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Amuse yourself at the spring fair

An Amusement Fair is a fun place to practice street-type photography

The advertisement says, “West Coast Amusement Rides…Binge on our amazing rides like the Scrambler, Hurricane, Himalaya, and the classic Ferris Wheel. Leave yourself dizzy and delighted. Challenge yourself or dare your friends to our spectacular rides, or let your kids loose in Kiddieland.”

The County Fair. That’s what it was called when I was young. It had rides and places to try one’s luck at shooting tin ducks or tossing dimes on a plate and for those kids with extra money, there were the sideshows of the weird and unbelievable. I never had the cash to see the “bearded lady or a two-headed goat,” but I remember coming up with 15 cents (Maybe it was a quarter) to see the bullet-riddled Ford V8 that the infamous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde died in.

The West Coast Amusement doesn’t have the sideshows (it should actually be called a carnival) but there are exciting rides, games of luck and food. My friend Shaun and I had spent the day working on a wood railing for my deck and he said that he, Jo, her friend Chantel, and his kids were going to the fair and asked if I wanted to come.

Tired as I was from that day of moving wood and kneeling to build the railing, I thought the fair would be a good photo opportunity. Their children are willing subjects and I decided I could make some prints of them that they could give to their grandmother and mother for Mother’s Day.

I took my little Fuji camera with the 55-200-mm lens. The longer lens would mean I could stand well back from the crowds of cellphone picture-takers that hovered close to the railings that circled the rides and still zoom in for close-ups of the children’s faces.

That, or any, Amusement Fair is a fun place to practice street-type photography. It’s colourful, with interesting large exciting machinery, people wearing all sorts of costumes and unique outfits that I’m sure are chosen to be seen in and, of course, lots of action. And the brightly lighted rides make the fair a perfect place to make night photos.

Some years I spent hours just wandering, but on this excursion, I mostly stayed close to Shaun and Jo so I could get good shots of their children having fun on all the rides.

For moving subjects, I usually leave my camera set at Shutter Priority. That means I choose the shutter and the camera chooses the aperture. However, this time I selected Manual mode as I was continually changing locations and needed to reset my meter to get a properly balanced exposure of Emit and Evinn as their rides moved around and around.

I got some good photos for them and I had a good time walking around watching the people and even got to eat a corndog. (I do like corndogs…let’s keep that a secret from my doctor). The fair was well worth the time and as I said, it’s a good place to do photography. When one comes to town, get out your camera and start shooting.

Stay safe and be creative. These are my thoughts for this week. Contact me at or

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