How hard could it be to set up a camera for twenty minutes at Tampa’s Florida State Fair? At night? Harder than I thought.
At least I knew not to show up with an expensive-looking camera perched atop a professional-grade tripod. Thieves abound at such events and are hard to chase. So I took the following sequence with a camera small enough to work with a tiny tabletop tripod. Here’s my Canon G7X Mark II prosumer camera, mounted to an Ultrapod tabletop. I know, it was a wobbly setup for the plastic covered bench I found, which was the only one near a particularly photogenic scene. Plus, it was prone to unfriendly gusts of wind and oblivious fellow bench-sitters, who often plunked down yearby without even looking. Since I couldn’t protect the tripod against such sudden tremors, I had to discard about half of the footage as too wobbly. I was documenting the sunset in process, so I couldn’t reshoot the scene.
The G7X was perfect for a situation in which 100 fair goers were rushing past every minute. It’s so unassuming, I knew nobody would try to snatch it. Why steal it when there might be a glitzy new iPhone nearby? I was right. Plus, prosumer cameras have gotten so sophisticated lately, I had no doubt this one would be up to the job. It has more specialized timelapse and video features than I needed.
To obtain twenty-five seconds of film, I had to set up the timelapse sequence to run for . . . well, twenty-five minutes. A couple asked what I was doing, and when I replied I was shooting a timelapse video, they made faces in front of the camera for a few seconds. They barely registered in the final sequence.
Earlier in the day, I ran into two of the Screaming Orphans, Joan and Gráinne Diver, and photographed them. They were about to perform their Irish rock music. I later looked up their music on Youtube and found an appropriate piece to accompany the sequence.
No idea what kind of timelapse I’ll try next year at the fair. Finding an intriguing spot to photograph at twilight is challenging and a bit nerve-wracking. Finding an ideal one that’s adequately protected against the violence of things is harder still. So if I find such a spot, I probably won’t ask permission to use it.