Monday, July 21, 2014

Staycation Photography Series: Theme Parks, Fairs and Carnivals

Summer vacation! Seems like as soon as summer comes, everyone is busy planning for and talking about their vacation. Going away is wonderful, but a "staycation" can be just as much fun! Explore your hometown, take day trips or just hang out in the backyard. Plus, there's tons of  photography fun to be had on a staycation and in this blog series we're going to give you some tips on enjoying staying home and tell you the right gear for your staycation photography! 

What’s summer without at least one or two day trips to a theme park or your local county fair? If you're lucky enough to live close to a big amusement park, go for it! But you don't need to make a long, expensive trek to Disney World or any of the other big name parks if your community has a county or state fair or even a local church or fire company carnival, grab your gear and get ready for some exciting photo ops! 

While a small ferris wheel or slow moving carousel might be ok to take your camera on, for the most part, you won’t be able or won't want to take your camera on the rides (it’s also tiring walking all day with your equipment in the summer sun!) so consider stowing your camera gear in a locker or other secure box offered in many theme parks for valuables. Ride the rides and explore, making mental notes (or snapping locations with your cell phone!) then go retrieve your gear and head back just for photos.

TIP: Some theme parks have restrictions for photographers or require permits. Check the park’s website to see if any such restrictions apply before you go!

The same rule that says to take holiday light pictures *before* it's completely dark applies here too: plan to shoot some of your frames just after the sun dips low when the lights on the rides and amusements become really lively and the sky is a deep blue.
Shoot some frames of the lights before it's completely dark for a stunning deep blue sky!

You probably won’t want to lug a tripod around with you (see gear concerns above), so get creative! If you’re shooting at dusk or at night try balancing the camera on a trash can or other stable object and use a cable/remote release.
What you’ll need: 
1. Lenses and Filters
For a lens, you want a sharp, fast focusing lens like the Sigma 17-50mm 2.8 that will allow you to zoom in as well as shoot fairly wide. This lens also helps get rid of the pesky blur you might have with small camera movements. Throw in a filter to help eliminate glare from water and add a bit of saturation to the blue summer sky.  If you’re at a county fair or small carnival, sometimes the attractions are very close together, and a wide angle might be the only way to get it all in the frame, so you may want to include a super wide angle like the Sigma 10-20mm f4.5-5.6 (Bonus: this lens is now on sale with a $150 instant rebate!) 
The Sigma 10-20mm shoots W  I  D  E, perfect for getting a lot of action in the frame.

But let's face it, there's more than just the rides to photograph, there's the people! Focus on the faces you see with the tried and true SIGMA 70-200mm f/2.8. Super fast and sharp, this lens also shoots great in low light and is one of our all time favorite lenses. 

2. Rain Hood (optional) Some of the best faces you'll see are on the water flume rides, which have the added bonus of splashing water to add action to your images. But the water is also a hazard to your equipment, so if you’re trying to get action shots of the water flume rides, those signs that warn riders that they will get wet apply to you, too! If you want to stay close, consider a rain hood

3. Bag
Carry your gear in the Tenba Small Messenger Camera Bag. Sturdy and light, it holds your camera body plus a couple lenses with ease. If you’re not going to ride the rides and need to have your gear with you all day, then keep your hands free for hot dogs and snow cones with a backpack camera bag like the brand new Tenba Shootout 18L Backpack

The brand new Tenba Shootout 18L Backpack

With a little planning you can make some amazing images at a theme park, fair or carnival, but if heading to one of these events isn't in your summer plans, then stay tuned for our next couple of installments in the Staycation Photography Series, as we'll be talking about photo ops in your own backyard! 

No comments:

Post a Comment