Photos: Cardigan Studts Fair Night

You know it’s Fair Night when you can hear Hi Ho Silver Lining from the other side of town. If I live to be a 151 it’ll still be blasting out over every fair in the country.


I little later than I’d hoped but here are my digital photos from the night.

I used my Nikon D90 with 18-200mm lens and I opted to shoot at ISO 3200 and pretty much got everything as sharp as I wanted. I think having a VR lens helped a lot and I’m surprised at how little ‘noise’ there is in the images. I used Lightroom for black and white conversion and applied a custom preset to give a strong contrasty look.

Paul Williams

This is the blog of Paul Williams, Ceredigion resident since 1970. I am an English and Philosphy graduate of what was once known as St David's University College, at Lampeter. I played bass in Dyfed's first punk band, and living in Llandewi Brefi, had a grandstand view of Operation Julie. Eventually, after 2 years playing bass in Brighton's 256th punk band, I returned to Wales to deal in books and then antiques. I've trained and worked as a counsellor, I am a photographer, blog and web designer and I publish the annual Wales Antiques Guide. I am married and a father of one. Apart from my family, my interests include books, maps, Nikon, Yashica and Mamiya film cameras, British Culture 1935 - 1965, Poole pottery, Welsh textiles, and Poster art. My favourite movies include anything by Pressburger and Powell favourite music includes Gene Clark, Gram Parsons, and anything form San Francisco 1965-1970. I am a late convert to 'Kraut Rock'.

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5 Responses

  1. Ian says:

    Some great ones in there and they really suit being black and white – the lack of noise is amazing. Maybe I should revisit my never go above 1600 rule. What focal length did you use most do you think? I find with that lens my images are soft because I’m always out at 200mm and shaking like a leaf.

  2. Dru says:

    they’re really nice. I feel inspired to pump up the ISO now…

  3. Barring one (Elsie pointing) the focal length was 100mm or less. Mostly in the 18-80 range. Shutter at lowest (The Spinners) was 1/6 sec but mainly in the 1/30 – 125 range. Smallest aperture was f.11.
    After giving due credit to the Vibration Reduction (and this might sound a little pious!) I have a practised stance and a fairly steady hand. I remember that as probably the first and most important advice my father ever gave me.
    I haven’t used the D90 at 3200 or above (and there’s a lot of ‘above’) and it works very well with this kind of subject but I’d not hesitate to use it without flash in a church.
    Anyway thanks for the comments. For the record I like the pics of Elsie and Penny in the Flying car the best..

  4. Laura says:

    Hi Paul,
    Just thought I’d check out your blog and visit. Thanks for the link to my blog too, no probs there at all.
    Liking these fair ground shots indeed.
    I am always curious of how people create an image and whether they shoot with the intention at the outset, or find the expression part way through the workflow process and am curious to know what made you decide to convert to B&W? A lot of colour and vitality abound within fairgrounds, especially of an evening, and your strong contrast would suit quite aptly too.


    • The more I read this reply the more dry it sounds but this is how I’d rationalise the process. More a convergence of circumstance I think.
      Re BW conversion: several reasons and in no particular order. I’ve not had my D90 long and wanted to see what it could do in low (or variable) light particulaly to compare and ‘contrast’ with the pushed film images I’d posted here
      Using Lightroom’s non destructive editing (with custom BW pre-sets I’ve worked up over the last couple of years) it’s a choice that can be made quickly and reversibly.
      I also had something in mind about the coolness of BW in this context. For us it’s a wrap up warm wintry evening and the mono helps underline that somehow. It contrasts also with the Vintage Fairground pictures here
      which are more concerned with a glowing nostalgia I think.
      Aesthetic considerations are (for me) difficult to explain. My main driver when editing images is always composition. I can disregard colour quite easily and I’m perhaps overly concerned with subject placement. Eliminating colour is sometimes unneccesarily distracting.
      I think also that I’m influenced by my father’s work (he was a professional photographer working at the MInistry of Defence). Pretty much all his professional work that I was exposed to was BW
      and of course film. I’m love fim still and BW film processing remains an accessible art particularly when combined wth scanning technology.
      Err that’s it! Probably.

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