Club Outing – Mop Fair, Cirencester

It’s the Cirencester Mop Fair so another chance to get your camera kit out for another practical night out. First and foremost we will meet at 7.00 pm (Not 7.30) outside the main door to the Cirencester Parish Church. There seems no point in meeting later at normal club F2F time, as it will only get colder. The current forecast suggests a 20% chance light rain and around 11c so be prepared. Do check the forecast though nearer the time. I won’t be there but anyone wishing to address the club throng on their past experiences (and comp successes?) of the Mop fair and location of the attractions, please feel free.

Street images – always difficult at night but for handheld, go for as high an ISO setting as possible without noticeable “noise” (“grain” for film buffs) and go wide on the F-stop (e.g. f2.8). That will keep the speed as fast as practical. You could use a monopod to steady yourself but don’t switch off stabilisation. It’s a practical tool in a busy place and easily transportable. Use all the available light you can get to increase the shutter speed and with wide f-stops you have a chance of creating “bokeh” from the glitter balls and fairground lights in stalls.

Fixed shots – use a tripod and switch off stabilisation. A tripod is probably more likely to get you better quality images and is vital for creating moving fairground ride effects but it’s more cumbersome in a crowded street. Think about location given that you could be potentially exposing for seconds. Getting down low can be effective. Go for low ISO but your shutter speeds will be much slower. If you have one, use a remote camera release for taking pictures to avoid camera shake. Experiment with F-stops (F8/F11 being typical) and remember, using F16 will create a “starburst” effect on streetlights whilst F2 can create “bokeh”.

Special effects – in addition to capturing moving rides, try panning at slow speed to get movement but with the subject frozen – difficult with a tripod so try both tripod and handheld. Just remember that high ISO for handheld, low ISO for tripod. Also try the “zoom burst “technique whilst the lens is open to create multi coloured effects. A word of caution – don’t make the image too busy – it’s not something comp judges like (busy pictures) so you need to think about where your eye will land in viewing the image – unless you just fancy the effect (and hate judges!)

Lenses – personal preference but will get potentially more motion blur with longer telephoto lenses (200mm) compared to wider angle (24mm) unless you are using a tripod. An all-round 24mm -105mm lens (DSLR) would work well if you are travelling light but adding a telephoto 200mm can help with those candid shots.

Batteries – lose their power in cold conditions so take spares.

Flash – will have limited value in big spaces unless you can use it off camera creatively – but for that you’ll need an assistant. Better to exploit the available lighting from stalls etc.

RAW – if you can, shoot in RAW as it helps to control noise in post processing. You need all the pixels you can get!

Camera custom – if your camera has custom settings (which can be up to three) think about setting up some bespoke custom settings before you go out to save time on the night e.g. setting 1 – for hand held – ISO 3000 +, F2.8, white balance Auto, speed Auto – (which can be adjusted during shooting). Setting 2 – for Tripod ISO 100, f8/f11, white balance Auto, speed Auto – (which can be adjusted during shooting). It’s your choice.

Here’s a few articles to get you in the mood. The advice is all pretty consistent but if you also type “Photographing fairgrounds at night” into YouTube, you’ll also get some interesting stuff. Go for the channels with lots of subscribers – they are likely to be more professional. Good luck.

How to Take Great Photographs at the Fairground

5 Fairground Photography Tips


Oct 04 2021


7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Parish Church
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