Photography

A visit to the 2021 Indiana State Fair

Well, this post was originally scheduled to go live on Tuesday, but there was a glitch and it went live immediately. I pulled it, but then thought better of it and am putting it back up. Today is the last day of the State Fair anyway so it’s appropriate.

Before my kids grew up and launched into independent adult lives, we went to the Indiana State Fair every summer. It lasts most of August every year. Our last visit was in 2017 — and this year, I decided I wanted to go because I enjoyed it. Margaret and I went on the Saturday after my birthday. I ate a giant smoked turkey leg and fried walleye, and bought a big bag of kettle corn. I managed to forget my other State Fair tradition, which is to have some soft serve at the dairy barn. Drat it! Next year.

I brought my Nikon Df along, to which I had mounted my giant 70-300mm f/4-5.6G AF Nikkor lens. I got that lens with the Nikon N65 film SLR I used to own. Keeping the lens but not the body was the right call, and I love it that it mounts natively on the Df. At 70mm this lens provides about a 1:1 view of the world. Once in a while I had to back up a little to put my subject fully in frame, but only once in a while. At 300mm it feels like I can see halfway across the fairgrounds! This isn’t Nikon’s finest lens in either its optical design (distortion abounds) or its build quality (it’s a giant hunk of plastic, even its mount), but for days like this I’m very happy to own it.

Here are a bunch of images I made that day.

Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Indiana State Fair 2021
Photos from the 2021 Indiana State Fair.

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15 thoughts on “A visit to the 2021 Indiana State Fair

  1. Kurt Ingham says:

    Great shots.Looks like you like your Df. My wife’s got an ee message-after years of hard use. Bad news -Nikon doesn’t sell parts to independent repair persons. Good news- Nikon Authorized repair is fairly near us, worked quickly and was fairly priced.

    • I’m still getting to know the Df, but my learning does continue apace. My one main frustration with this camera is that in program mode, it biases toward shallow DOF. My workaround when DOF matters is to shoot in A mode and choose apertures that lead to slower shutter speeds, to control DOF.

      Very happy to know that Nikon authorized repair is good and reasonable.

  2. kennethwajda says:

    Fun colorful, the photos take me there. Love fairs and photographing the fun. You did a great job, Jim. Thanks.

  3. My son’s first year in college was 2017. My wife and I took him to the State Fair and spent a night in Indianapolis before driving to West Lafayette.

  4. Andy Umbo says:

    The more you use this camera. the more I’m still impressed by it’s “film look” compared to a lot of others that might “pump the colors” more under a slight overcast or in the shadows. I researched this camera when it first came out, and it seems like the only two things I would have wanted to “improve” it would have been a 24/25 megapixel sensor, and a “true” old-style focusable screen. In fact, based on the configuration of the camera, I’m surprised Nikon didn’t put out a great, old-style screen on it from day one, compared to the “aerial image” screen it currently has, which really isn’t focusable in the same sense as a screen from an F2 or F3.

    Still, at the dawn of digital, I did a few double page magazine spreads on 12 megapixel, and have seen more than a few 11 X 17 prints from 10 megapixel that looked great, so maybe 16 megapixel isn’t really a problem. Sometimes it’s hard to ignore the megapixel race in favor of actual performance!

    • I’m sure they biased everything toward someone who wanted a film-like digital camera here. As for the 16-MP sensor, I can’t imagine printing larger than 11×17, so I should be more than fine. Perhaps I should experiment with larger prints to see where the limits are.

  5. I had forgotten about the fair. I miss the Fair Train that used to run near my neighborhood multiple times a day during the fair. The blasts of the horn at 3 nearby crossings was a great reminder that the Fair was in progress.

  6. State fairs are another of those American events that have drifted across the Atlantic as part of pop-culture in novels, movies and on TV. It’s something I’d like to experience first-hand but am not sure I ever will.

    We do have similar-ish events over here in the UK – agricultural shows, steam rallies and suchlike – but even the large ones are not on the same scale or duration as the larger US state fairs I don’t think. Out of interest I looked at the webpage for the Indiana state fair and discovered there are stadia and grandsatnds and all manner of other things. It looks like a great experience, and glad you had fun.

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