Staycation Portfolio: The Farm Festival

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Photography, on social media, is very cyclical. Depending on the time of the year, you can expect to see a lot of the same during certain periods of time:

  • In Autumn, lots of  leaf-peeping images rolling through.
  • When there’s a thing called a “Thunder Moon,” lots of moon photos.
  • When American are allowed to go to Cuba unfettered, lots of Cuba photos.

And I get tired of seeing these photos. I can appreciate people want to go out there and shoot it, but it’s a lot of the same to me.

Now, as we’re in the dead heat of summer, I’m starting to see a lot of carnival photos in my Flickr and IG streams. That’s not a bad thing, to me, a I enjoy what these images show.

I wrote this back in 2011, and it seems to still hold for me: Carnivals and fairs are so visually interesting to me. The people, the vendors, the softening evening skies making the lights of the midway shine brighter. From the children, you can feel the excitement of a night out past bedtime, perhaps, eating cotton candy and riding rides. From the teens, you can feel the expectancy of seeing that guy or gal you’ve had your eye on all summer, the warm evening and smell of roasted peanuts acting like an intoxicant. From the parents and the older folks, you can feel that this is just a nice way to take in summer evening.

A side of life that only comes around once a year in many parts. The crowds, the tastes (Fried Pickle On A Stick!), the sounds and lights. (c)JerseyStyle Photography_Walkway_072116_DSCF5490

Last week, while on my week-long staycation, I took the kids to the Burlington County Farm Festival, about a 30-minute drive from us. As the name implies, the festival is rooted in the farming roots of the area.

Not only is the food a big thing, as usual at most county fairs, but the rides are a big draw too. And my kids wanted to take full advantage of any thing that wobbled, flew or spun. Me, I stayed firmly rooted on the ground and tired to see what I could get with my Fuji X100T in the time it would take for the ride to start to when it ended.

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The Fuji did a nice job. Once again, the color tones amazed me. I was going to shoot B&W, bu the evening sky, the “blue hour,” and the colorful lights in general moved me back to the color format.

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Whenever I’m shooting a carnival like this, I’m always cognizant that the shots will never be a fantastic as what David Bowman shoots. He’s the master of this genre, to me.

And, because I’m with my kids, trying to keep a eye in all directions, I’m shooting handheld. Might get some better/sharper images if I used my tripod. I’m not making excuses, just filling in the facts.

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Still, I’m happy with what the Fuji gave me. Best of all, the kids had a great time. As we hiked across the dusty parking lot on that warm night, I was happy I got some nice images, and that, hopefully, I made some memories with my kids.

Here are a few of my past “carnival” posts:

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

Eye Candy: Make Prints

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Coming to the end of Summer Vacation Week #1 (Week #2 happens in a few weeks – road trip!)

One of my goals during SVW1 was to put in an order to get prints of my June images.

I put the order in on Tuesday morning. Got them – all 101 of them – on Friday morning.

As usual, I used AdoramaPix. And it’s a mix of portraits and landscapes and personal family stuff.

I need to do another order though, to get prints of the TriRock Triathlon and the shoot I did with Tome Wilson, and others I shot that weekend in Philly.

Again, I urge you…make prints. Even if it’s 4×6’s that fit in a shoebox, like these.

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

Shooting The Sax Man

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The last time I shot Zack Sandler, it was on January 1 of this year.

The Asbury Park boardwalk was about 20 degrees with a wind whipping down it.

When we met up to shoot a couple of Sunday evenings ago, it was a good 65-70 degrees warmer, a brilliant summer evening.

And while I shot Zack the last time with his guitar, this time it was about him and his sax.

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We met up outside The Stone Pony, as he had a gig there with Bobby Mahoney & The Seventh Son later on that evening. I had about an hour or so with Zack, then he had to go load in for the show.

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He had a few looks he wanted us to get, like a shot of him overlooking the Asbury Park boardwalk.

And by some really nice windows outside of Convention Hall. (Got nice and lucky with the clouds reflected in the windows.)

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I was shooting with my Canon 70D and my Fuji X100T. Can’t complain about either machine. Zack is so comfortable in front of the camera, he gave me some really nice looks.

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It was also very cool shooting him in such a venerable location as Convention Hall, which has seen the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Doors and, of course, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band play there.

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I think this is my favorite image for the whole shoot, though. Done with the Fuji, it came out pretty much exactly how I had it in my head.Think I’ll make a print of it soon.

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One of the coolest parts of the shoot, though, was having Zack play me a little Jungleland while we overlooked Little Eden, aka Asbury Park. Doesn’t get much more Jersey Sound than that.


I really like the whole set of images me and Zack did. My second favorite, though, might be this one. I shot it just prior to the band starting up in The Stone Pony. I like just that hint of light, plus the sign in the background. A sense of person, a sense of place.

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Click here to view a slideshow of some more of Zack’s images.

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

Spartan Sufferfest

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That guy in the lower left hand corner of the frame pretty much sums up how many of us felt this past Saturday.

To kick off my vacation/staycation week, I did another obstacle course race (OCR), this time a Spartan Super at the Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Palmerton, PA.

I’ve written about Spartan Races before. Since I was out there racing the 8 mile course, I wasn’t shooting any photos. No GoPro’s for me.

Basically, I was running…or walking…and sweating…and carrying heavy things..and sipping pickle juice to keep from having muscle cramps. It was a long, hot day.

But, I did it. Placed about 31st in my 45-49 age group (not sure how many overall there were, but quite a bit) with a time of 3 hours and 31 minutes.

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The one thing that struck me, again, about this race is how pleasant everyone is during it. We’re all in it, suffering, together. But we signed up for this, we brought it on ourselves.

Still, though, everyone is pleasant, polite, helpful. If I took a knee to catch my breath, many racers tapped me on the shoulder and said “You OK, bro?” with actual concern. I offered water, pickle juice (from one of my hydration bottles) or salt packs to racers myself. Like I said, we’re all in this together.

We’re all focused when we’re training, but there’s not animosity, no rage on the course. Just people doing what they came there to do.

So much negativity and crap going on in the world…maybe more people should just try to push themselves doing something like this.

It’s not for everyone. And everyone there IS NOT an elite athlete or OCR racer. Some just have a goal: Do it, get through it. Some, yes, do want to be competitive. Heck, I am when I’m on the course. But it’s against myself. On the drive to Palmerton (in which a PA State Trooper did NOT give me a speeding ticket because in part, I think, he saw my Spartan stickers on the back window of my truck), I gave myself a goal of 5 hours and 30 minutes to do this rugged, hilly, insane course.

At the start line (above), I shortened it to 4 hours 30 minutes, to push myself more.

So, to finish in 3:30…I was happy.

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But there was plenty of pain, plenty of “taking a knee” like the guy above. But you get through it.

You’re not worried about work, deadlines, other stuff going on. Just getting through it. I know that doesn’t sound like fun to many people, but it works. It clears your head. I only do these once, maybe twice a year. In the middle of it, I think, That’s it. No more after this. But at the end, or a couple of days later (like today), I think, Man, that was cool. When is the next one?

The sufferfests. We’re all so stationary now, that we need these sufferfests to tell us we are still alive.

In fact, Scott Keneally has done a whole documentary about why we do this. I met Scott at this race, gave him my card, and hope to connect with him down in Asbury Park in a couple of weeks, when he shows the doc there.

It’s an interesting aspect. Why we do this. Why we put ourselves through this. After the race, I met my family up in Northeast PA, at my parent’s house. My dad, of course, said the same thing “Why do you do this to yourself?”

I don’t know. Maybe when there is so much crap going on in the world, it’s best to just hit the mountain and sweat.

Feel some pain.

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Nothing wrong with a sufferfest every now and then.


Editor’s Edit:

Spartan Race just released their images from the race. Here’s me…during the Sandbag Carry. Decent for 46, eh?

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(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016




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