Friday, August 15, 2014

Pretty Pets and Carnival Lights

I left work on Wednesday to join the Blandy camera club at the Clarke County Fair. I've never been to this show and was looking forward to it. It was a perfect day, warm but not hot with a brisk breeze blowing through. I always feel sorry for the animals in their pens and cages at these shows as usually they're so hot and uncomfortable but today, and actually most of their week, was going to be ideal weather for them.
I met with the group and we headed towards the tent where kids and their animals were dressed as a team for the main ring.
This beautiful bull was on his way by and although his owner was willing to stop, he acted like the proverbial bull in a china shop and kept pushing her to keep moving. I had to be quick to take this shot!
The guy who carves wooden animals, usually black bears, with his chainsaw was at this show and I spotted this pig, which must be a new member of his wooden family. I wasn't quite sure about whether I liked it or whether I found it a little scary....
The kids and their animals were angelic, so many wonderful unions. There were different age groups but the toddlers stole the show. Everyone wanted photos of them. The Subhay cow was a superb idea. His 'blanket' said '$5 hooflong subs'. I bet Subway would love to see this and Janice mentioned this to the owner. Most of the kids were paired with calves but one little cherub had her pet rabbit in a basket. I was very impressed that it made no effort to jump out. Some of the kid/cow pairs had me scratching my head as I couldn't work out what they were supposed to be, but after I while I gave up trying to guess and just enjoyed looking at them.
Couldn't resist taking this shot, almost as though they were in a pen themselves.
What a cute grin from this little lamb. He also enjoyed an ear rub immensely. All the animals here were very tame and most were happy to put up with attention from their human admirers. I scratched, stroked, rubbed, petted and patted many a furry friend.
This pig was enjoying a well earned snooze.
There was a section in the poultry shed where some incubators stood. some had fluffy little chicks in but one had a few dozen eggs under the lamps so folks could watch the chicks hatching. This little chick was a couple of minutes old.
When I got to the end of the animal barns I realized I'd lost the others but as I was looking around I heard that the truck pull was about to start so walked over there and sat on the bleachers. I was joined by a guy called Alan who started chatting and was also an avid photographer. He was a mine of information and proceeded to give me a list of places that he knew I would love to photograph, a safari with exotic animals, an old water mill (that sounded abandoned), an abandoned old school house, an abandoned factory, and a hidden waterfall. I guess I'll have to check all of these out at some point.
As we were chatting and watching the races, very annoyed that Ford were outdoing Chevy trucks, I spotted some of the camera club gang arrive. Janice and Chet started shooting immediately and then Bill arrived too. I said goodbye to Alan, thanking him for my future treasure hunts and jumped down from the bleachers to join my friends.
I noticed a lot of the trucks were throwing out a lot of black smoke. Another fact that Alan helped with, the owners put alcohol into the gas to create this. After watching another couple of Chevys fail to get halfway down the track we decided to leave the noise and fumes. Dusk was falling and it was time to walk over to the carnival rides.
I grabbed a quick ham sandwich while the other got ice creams, they'd eaten their dinner earlier.
Chet and Bill posing like a couple of kids, and Janice struggled to contain a huge ice cream balanced precariously on a tiny cone! But she didn't like her photo so I took it down. Have to respect a friend's wishes. I was looking forward to photographing the rides but found that my tripod had broken. It's had to do some heavy work over the past few years so I couldn't complain, it was only a travel tripod, therefore I had to make do. It will need replacing though. It's been a long time since I've photographed carnival rides and I wanted to be a bit more 'arty' than usual. I soon got engrossed and the next time I looked around I realized I'd lost the group again. But I carried on taking photos, there was so much to see. This is a pretty big fair compared to recent ones I'd visited and I was impressed with the amount of moving colored lights.
 It wasn't until I'd nearly come full circle that I looked up and checked the time. I couldn't believe that it was nearly 9:30pm. I was going to have a late night and I winced at thinking how tired I would be at work the next day. Not fun to be tired when you have to be creative in your work. I packed up my gear, let the others know I was leaving and trudged towards the car.
The drive home was beautiful. I cut across country using narrow rustic lanes, loving the sight of the huge orange super moon hanging in the sky surrounded by a soft glow. It seemed the stars were doing their best to keep up in terms of brilliance as they twinkled brightly above me. The tree frogs croaked from the trees as I drove by with my windows down, a lovely cool breeze smelling of grass and fields wafting in. Even thought I was exhausted it had been a superb evening.

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