Eight amazing cinemagraphs of the CNE

Eight amazing cinemagraphs of the CNE

When Stephen Knifton wants to fully capture a moment, neither photography nor video seems to do the trick on its own. So, he makes “cinemagraphs,” a blend of the two forms that are still and moving at the same time. He shoots both photos and videos, then uses computer software—including Photoshop, After Effects and Flixel, a Toronto-made cinemagraph program—to create the living images. A good cinemagraph requires interesting backgrounds and captivating characters, Knifton says, so naturally, he headed to the CNE on opening weekend. The results capture the vibrancy of the CNE, which runs until September 4. Here, eight of Knifton’s cinemagraphs from the Ex.

When shooting for cinemagraphs, Knifton is always on the lookout for cyclical movements. He liked this shot because the ride loops continuously while the fairgoers remain frozen in time.


In this game, you bet on a specific month, and a carnie rolls a 12-sided die with a different month of each side. “I’m sure carnies aren’t always in the best of moods, but this woman just looked overjoyed to be giving this little kid a toy,” says Knifton. “And even though you can’t see their face, you can tell the kid is psyched.”


Knifton took a time lapse of the Sky Ride and blurred the images together. The chairlift frequently starts and stops, and Knifton wanted to capture that sporadic motion.


Similar to the chairlift, Knifton wanted to capture the stop-and-go movements of the ferris wheel. “We always think of the wheel being in perpetual motion, as if it’s always spinning, but it needs to stop while people board” says Knifton. “I tried to portray both of those worlds.” He also unfroze a couple other parts of the photo, including the reflections of a ride and flashing lights.


Knifton stumbled across this couple taking wedding photos. In this image, the bride contemplates taking a couple shots at the basketball game. (She did afterwards.)


This trampoline quartet mostly does group tricks, but Knifton wanted to isolate just one of the performers to showcase his skill.


This marching band is from the Calgary Stampede. It’s hard to make cinemagraphs when people are walking or marching, but Knifton was able to capture this lone woman for a few seconds as she danced in between notes.


For Knifton, the Polar Express is the classic CNE ride: “It always has the best lights, loud music and a DJ screaming, ‘Do you want to go faster!?” To create this cinemagraph, Knifton took a still shot at a high shutter-speed, then grabbed a couple stills of people on the ride. “The time lapse tells the story of the motion,” says Knifton. “It shows the speed and lights in an interesting way.”