August 2008

Musikfest 2008 marked the 25th Anniversary of a fantastic festival. I am showing my age but I remember the first festival that started back in 1984. In 1984 about 182,000 people attended this small, grass-roots music festival in Bethlehem, Pa. Back then there was about 118 performers and 295 performances. The performances were held at 6 different stages.

Fast forward to 2008 and here we are two decades later at the 25th Anniversary event. Those humble beginnings spawn an event that has blossomed into a 10-day musical spectacular that attracts more than one million people from throughout the country.

The festival showcases nearly every musical style imaginable. More than 300 performers from across the country and around the globe now perform
musical programming at 14 different indoor and outdoor stages (10 of the stages are free). We enjoyed 10 great nights of headline entertainment, mouth-watering foods, plenty of children’s fun and activities and a spectacular closing-night fireworks display.

We can’t wait until 2009. ==> Musikfest 2009 Schedule

Just a couple of tips that I picked up along the way trying to get those great shoots with my various digital camers. Give them a try if you are not doing them already.

1. Shoot at High Quality
You can squeeze more photographs on to your memory card by adjusting the image quality. I like a lower quality setting which applies higher amounts of JPEG compression. Most cameras let you select from several compression settings. Kodak uses the terms Best, Better, and Good, and Fuji uses the terms Fine, Normal, and Basic. Epson, for example, uses a series of stars. Whenever possible, stick with the highest quality setting. If you really need to squeeze more images onto a nearly full card, switch to the second highest setting. I would not go any lower than that however, your pictures will suffer.

2. Get in Close
My brother in law takes terrible pictures. He always step back too far when he is taking the shots. Pixels are scarce in digital photography so you need to devote as many pixels to the photographic subject that you are shoting. When photographing individuals turn on the LCD and close in until that person fills up much of the screen.

3. Shoot Outside in Indirect Light
Most digital cameras offer built-in flashes, but they are not very good. If you shoot at night or in a dimly lit room, a subject that is just a few feet away will appear as a luminous image against a pitch black background. Best results are achieved by shooting outside or in a naturally lit room during the day. Some cloud cover or tree shadow often helps to soften the harsh color transitions you get in direct sunlight.

Well, when August arrives that can only mean two things. Get ready for Bethlehem’s Musikfest and the Great Allentown Fair in Allentown. Like clockwork we were out to kick off both events. I wouldn’t have miss either event. The Fair ran from August 26 to September 1, 2008 and was celebrating its 157th year. It really does offer a lot of fun and is educational for people of all ages.

The Fair was originally dedicated to supporting the achievements of farmers, gardeners and homemakers. The kids get to learn where their food comes from while spending an exciting day on rides, playing games and seeing shows. You can enjoy international cuisine, musical concerts, thrill shows, and the latest in gizmos and gadgets. The Fair once again proved to be a “Don’t miss it”.