Balloon Darts

Washington County Fair Oregon 2013

Washington County Fair in Hillsboro, Oregon.

The Washington County Fair this weekend was an opportunity for me to capture some fun night photos using only available light. It seemed like a challenge to do it with only hand-held shots and if possible, to use a 55mm focal length or somewhere near it.

I used my press pass to soothe the nerves people might feel when they see me walking around with a DSLR. I’d say it worked. People were relaxed and themselves, which is my favorite form of environmental portraiture or candid photography. Others wanted to pose, including a hilarious and spontaneous photo-bomb from a Washington County Sheriff Deputy.

My focus, however, was on capturing the various lights of the carnival rides and people behaving naturally in a setting such as this.

giant slide washington county fair oregon

Good times at the Washington County Fair.

I love the first photo you see here because of the color and symmetry of the balloons. Also, the look on her face is priceless to me. The second shot of the giant slide was a stroke of good fortune. He was behind her most of the way down and at the last bump they were even as they entered the light. It’s good old fashioned fun for the two of them and I felt lucky to be there with my camera.



  1. I feel composition, framing, and lighting on the balloon darts shot are as near to perfect as it gets. The predominance of various hues of blue mitigates what could have been a busy shot while at the same time providing a unifying color scheme. And her smirk in the bottom left side of the picture pairs well with the photo-bombing, upside-down hanging stuffed monkey in the upper right side. Really, really excellent photo.


    1. Thank you Rikki. I love shooting at or around a 55mm focal length for this reason. There are times where you want a background and setting to fill in, but perhaps not too much. 55mm both for its natural realism to our eyes and moderate amount of extra detail seems the way to go, in my opinion.


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