Prior to Opening Day

The New York State Fair’s photography competition has a category for photos that were taken at the Fair itself. It allows photographers to enter photos that contain images of people WITHOUT requiring those same people to sign model releases, since being on the fairgrounds automatically means you’ve given consent to be photographed (it’s on your tickets, people, look at the back of them).

That being said, I’ve only entered one photo in the past that was actually taken AT the Fair; the 2019 photo (taken in 2018) called Romance on Gondola 23.

Romance on Gondola 23. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens. Photo (c) Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

I kinda liked this photo, and it did at least make the walls of the Art Center in 2019, so there’s that.

But I’m looking at Competition Season 2022 as a “challenge” year. I am going to challenge myself to enter categories that I don’t normally enter; and in this case, I’m looking at that “photographed at the State Fair” category REALLY hard.

I shall explain.

In early August 2021, after I dropped off my six entries for the State Fair, I should have left the Fairgrounds and went home.


I had a roll of Fuji Velvia 100 film packed in my super-ultra-wide Krasnogorsk FT-2 camera (“Raskolnikov”), and I had an idea packed in my noggin. There’s a big I❤NY sign at the Fairgrounds entrance, and people can pose and take pictures near the sign. Across from the sign is a small stone fence.

A small stone fence, mind you, where some enterprising photographer could place a box-shaped Soviet camera, line it up with the corners of the fence, and snap off a couple of frames.

Which I did.

Now, when I returned to the Fair – while it was opened to the public – I also returned to that fence. There was still film in the camera (I hadn’t finished the roll), so I lined the camera up to that same location, and fired a few more shots.

Got the film back, went through the rolls, and found two images – one before the fairgrounds were open, and one after they opened up. And sure enough, everything lined up nicely.

I positioned both images, then I flipped them in black and white to balance out the contrasts…

And this came out.

Opening. Krasnogorsk FT-2 camera, Fuji Velvia 100 film, flipped in black and white. Photo (c) 2021 Chuck Miller, all rights reserved.

Okay. I’ll put this in the short pile for now. No promises. I took some other photos at the New York State Fair, and there may be another image that can knock this image out of the keeper pile.

We shall see.