Part 2: There were so many photo ops, you didn’t know where to turn your camera. (See also my other blog Imaged Event for more images.) So maybe it wasn’t so many people? The estimate on the website is about 60, 000 marchers. It literally took about two hours to get everyone onto the parade route. The director Jeanne Fleming says that she sees the parade through the eyes of the photographers who are there to record the event. Indeed, one person can’t be everywhere and the number of people moving and the size of the geographic space makes it impossible to even get a fraction of the parade and the costumes. There are many photos that get repeated. Some parade attendees wear the same costume each year. Some folks come early and are a photographic subject for all the photographers who otherwise would not have a subject. These early arrivals get a lot of attention. It’s chaotic. And, I guess it’s a little claustrophobic. But when you’re seeking out the next costume, the weather, the chill, the crowd and the noise are not too much of a deterrent. The parade organizers put the wedding party in front. Bringing up the rear, Occupy Wall St got a big crowd into the parade. It seems that they may have been making a statement again, but I’m not sure. Most photos don’t require explanation. But, there was this male nun dressed in lace women’s underwear…. The theme was ‘I’ of the beholder, hence, all the eyeballs.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).
Technical: Flash is a must at dusk and after dark. It’s a problem because the direct flash is pretty harsh and people can be overexposed. As I mention in my other post, I use a Quantum battery. It allows me quick recycling and about as many flash images as I can take. I extend the battery by running up the ISO. I would also like to drag the shutter, rear curtain sync, but somehow my camera was giving me funny exposures. So I used regular direct flash on my Nikon SB800. The flash and TTL metering gives me pretty consistent results. The images are slightly underexposed and this is fine as you can recover the shadow information in post processing. I use a shutter speed of 1/125 and ISO setting of 320. I had problems last year, so I experimented with my gear the night before. I also brought along an old SB24 flash. This flash was not compatible with the metering system so I set the flash to auto and made the ISO reading 500. This underexposed about the same amount as my SB800 flash. There’s really no surface to bounce, which would soften the light and burn the battery faster. Some photographers were using diffusion over the flash, while others used ‘Gary Fong’ style diffusers. I found that direct flash worked for me with the subject and the setting. By the end of the evening, I had 1659 images most of which were shot with flash. The other aspect is the subject. I have gone away from shooting masks. While colorful and scary, they are really not about the person. Some of the make-up and costumes are really imaginative. So, people with make up and watch the costumes. Groups from South America in traditional costume and the lucky dragon dancers from China were on hand. And focus on your subject. I concentrated on individuals using a portrait technique more than a full on shot of the entire person. This works for me right now. But I keep thinking that I will change and that’s a good thing also.