Friday, October 19, 2012

2012 NC State Fair

Gail & Grant Simons have been operating their Root Beer Truck & Stall for 50 plus years, 26 years in the same location at the NC State Fair.  "We don't know what's going to happen to the stall once we can't do this anymore... It's really a 24/7 kind of job.  We have loyal customers that keep coming back (and) a big part of doing this is talking to old friends that we've made."  The root beer float that I had was fabulous and at only $3.00 a bargain at the fair.  ©2012 Simon Griffiths Photography

The blacksmith shop at the fair always draws a crowd.  These guys obviously enjoy the age old tradition of hitting steel with a hammer.

"Are you the media?...I'm not supposed to talk to the media."  Officer Woodruff had been working all night guarding the entrance to the Jim Graham Building.  I had just come through the doors from teh other way as a side door had been open and unguarded.  Woodruff has been working the fair for 15 years and was glad for the biscuit that someone had brought him.
Eva Hord has been working the stand that offers square ice cream in a double cone "since before my grandson was born...and he's 31 now."  The actual stand which fits into a duffle bag has seen operation since the fair started back up after World War II.  "I know I shouldn't be sitting...but I need to when I can."
Marc Dobson..."The original One Man Band" plays fairs and events all up and down the east coast.  A shoe-in for America's Got Talent, Marc went through 19 iterations of his drum kit before arriving with this one.  Weighing 30 pounds, Dobson puts his entire body into his performance with guitar, drums, harmonica, and singing so his sets don't last more than a few songs.  Interjecting humor into his act... a common refrain: "Why are you leaving? I didn't leave when you showed up!!"    I took enough pictures for him to guilt me into sending him some by his giving me a DVD of his performances.  Expecting perhaps a little less, they were actually very well done despite the various settings and found myself really enjoying his music of standards.  His best line though was on his DVD commentary.  "When adults see me, they wonder how I do that?...When kids see me, they wonder how they can do that!"  Great lesson for adults.

Monday, October 15, 2012

1st Place, NC State Fair Arts and Photography

The last time I won 1st place at the NC State Fair was 1986.  A photograph of the "Aleta" mailboat which traveled back and forth to Ocracoke, NC.  This year I have been out shooting scenes of North Carolina again, traveling the back roads more often, meeting people along the way and hopefully making good photographs.   This image was taken a couple of months ago at the Jim Hunt Horse Complex out by the NC State Fairgrounds.  A horse show was going on and I had hoped that my 13 year old daughter would be interested in going out there with me.  Not interested in watching (just riding) I went by myself and came across this scene where a traveling photographer and her husband photographed horses and their owners.  I was taken by the elaborate setup staged just adjacent to the practice ring.  She would take the pictures while her husband distracted the horses with his kiddy pony.  I saw the final image in my mind right away and only got a few images off before the scene was gone.  I would be interested to se the photograph that they produced at the same time.  Maybe I'll head out to the fair and see if they are out there.  I'm sure they would probably do a print trade.  :)   The money can't be that great, but they had a camper and trailer and my impression was that they lived on the road a lot.  Likely no kids.  I think if you don't have much competition in this kind of venture, then you are likely to be able to make a living...albeit sparse.  Any competition however, and it would probably be a hard life.  
Obviously it's exciting to win first place in anything, and I'm glad that this photograph won as I had switched a previous image out at the last minute because my gut told me that this photo was a winner.
You have to go with your gut.  Lesson learned....again.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I had been on the greenway trail in the morning and saw the crew working on the Raleigh sewer lines.  I had tried to get out earlier in the day, but didn't manage a visit until the afternoon.  Ricky was waiting for the concrete truck to arrive.  It's always a pleasure to meet and photograph new people.  Next trip I might have to get down into the hole...except I had better get a hepatitis shot first.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Demolition Boy

When I saw the house being torn down, I knew the card I wanted to make.  All I needed was a small stocky kid with a great smile.  Little did I know that he lived 4 doors down.  I had never met him until a week before we shot this image.  I was saddened by the loss of some old houses here in Five Points.  In their place will be high dollar multi-family condos.  That's Ok.  Nothing stays the same and nothing lasts forever.  If someone is going to risk replacing what were old and dilapidated buildings with fancy condos, more power to them.  I hope it succeeds.  I'm sure it will for somebody.  In the meantime, I have another greeting card to add to the collection.