Cameradventures: A Night At The Circus

Columbus, Ohio – April 25, 2015

It seems like just yesterday I pulled the Fujifilm X-E2 camera body out of the deep pocket of my pants as I took my seat in the Schottenstein Center arena. At the same time, my wife removed my 55-200mm lens from the bottom of her purse. I connected the two smuggled pieces like a sniper, assembling his rifle, as our friends laughed and got cozy in their seats. It had been awhile since I’d seen the world-famous Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, but now, I could finally capture it to immortalize the night.

What I DIDN’T know was that this would be my last. That in two years, “The Greatest Show On Earth” would end a 146-year run due to waning attendance, high operating costs and animal rights protests.

I suppose now it makes better sense why this particular performance was lacking in its usual variety, missing many acts I was so used to seeing, like the German Wheel and the Globe Of Death.

Now, 5 years (and three days) later, I would like to share a few of these incredible moments from my final experience with the family show I’d loved so much since I was a young’un.

I hope the preceding photos give you a pretty good idea of what it was like, but as we all know, you had to be there. My favorite ones are the captures of that young lady being shot out of a cannon. Mainly because the camera did a wonderful job of catching her in mid-flight from a great distance in such low lighting.

The scariest moment of the night came when the man on the Wheel Of Death got his foot caught as he “jumped rope” atop the steel drum. As the drum began its descent past the apex, the crowd gasped in suspended horror, certain he was going to fall to his death. Thankfully, he skillfully adjusted and maintained his balance, quickly resuming the act. Ahhh, the circus and it’s hand-over-mouth moments.

I took over 800 pics that night, many in Burst mode to freeze the right moment. But had I known that was the final time I’d ever see them on tour, I’d have taken 800 more…

God, how I miss the circus. Good thing I have politics and other current events to fill that whimsical void…

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