It's the 16th Century with some comforts and conveniences of the 21st Century.

Escondido Renaissance 2008


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The Escondido Faire seemed to have expanded a bit over last year. I was told that guild space was allocated on the amount of participation and interaction with guests of the Faire. Whatever the reason, the Faire seemed "fuller." There were shows, vendors, artisans and a interesting crowd of good-natured people. I was able to give 8x10 prints to some of the people whom I photographed last year, including those of the Amblefolke Guild and the woman at the spinning wheel, with whom I had a lengthy and pleasant conversation. Perhaps I will see some of the other people whom I photographed if I'm able to attend next year. I enjoy being able to give something in return to the people who make the photography so much fun.

The day was overcast for the first several hours, making it a feast for photography. There was no harsh light, no deep shadows, and color saturation was high. The softer, low-contrast light especially flattered the ladies, but the crusty pirates benefitted also. This was the first Renaissance Faire I've attended when the outdoor light was muted. Huzzah! It gave more options, and required less fuss to get nice images. And, as always, there were plenty of interesting subjects and activities to photograph. My sincere thanks goes to all those who put up with me and my camera, whether shown here or not. So, well, let's have a look at the results...

You can learn a lot from the people practicing their trades and crafts. Most seem to be full of knowledge and history about their activities. The activities of the two people at left are obvious. The third is less obvious from the thumbnail image. It is the Fortune Teller, with client and dog. The two crusty fellows on the right do not appear to be gainfully involved in any respectable activities. Such are the lives of pirates. The one on the right really gets his lips around that Turkey Leg. Below them are three lovely - and clean - ladies of the Faire. The one on the left was dancing with several friends. With a couple of drummers on hand, it was a spontaneous performance on the grass. I put the long lens on the camera and when I looked through the viewfinder I saw Shy. We chatted briefly, refined the position of the fans, and this is the result. Very nice. In the middle is a woman whose voice and control suggested that she had an operatic background. When I asked her, she confirmed it. The woman on the right is dressed neat as a pin in elegant style. She is clearly an Aristocrat of the shire, with clothes and a leisured, confident demeanor to match.

The Harp Faeries

I saw Timothy Byrd last year but the light was very hard and not appealing for a photograph. This year, though, I had better luck - not ideal light, but acceptable for a photograph at his usual place at the Faire. Here, he is playing ad lib (as I suspected). I bought his CD, "Harp and Wave," which combines extemporaneous harp with sounds of ocean surf. It's well done, and good listening.

Later in the day, I saw two lovely lasses dressed as faeries seated at two of his harps. Timothy pointed. "More photogenic," he said. I made a couple photographs and suggested a position at nearby shrubs to mitigate background junk (in particular, a period-incorrect trash can). A well-dressed fellow was then enlisted to cast a bit of shade, and we made photographs of The Harp Faeries. Timothy was right: the faeries are indeed beautiful.

The Pirate Band

I don't know how "period correct" the pirates are at renaissance faires. When I saw these guys near the entrance, though, I knew they would be great fun to photograph. I put the wide-angle zoom on the camera and got right in the middle of 'em. Distortion? Plenty! Wild and crazy photographs? You bet! Did the technique reveal a sense of the band's character? Yup, sure did. They were a lively, animated and crazy bunch, and the music was fun to hear. Like most of the off-stage performances, I don't think they got the attention that they deserved.

Later, during lunch, they played again where a pirate ship could be used as a background. Unfortunately, I had to really blast 'em with the flash to get balanced light. In the end, the photos near the entrance were better. There, the band seemed more spontaneous and loose, and I was able to get in close for refreshing and unusual perspectives. The unusual view and presentation paid off when Pirate Jam earned a First Place Award at Santa Barbara County Fair.

In all, it was another splendid day at the faire, with delightful people all around. My wife and I are thinking that perhaps we ought to join a guild...

Images Copyright © Ed E. Powell
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