All of the Lights (2011 NC State Fair)
The Fair - large view RS
Last weekend, I gave my husband two simple requests. 1) I wanted pumpkin pancakes – I only request these one time a year (mostly because they’re only offered in October, but still). 2) I wanted to go to the North Carolina State Fair at night for a little photography date. It was super crowded…and on any normal day, we would have stayed far far away, but I kept my husband occupied with dirty fair food so I could take advantage of “all of the lights.”
Ferris Wheel RS
“Turn up the lights in here baby. Extra bright, I want y’all to see this. Turn up the lights in here baby. You know what I need. Want you to see everything. Want you to see all of the lights.”  ~ Kanye West and Rihanna
Cotton Candy Candy Apples RS
I don’t have a great tripod (it was a cheapie that came with a kit – thus the reason I have tripod on my Christmas wish list), so I didn’t bother to bring it. I also didn’t want to lug around a ton of equipment so before leaving the house, so I had to decide which lens I wanted to bring. I probably should have just brought my 50 mm f/1.4, but my fear was that I wouldn’t be able to zoom out for a full view of the fair. I love my Tamron 28-75 mm f/2.8, but it can be heavy at times…I also knew that the fair would be super crowded and didn’t want it to get broken in the masses. So…I brought my good ol’ (and hardly ever used) kit lens – the 18-55 mm. And ya know what, it really wasn’t so bad.
Great American Midway RS
I couldn’t help but think of Katie Lloyd and her wonderfully un-focused shots while I was snapping away. I also applied a few of the lessons I learned in Europe, most important of which is to provide context (aka include people in your photos). I have no idea how the selective coloring got involved, but I think it works here (above two shots and then again two down).
Fair Jamacian Bananas RS
One of the main reasons I wanted to go to the fair at night this year is because I really wanted to capture everything illuminated. Although I love my pictures from last year (here, here and here), I didn’t have any at night. By the way, for some reason, these stuffed and oversized Jamaican bananas were a hit…who knew?!
IMG_9745 copy RS
Now that I’ve gotten a taste of the fair at night, I might take next year off…it’s just way too busy. Either that, or I’ll go during the work week at 10 o’clock in the morning…something like that. However, you can’t substitute the fair for it’s people watching value.
IMG_9768 blog
Believe it or not, we didn’t actually ride any rides. I just wanted to photograph them. My husband was completely content with that arrangement, although he couldn’t quite figure out why so many of my photos were blurry. I had to be sure to throw in a few focused photos just for him.
Spinning RS
Another thing we did not do…eat a ton of weird fried food. Last year, we tried a fried Reese cup – it was actually pretty yummy. I think I saw fried Kool Aid this year…oh, and the return of the Krispy Kreme burger – that just doesn’t sound right. We kept it safe by eating at Church Row (I don’t know if that’s what it’s really called, but it’s the area where all churches set up mini-restaurants) and topping it off with a funnel cake. Of course, we also had to get a taste of NC State’s ice cream…yum!
Fair Reflection RS
Oh the things we do for photography…I wonder what I’ll do next? I guess you’ll have to wait and see. Have a great weekend!
60 COMMENTS

    these pics are so much fun and you just nailed the atmosphere!!! so great, Ashley. :D

    These photos are beyond magical!! You captured this so well!

    Looks like fun!! I agree that they look magical! I’ve’ been using the 18-55mm more lately myself.

    These are lovely, Ashley. I love every single one of them. I hope you are getting some printed & framed or some on a canvas. Lovely! ♥

    Ok, I just have to say, I’m extremely jealous once again of your photo ventures!!!! :) I LOVE all of these and I love the processing as well!

    This are really creative and such beautiful photos! The first one is my favorite. I wish I could go to the NC state fair again. I went once back in 93 I think.

    Love Love LOVE all of the night photos and the bokeh–awesome shots! Would you mind going back and picking me up a funnel cake? :D

    I really am not a fan of fairs like this. Too crowded, too expensive, the food gives me a stomach ache…but the photo ops make it all worth it! These are amazing, my friend!

    I am in LOVE LOVE LOVE with this set!!!! Oh my, what captures you got. I felt like I was right there with you! I would totally make this a collage in my house. Such nostalgia. LOVE! Happy friday. :)

    Very cool pictures! I can’t wait for our fair. It starts next week and like you, I’ll be bringing my camera :)

    AAHHHH, I LOVE these!!! amazing friend…I love a good carnival!!! :)

    Awesome photos! I love the motion feel to many of the ride photos. Did you try to win a giant banana? :)

    Lovely, lovely photos. They make me want to go to a fair sometime soon.

    Have a great weekend!

    This is such a fun post! The pictures are great. Going to the fair at night, actually going anywhere at night, is something I miss now that we have two little boys.

    I think the blurry carousel shot is my favorite. It makes me feel like I’m standing there watching it. :)

    UM – OK maybe I should take mine down- THESE ROCK!!! WHOOT WHOOT!

    The carousel shot – AWESOME! Great job and I’m with you too busy for me! But people watching value PRICELESS! HA!

    XOOX Have a blessed weekend!

    Love this pics – so much fun going on! :-)

    Oh my stars… these all are so stunning!

    What fun Ashley- Our state fair is held 7 hours from here- so we don’t get to go.

    I would stay at the concession stand- YUM!

    I live in Texas and of course we do everything ‘big’ here. ; ) We’ve been to the state fair many times when we lived in the Dallas area, but now in Houston we have the Livestock and Rodeo show – the concerts rock, but the boot watching, oh the boots!! I’m looking forward to March!!

    LOVE all of your shots!

    Very cool night fair shots! Quite beautiful with all the lights and colors. Great job!

    No fried Kool-Aid or Krispy Kreme burger??? What’s the use in going to the fair? J/K. Saw that stuff myself and thought I’d just save my calories for the good stuff: mini donuts and elephant ears!

    Gorgeous night shots! I love the collage of the ferris wheel.

    These are awesome! I love how you captured the fair in all its glory. The last shot is my favorite :)

    Fun! I like that you played around with the selective color. (It really made the words pop on the food stands.) Looks like it was a fun evening despite the crowds.

    I love the ferris wheel pictures! I’ve never actually been to a true fair, but I am sure it’s quite the experience!

    loveee the ferris wheel photos :)

    You’ve captured the fair so well…love it!

    Aren’t fairs wonderful!!!!
    Nicely captured!

    I love the progression of the blur on the ferris wheel shot, and I love LOVE your processing on the cotton candy stand picture!

    How fun and your kit lens? I have put mine away…I am spoiled with my upgrades…but you have done an amazing job creating the great fair….love all the movement..especially in the 3rd photo down…ingenious to do a selective color for this.

    I love these! The ones of the Ferris wheel are just awesome.
    I’ve seen those giant banana people at an amusement park and, man, they are creepy! :)

    wow! i’m impressed!

    fantastic shots and soo inspiring!
    you’re so creative.
    great editing as well.

    have a lovely weekend!

    very cool shots, one of my favorite places to go with my camera is over to the boardwalk. always great lights, people, and lots activity.

    Neat looking shots! Are these with a lens baby?

    Seriously cool merry go round shot with the blur!

    Kathy

    Gorgeous shots Ashley. Next year it would be nice to leave the guys at home with the kids and just us go. Maybe we will be in Raleigh by then.

    I always do one year off one year on with the fair. I love it but I usually end up stressed out. I love the last shot of the rides reflecting in the water.

    very cool shots! I need to work on night time, you do it so well.

    13 years in NC, and I never made it to the state fair! Gorgeous shots!

    Great set as always! I agree that you nailed the atmosphere. I especially love the vintage-esque food booth shot.

    These are so beautiful Ashley!You captured atmosphere wonderfully. I love the selective color processing in food stand picture.

    Very cool shots!

    I love the out of focus Ferris wheel pictures! SO cool! I love the progression throughout the five. Question.. how do you get your linkup buttons on the bottom of your post so little?

    Love, love these Ashley! Awesome shots! I love the fair too!

    These are all totally awesome!! Wow! Now, I’m regretting not dragging Jeremy along more when I had the chance to photograph some carnival lights… :( my 1-2 shots I got this summer are super sad compared to these! oh, well! It’s too cold to think of fairs right now!

    My favorite one is that carousel! LOVE IT!! The colors, the motion – awesome!

    fried kool aid? ick!

    I remembered not long ago that you Commented on my photo in summer and said fair only comes around once a year. So I wondered if it did. And then here you are today, posting these. I have really been looking forward to them! They are great!!

    These are wondeful! And you’re right, the selective colour really does work in those shots, my favourite is the candy apples/cotton candy one :)
    My husband would be scratching his head about the blurry ones too, haha.

    You really captured the feeling of the fair! Nice job on night photography.

    these are beautiful! gotta love a good ferris wheel.

    Amazing! You totally made these your own!!

    These are wonderful! Love the ferris wheel collage! We don’t usually go to our local fair at night either. We prefer to go early and leave just as the crowds are gathering. But I wouldn’t mind trying to capture some night shots as well. :)

    great shots! :)

    Love the motion of the carousel shot. These are fantastic.

    Awesome shots! I love the fair at night!! When I think of the NC State Fair, I think of Mt. Olive pickles!!

    I love the stuffed bananas too! ;-)

    Great job Ashley – I loved these with my favourites being the reflections one at the end, the one that looks like a woman and the blurred ones especially the one with the ferris wheel triangles. I can just imagine how busy it was in there but there’s nothing better than a bit of people watching.

    I love the fair I can’t wait to go! Ours just started here on thur and we are going next thur! I am hoping to be able to get some night shots too! I love the out of focus farris wheels!

    I LOVE those oof ferris wheel shots!!! LOVE! …especially the last two in your collage. And thanks so much for the shout out! :)

    PS – I actually have my Hunt post scheduled for Tuesday! Oh yeah! :) …I’m so glad October is {nearly} over.

    These are fabulous! Love your processing!

    Krispy Kreme burger?!? O.o Never even had a KK – and now I can’t cause I’m gluten intolerant. ;)

    Cool shots!! I’ve never taken my kids to a fair… next year for sure. :)

    I was so bummed I missed our fair this year… These photos make me more determined than ever to go next year! Amazing collection!


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