I love parades. I think it's because I've been going to them my entire life, having grown up in the town with the largest 4th of July parade in Ohio. As we were getting ready to go to the parade in downtown Shreveport yesterday, I was thinking how many parades we've been to over the years: all the ones in Stow, of course, but also Christmas parades in Wyoming and Montana, the amazing parades of Cheyenne Frontier Days, the 4th of July parade in Lincoln, Montana when we had no choice but to attend because they closed the road, the Chinese New Year parade in Washington, D.C., St. Patrick's Day in Old Colorado City, The Scottish Parade in Alexandria... they're all so very different from each other. I am rarely disappointed in parades save for a few examples (not a big fan of kid-centric neighborhood 4th of July parades—I'm looking at you, Mountain House, CA and Arlington, VA) and we were downright disappointed at the Independence Bowl parade we went to over Christmas break at the Boardwalk in Bossier City last month because it lasted SEVEN MINUTES (accurate timing, not an exaggeration) and had a higher-than-expected risk for head injury.
So while I have high expectations, it isn't really hard to satisfy me if you just give it your best (and put together at least one hour minimum of parade content). Yesterday's parade was full of completely new and foreign experiences to us: we now know what Krewe means (an organization that puts on a parade during Mardi Gras season); that Harambee means "all pull together" in Swahili; that Mardi Gras is actually a season with many Krewes putting on many parades (when you grow up in Ohio, it's only a day... maybe); that there is a right way and a wrong way to throw Mardi Gras beads at the parade audience (neither folks from Boston College nor Arizona quite had that figured out, though it wasn't an issue yesterday, thank goodness—no near head injuries to report); and that marching bands are very regional in their customs (I knew this already, but it was fun to see). One thing that remains the same no matter where the parade is held: there will be shriners, and they will seem ever-so-slightly mysterious to us.
So similar to the marching band uniforms Matt and I wore in high school! The bands were not large, but they were good. Bridget thought the percussion was too loud, and I was sad when the loud percussion marched on. More loud percussion!
You can see more parade photos over at Flickr (just a selection, don't worry, I didn't upload them all).
As I was looking through my photos I observed that my parade photo-taking goals never change: I'm always looking for good shots of the people that make up a parade... and cool cars. Ha. Which brings me to my other point!
Finding Your Photo Style is running for a second time starting on February 13, this time with a 7th photographer added to the roster (Alessandra Cave)! The introductory price ends on Thursday, 1/23 at midnight PT, so if you've been thinking about taking it now's a good time to sign up. I'll be running a giveaway for a free seat sometime next week, too. This class is so good for defining your goals as a photographer, no matter what your skill level; it helps you figure out what it is you want to photograph so you can be more confident that you'll get the shot you're envisioning. I highly recommend it—I learned a lot just by following along in the other instructors' weeks the first time this workshop ran, as well as putting together my own content. The exercise of studying and evaluating your own photos to figure out your style (or to strengthen it) is invaluable.