Word and Image

Archive for September 13, 2011

West Indian Parade

It’s my first West Indian parade on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. I happened to read about this event that is attended by about 1 million people every year. Where have I been? It’s Labor Day. It’s hot with a chance of rain. And it’s the largest block party I have ever seen. The folks set up hours before on both sides of the parkway with food, barbecue, goods and all manner of music with nine foot tall speakers and DJ’s. The music was loud enough to vibrate you down to your socks. Many of the police assigned to the parade route wore earplugs. There were police barriers to control the crowd. On the website, it warned viewers not to “jump up.” I get it. Folks, literally jumped the barriers and partied on Eastern Parkway along with the parade participants. The police would periodically sweep all the extras back to the sideline with a large orange net stretched side to side across the parkway. They would gather and herd all the non participants off to the side behind the barriers. And then after the police passed, everyone would all jump out onto the parkway again. It was all friendly enough except when they arrested a NYC councilman and later when there were  several shootings. So, right at the beginning of the day and right after I emerged from the subway to trek to the parade route origin, here were these three shy lovely ladies, who kindly let me photograph them. I never saw them again the rest of the day. Hopefully, they had a splendid time.


OK. Macy’s 4th of July fireworks in New York brings millions of people to the river to watch. Typically, it’s on the East River. The past two years it’s been on the west side over the Hudson River. I’ve only just learned to shoot fireworks. Long exposure – 3 seconds, f8, and a tripod. It varies, but I had never thought to get the trails of the fireworks by using such a long setting. It’s counter intuitive. Well, the added bonus is that it wasn’t quite dark when the scheduled TV start began. The slight afterglow of sunset makes it more spectacular. And the reflection off the apartment building to the left made me wonder about the folks who had a front row seat. My Sports Illustrated photographer friend joined me shooting as well. Between us,  we had five cameras lined up and firing on tripods to capture this event from my roof terrace. After that, the Times Square skyline was up for grabs.


Serendipidty! I shot this on a trip to Argentina to visit my son who had been working in Buenos Aires for nearly a year. His mother missed him very much and I was along for the photo ops. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been allowed to stay in the family. It was an overnight flight from New York to Santiago, Chile. At dawn, the fog was just lifting and I shot this from the window of the jet. For all the fun, my family makes of me just randomly clicking the shutter of my camera, I did in fact get this stunning shot. My wife even said she would hang it. And yes, I shot randomly before digital. So imagine, how wild I’ve been since I got my first Nikon 70. Anyway, there was a bit of cropping to get the window out of the frame. Overall it was a very nice panoramic. By the way, we stayed in transit in the airport lounge and there was ample evidence of damage from the not too recent earthquake.


Ok, so I cut off their legs. Mermaids don’t have legs, anyway? It happens on Coney Island once a year in the early summer. People come to participate in the Mermaid parade. They wear [or don’t wear] all sorts of outrageous costumes. This year a bunch of photographers would wait for people to enter the staging area. They had staked out a plain beige wall and used it as a studio backdrop. These three ladies were persuaded to allow the group to photograph them as they were dressing. I just wonder of their mothers knew how they were dressed to go out?


The 2011 Mermaid Parade, Surf Avenue, Coney Island. What with all the people milling around and preparing to march, there were tons of photographers in the area. Off to the side standing against the was wall this kid. He just stood, never any expression nor acknowledgement as photographers walked by. Some thought enough to snap some shots. I saw his pose change several times and then he was gone. Cool.

New Orleans

It’s New Orleans. There is a warehouse that hosts events and at the national meeting in 2005, I saw the figures that are part of the Mardi Gras parades. Several days later I was able to board a ferry and took a tour. There were many items stored and reused or repurposed as the themes would change from year to year.

Times Square

It’s right after the 4th of July fireworks. It is on the Hudson for the second time in two years. As I turn toward the east the skyline is just clearing up from the smoke of the fireworks. The glow of the lights promises excitement. I usually don’t use a tripod but fireworks takes a long exposure. This night shot is one of my favorites of the moment. With digital, I experimented with long exposures and didn’t lose too much detail to noise.


The image is the key. But the backstory can be fascinating. Shot at a local Church carnival. Night shots without a tripod are always tricky. I like the low angle and the juxtaposition of the bee with the ferris wheel in the background. It amazing how well the camera will correct for such a variety of lighting.