Fair Fotos – Long Exposure Night Shots

For the first time, I had the opportunity to take my camera gear and tripod to the fair this year to try some long-exposure night shots.  My husband accompanied me and helped to get things set up and keep from getting trampled by people near the carnival rides that I wanted to shoot.  It would have been tragic for someone to run into the camera and tripod there at night, and I highly recommend having someone accompany you for that very reason if you ever attempt these type of photos.

Just for the record, I shot at 100 ISO, used my Tokina wide-angle lens that I absolutely love and used my remote.  Certainly these shots can be attempted with other lenses, but the wide-angle lens helped to capture more of the field of view without having to back up further and possibly have more people and objects in the viewfinder.  I also used the lens hood for it, too.  For this first time out, I kept my UV filter on the lens, knowing that it would probably impact the photos a bit (flares), but given that the midway was so crowded with younger kids and teenagers who were not necessarily watching out for someone like me with a camera, I was honestly a little afraid of taking it off and risking something happening to the lens, even with my “lookout” on the watch.

I was quite pleased with a few of the shots overall, but it was also a good learning opportunity.  I quickly learned that to get a pleasing image, I needed to do more than just randomly open and shut the bulb manually with the remote.  I needed to watch the pattern of the ride very closely to attempt to capture a full light pattern.  It was also difficult this time out to find a position with no obstructions of some kind in the field of view.  In a less crowded and obstructed midway, I might could have done a better job at finding more suitable locations to shoot from.

Ferris Wheel @ 5 seconds… (was mostly still at the time)…


Ferris Wheel @ 11 seconds… (was running a bit faster)…


Orbiter ride @ 10 seconds…


Ferris Wheel again, different angle @ 13 seconds –
Really liked the patterns in the center of this one…


Back to Orbiter ride, different angle @ 2 seconds –
Obviously needed a little more time,
but I liked the ride worker in the foreground…


Another ride (I forgot the name) @ 8 seconds –
Pattern was very random but managed to catch one circle pattern…


Same ride @ 5 seconds –
More symmetrical pattern near end of ride cycle…


Orbiter again, much better angle with the sign @ 6 seconds –
This is my favorite shot of that ride, and the smaller Tornado ride
is also seen in motion toward the bottom left of the Orbiter…


Below are good examples of the need to watch the ride pattern.  I took several shots of the Eclipse ride throughout its life cycle, and caught some bonus shots of the Ferris Wheel in the background at various stages, too.  I like this series of photos that start with the spinning Eclipse and stationary Ferris Wheel, then work their way to the stationary Eclipse and the spinning Ferris Wheel.

Eclipse @ 6 seconds – half ride pattern/revolution…


Eclipse @ 12 seconds – full pattern/revolution…


Eclipse again with spinning Ferris Wheel @ 8 seconds –
One full pattern/revolution on Eclipse near lower/slower end of ride cycle…


Eclipse @ 11 seconds near end of ride cycle…

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Eclipse stationary with spinning Ferris Wheel @ 9 seconds…

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The Hammer @ 8 seconds – one full revolution…

Fair (Long Exposure)-5406

The Hammer @ 4 seconds – half revolution…

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We had a truly great time taking the photos as a small part of our evening at the fair, and I suspect that I will give it a try in future years as well, as long as the weather cooperates as well as it did this year.  We had several people stop by to chat and ask about how to take these photos, and we even showed some of the photos in the viewfinder to a few of them.  I love visiting with people, and it’s even more fun to talk photography… lots of fun, for sure!

I’m ready to set out again sometime soon for my next long-exposure night shoot… just need to decide on my next target!  It’s just such great fun, and people love to see the results!

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Author: DK

Blogger at My Five Fs (Faith - Family - Food - Fotos - Fun) and Animal Wonder. Empty-nester that now shares life with my hubby and our two standard poodles. Enjoys camping in our RV, taking and editing photos, trying new low-carb recipes, baking pretty decorated cookies for special occasions, walking daily, spending time with family and friends when we can, playing with the dogs, and is grateful to God for every single day of this blessed life and for the opportunity to share and connect with some great people here.

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