How many places can you think of where you can set up your camera and be ten feet away from three people breathing fire, or a man juggling a running chainsaw? For the last two years Eric and I have gone to the Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, New York to do just that.
For just over 30 years the New York Renaissance Faire has been putting on a life sized production each summer for people from all over the area. You pay once to enter, and are free to visit which ever shows you chose and to wander around the vast grounds. The fair is ringed throughout with permanent structure set in “medieval style”, from which you can find anything from jewelry to dragons to food and drink (a warning: you’ll be praised for tipping but called out if you stiff, bring some change and small bills).
We started off our day with The Dextre Tripp Thrill Show, featuring some great rope walking, juggling and general antics. The show was as much fun to photograph as it was to watch.
From there we headed to the other side of the fair to catch the Pyrus and Scorch Fire Show. As a lesson in preparation, we got out to the show with only a few minutes to spare and didn’t think ahead about our seating position. While we did get a few good shots, we ended up positioned behind several other people. But as luck, and multiple performances would have it, we were able to arrive early enough to the next show and grab some front row seats. The show is just as impressive the second time around, and the position for taking photographs was perfect.
The Faire lends itself easily to a photographer. There are interesting characters, fantastic costumes from the traditional to the avant-garde, colorful booths and a great deal of action. Grab shots of the Faire characters, and don’t forget the other spectators who dress up for the event!
Everyday ends with the joust. This is very popular so you will want to scope out a good spot to take pictures ahead of time. Watch where the sun is, you don’t want to have your subjects backlit and lose detail. Eric and I have found the best spot – on the left hand side of the jousting field where the sun sets over your left shoulder.
Set your camera for burst mode and continuous focus to the capture the fast-paced action. The more shots you take, the higher your chances of getting one right on the money! The New York Rennaisance Faire will continue Saturdays and Sundays until September 21, 2008.
Until next week! – Kerry