Renaissance Festival 2017

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“Some day, you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”

– C.S. Lewis

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Things were a lot different for me at the Renaissance Festival this year. Typically, I spend a lot of time with friends and family throughout the season, but I only spent a handful of days with my friends this year. Also, instead of wandering the grounds and following where my lens took me, I spent the majority of my time at the jousting arena, where I made a few new friends.

What originally drew me to the jousting this year was a new horse named Thor. I’ve spent so much time photographing them over the years that I’ve grown to know and love them all, so a new horse was really exciting! As it turns out, he wasn’t just new to us, but to the jousters as well. Our first weekend was only his second weekend at a joust. He was flighty and uncomfortable with all of the smells, sights, and sounds that the crowded Festival grounds had to offer. His tall and lengthy awkwardness was definitely a blast to watch every weekend for nearly two months. By the end of the Festival, he was doing the morning “joust” with ease. Though it’s not really a full joust, it is really just a fun show where they make passes cutting apples and cabbage from the top of poles that are stuck in the ground, but it’s a step in the right direction. I also became good friends with his rider, Mark. He seemed pretty excited to have Thor’s journey documented, even though it was just for one Festival.

Aside from documenting Thor’s progress through photos this year, I also had a lot of fun photographing the rest of the jousting crew. You’ll never meet a group as hard working and fun loving as this team of great people. They are always laughing, always enjoying what they do, even on the hottest days (and we did have a 98° F day with high humidity). Even with their heavy armor, they still go into the crowd after every joust to chat with people. Mark’s armor is the lightest out of the group at 85 lbs, and David’s is a whopping 140 lbs. When it’s hot, they are basically trapped inside of a metal hotbox. I still watched Mark go into the crowd and spend nearly 40 minutes taking photos with children, smiling, telling stories, and just chatting with the people around him. These guys truly love their job, and it really shows.

So, a big shout out to Shelby, Kelly, Mark, Harrison, Sam, Thomas, and David for the awesome opportunity to photograph not only the amazing animals they work with, but themselves.

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Even though I did spend a ton of time at the joust, I was sure to make time to see the rest of my favorites with friends. The petting farm is always a favorite for us (who doesn’t love baby goats!?), as well as the herpetology club (reptiles/amphibians). This year, the petting farm had the option to hold one of their tiny baby goats for $1. It was completely worth it. Collette also got to ride the ponies, which has consistently been her favorite “must do” thing every year. She got to come more than usual this year, and also got to bring a friend of her own! They really enjoyed themselves.

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On top of stepping out of the norm this year, the weather was completely out of hand, which added a whole other set of interesting set backs. It always rains a good chunk of the weekends during our season of the Renaissance, but this year it was different than usual. It was dry most weekends, but when it did rain, we got the amount we would normally get over a week all in one day. The last two weekends were dreadful. The second to last Saturday was so hot, I can’t believe anyone was even there, let alone myself. I also managed to lose my wedding ring that day, so it was just a bad day all around. Then the very last day of the Festival, all of the dirt turned to clay mush under our feet. Even though it usually floods more than this, this was probably the worst I’ve ever seen it get with the mud. However, despite the weather, we still really enjoyed ourselves!

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Overall, it was a truly glorious season with fantastic friends.

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Thanks so much for reading, and for enjoying my photos.

All photos are mine, and those that are not include me and were used with permission.

If you’d like to see the rest of my adventures at the Renaissance Festival this year, you can go to my photography page on Facebook; Moose Blossom Photography.

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My New Sigma

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“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”

– Ansel Adams

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During this past holiday season, I acquired my first macro lens. A 105mm Sigma EX Marcro Lens. I’ve always shot from a distance with long lenses, so it was a real treat when I got to start using this beauty.

Even though I got it during December, I didn’t really get to start using it until this spring, and I’ve barely taken it off of my camera. I’m constantly using this thing! Since it’s my first macro lens, I’m still working on figuring it out all the way. Unlike most lenses, this one has an optical stabilizer motor in it, so it does it’s own focusing for the most part, all I can do is point it in the right direction. Leaving a lot of room for trial and error while using it.

I do have to say that it’s been a real life saver for all of the photos I’ve had to take of products for my new jewelry shop. Especially since most of the stuff I make is pretty small. The more items I make, the more I get to practice with the lens!

Since it’s finally spring, and the bugs are out, I’ve been chasing them around more than I normally do. Insects are my absolute favorite subject to photograph. Typically, I do a lot of bee and wasp photography because they are easy to photograph with a long lens. So far I haven’t gotten any bee or wasp photos with this lens, but I’ve gotten to do things like spiders, ants, and even frogs, things I normally couldn’t get close enough to with a long lens.

I’ve also been taking my time with close up foliage photos. Another thing I’m not normally into, but now that I can do it, I’ve grown to enjoy it.

On top of being able to do close up nature and animal shots, I have figured out how to get some decent portrait photos. Candid photos are another one of my favorites, but I will say that this macro lens makes it harder to get those. The closer you are to people, the more likely they are to look at you and stop what they are doing to pose. I think I’ll stick with the longer lenses for this, as I am not a fan of posed photos. But, I will say that this lens has been spectacular for small children who don’t care one bit that you’re pointing a big ol’ lens at them.

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Overall, I definitely have to say that I’m incredibly happy with this lens. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for something new to mess with!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read!

All photos are mine!