It’s Carnival season around the United States and along with that come the smells of elephant ears and cotton candy! The days are long gone of wanting to ride on any of the whirly, tilting and fast contraptions that are out there for current thrill seekers. So, I opt for capturing the whirls and motion on camera instead.
Carnivals are a great place to hone your long exposure skills. The colors and the lights, people moving and rides in constant motion are great subjects for some artistic photography.
Items to bring along for long exposure photography are, a tripod, and a neutral density (ND) filter for daytime or twilight shots. Long exposures on bright skies or at twilight will blow out unless you can stop down your lens. Hoya is a great brand for ND filters that have great reviews and are reasonably priced.
Midways can be full of people and strollers so make sure you pick a place to set up your tripod out of the main stream of foot traffic. This carnival had a great spot in the middle of the midway where they run all of the power cables. It was a good location to set up out of the way. I was able to get in position to get the Ferris wheel and the Cliffhanger ride together.
The sky still had light and all of the rides had come to life with multi-colored bulbs. I set up my camera and made sure I was focused and ready to go.
f 2.8 – 6.5 seconds – - ISO 500 - ND10
I took several shots and each one was completely different. The sky changes colors pretty fast, so make sure you pick your favorite location right when the sun is going down.
When the sky turns black, you can still get some great photos. Here are a few different perspectives on the Freak Out ride. These were 30 second exposures with a 10 Stop ND filter.
Three Photos Above – ISO 1250
- f3.0 – 30 second exposure – ND10
Looking at the calendar, summertime and Fall host many great events for colorful photography. In my neck of the woods, I have a Hot Air Balloon Race, a Chinese Sky Lantern event and Fireworks at the Ballpark coming up. Check into your local activity guide, you never know what events you can capture! It just might be your next award winning photo!
Copyright – Robyn Porteen
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