It's that time of year again here in New Mexico, time for all the barnyard animals to head on into Albuquerque along with the vendors hawking funnel cakes and a the three eyed lady from some wierd place or another.

This is my fourth September in Albuquerque and I finally decided to break out the camera gear and head on over to the state fair.

It's been a while since I've attended any such event, it has probably been at least 10 years or so since I've been to one of the local carnivals with the kiddies.

I suspect that I've not been to a "State Fair" for more than 20 years.

We waited till almost 5pm before heading out, primarily because I didn't want to wander around in the heat of the day and I really was hoping to experiment with some night shots of the carnival rides.

I tried for a couple of shots of the pigmie goats but was unable to really get past the low light, especially since I didn't want to use the flash so close to the tiny critters.

The photo is a bit grainy for my tastes, but hey, it's a State Fair after all, and what fair photo shoot skips the animals?

Dinner was served from this tasty place.

We skipped the Turkey legs and went for the BBQ Brisket and were quite happy with the choice. Lots of folks were munching on the legs along with the roasted corn served around the corner.

After dinner Mrs and I split up, she headed off to the rodeo and a country music concert, and I headed todward the Midway and the lights of the night.

The dime toss, the basketball throw, darts and baloons, ring toss, ball toss, you name it, and there is a place on the midway for you to toss away your money in exchage for a chance to walk home with some kind of trinket that you'd probably never pick up in a store.

You could even pick up a nice hat and some blinking lights, the latest in Midway fashon.

This guy was quite gracious, here I was shooting without a flash, and sure enough, every time I took the photo it happened to be when the lights cycled off. Finally about the fifth time, I got the photo that I hoped for.

Just about everything at the fair spins and twirls and occasionaly flips right on upside down. I seem to recall the last time I went to one of these things I almost got sick to my stomach and that's been the last of the carnival rides for me. And if you don't like riding, there is always more tossing this, throwing that, or eating your way todward the next spinning ride.

These bears seemed lonely, suspended against the night sky.

I also couldn't figure who'd want to take that home as a "winnings" anyway.

The smaller kids had their own ferris wheel. In the background are the two sticks attached to some kind of bunjie thing or another, sling shotting a rider up into the night sky.

Check out the foot at the top of the image, the ones with the $ signs on the bottom. I don't aim to sound jaded, but in this kind of place, it's all about the bucks. You got em, they want em, and better than bartering with you, they try and sucker them right out of your wallet.

I have a suggestion about fairs and rides and such.

Pretend you are at the pool. Remember the old addage, wait 45 minutes after eating before entering the water?

Judging from some of the lines I saw, that wouldn't be much of a problem on some of the rides.

In the image above you can see the riders appearing as sploches of black against the curved lights in the lower left quadrant of the photo. The blue thing is a giant swing that spins and tilts with about 100 or so riders hanging 3 or 4 abreast.

The larger ferris wheel is in the background with a kiddie ride to the left.

Another spinner and twirler, only on this one the riders are suspended in a harness kind of thing looking out at the crowd before it all gets crazy.

I shot one more series of the spinning swing set from just below the machine. The ragged lights remind me of some kind of photoshop effect, but I did no retouching to the image.

All in all I had an interesting four hour stroll through the fair. Hauling around a heavy tripod is not the most fun under the circumstances, and the fair presented a fair amount of challenges. Besides the crowds of people always about to run you over, there are very bright lights placed in certain sections for safety reasons. Sometimes I was able to shoot around them, other times I just had to find a totally different angle or walk away from the shot alltogether.

Will I do it again?

Probably not.

I took over 200 photos and have a couple that I really like. Perhaps when it's time for the grandson to hit the rides I'll go again, but until then, I'll tend to head out into nature for my next close encounter.