Thursday, August 25 presents
Rick Sammon

PhotoChat: International Festivals
May 3, 2001

Professional photographer and globetrotter Rick Sammon was on hand to discuss how to capture the essence of a festival with photography. Get in the international celebration spirit as Cinco de Mayo, a national Mexican holiday, approaches. View great photos from festivals the world over while you gain valuable photographic insights. Venga y pase un buen rato con nosotros!

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Kodak: Good evening. Let's get in a festive mood as we look at great photos from festivals from around the world. Rick Sammon, professional photographer and world traveler, will show us some great pictures, and share his thoughts on ways for you to capture the feeling of an event in your photos! Ask your questions, have fun, and look at some great shots. Now, lets all welcome Rick!

Rick Sammon: Welcome, everybody! I travel around the world taking many different types of pictures, but the festival shots are some of my favorites, because I get to interact with strangers. My challenge is to get them to like me or accept me in a matter of seconds, so it's a rewarding challenge, and a heck of a lot of fun!

Diamonds In The Ruff: Rick, what is your favorite film or effect in Photoshop?

Rick Sammon: My favorite slide film for festivals is an Elite Chrome extra color, because I want to capture all that fantastic color in the costumes. For print film, I recommend Kodak's new film, Kodak Max Versatility. It's great for all different types of lighting conditions. My favorite effect in Photoshop is actually the hue saturation control where I can boost the color.

Blue Pen: When you take a picture, do you have an idea how you'll use Photoshop to alter it, or do you wait and see how they turn out before deciding?

Rick Sammon: Photoshop has changed the way I take pictures and make pictures, so when I see a scene that might be underexposed or overexposed, I know I can fix it in Photoshop. Also, in Photoshop, I can create the effect of using daylight fill-in flash without having to use a flash. So it has changed the way I take and make pictures, but--and this is a big but--you still have to start with a good image or a good vision.

Gordon Ball: What is the strangest or funniest costume you have seen at the festivals you've attended?

Rick Sammon: At the Barbados Crop Over Festival, I saw some very strange costumes. One showed a man surrounded by all these skulls. I believe he was from Trinidad. That was pretty bizarre. As you can see, the subject is having just as good a time as I am. When I took this picture, by the way, I was only a few feet away from the subject. My shooting philosophy at festivals is to try to get up close and personal with the subjects. One of my goals is trying to make the photo session a lot of fun for the subjects. Again, when I took this picture, I was actually dancing backward in the parade with that whole group, and I was having a great time!

Doodle Bug: You've said before that you are a 'people' photographer. Do you focus on the people, or the entire atmosphere when taking shots at festivals?

Rick Sammon: Mostly the people, because that's really what these festivals are all about--people getting dressed up. For a few hours a day, they can live in a fantasy world. You have the man dressed in the skull costume, and women in gorgeous costumes. People play roles, and it is one big party. I mean big! It's non-stop fun! I shoot a lot of close-ups, and that's really what I try to do. Before I forget, when you go to one of these festivals, don't forget your earplugs, because they play the music so loud that your whole body vibrates, and this music goes on into the night. Be prepared to party. Also, be prepared with a telephoto lens or a telephoto zoom and a wide-angle lens or a wide-angle zoom. That way, you can do what I do, and that is to try to tell the whole story.

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