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Night at the Fair

February 16, 2010

I was shooting at the State Fair last week and I was inspired to get a little creative when I came upon the carousel. A combination of factors went into the creation of this image. I had a custom white balance of 3500K set in the camera for starters. I used my gorilla-pod to clamp a flash unit equipped with a radio trigger onto the safety railing that surrounded the ride. I had an orange gel on the flash to neutralize the white balance on the flash-illuminated carousel horses. With the flash turned off I set a slow shutter speed that allowed me to pan with the horses but still give a good motion blur effect with rest of the ride while at the same time giving me a reasonable ambient light level. Once my exposure was figured out I turned on the flash and determined a power level setting that would allow for proper exposure of the closest horse. Then came the fun part: panning with and shooting the moving horses. It was trickier than it sounds because they don’t just move in a circle, they go up and down as they circle around. I realized that I would have to catch an outside horse as it was passing the highest point of it’s motion. Only on a few turns of the ride did an outside horse pass through it’s highest point while passing by me and me and my pre-aimed flash unit. I had to have my panning technique down cold in order to not miss the limited shooting opportunities that occurred before the ride stopped. I had 3 shots at it while the ride was running and nailed it on the third one.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathleen permalink
    February 17, 2010 10:01 am

    Jim, I’m not sure I follow the steps you took for this photo. My issue not your explanation. However, the result is amazing. You captured everything in this photo!

  2. February 24, 2010 10:13 pm

    This image was quite a challenge to accomplish, but it was definitely worth the effort. You have amazing timing to be able to catch this at the perfect time in the perfect place. Incredible!

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