hanger Tilted

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8 at 50 mm, 1/60 at f/6.3, Aperture priority Mode, 1 EV,  ISO 2000

Cliff Hanger Tilted: Blurs are still good! A tripod is a must for this kind of shot.

Pharoahs Revenge

 

Pharoah’s Revenge (Sunday’s Addition): I neglected this ride for some reason. Sunday night, I took my Nikon 70-200mm lens and strobe. I believe I did a combination of panning and rear-curtain sync on this shot.

Pharoah's Revenge

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 112 mm, 1/10 at f/6.3, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 640

Pharoah’s Revenge (Sunday’s Addition): Rear curtain sync and Nikon SB910 strobe. In this shot, the ship was heading down. In some of the other shots, I captured the motion as the ship was still going higher. Those streaks looked like souls being pulled to the underworld.

Pharoah's Revenge (Sunday's Addition):

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 200 mm, 1/20 at f/7.1, Aperture priority Mode, -1 EV,  ISO 400

Pharoah’s Revenge (Sunday’s Addition): I put a cross filter on the front of the lens for a few shots. The color shift was created in Lightroom.

Tut's Red Eyes

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 200 mm, 1/60 at f/5.6, Aperture priority Mode, 0 EV,  ISO 640

Pharoah’s Revenge (Sunday’s Addition): This is a fairly straight forward shot (without a strobe). I adjusted sliders in Lightroom.

Pharoah's Revenge

Shooting Data: NIKON D800, 70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 at 100 mm, 1/500 at f/2.8, Aperture priority Mode, -2/3 EV,  ISO 500

Pharoah’s Revenge: There’s a treasure trove of unusual subject matter at the Teton Country Fair right now. It’s a great place to experiment, make mistakes, learn from them, and generally have fun like a little kid. Better yet, there are about five nights, so even if you don’t get what you want one night, you should have second and third chances. If you are shooting in RAW format, you have additional chances to modify the original capture.

The Wrap-Up and Comments

I went to the Teton County Fair all five nights of the rides. There are lots of other events and attractions at the Fair, like the 4-H Club’s animals, petting zoo, food court, Rodeo, Figure 8 Contest, and so forth, but I have always been drawn to the lights and motion of the rides and midway attractions. This year, I wanted to work on “rear curtain sync” with my strobe. I also wanted to see if I could control various aspects of adding harsh and soft light into scenes I had photographed in previous years. Over the five nights, I took 4000 images. I included a fair number of them here, yet I could have doubled the number with no problem! Each night, I was able to look at my most recent captures, then develop strategies for shots I might want to take the next night—sometimes with different lenses. I challenged myself to improve on some of the less successful shots from the night before. Going five nights in a row drained some of my energy, but I would have loved to go each night for a full month! I know I’d be a better photographer at the end of it!

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Here’s a link to last year’s Fair post: Fair Time! Photos from the Teton County Fair.

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Comment (1)

  1. Marcy Starnes

    Fun Shots Mike -a very interesting venue

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