Maintenance – and a VC Fair Report

Maintenance by I Nancy, on Flickr

I love creating at a carnival or fair, especially as the sun goes down and the lights go on. The local Ventura County Fair opened last Wednesday and, as is now usual custom, a bunch of us from the local camera club headed down to visit the photography exhibit and do several hours of night photography.

First, I must express my delight in bringing home three 1st-place ribbons and one 3rd. I will get to posting and talking about those images in the near future. I entered eight images and it was interesting that the images that received less recognition were all quite abstract, but these four really hit the mark. With the exception of my beautifully shallow depth of field Cherry Blossom Sundae (1st Flowers Color), each of my winners were what I’ll call soft street which made me all the happier: Phone Home (1st Photo Journalism Color), Ready to Roll (1st Transportation Color), and Late Night Pickup (3rd Transportation B&W). It was also great to see many, many, many of my friends win ribbons of many colors.

But this night at the fair wasn’t about sitting on my laurels and basking in my blue ribbons, it was about pushing forward and building on my study and successes in street photography. It was a difficult night. There are things going on in my life right now that are requiring a huge amount of emotional energy to change. I had a great burst of energy during a week off in July where I photographed, wrote, and studied, but for the last few weeks, I’ve not done much creation. I was not only emotionally stressed, but also a bit rusty – and the light sucked with a typical marine-layer-gray day in Ventura. I walked and wandered taking in the sights and sounds and looking at the washed out colors. I knew I just had to start shooting and, in a way, warming up my senses and reflexes.

Finally, the sun began to set, the lights began to glow, and the colors started to come alive. This image, taken at 6:02 still a good hour before sunset, was the first keeper of the night. It has everything I’m looking for in my street work – story, visual interest, and strong gesture. I was desperately working on taking images of the children on the carousel and it just wasn’t working. My reflexes were too slow, my AF not tracking, flat light, too many distractions. After the carousel stopped I noticed this scene and was able to frame it up and capture a few in sequence.