Old cameras are part of my ongoing effort to bring the art back into photography:  reclaiming it from those picture-taking computers we call digital cameras.   My main camera today was a Yashica Electro 35G, made in about 1968.   These weren't rare back in '68, and they still aren't today.  It's not an expensive camera, but if you find one that still works, you can make nice pictures with it.

The old Yashica seemed perfect for a small-town carnival like this.  Both are like stepping back in time.  

The carnival had been going on for a few days.  This was July 2, the last day.

The Carnival

Yashica Electro 35G
CVS 400 film

Walking around with the camera, I was going for those shots that would really sum up the event.  I guess every photographer has a different take on what that means.  Newspaper men believe that means a photo of kids eating cotton candy, or a lady with a flag painted on her cheek.   Those add human interest, sure;  but when I read the newspaper article, I'm usually left wondering:  what did the event actually look like? 

Me, I like scenery and composition.  I like pictures that look as if they're from a National Geographic from 1962, or maybe a carousel of vacation slides your Aunt Betty took in 1974.  There are two good ways to get that look.  First, use film, and second, pick the right place.  There's more than one right place, but this is sure one of them.

One reason I like small-town events is that the sense of community is still there.  Another reason is that small towns (much like film photography) are reminiscent of a time when things were simpler, more straightforward. 

American Scene

Yashica Electro 35G
CVS 400 film

There's no better time than Fourth of July weekend to remember who we are as a nation. 

It's also not a bad time to try your hand at one of the games of skill.

There's a lot of work involved in bringing the carnival experience.  When we see everything set up, it's easy to forget how much effort that took.   These folks work hard.

Well, it wasn't long before dusk came down.  Evening was upon the carnival.   I was able to get some ambient shots with 400 film, though:

Dusk at the Carnival

Yashica Electro 35G
CVS 400 film

True to the form of old-time agricultural fairs, this carnival has a big, central meeting place where people can sit and play Bingo with dried corn kernels... or sit down and eat, if you like.   Both of these things were happening when we strolled in. 

I would have gotten you a picture of it, but I was too busy eating a bowl of cabbage and noodles.  It's called Haluski (or Halushky?).  I don't know if I spelled that right, but it sure was good.

Carnival rides are an art form all their own.  The colored lights, the patterns, the shapes.   Look at the rich colors and tones in this one.  (This was CVS 400 color film.  Looking at the film stock, I am guessing it might be Fuji.  Good, whatever it is.)

The skill games are fun to try, though some of them are more difficult than they look.  Here's that one you saw before.  I kept thinking, "you know, I really want another picture of that neon sign..." 

Shooting Star

Yashica Electro 35G
CVS 400 film

It's surprising how much ground we covered.  The place didn't even look that big, but my feet never got the message.  We were pretty tired out by the end of the night!

I don't eat deep-fried anything, but overall there was a good selection of different carnival foods.  Gyros, walking tacos...   Are you hungry yet?   I could go for a gyro right about now. 

This was July 2, the last day of the carnival;  they had fireworks at 11 PM.  Big booms and colorful breaks... that's what town fireworks are all about. 

Fireworks on Film

Fuji Superia 800 film

This has been a photographic look at the small-town carnival, through the lens of an Electro 35G.   Using a camera from another era sort of goes along with the whole scene, and it's good.

You can shop for your own Electro 35 through this link .  Know that you're buying a used camera here, so don't pay a lot for one unless you're sure everything works perfectly.  (Be sure to read my article about what to look for in a used Electro 35).

I hope you've enjoyed this article and photo gallery.  Thanks for visiting this site!   You can show your support by shopping through any of these links for your gear, household items, or almost anything else.


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