Carnivale 2013 at the Idaho Botanical Garden

Thanks to Amber Conger, the Idaho Botanical Garden, the Red Light Variety Show and more, Boise gets to have a really entertaining garden party with belly dancers, family friendly numbers by The Red Light Variety Show, food, drink, and style. This was the third year of the event and I went loaded up with a bunch of camera gear and the company of Kyle. When we got there the party was in full swing and the entertainment was about to begin.
There was a large crane set up with the aerialist's silk. Katie Ponozzo of the Red Light Variety Show kicked off the evening. I found a spot on the edge of the circle and found that my 90mm macro was perfect for the spot. I had the sun to my back and blue sky above the silk. Really, all I had to do was point the camera at Katie and if I didn't cut her arms or legs out of the frame, pretty much everything came back spectacular. 
 She's a powerhouse of a performer, I've never seen such a talented performer so up close. I grew up in Chicago and went to the ballet many times, but sitting in the huge theater almost makes the experience feel more like you're watching the dancers on TV, the Red light performances are much more intimate. That and since I've done yoga on and off since I moved to Boise I am very aware of the amazing amount of strength, awareness, and control is required to do what they do. 

I know, that wasn't anywhere near enough of Katie, but we have lots more to cover.
Lynn was a bit more difficult to shoot because she was up on the crane bed itself and I didn't want to be an ass and walk in front of the spectators. She can do amazing things with hula hoops.
 I believe this is Brecca and I know we have James here. This bit was about sword swallowing and there is no way to convey the hilarity of their performance. The best part were the little kids next to us that thought she really was swallowing swords. I was laughing so hard over both the performance, and the kids totally freaking out.

 Kristen is probably my favorite belly dancer outside of Ingrid in Tuscon. Kristen does alternative belly dance and again, my photos do her little justice, watching her move is hypnotizing. I was lucky that the sun worked out by highlighting the performers and helping make them stand out while also showing the audience. We were in a nice ring around the stage.

 Here's Lynn again. I got a nice shot of her when she moved into the sunlight and caught her captivating smile. I really need to learn how to photograph the hula hooping work. I'll figure it out.
 Here's Kristen again. The folks in Red Light have multiple talents. 
Here are Lynn, Kelly, and Brecca. I had trouble and missed an earlier performance with Kelly and James. This was something new that I haven't seen the company do before and it was really fun to photograph. I got to play with shutter speed a lot.
Here's Katie again, this time showing us her ballet skills. James carried her out and set her down and wound her up with a key, she then came to life. It was a great blend of doing the "robot" ballet style.

Yes she is really on her toes, a LOT in this piece. 
This is Angela, I'd never seen her perform before. I believe this was a number done to the theme song from True Blood called Bad Things. I'd have gotten better photos if I could have gotten closer, but this shot shows the audience well. 
Taking a bow to lots of applause.
The night also included a steampunk costume contest, the theme of the night was Venetian carnivale with a steampunk twist. This lady took "Best Top hat". The strangest part of the night was how people reacted to me and my camera. People made room for me and complete strangers let me take their pictures. I don't think I would have ever thought to walk up to someone and say "smile" before, but it was really fun. No one asked who I was. It was strange. 

I told these girls "come on ladies, go for it!" How goofy is that? They were great though.
Amber made the costume contest trophies. I wimped out and didn't dress up.
 Costume contest participants line up for the red carpet.
 This guy had great moxie.
 I liked this couple's style and I wish I had gotten a decent shot of the guy in the blond wig and winged mask who did the most hilarious solo dirty-dancing thing down the red carpet to wow the judges.
 Waiting for the results.
 Amber with the wings and purple feathers is handing out the trophies. 
The winners!
I have no idea why Sabra (a super cool coworker of mine) didn't get in on the costume contest. She obliged me with a quick photo.

There was even more entertainment, but I never got the name of the belly dancing troupe, and we were old and lame and left before the fire dancers. We did have to let the dog out. Maybe next year.


  1. Great photos! Especially the ones of the aerialist in action. I saw an act like that once, and it's hypnotizing. Looks like there were lots of cool costumes there. I love that red and black ballet dress!

    1. Thanks Justine! It was a great people watching event.

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