A carousel of emotions: Snapping the perfect shot at Lambs Farm's grand reopening

Sometimes you just know, and this was one of those days.

When I arrived at Lambs Farm in Green Oaks to photograph the reopening of the carousel, I knew right off the bat that 7-year-old Levi Marhoefer of Mundelein was likely to give me a good photo.

As a photographer, I keep my eyes open for anyone who is outgoing and offers a lot of expression. Often this leads to a good photo and Levi did not disappoint.

I patiently waited for the ceremony for the painstakingly restored fiberglass carousel horses to end and the free rides to begin.

Levi and his siblings, Mila, 5, and Evelyn, 11, were on the grand reopening ride.

Round and round they went, each time Levi passed his family he smiled from ear to ear, waved or did some 7-year-old boy stuff.

It was awesome, to see and to photograph.

I saw my colleague Mick Zawislak a few days later while photographing a pickle factory in Lake Zurich and he asked how I made the image of Levi riding the carousel.

Often with a slow shutter speed, and panning or moving the camera with the subject when they pass will yield the results you see in this picture.

A blurry photograph with a sharp subject.

A few hundred photos later and I had about three images that I could use.

I had already made a safe photo that I could use with the story if the panning image did not work.

Levi helped the situation by waving his hand in the air as if he were riding a bucking bronco.

So the blurriness and sharpness were done on purpose and, yes, my cameras still smell a little bit like pickles from that other assignment with Mick.

Watching Levi joyously ride the newly painted and restored carousel horses with pure 7-year-old excitement was just plain awesome.

Brian Hill
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