Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Indiana State Fair.

Last weekend, my friend Alex drove down here to my new abode in Lafayette, Indiana. Since I'm still relatively new to the Midwest (going to school in Chicagoland does not count, in my opinion), we decided to get a feel for its culture by going to the Indiana State Fair down in Indianapolis, about an hour drive from where I live.

Deep-fried foods being a quintessential element of all state fairs, it was a gluttonous day. We started out with a "pepsi burst", which Alex is seen munching on here. Fried dough balls, coated with cinnamon sugar and doused in a pepsi-based syrup. I was hoping more for a fried ball with carbonated pepsi inside which would gush out when chewed. Oh well.

It is difficult to resist the sight and smell of gigantic turkey legs being roasted on a grill. Despite the legs being as big as my face, it was not difficult for us to finish one off, doused in black pepper and hot sauce.

The culinary highlight of the day was the infamous donut burger, which is exactly what it sounds like. A grilled beef patty, with melted cheese, onions and pickles, between two Krispy Kremes. The prospect of clogging my arteries with the thing terrified me until I ate it. It was an interesting blend of sweet and savory, and tasted oddly like a Big Mac. Not something that I'd do every day, but I certainly enjoyed the novelty of it.

And then there was the hot beef sundae, which I had been meaning to try since seeing it at the Tennessee State Fair a few years ago. It was delicious, but not quite as cool as it sounds, being a normal concoction of mashed potatoes over chunks of beef, topped with corn and gravy.

The most hilarious moment of the fair was when we discovered a machine called VibraBody Slim, meant to shake your fat off with varying speeds of vibrations. When you turn it on, the platform on which you stand begins to shake back and forth, and your entire body begins to jiggle - a sight that had me doubled over in laughter for a good ten minutes. Speeds increase all the way up to level 30, at which point my vision blurred and I became quite nauseous, and could feel my brain vibrating within my skull. We revisited the machines at the end of the day, and discovered that 3 out of their 5 display models had been sold. Oh, oh, Indiana.

The rest of the time, we just strolled around, enjoying the sight of carnival rides, tractors as big as houses, smaller farm vehicles from the '60s and '70s, hogs, goats, draft horses, blacksmith demonstrations, smoke-emitting wood-chopping machines, and many other things that I find charming about rural America.

This thing cost as much as my parents' house!

A word about these pictures: I no longer own a digital camera, having ruined my previous one with an unfortunate water spill. However, my dad gave me his old Canon EOS Elan II, a 35mm SLR camera made in the late '90s. Having never used a film camera before, it was a challenge to fiddle with settings without being able to immediately see the results, and to be limited to just 36 pictures for the entire day. However, I'm largely happy with how they turned out, and I think the grainy quality almost highlights the rustic feel of the all-American Midwest.

There are some instances when I feel that advanced digital cameras are almost too perfect in how they capture reality, whereas slight imperfections can give an image a quality of dreaminess, which I'm drawn to. I'd really like to use this Canon as a base for learning more about film photography.

End tangent. The weekend was a good one. I'm settling into Indiana just fine.


Jon said...

Carry more film!

Also, you can post-process digital to get the same feel, but it's not "authentic" film. Depends on the angle- you can take a perfect photo and manipulate it to just about any end result. Much harder to go the other way.

Faye said...

Film is expensive! $7 a roll, then $13 to develop and print. I'll have to see about learning how to use a darkroom and doing it all myself.

Lexie, Little Boat said...

i was thinking the whole time that you must have used a film camera! i havent used one (except polaroid) because i am afraid of developing (NPI) another expensive habit!

i cant believe you ate the donut burger! jake would be so proud.