On the way to our accountant to see how much we owed Uncle Sam, I noticed the Carnival was in town. My wife suggested that I come back later to get some pictures. I was thinking I might not be in the mood after seeing how much we had to fork over to the IRS and then a possible loss tonight at the ballpark. While the IRS news was not the greatest, we did win the baseball game with my son pitching a shutout. What more could you ask for! In good spirits, I set out to capture some carnival light late in the evening. I knew before I started my car that the theme was going to be MOTION.
Situated in a mall parking lot, the view outside of the carnival area was not too appealing. I knew I needed to watch my composition carefully. I started out with a walk around the perimeter. I am surprised that I was not confronted by security. I had my camera bag on my back and also had my tripod and mount in a bag over my shoulder. My tripod bag could easily be mistaken for a rifle case. I guess I did not look too menacing. Below is my first shot of the night. These rides are not spinning very fast. To get the motion I wanted, I had to use a combination of low ISO and small apertures to achieve the slow shutter speed to create the effect. The other decision I made was what white balance setting to use. Well most of us have been to carnivals. There is not exactly one light source that you have to worry about. There are many sources and many colors. After some test shots, I chose a fluorescent setting. This setting is around 4000-4500 Kelvin.
Big Wheel Keep on Turning
Below is my next perimeter shot. I noticed that at the end of this attraction, many people would exit down the steps as another group would enter from the top. I figure I would try to capture their movement. I had to play with this one for a while before I got it right. Too long of a shutter speed might make the people vanish completely. Below is my favorite take.
The next picture is my last perimeter shot. My wife and son said this shot reminded them of a UFO. The first thing that jumped out at me was the old toy with the spinning wheel that rides up and down metal wire fork-like device that you hold in your hand. It was called a Whee-lo. It dates back to the 1960’s.
I was really having fun and I was not ready to go home just yet. It appeared there was no entrance fee so I walked through the gates to enter the carnival. Just to be sure I was not in violation, I asked a gentleman at the ticket booth if admission was free. He confirmed that I was ok and I set out to capture more light.
I probably looked a bit odd. While I was not the only one in the crowd taking pictures, I was definitely the only one carrying around a camera mounted on a tripod hoisted over my shoulder. I was definitely the odd man out. However, a little awkwardness never keeps me from getting the shot I want. On another note, I am glad I ate before I came. The smell of food was everywhere. From cheese steaks to funnel cakes and cotton candy, they had something for everyone. Couple this with the sounds of games, bells, whistles and laughter, you had a very festive atmosphere which brought back childhood memories. The shot below is the first shot I took after walking through the gates.
After I took the shot above, I walked around the carnival looking for more interesting compositions. During this time, I actually passed out 4 business cards to people asking what I was doing. They wanted to know if I was official or where they could see the pictures. Below are the last four shots from my outing.
I hope you enjoyed the images. I don’t shoot my DSLR a lot these days, but it is fun to bring it out to play in the dark! Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Stay tuned as I have shipped 3 rolls of film to the lab for developing. I hope to have the results in a couple of weeks. These rolls will have more street photography and some urban exploration from downtown Nashville. I can’t wait to see the results!
Images Best Viewed in Lightbox Below!