Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chasing the Dragon

Chasing the Dragon

I've been falling apart all week: doom cold, threw a filling and had a piece of tooth fall out, and then the humidifier in my apnea machine broke and I sneezed so much on Friday my ribs were sore today.

Naturally, the only cure was to go talk a walk in the rain and shoot some pictures.

The big event today was the Chinese New Year Parade -- weirdly, it was about two weeks after the actual New Year (though I approve of Mardi Gras-like multi-week holidays as a matter of general principle). I got a little carried away shooting some of the Market Street locals out with their umbrellas, so I showed up with about fifteen minutes before the parade started.

Brad over at Citysnaps had some good advice -- the best shots were probably with the 'prep' phase of the parade, where everyone was getting assembled and had their guard down. Not only are people in a different frame of mind when they're marching, unless you've got the equivalent of a press pass, you can expect to have intermittent access to the actual parade as it rolls by (the cops rousted us from a median on Market Street, since naturally we couldn't be trusted to stand on a patch of sidewalk without a guard).

I got a decent, though not great spot on Geary near the connection with Market, and was shooting people as they walked by. IMHO, pretty boring photos -- largely documentary stuff, made a little more challenging by the colors of the parade getting a little sapped by being in the rainy twilight hour.

I decided to do something a little different with this shot, and tried to pan with the motion of the dragon as the kids ran past me. Fair warning: I kind of suck at panning. But to the extent it works, its because of the jagged line of that dragon and because I was following the lead girl and trying to get her sharp. As a bonus, it actually had a little more magic in B&W, which was surprising to me, since I was all set to go color for with all the reds and yellows in the parade. (You can see a color version here for comparison).

One that note, bed time -- hopefully some of you were out there shooting the hell out of that parade.

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