Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Digital equals artistic freedom; that’s why I never went back to film! With our high quality full-frame DSLR’s that can produce really nice images, at high ISO’s, coupled with great, fast, stabilized lenses, there isn’t much that we can’t do. 

Having covered the Western Idaho State Faire, in prior years, for the Eagle Informer Magazine, I know our fair inside and out. So, this year I decided to travel light bringing one body (Canon 5D MKII) and two lenses—no tripod or flash—and do some creative images for my self; all hand held.  

The scenes that were the most challenging were the night time images on the midway; like these…
f5.0 @ 1/30 sec., ISO 1600 Lens @ 24mm
This was one of my favorite compositions.  I like using a foreground object (the artwork of another ride) as a lead-in to another subject—giving depth and added interest to the composition.  The key here is using just enough ISO to get your camera to a shutter speed you can hand-hold at an f-stop that will give you the depth of field you need.  I stopped at ISO 1600 when I got to f5.0, because I new that with my lens at 24mm I would have adequate depth of field for both main subjects.  

You really can’t do this type of photography at f2.8 — or wider — and besides most lenses are not as sharp when used wide-open anyway.

f5.0 @ 1/50 sec., ISO 800 Lens @ 24mm
I loved this old carousel and when it stopped with the white swan where I wanted it, with that ride in the background, I just waited until the colorful pendulum was in a good position.

 f5.6 @ 1.160 sec., ISO 1600 Lens @ 135mm
The light in the stock buildings was terrible, so I concentrated on animals close to the big open doors., So, I reversed my angle for backlight and zoomed-in for this image of the cows’ point-of-view of the show!

f5.0 @ 1/60 sec., ISO 800 lens @ 24mm
The exhibit halls have notoriously poor, flat, weak lighting. So, again I looked for things closer to the open doors; in this case facing west. The setting sun was just peeping through the doors and hitting the back wall of the winning largest pumpkin’s exhibit, giving the otherwise flat lit scene some sparkle.

 f5.0 @ 1/100 sec., ISO 3200 lens @ 35mm
Back out on the midway for some night action photography this ride is a photographer’s favorite. Since it’s a spinner, I need at least 1/100 sec. to maintain detail in the top of the ride, but not quite freeze the people and to do that I had to use ISO 3200.  I think the best thing about this image is the in camera cropping—I think it’s more dynamic NOT showing the entire ride.

As I said at the beginning the artistic freedom we have with modern DSLR’s gives us the tools like variable high ISO’s with great quality! So, we can concentrate on important things like creative composition.  It’s my goal NOT to photograph things simply as they are. I want to photography things as I imagine they could be.

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Certified, Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site:  http://LightAtTheEdge.com

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