Sunday, January 17, 2010

The South Florida Fair

I decided to go to the fair this year for two reasons: 1) Dina offered me a free ticket & 2) I thought it would be a great Week 3 blog post. My goal was to get one great picture for the blog but I ended up with so many more (I took over 200 pictures in the 2 1/2 hours we were there).

As in most areas of the world, the fair is a pretty big deal around here. The South Florida Fair comes to town in the middle of January every year and it stays for two weeks. It is always held at the South Florida Fairgrounds, which is a surprising 100 acres.


Some other things I learned about the fair:

-The fair began as the Palm Beach County Fair in March 1912, and operated until 1937 when it ceased operating due to the effects from the Great Depression.
-The fair resumed in 1946, and incorporated in 1953. In 1957, the fair was moved from John Prince Memorial Park (I had no idea!) to its current location when Palm Beach County gave the Fair 100 acres at its present site (but later took back 20 acres for the stockade).
-The former location is now the home of Palm Beach Community College... oh, I'm sorry, Palm Beach State College!
-The fair was renamed to its present day name for the 1960 event.
-Attendance has been almost 600,000 people for the last few years.

(Thanks to the Palm Beach Post for some of these facts, and Wikipedia for the rest!)

I'm fairly sure this is the first time that I went to the fair without Derek (my 17 year old) and even a whole bunch of kids; in fact, it was very strange just going with Dina. Our main goal was to take some cool pictures and eat some unhealthy food (check... and check). I don't know about Dina, but I felt 20 years younger walking around just being silly and having fun. When I go to the fair I usually avoid the midway, choosing to spend my time looking at the exhibits and the animals and, as awful as it is, I do like the games. If we weren't short of time, I would have attempted to win one of these or one of these (thanks for the shot Dina!). However, since we didn't have much time and it was dark, we were drawn to the rides.

After drinking 1/2 of our first large beer, Dina talked me into taking an "old time photo", something I have never taken the time to do before. We made a deal with the guy - we'd buy his picture if he also took a picture with our cameras. After doing a tiny bit of editing, I was very happy with the picture of us.

Having fun at the fair!

For those wondering... no, I didn't drink any Jack Daniels and yes, way too much of Dina's legs are showing. :o) I also took this very quickly after the guy took our picture. Too bad the guy took away her cool feather hat thing first.

Oh, and thank you, Dina, for having your camera handy for this shot (by the way, be sure to look through Dina's photostream... she took a lot of really amazing shots, too!).

I admit that at times I felt silly standing in the middle of the crowd with my tripod, taking 30 pictures of a brightly lit ride. I was asked at one point if I was a reporter (my response, "No, I'm an accountant"). Another woman stopped and talked to us and may join our Palm Beach Photo Walkers group on meetup.com, which was pretty exciting. We did get some strange looks but I'm starting to get used to it. If one of those 30 pictures turns out good, it is worth a few raised eyebrows from strangers (I do admit to being very embarrased while the guy was taking pictures of us scantily dressed... refer back to the link to the "old time photo" above).

In the short time I was there, I learned a lot about shutter speed and how to take pictures of very colorful and brightly lit moving things such as the swing ride (see below). It's really fun to try to get just enough of the blurry motion while keeping parts of the ride sharply in focused and I don't get many opportunities to play around with this technique. Another ride that came out cool is actually one of my least favorite rides (not sure what it's called). The only thing I enjoy about this ride is the good music that it usually plays. I never was a super huge ride person, but the ones that make me dizzy are the ones I hate the most (those and the ones that fall quickly and go too fast).

The way too high swing ride  Hate this ride

I generally like slow moving rides, and since heights do not bother me, ferris wheels are one of the few rides I will wait in line for (except this particular trip because we didn't have much time). I realized last night that I also like ferris wheels for their great photo opportunities. I took many pictures of two ferris wheels from all different angles and played around in Photoshop on some of them to make them look "arty".  This one I edited two different ways, black and whitethis one I did from underneath, which was really strange, and this one I really liked the composition,

My favorite ferris wheel shot is my Palm Beach County photo of the week on DPC:

The Sun Wheel

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16 comments:

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Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u




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