Bumper Cars

When was the first time you tried the bumper cars at the fair or carnival?

I must have been around nine or ten years old when I first noticed them at one of the traveling carnivals that would stop by in Aldbourne twice a year in those days.

Back then the traveling bumper cars would use a conductive floor and ceiling with a separate polarity. As the cars would drive around I’d be fascinated by the sparks from the ceiling contacts as the brushes would sweep across the wire mesh grid.

Newer designs use alternating conductive strips on the floor, eliminating the ceiling grid and with it, the sparks that were, for me, always part of the experience.

Now many just run on batteries so don’t need a special floor at all.

For me, the fun was always in running into the other cars, particularly those driven by my friends or siblings. More recently it’s been crashing into the cars driven by my kids.

Of course, there remain the buzzkills out there who insist the idea is to process in circles and avoid crashing, playing on safety fears and the name of one of the leading US manufacturer of the cars, Dodgem. But where’s the fun in that?

The image below is clearly an abstract one. I took it using a Canon G10 point-and-shoot that I rarely use these days because the ISO range is so limited. I replaced it with a Canon Sureshot S120 but that broke recently so I’m considering another replacement. It seems that Canon and Nikon have surrendered their leads in this (shrinking) market segment to Sony.

A point-and-shoot in my opinion still beats the smartphone camera in terms of flexibility but they are getting harder to justify with each new generation of smartphone. If I were to be buying one new it would most likely be a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100V or if staying with Canon, the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II. I also like the more retro-looking Fujifilm X100F in silver (all links to B&H).

The G10 didn’t have the capability, due to the low ISO capability, to actually capture my kids in their bumper cars in this indoor play space.

I was never going to be able to hand-hold the camera for any form of regular picture so I started experimenting with moving the camera. For this particular image I simply rotated the camera with my wrist which generated the less than perfect circle in the image.

Image taken at an indoor bumper cars floor

Image taken at an indoor bumper cars floor

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