Olde Tyme Good Tymes

The 46th Annual Renaissance Pleasure Faire


The Faire is a place of color, smiles, pomp, silliness, artisans and fun. I've had a camera along each year that I've attended, and never regretted carrying it around all day. There are interesting things and interesting people to photograph everywhere. The primary limitation is the background and the light, but there are good situations to be found throughout the day. Here are some that caught my attention.

Work and Play

The Faire portrays an idealized situation where the line between work and play disappears. Royalty, shopkeepers, artisans and peasants go about their activities in a spirit of leisure. And the clothes are just as photogenic as the smiles. So much color! Some colors are subdued and some colors are vivid, but there is never any shortage of them.

My first photo of the morning included subdued color and an early smile in Sunshine Under a Hat. Besides the obvious distraction, I liked the mottled light passing through the weave of her hat. The day's light was not yet harsh, so we didn't lose anything in the highlights or the shadows. Soon after, I found Another Smile, less restrained and in more even light. It was a good day already.

When I got to the washing well, the stones were darkened by water (and this was before the water dousings!). Against the dark stones, without their usual bright glare, the girl fairly pops from the image. She is caught in a moment of playful laughter, totally at ease and absolutely beautiful.

The banjo player was a Drink Vendor, from whom my wife and I slaked our thirsts with liquid refreshment. The wide-angle lens gets all the action in close. We bought a medallion from the woman on the right who, between serving other customers, found time to make Warm Glow. I wonder if these people enjoy this congenial and relaxed pace in their routine lives.

The Specialists of Play

There were others who appeared to do nothing but play. Many of them encouraged faire visitors to become involved. You didn't have to look too far to find something a little different going on, or a little different somebody involved with it.

Except for the one with the eight of hearts, the Ladies at Cards look somewhat distressed. She has most of the coins and appears smugly satisfied with the course of the game thus far. The chess player and the pirate make their points in different ways.

The musicians make their point with their music and, as usual, there was plenty of music to go around at the Faire. There were street performers and stage performers, and spontaneous music and dancing was not uncommon. The colors and the music and the movement were easy to find.

The Queen

She was dressed in light-colored, but apparently heavy, clothing. The light colors allowed her to stand out well against dark backgrounds, and I made several photographs. There were no shouts of "Off with his head!" Instead, Her Majesty seemed quiet and reserved. She did not appear accustomed to all the attention that she was getting. But, she carried herself in regal fashion. She must have been photographed thousands of times during the day.

Walking the Shire

I made no schedule for activities of the day. Instead, I just wandered the shire at leisure, taking in what sights and activities prevailed wherever I happened to be.

The red parasol was obvious from a distance. Afternoon sunlight was coming from behind, giving it a fiery red glow. The couple agreed to some photography and we got fine results.

Earlier in the day, I noticed the girl with the pastel hat in shadow. The cross-light gives a sweet, feminine glow to this beautiful girl and her beautiful clothes.

All in all, it was a good day at the Faire. We found good people, good entertainment, good food and good photography. Each year is similar to the last, and each year is different from the last. Be well!

Images Copyright © Ed E. Powell
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