I met some members of my Somerset Photography Meetup group tonight at the Hunterdon County Fair. This the third county fair we have tried to have a meetup, rain messed up the other two, like most events this summer. The Hunterdon fair has the usual fair elements, lots of animals, rides, food and faces. I decided to shoot faces tonight and there were some good ones.
I started with a guy with a great mustache who was plowing a field with draft horses. I made some long shots some of him working with the horses in front of the setting sun set but I really wanted to get his face right in their with the horses. When he was done plowing, I asked him to stand between the horses so I could get a shot.
Lots of photographers I know are afraid to talk to people and ask to make their picture, but I figure the worst that can happen is they say no. I guess he could have turned the massive horses loose on me, but I wasn’t feeling threatened. When I asked the guy he pointed to another guy who actually owned the horses and said to take his picture. Another bystander asked why I was talking the first guy when he didn’t own the horses. So I made a joke and said he has a better looking mustache, everybody laughed, I made a few boring shots of the horse owner and then Mr. Mustache jumped in and I got the shot I wanted.
After taking some pictures of the spinning rides at dusk, I saw a great face of a man running the merry-go-round. It was a classic carnival face with lots of character. By this time the sun has set and it was pretty dark, the only light coming from the rides. I needed a five second exposure to get the ride blurring in the background, so I set up my tripod near the man and asked him to pose and hold still for five seconds. Like most people, he was honored that I asked.
Our group met for some chatter and food in a tent with picnic tables. As we started to eat three teenage girls sat down near us and their faces were fancily painted. It wasn’t the quick paint job done on five-year-olds and when we finished eating, I knew I had to get a shot of them. In the good-old pre-Internet days, I never hesitated asking anyone for a photo. Now, I fear youngsters will think I’m some creepy old dude, but I told them that I am a photographer and their faces looked great. They were thrilled to pose for me.
When approaching people, I always let them know who I am and what I’m doing. Unless I’m shooting a news assignment, I don’t photograph people very often with first introducing myself. I don’t want to invade a person’s privacy and people can sense when they are being watched or photographed, so I just feel better saying hi first. I tell them to keep doing what they were doing, they will be self-conscience for a few minutes and then go back to being themselves. I give them my business card and let them know if they drop me an email then I will send them a copy of the photo. They gave me something, I should give them something back.