Readers Challenge Assignment: All’s fair

This month’s task has a number of rewards (photographically speaking), and a few challenges as well.

The assignment is: The San Joaquin County Fair. From the rides on the midway to the music acts to the livestock arena, there is always something interesting to photograph at the fair. True, this year there won’t be any horse racing or big-name entertainers, but, from a picture standpoint, there will be other events that should more than make up for their absence.

The horse racing used to be a great opportunity for some action shots, but this year the fair has replaced it with rodeo-type events, including barrel racing and bull riding. Also thrown into the mix are AMA motorcycle races and tractor pull hay squeeze races. That should be more that plenty for any sports/action shooters out there.

There are scheduled to be plenty of bands and singers at the fair as well but just not the big name variety, which could actually be a good thing. Often with famous entertainers, getting a good photograph can be problematic. Access can be limited when shooting them. Many times you just can’t get close enough. That shouldn’t be a problem with the performers on the smaller stages.

Of course there’s always the good ol’ standbys of the animals and the carnival. Most of the 4-Hers or FFAers are usually happy to pose with their prize hog or steer. Just be careful where you step (and if you do step in something just remember: it’s only grass and water, as farmers say).

While the rides on the midway can be shot almost any time, the Stockton Camera Club will hold its annual “A Night of Carnival Lights and Fun” workshop on Friday, June 14, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.. Bring your camera and a tripod, and the experienced members of the club can help you photograph the carnival lights and other nighttime attractions at the fair.

This all sounds like fun and a good time shooting (and it is), but here’s the biggest challenge: We’re only accepting photos from this year’s fair (2013). That means, from Wednesday, June 12, to Sunday, June 16, you’ll have only five days to shoot. Moreover, the deadline for emailing your photos in to me is extremely short: Tuesday, June 18. Deadlines are a part of any endeavor, and I know you can do it. The best examples will be published here on June 24.

As always, be sure to get in as close as you can and watch your backgrounds. I’m sure I’ll be out there, too, so have fun, and good shooting. And maybe we’ll bump into each other.

Here are the rules:

1. Entries can be emailed to me at coto@recordnet.com. Type “County Fair” in the subject line.
2. Include your name (first and last), hometown, and the kind of camera you used.
3. Include the name (first and last) of your subject, their relationship to you (relative, friend or stranger off the street), their ages (if they are juveniles) and what they are doing (here’s an example: Joey Smith, 6, of Stockton plays the ring toss game on the midway at the San Joaquin County Fair in Stockton).
4. Any interesting anecdotes or stories on how you took or came to take the picture.
5. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, June 18. The top examples will be published on Monday, June 24 with an online gallery of all the photos on the same day. Photos have to be shot between June 12 to June 16, 2013, at the San Joaquin County Fair.

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