The Renaissance Faire: Olde Tymes, Good Tymes, and Fashionable Folke

The 22nd Central Coast Renaissance Festival


Well, after attending the Renaissance Faire in Irwindale, it seemed logical to attend the local version here on the Central California Coast. Though smaller, it was similar in concept, activities, fashions and people. It didn't appear that anyone was disappointed with the event.

The day was warm, and hot, harsh light from the sun was an issue for some photography situations. The problem was not just getting a balanced exposure that accentuated the subject against the background. The harsh light was a challenge for the subjects, too. Who can help but squint into direct sunlight - or even into the reflector used to fill shadows? The solution was to restrict photography to angles and locations that avoid direct sunlight. Although that reduced opportunities, there were still plenty of situations for successful photography of these splendid people.

Vendors and Craftsmen

The Central Coast Faire is as big as any about "period authentic" appearances. Merchants and craftsmen must adhere to specific standards regarding their wares and concession appearances. The food vendors get a little slack so that their offerings don't spoil, but otherwise the requirements are tight. And they are not to offer the sort of junk we can find at trinket shops at the mall. It's got to be unique and of high quality. It was, and many of the merchants were able to modify their wares to suit the buyers, on the spot. Plus, many of them were actively working their trade during the day. I had interesting conversations with several of them.


They played period instruments, and they played them well. One man had several recorders, including a bass. Richard Van Healey was there. He performs at many Renaissance Faires, and he is always pleasant to hear. No harpsichord at this faire, but there was a woman playing harp. One of the coolest was a little girl playing violin. Her mother said she was seven, and had only been playing for ten months. Undistracted by the activity around her, she played and drew a goodly crowd around her. Like the Irwindale event, the stage musicians got more attention, but the wandering and spontaneous performers were worth hearing, too.

The Good Light

These are the photographs in which the light sings. The photo on the left got some help from a gold reflector putting warm light into the scene. I had photographed two people together here moments earlier, but without the reflector, and this is the better image. Warm light within the tent enhances the second photograph. No flash or reflector was used. This woman definitely gets the smile award; feel the joy. Warm morning light before the main gate opened, and a wee tad of fill flash, brings out the scene of the next photograph. The fourth in this group was my last photograph of the day. We made this one in the shade of a vendor's tent, with illumination from the gold reflector. The result is a soft, feminine presentation of a young woman. She was as charming and pleasant as her photograph suggests, and the light models her beautifully.

Five Fine Folke of The Faire

Special thanks goes to all the wonderful people who agreed to make photographs on this day at the Faire. Like so many other things in life, it's all about the people. This event drew a quality crowd, and I'm pleased to have created a few quality photographs of the participants there.

Images Copyright © Ed E. Powell
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