It’s a crisp fall day, almost Halloween, and I’m reminded that the days are shorter. I don’t go to the beach fully dressed but the evening before had been a cold 41 degrees. Sometimes it feels a lot colder than the temperature on the thermometer. Wrong. I was too hot in my North Face ski parka. In fact, I was way overdressed. Maybe I’m old? We were on our way to the parade. And outside the toy store this guy was enticing anyone with small children to enter the store. Nope, we were on a mission to the parade.
Blow yourself up. Not literally. Recent years have had an explosion of yard balloons that inflate and decorate your lawn. Purpose? …dunno. Now you can be the first on your block to blow yourself up. Yeah!
Finally! Someone with cleverness and wit, it’s not a prerequisite of the parade. But I get it. Brilliant! Yes, there were a few Harry Potters too. But Magritte? Great!
Lame. Floats, commercials, advertisements, it ain’t a Macy’s day Thanksgiving parade. Then again there was not too much helium involved. Who thought of this? It’s funky tacky. Sorry, that’s my opinion and I’m stickin’ with it. I’ve been to too many parades and seen too much stuff. There’s not too much artistry in a store bought balloon. Boring!
They had to explain this one to me. Then it was obvious. This couple was encouraging people to recycle! Get it? I didn’t and she was holding up her bodice. I thought she was hiding something provocative. Not! She was just wandering aimlessly up the parade route. I had civic messages delivered while I watch. Too funny.
The color of blood is red, but it can hardly be likened to ketchup. While I actively suspend my belief in realism while watching, it has occurred to me that there are some viewers who actually believe what they see in the movies to be true-life depiction. When you next watch a movie consider the following thoughts on medical injuries. Blood is bright red because of oxygenation. As it dries it becomes a dull red. Old blood is almost brown. Moviemakers would do well to cut themselves and see the transformation of blood through its stages. Knowing the timing, I am constantly laughing at how unrealistic blood looks in many movies. Red yes, realistic no.
Have you ever had a bruise? Number one on my list of complaints is the lack of swelling depicted. That awful bruise is depicted in a purple kind of blotch on the actor’s face. But there’s no swelling. We wouldn’t want to deform the actor’s good looks would we? And later the bruise becomes green and yellow. Oh well the movie is only two hours, so there’s never enough time to evolve in the healing process. But hey, watch a boxing match and see how horrible it looks to have taken a beating that is severe enough to swell your eye shut.
Instant knockout drug?! Here’s a good thought to hold. What in the world is in that dart or what is that knockout drug? Or what is it that they place over the victim’s mouth and nose that knocks the person unconscious in about an instant? After many years of watching and then asking my anesthesia colleagues…? I realize that I became aware of the technique while I was watching the original Mission Impossible TV series when I was young. Well, to be honest, there is nothing … repeat nothing!… no drug, nada!…that works instantly. I am aware of few anesthetic drugs that work pretty fast when administered intravenously. Nothing that comes in a dart is accurate enough or in enough quantity to do what the movies suggest. Yes, there are poisons from exotic arrow tips, which will kill you, but even that takes more time than we could take to watch in a movie.
Blood dripping or gushing from the nose and mouth is pretty gruesome and common to see in movie injuries. Unless you were traumatized in the face and mouth, the poor victim usually doesn’t have blood vomiting from their mouth or dripping from their nose. A gunshot to the chest may cause you to cough blood. But when I think of all the trauma patients I have seen in the ER, the sight of blood is limited mainly to head injured patients. Yes most gunshots don’t leave you gushing with blood.
Entry exit wounds from gunshots and knives tend to be less bloody as well. A gunshot to the head of which I at least have some experience, has an entry wound that is usually not too much to see on the outside. It’s inside the skull where the damage is done. But there’s nothing gory to see if everything is happening on the inside. I will readily admit to having no particular knowledge of wartime injuries in the field.
Shot or cut, you pick, it hurts. If you’ve ever slammed a door on your hand or finger, then you know the pain is enough to stop you – at least for a moment. I watched Arnold Schwarznegger take a nail through his hand and all he did was lift his hand up and out, then continued on his merry way. Have you noticed the good guys never die after one shot? And certainly it takes more than one bullet to slow them down. The bad guys all fall down on one shot and sometimes even if the bullet is only in their vicinity. Luckily I have never been shot, but I would figure that there is pain involved. No matter if it is a “clean wound that passed right through,” it’s got to hurt. That at least has to make you stop and pay notice.
With all the attention to sports concussion in the news these days, I am fascinated with the blows to the head that actors can trade without being incapacitated. I mean if you “have your bell rung” wouldn’t your reflexes be just a bit slower. And for heaven’s sake wouldn’t a solid kick to the head be enough to make you pause.
At the other end of business a good swift kick to the testicles, yeah “balls,” is going to make the average male double over and not get up instantly with fists blazing.
Where did anyone get the idea that you can actually aim a gun well? How is it that the cops fire so many shots and only hit the criminal with about 10% of their shots? This is a fact where several celebrated NYC police shooting cases illustrated the lack of handgun accuracy. Multiple shots from multiple police handguns and only a few bullets actually struck the criminal. When I was an intern in general surgery I took care of a man was shot while sitting on his stoop in the South Bronx. The two gunmen with four guns shot him from close range. He was alive and kicking. Unfortunately because of the angle his worst complaint was that he had several scrotal wounds. No brain damage there and certainly no blood dripping from the mouth, nose, or ears. I grant you that one bullet can kill, but then again I have no military experience.
We live in a video reset culture. You die, the game restarts, and you play again. You get to die until your skill is good enough to pass you through to the next level… where you die again until you learn. I will readily admit that I avoided medical TV shows like ER – George Clooney – because the medical inaccuracies were too painful to watch. Nothing is more realistic than the real life and times in front line neurosurgery. The truth might be too scary to watch.
This seems to be an annual rite. There is a body artist, Andy Galub. He paints his half naked models on the street right before the parade. And hordes of photographers are right there with him. It is quite a scene. Lately Andy has been trying for more attention by painting in the middle of Times Square. I have not been in NY To witness the event but it makes for interesting interaction with the public and the police. Anyway it’s all strange but true.
There are thousands of costumes with countless masks. After a while you realize that masks hide the person. Makeup leaves you knowing the person without much hope of recognition in the morning. Make sense? Well, I gravitate to the strange and avoid too many masked persons. Confused? I just shoot the picture. I don’t really try for an in depth interview on how he decided to dress up. The picture says enough. And no, even by NY standard this is more than a standard deviation from normal.
This year will be the first Village parade I have missed since leaving NY. Last year was canceled because of Hurricane Sandy. There are a lot of participants and the avenue is lined 10 deep from Spring St to 23rd St. It’s a wild and crazy night. This couple got married right before the parade and like Cinderella rode a coach up the parade route.
Ethereal. Don’t ask how I got this shot. Maybe the ghost just jumped onto the image sensor. Sometimes I don’t have any idea what the camera did to produce the image capture and especially what I have in this photo. It was one of the Village Halloween Parades. Mist, motion blur, halogen lighting, and a ghostly figure to the left are all that I see. How it came together is spooky. My best guess, rear curtain sync flash with a depleted charge on the battery.
My first time at the Village Hallween Parade, I was cramped along the restraining rails. My elbows were pressed closely together as I tried to maneuver my camera for each shot. As the participants passed, most folks were looking forward and not at the spectators. To my surprise the crowd of marchers parted and for a moment, my subject turned toward my camera and I fired off a shot. I thought I had taken a picture of a naked woman. Please understand that it was dark. And the moment passed in a second. While the scene was brilliantly by my flash, it was a fraction of a second. Then we were in street darkness again. It wasn’t until I sat down to edit the images, that I realized what I had on the memory card. I didn’t know. What? Was it a body suit, just body paint, or what? Was it a woman? Was she Frankenstein’s wife? Oh boy, was I surprised to see his shot. Talk about gender issues!
Same parade, different time, there I stood waiting. On the sidewalk behind me along comes this would be parade marcher. “Borat!!” Ok, I’ve been living under a rock. I did not know the character. Sacha Baron Cohen, aka, Borat, is fairly well known. And now I know him too. But at that moment when I snapped this image, I thought that this man was just another demented New Yorker. Placate, don’t look them straight in the eye, and above all, keep something between you.
On the topic of apples, I thought I might add to the earlier post today about the subject. What comes to mind is related to apple picking, art, and apples. Halloween was last week. My son picked his apple when he was much younger. And, I pulled Rene Magritte’s surrealist painting from memory and complements of the internet. Having sourced the images, there’s not much to add.
One of the things I look for is reflections. At least that’s how it seems lately what with tomatoes, pears, and oranges in other posts. The opportunity just comes up. In this photo from the Halloween shoot, everyone was to my right photographing the young model. I moved to the side of the car to catch her reflection in the auto’s glass. I came away with a different image. Maybe it’s not a better image but different.
Technical: Nothing was special here. I just let the meter do its work. Even with failing daylight a flash would have reflected bright spots off the auto glass.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).
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).
Gallery and more info: (more…)
Rev Yolanda and Rev Glen were married in the midst of preparations for the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade. The location was the triangle below Spring St. With all the people in the assembly area it was hard to distinguish between guests and curious onlookers. After the ceremony the happy couple was at the front of the parade in a horse drawn carriage. Congratulations to the both of you. For me, it was another unexpected wedding encounter. (More at Imaged Event)
I break down Halloween in parts because there were so many images. This post is mature for some folks. My other blog Imaged Events is definitely more detailed. Be warned. An artist named Andy Golub is a tradition at the parade. According to every other photographer, man and woman, they all recall this scene during the preparations for each parade. Photographers and spectators gather around with every manner of recording device, from camera to iphone to ipad. The girls are mostly different every year. They march in the parade, chill, warm up in the escort car, and emerge again to hand out promotional material. Each girl is body painted as artwork. The process takes time. Several photographers are officially designated to document the event. It’s weird, funky, and very New York. Yes, it’s perfectly legal according to local law. Mr Galub has done work in Times Square as well. His models have linked up with the Naked Cowboy (he’s in the Hurricane Irene post in my other blog) another Times Square icon.
So, when I arrived I did not realize that the girl in the colored T shirt standing in the middle of 6th Avenue between the traffic light change was body painted. But before you know it I had followed her and watched the fascinating process unfold. Many of these images were shot before the artwork was complete and the anatomy not so obvious any longer.
Technical: For the daylight shots, there was really no problem. The late afternoon sun gave some excellent light and shadow. As the light progressed to evening I had the ISO on my camera set to auto and the ISO got upward to 1600.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).
Gallery and slide show: (more…)
The Village Halloween Parade. The parade has long since surpassed the narrow streets of Greenwich Village. It starts in Soho and is conducted up 6th Avenue. I don’t know exactly how many people attend. But it is easily a million. The avenue is lined with spectators six deep from Canal Street to 16th Street. There are as many marching participants as want to come down and get into the action. About as many people are along the sidelines and spill over into Greenwich Village. In fact some of the more interesting costumes have been on the side streets. I got there early this year. Finally! The girl in the picture is half naked and getting body painted. It’s a tradition, I guess. The group that organizes this seems to have new girls each year who submit to the arduous process of being painted in front of horde of photographers. It was chilly but not bitter cold like last year. Even so the girls were pretty chilled anyway. Well, what do you do to make a pretty half naked girl smile. Try this guy. He wandered onto the block with blood dripping and with a New York attitude. Yeah, she laughed. I just went over the images on a first pass to edit. There were 1659. I will whittle the number down to a more manageable few and then post more images here and on my other blog which was set up to do galleries. How did I pick this image? Just randomly, because there were so many and I usually don’t have a signature image with so many choices.
About half the images were shot with flash. My secret is to use a Quantum rechargeable battery. It recycles quickly so there’s no lag. And I ran up the ISO to 320 this year in order to extend the battery life. I didn’t trust the system so I bought along another battery and flash just in case. I could try off camera flash or a diffuser but it’s Halloween and the images with direct flash have an edgy feeling. And, that’s what it’s about.
More at Imaged Event (see sidebar).