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.
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.
Another year I might have been at the famous – world famous – Village (NYC) Halloween parade. It’s for grown-ups as in it is humorous and elaborate and pretty R rated. Political satire and recent events are the inspiration. You’d have had a ton of Hillary Trump satire. Really!? Nope, this is family and for kids. It’s not NYC. The folks are friendly and not particularly fiendish. Go for cute. It’s called the Sea Witch festival and it brings in a ton of revenue to the local economy. The parade is big enough to attract live TV coverage. A helicopter hovered overhead. It was commercialized with every local radio station parading in vans with logos plastered along the sides. Yes, local business is supportive and heavily represented. In the end it’s about the kids. Right?
It’s an annual event in Elkins. There’s a carnival and a parade and a celebration of mountain living. I have not attended in a very long time. I remember it being very cold at that time of year. Nope. Global warming, the leaves are still all green. I don’t remember the rides much. They are $4 a ride now. And there are the ducks. They sit in the water. You turn one over and everyone wins. That was my favorite. I liked to be winner. Nope, I still don’t gamble. And, you gotta love rides that spin your brains.
Imagine, all these years and I’ve never had any. At this point in life I hardly need a new sin. Kettle corn has not been on my radar. Those in the know recommend it. I’m hooked now. It’s hot and when the popping begins be sure to wear a helmet and gloves for protection. Sugar caramelizes on the bottom of a heated kettle. The coated corn is reminiscent of Cracker Jacks but less cloying. Add a little salt to finish and the product is hard to resist. May I have some more please?
The last time I made the mistake of coming at 7PM. The action I spoke about starts after the last prayer. So this is the crowd milling about at midnight. This is a one-way thoroughfare. Are you kidding? Nope, it’s one way. I got caught about half way along and had to walk to the end twice. Pain! No one sleeps during Ramadan. They stay up until 4AM, then try to sleep all day to minimize the time of fasting and hunger. I’m saying that families and young kids are all up and active at this hour. If the routine change has affected me so, it must be hell on little kids. Once a year for 30 days…..
During Ramadan the Balad is covered in lighting. I was too early to see the entertainment. But the lights are welcoming. I am simply amazed that the camera figured out this complex scene and calculated the proper exposure and white balance. I got to compose and shoot. No complaints from me. It helps if you have a fast lens. I took this single shot and it was fine by me. Now for the entertainment….
Well that’s what Lisa and I called them. We traveled without a plan. And in Brussels we chanced upon a fair or festival. These guys were dressed in head wear that reminded me of craniotomy dressings. It was quite an elaborate affair and in my inexperience I wandered around getting some random shots. I would do it all differently knowing what I know now. But that was then. And these guys make me smile every time I run across the image.
The Shinnecock Indians hold an annual Powwow on Labor Day weekend out in Southampton Long Island. I’ve been going when I can. It’s very colorful with native American costumes and pageantry. Anxiety? You go there hoping to see everything and to not miss anything. The key is to isolate the subject and to avoid modern life. So someone wearing tinted lenses does not make it. Most shots are close ups to focus on the face or costume excluding distracting elements. Contestant numbers are the most annoying things that spoil shots. This event is a recurring one and I have attended more than once. There are even a few participants I recognize from previous years. Imagine that?!
With all the ethnic groups represented in New York City, there is probably a festival or parade just about every weekend. There is a cluster of Brazilian shops and restaurants over in the 40’s just west of 5th Avenue. The crowd is enthusiastic. Green and yellow are the colors. And everyone is having a good time.