Tag Archives: Fuji Pro400H

The Maryland RennFest

I’m a big fan of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, where people get dressed up in all kinds of reasonably (in)authentic garb and indulge in the fantasy of being in another place and time for the day. Costumes range from Renaissance royalty to fantasy characters inspired by Lord of the Rings and other sci-fi/fantasy stories.

While I often get tarted up in my own RennFest costume (I pass for a lesser lord of the Realm in my velvet doublet and tights), it was hot enough out that I decided this time discretion was the better part of valor and I would be better off in street clothes, just taking pictures. I wasn’t as photographically focused as I’d have wanted to be, pardon the pun, as I had a friend in tow who wanted to take in the sights. This was another photo outing where having the Rollei really came in handy, as people would quite willingly (if not eagerly) pose for the cool camera with the two lenses.

RennFest Fairy Girl
RennFest Fairy Girl

Photographing the fairy-wing girl was a hoot- she saw the camera, geeked out over it, and got even more excited when I pulled out my hand-held meter to take an exposure reading: “Are you metering me?? That’s so COOL!”.

I felt so sorry for this poor boy, out selling floral hair garlands from a hand-cart in the blazing sun. Black feathers in your hair, while they do provide some shade for the face, can’t be the coolest thing to wear when it’s approaching 90F / 35C.

RennFest Flower Boy
RennFest Flower Boy

I did take this one as a candid, since the Maryland Man was so deep in conversation with the lady.

RennFest Maryland Renaissance Man
RennFest Maryland Renaissance Man

The living statue was busy posing, like a statue, and would only change or break pose if you put a tip in her cup. A little girl of perhaps five or six years old was enraptured by the statue, and an adult woman who was monitoring the child had to keep admonishing her (in the gentlest and situationally appropriate tone) “Don’t touch the statue- she doesn’t want to be touched”.

RennFest Living Statue
RennFest Living Statue
RennFest Statue Girl, Profile
RennFest Statue Girl, Profile

Another cast member at the RennFest who was approachable, thanks to the Rollei. He did get a bit distracted by I think a rather buxom young girl in a harem costume passing by just as I snapped the photo, so his expression isn’t what I was looking for.

RennFest Pickle Boy
RennFest Pickle Boy

And yes, if you’re wondering, that’s a Pokemon figurine on his necklace. See what I mean about not hewing to historical accuracy?

Skateboarding at the Kennedy Center

Now THERE’S a phrase you wouldn’t normally expect to read, with the possible exception of the “Local Crime” section of the Washington Post. But it’s true. The Kennedy Center, like so many other cultural institutions, is having a hard time attracting young audiences. In a bid to outreach, they set up a skate park on the front terrace and invited local skateboarders to come and perform, and tossed in a stage for live bands.

Flying Boarder, Kennedy Center
Flying Boarder, Kennedy Center

This was one instance (of many) where having my Rolleiflex was a huge advantage. It gave me an entree to talk to the skaters and ask for portraits. Everyone loved the camera and if I asked, they posed willingly. On the few action shots I took, it also helped by having no mirror blackout at the moment of exposure, so I could see exactly when I was pressing the shutter button, like in this shot above.

Skate Trio, Kennedy Center
Skate Trio, Kennedy Center

I initially approached the asian skater about taking his picture. He pulled in his friends and all of them posed together. I was surprised at how willing they were to pose, as I mostly shoot candid street photos and people don’t always appreciate that. I don’t know what it was about that day but everyone was just so natural in their posing, it all worked out so well and I didn’t have to direct anyone.

Flying Skater, Kennedy Center
Flying Skater, Kennedy Center

This was a fun shot to take, as I was anticipating this kind of motion blur, but couldn’t know what exactly to expect because the eye doesn’t see motion blur at 1/30th of a second. But I knew I got the skateboarder in the right place.

Skateboard Punk Girl, Kennedy Center
Skateboard Punk Girl, Kennedy Center

This girl was working the lights at the event. She saw my camera and asked about it, so we chatted for a couple of minutes about the event, the folks skating, and the weather (it was scorching hot that day, and inside the light tent had to be even hotter). I asked for her picture and she immediately said yes, and even suggested the backdrop instead of inside the lighting tent.

Skate Buddies, Kennedy Center
Skate Buddies, Kennedy Center

The kid in the white shirt saw my Rollei, and asked some questions about it, and was very excited by it. Again, I asked for a photo before he started his next run, and he pulled his buddy over, they wrapped their arms around each other, and posed. All on their own, no direction from me. I was very chuffed to see how the shot turned out, as I was shooting on the run as it were – one of the docents for the event had earlier shooed me off from the spot where I was standing to take the picture because it was in the path of potentially out-of-control skateboards.