The 2012 Indiana State Fair ended yesterday. As a birthday present to myself I loaded my Olympus OM-1 with good old Fujicolor 200 and went to the fair to shoot people. (They all survived.) So in honor of this year’s fair, here are the best shots I got.

This is my favorite shot of the day. Huge John Deere tractors trailing long cars lined with benches shuttle fairgoers for a buck a ride. The woman collected the dollars; the gentleman was a rider. I captured their conversation at the best moment.


The shuttles are popular, as there’s a lot to see at the fair that would otherwise take a lot of walking.

Fair shuttle

The midway is colorful and, on a gray evening, well lit for photography.

5 Balls $1.00

The grayness didn’t stop me from shooting the midway entrance. This would have been so much more dramatic an hour or so later, but I couldn’t stay.


This old Chevy pickup is an annual fixture of the fair. This family sure was taken with it.

Official Vehicle of Possum Hollow

Do the cows at the fair wonder what all the hubbub is about? If so, do they care?


I was delighted to come upon a group singing old hymns a cappella in four-part harmony. Their hymnals were full of shaped notes, a 200-year-old way of simply communicating pitches on sheet music. This tradition caught on in the Churches of Christ, many of which still sing a cappella using shaped-note hymnals. The two people standing led the singing, swinging their arms in time to the song.

Singing the shaped notes

I’ll have more photos from the fair next time, too. I took my sons on a hot, sunny day with a new-to-me old camera in my hands.

Another truck that is a fixture at the fair is a 1938 International. See it here!

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.


19 responses to “The 2012 Indiana State Fair on Fujicolor 200”

  1. Dani Avatar

    I love the expression on ol’ Bessie’s face. Maybe she was thinking, “Those crazy city slickers!”

    1. Jim Avatar

      Something like that, I’m sure!

  2. jacullman Avatar

    This made my morning! Usually try to get to the Wisconsin State Fair…Your use of film is perfect for this subject. The photos capture the atmosphere better than digital. Love how the that cow has been scrubbed squeaky clean by her owners to the point where her coat has a mirror-like finish!

    1. Jim Avatar

      I’m not wise in the ways of cows, having grown up in the city — I didn’t realize this one was gussied up in any way!

  3. davidvanillav Avatar

    I haven’t been to the fair in many years. I really enjoyed your presentation. That is a wonderful shot of 4434! I enjoy listening to groups of shpae note singers.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I live 15 minutes from the fairgrounds, which removes the major impediment to an impulse visit!

  4. Mike Avatar

    Nice work with the Olympus. I see more people coming to your photo world.

    Albuquerque’s annual fair is a gaudy carnival that doesn’t hold much attraction for me. As a kid in Seattle I thought the state fair at Puyallup was the greatest thing ever invented. In my mid-life escape-the-city phase I was the grounds and maintenance guy at the Elmore County Fairgrounds in Glenns Ferry, Idaho. The place was a mess when I took it on, but there was a lot of old paint and lumber laying around. I got the grass growing, built pens, painted everything and spent a lot of time driving around in the old red Farmall tractor. It may have been the most rewarding job I had.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Yes, I’m making a deliberate effort.

      There’s something about a job where you can actually finish tasks and see how your labor makes things better.

  5. Ted Kappes Avatar

    The Fuji 200 does seem like a good choice for this subject. Maybe it is just my imagination, however it seems like film captures the fell of such an event well.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I think you’re right. I’m getting more grain than I’m used to from this film, though. I’ve been trying my local CVS for processing because it’s inexpensive and fast. The stuff I was sending to Dwayne’s or The Darkroom was less grainy than this, for the same film.

  6. gaycarboys Avatar

    I call anything taken on film “real pictures”. My dad was a manager in Kodak for many years and the smell of developer still takes me back to my childhood. As for the subject matter, I wish I had been there too. It looked like fun. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jim Avatar

      You’re in NZ right? Do you have anything like State Fairs there?

      I developed a roll of film once. Once. That was plenty; I pay others to do it now!

      1. gaycarboys Avatar

        NO I’m in Sydney, Australia. We have the Royal Easter show but it’s bigger than Ben Hur. There is none of the closeness that smaller fairs bring. As for the developing, once it’s in your veins it’s not something that soon leaves you.

        1. Jim Avatar

          Oops! Sydney, of course.

  7. ryoko861 Avatar

    State Fairs are always the best! And you captured the essence! Good ol’ fashion fun!

    1. ryoko861 Avatar

      Oh, and I love the new header! Very pretty of the stone bridge!

      1. Jim Avatar

        The header now rotates among five different photos! Keep refreshing to see them all. One of them is the return of the original header image from this blog’s early days.

  8. Patti Kuche Avatar

    You certainly caught all the fun of the fair in these lovely shots! And all with the fun of film which catches the depth of these wonderful shots so well!

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks for the encouragement!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: