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Best of the Tetons

Fair Feature Image

Teton County Fair 2016

Sun Lit Wheel

The Teton County Fair is a welcome diversion, at least for me, and apparently for the many people on the midway each night. Drive north out of Jackson, and you’ll find wildlife moving around the valley at either of our two premier National Parks. It’s hard to beat the Tetons when they serve as a backdrop. Drive almost any other direction, and you will likely find people fishing, riding horses, hiking, camping, climbing mountains, and floating the rivers. The wildlife, scenery, and activities are the reasons most of us moved here and are the draw that brings people here throughout the year. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Cliff Hanger and Gravitron

You might call last week of July typical for most weeks of the busy summer months, but it is also fair time! The Teton County Fair attracts locals, regional neighbors, and tourists already in the area. As I mentioned earlier, it is a diversion from the “norm”, but the main attractions last only a few days! Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Vertigo and Zipper

There are 23 counties in Wyoming, and I assume each of them has some sort of county fair. The Wyoming State Fair is held in Douglas, WY in mid-August (2016: August 13-20). Wyoming Frontier Days in Cheyenne is held at roughly the same time as the Teton County Fair. The Eastern Idaho State Fair at Blackfoot, ID, is held in early September. And, if you don’t live “around these parts”, you can find a county fair in your region. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Candy Apples

I like to go to the fair for the evening lights and non-stop action. The fair is “interesting” during the daylight hours, and there is plenty to do an see, but evening seems to transform the fairgrounds into a magical place. Neon, LED, and fluorescent lights shift colors in all directions. Fiery evening skies are common, too. It’s not just another week in JH. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Vertigo at Sunset

There are many more aspects to a County Fair, of course, like the 4H animals, auction, petting zoo, displays, and events. Most are free. Watch for musicians, magicians, poets, and Native American dancers. Other events like the CBR Bull Riding, Saturday Night Rodeo, and Pig Wrestling will require a paid admission. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Ferris Wheel

Still, I go for the lights! The new, larger Ferris Wheel has a digital light package, with ever changing colors and patterns. If you go with a tripod, a photographer can capture long exposures, with ever changing, beautiful ribbons of light. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Green Light

In the early days, fair lights were actual light bulbs. From a distance, no one cares, of course. New lights are made of faceted plastic with an LED bulb behind it. Many are capable of changing colors, controlled by computer programming. The image above was captured with a macro lens at a distance of about 8″ at 200mm. At that distance, fine details, flaws, dust, and grunge can be picked up by the camera. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

BW Dragon

Goofy subjects can make interesting photos. The dragon was Kelly green originally. The fair has plenty of this kind of opportunities. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Vertigo, Zipper, and Feak Out

Long exposures (on a tripod) reveal a different world.  Time can be measured over a quarter of a second to a full second, or longer. The rest of the year, typical exposures are 1/320 to 1/1250th of a second. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Dizzy Bears

Over a period of a second and a half, unexpected and unplanned scenes can reveal themselves. Colorful dragons filled my view in this scene, but are only streaks in the actual capture. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Note: Near the bottom of this page, I have links to earlier Feature Posts about the Teton County Fair. They are loaded with motion blur lights! They are always fun to shoot, but I’ve already captured a lot of them over the years. This year, I am hoping to find and process images with a little different look and feel…call them more artsy! Technically, they might be better—or not—but I think of the whole series as a journey filled with small steps.

Pharoah

Didn’t I already mention I love the fair? The image above illustrates just one of the reasons! The fiberglass head is actually pewter gray, but this is one time of the year in which yellow flowers don’t have to be yellow, green grass doesn’t have to be green, and blue sky doesn’t have to be blue. A few radical adjustments in the post processing software like Lightroom or Photoshop can magically transform an image. I find it liberating and extremely fun! Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Ghost Ducks

Somewhere around the fair, a photographer is being paid to photograph the fair for the newspaper or possibly by the Fair Board’s next year’s web site and magazine. They more less have to be true to the scene, but I am there because I find the place unique. The photos are essentially for myself (and this blog), so I can experiment and play. As in this image, yellow duckies don’t have to be yellow. I thought they had a ghostly look, even in the original capture. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Ethereal

The enclosed buggies on the Zipper don’t have lights. I like capturing that ride just as the sun goes down, but with enough ambient light to reveal them as they get tossed by the spinning armature. The seats on the Vertigo have lights, but at some point the riders disappear into the night. I shifted the colors and effects on this shot to imitate an ethereal world. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Cliff Hanger

Many shots are unpredictable and essentially unrepeatable, like this shot of the Cliff Hanger ride.  I added two texture layers applied over my original capture—along with changes to the layer modes. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Starship 2000

Unlike the previous image where I let the lights streak on a long exposure, you can go the other direction! For this image, I froze the spinning motion of the Starship 2000 ride. This is a detail of the center section. Just out of frame are are roughly three dozen riders pinned to the sides of the walls by centrifugal force. The colors in this image were also heavily shifted in Lightroom and Photoshop. Nikon D5 and Nikon 70-180mm Lens.

Night Two:

Beach Balls

Beach Balls: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Eyes

Eyes: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Goldfish

Not So Gold Goldfish: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Knives

Knives: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Lion's Head

Tiger’s HeadNikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Kids on Footbridge

Kids on Footbridge: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Bouncer

Bouncer: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Little Fisher

Little Fisher: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Onlooker

Onlooker: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

35 Years of Fair

35 Years of Fair: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Funnel Cakes

Funnel Cakes: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Powdered Sugar

Powdered Sugar: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Vertigo Ascent

Vertigo Ascent: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Vertigo Detail

Vertigo Detail: Nikon D5 and Tamron 150-600mm Lens.

Violet Vertigo

Violet Vertigo: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel and Midway: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

West End

West End: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Teton County Fair

Midway: Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Sunday Night:

Final Night at the Teton County Fair

Final Night at the Teton County Fair: I tried to get this shot on Saturday, but lightning grounded the Vertigo ride. This image is a composite of half a dozen individual captures. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Ferris Wheel Flower

Ferris Wheel “Flower”: The LED lighting package on the new Ferris Wheel can create some wonderful patterns over a 1.6 second exposure. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

Going, Going Gone

Going, Going, Gone! On Monday, I stopped by the Fairgrounds at 6:00 am to find all of the rides broken down and on their trailers….roughly 7.5 hours after the last riders. By noon, many of the trailers were pulling onto the highway and headed to Farmington, New Mexico. Nikon D5 and Nikon 24-70mm Lens.

You might also want to visit Frazier Shows Facebook Page.

Fair Extras

I have been going to the Teton County Fair for 30 years. I’ve long since stopped riding the spinning rides that leave me dizzy for a few days afterwards—but I still go to watch the action and enjoy the sights and sounds. The layout for the fair is different each year and it seems each year I have different personal priorities and interests. Below are links to the earlier posts on Best of the Tetons. This post, plus the four earlier Feature Posts should give you a lot of ideas!

The layout for this year’s fair is good, but it is also more challenging than some of the previous years. Why? At each end of the midway are generators with intense floodlights aiming back into the fair. This year, they project into the night sky near the Vertigo and Zipper rides, polluting the black sky on many shots. You can still get lots of nice images, but be prepared to work around the big floodlights. The Ferris Wheel was missing last year, but is back bigger and better than before. Similarly, the Merry-Go-Round is missing this year, but should be back next year with a new paint job and refurbished elements.

Remember, this fair allows photographers with tripods. Unlike large State Fairs, it is relatively small and intimate. You can park nearby in most cases and return to your vehicle to exchange gear or grab additional batteries and cards.

Previous Years Fair Posts:

HD 1080p Video (Slower Loading, but Hi-Res) 36 seconds

The 36 second video above was was created by taking 1080 still shots using my old Nikon D300 camera. Captures were 5 seconds apart, spanning a period of 2.75 hours. The camera was controlled by a Nikon MC-36 remote trigger. (new cameras usually have a built in intervalometer). The images were exported and renumbered as JPGs from Lightroom into a folder, where I let Photoshop create the actual video clip. You can learn more about the process by watching this clip at Lynda.com: Creating a time-lapse video in Photoshop

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