Monday, 9 December 2019

Mill Road Movers And Shakers

The annual winter fair took place in Cambridge's Mill Road at the weekend and I went along as I do most years. All along the length of the road there were food stalls and craft stalls; brass bands, rock bands, folk bands and buskers; morris dancers; guided walks; artists and poets; churches handing out free mince pies; samba bands leading parades; Father Christmas and....well you name it. But how could I photograph it a little differently and capture some of the colour and movement?

The rapid hands of Arco Iris Samba Band

Slow shutter speeds blurring the movement was my tentative answer. As you'll see some worked better than others - and as you won't see many were miserable failures!

The local Fire Brigade were manually pulling one of their fire engines
through the street

The University's Lion Dance Troop

One problem I hadn't anticipated was that, though the performers could be blurred nicely, those watching were static, and this distracted from the action. A lot of tinkering of the computer solved the problem for the shot above.

Cambridge Morris Men

Morris dancers proved unexpectedly tricky to photograph in this way.

The dancers of Ely And Littleport Riot

The colourful dancers above required an enormous amount of work on the computer to give any sort of image: interesting but not what I'd envisaged.

Arco Iris 

The samba band, Arco Iris, gave their usual colourful and extrovert performance which I hope is conveyed by the pictures above and below.

I also got several useable shots of the parade....

I didn't catch who was responsible for the vibrant carnival parade and I can't find any mention of them on the Winter Fair website. You get used to these unexpected happenings on Mill Road!

Colonel Spanky's Love Ensemble

Bands with unlikely names were everywhere - Release The Chimps, The Galapagogos, Jason and the Skagonauts, Shake Your Tailfeather, Ember Rev, Fruity Clave and of course Colonel Spanky, all provided musical entertainment.

I tried to capture the chaos of the crowded streets and just snapped a few slow, blurry shots as I walked along. I rather like the impressionistic feel of this one, with just one face showing clearly through the patterns.

And finally......

These gentlemen are not for blurring!

(For a more literal interpretation of the Winter Fair see my earlier posts here, here and here).

Take care.


  1. Hi John - wonderful colour escapades of photos ... great fun to see - though as you note the two gentleman deserve their presence to be remembered in real life. Sounds great fun - cheers Hilary

  2. I think it worked wonderfully! I so love The Dancers...and it should be titled that. I bet it would sell in an art gallery. I also especially loved the third from the bottom.

  3. The blurred imagery really gave a sense of the parade's action, John, even more so than simply taking a static shot.

  4. Your colorful motion photos are great! Way to capture the celebration!

  5. Love it! An unusual and fascinating take on a fair.

  6. And who said photography isn't art! I loooove these images John, you have definitely inspired me to try this. Hard to pick a favourite but the three Morris dancers is an image I'd happily frame and hang, gorgeous 💜

  7. Your photos are awesome. They capture the energy of the dancers!

  8. I love your photos! The motion is fun energy to see.

  9. Love these photos. They're so full of whirling action. Truly grand!

  10. A successful experiment here, John. Love those two that Rose has highlighted especially - the third from bottom and the three colourful dancers.
    Glad there was so much music. It seems often missing from events here.

  11. Excellent creative photogrpahy, John. Great sense of colour and movement, well done!

  12. I, too, love the blurs...they capture the fast moving action! Very nice.

  13. Yes, a great experiment. Lovely photos.

  14. Some great shots here. You're getting pretty artsy, Cousin! I like them.

  15. Fun action shots! Lion dancers are always fun to watch!!


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I'll try to answer any questions via a comment or e-mail within the next day or two (no hard questions, please!).