It Began With Hair At The County Fair: "Casino" (10 photos) by TIM PRESTON

It began early in the week as I roamed the Carter County Fairgrounds and saw something unusual on the far side of the rides and attractions. I soon learned it was a ride called "Casino," and, as a photographer, I was drawn like a moth to a bug zapper.

From my first glance. I saw only sudden bursts of long hair flying up and then quickly disappearing from the horizon of the rides, coming from an unseen attraction near the back of the fairground.
I got closer and watched the ride, a giant roulette-style wheel which gives riders a forceful up and down while spinning fast.

"There is just no way to get that photo," I said to myself, and then walked back to enjoy the talent contest. Predictably enough, I was back the next night with two cameras at the edge of the "Casino" ride, trying to catch a photo of someone with long hair as the wheel took its spins.

Luck kicked in on a few of the literally hundreds of bad photos I shot. It was encouraging enough to let me say, "OK, now I know how NOT to do it. Let's try again."

I was somewhat guilty of stalking the "Casino" Saturday during what I knew would be my last chance to get the photo I was after. I waited for loads which included riders with long hair. Fortunately, passengers on the next two or three cycles fit the bill perfectly.

The trick to this is, you are looking at the underside of the wheel until the split second before the whole thing changes and dips toward specific spots around the orbit. You have to time your shutter and focus and frame in real time.

During the last round I learned to track the edge of the spinning wheel and follow it down and to the right as it went back up.

Reviewing the countless images I snapped, I quickly lost my obsession with flying hair and became beyond entertained at the facial expressions and physical positions captured along the way.

If you happened to be among the riders photographed on the "Casino" ride, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

That is the most fun I've had with my cameras in a long time!