Photo Opp: 2015 New York Puerto Rican Day Parade

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If you’re into red, white and blue, the Puerto Rican parade is your thing. Sunday, I spent once more several hours amidst the Puerto Rican crowds with their colorful flags, clothing and national pride to photograph the annual parade marching – dancing, actually – up Fifth Avenue in New York.

Last year, I wrote at length on how to photograph this parade and what to keep in mind. Most of that stands unchanged. If anything, this year the sun bearing down on the avenue made photography even more interesting or challenging, depending on your take.

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I found myself looking for shadows of dancers, whenever the sun was out. When a cloud moved in front of it, I sometimes missed a nice opportunity, but at the same time was relieved by the temporary shade.

The main difference this year was that I started at the very beginning of the parade, both in time and in location. [Read more…]

Photographing the New York Dance Parade

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There are times I love, absolutely LOVE New York City. Saturday May 16th was such a day. The 9th Annual Dance Parade held that day combined some of the best things the City has to offer: spectacle, exuberance and international and cultural diversity. Add some colors and you’ve got a great photographic opportunity.

Consider this an evergreen article. It’s written after the parade, but hopefully helpful for photographers wondering what to keep in mind when shooting this parade and similar ones in the coming years. Next year, I’ll give a heads up before the parade actually happens.

The Route

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Wandering – The Bronx Zoo with the Olympus ED 75-300mm f/4.8-6.7 II Lens

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Will we ever know who’s watching whom in a zoo? Ever since I saw the movie ‘Zoo‘ by Dutch film maker Bert Haanstra many years ago, I cannot escape the feeling that we’re just as entertaining for those animals as they are for us.

In the 1961 movie, Haanstra put hidden cameras in the animal cages of Amsterdam’s Artis zoo and filmed the interaction between animals and humans with the human visitors pulling faces and generally being silly on the other side of the bars. If there was ever any doubt that we stem from monkeys, the movie does away with it.

It is with this in mind that I visited the Bronx Zoo with my kids a while back. Since 1961, zoos have put more space between people and animals and I’m not even sure to what extent the animals behind the modern glass walls can observe us. Doesn’t matter. I still feel that gorilla is watching me as much as I am watching it.

But I got a camera and a long telelens. Ah!

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Wandering – Photographing the Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market

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A visit to the famous Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo is a must for every tourist. Said to be the world’s largest fish market, its constant motion, colors and culture are a delight to be taken in. That also makes it a prime attraction for some serious photography.

The Place

The Tsukiji market has a long history. It’s located at the waterfront, since in the early years fish were brought in by trawlers. That vanished and railroad tracks were installed and the fish arrived by wagon loads. Nowadays the tracks are paved over and trucks bring in fish that’s sometimes flown in from faraway places to sate Tokyo’s appetite for fresh sushi. Word is that the current market will disappear in the coming years and be replaced by a new one a few miles from the present location.

That’s bad news for photographers. Over the years, tourists have become less welcome at Tsukiji. Until a few years ago, visitors could enter the market at any time and wander the many stalls while the main business took place. Then rude behavior by some tourists led to a complete ban on visitors. This ban is now partially lifted, but we can assume that a new facility will be designed to separate visitors from the vendors, which means photographers would not be able to see the action up close.

The guide books will tell you about the various areas of the market, but the one that you really want to capture is the so-called ‘inner market.’ That’s where the auctions take place and where the fish is prepped for shipment throughout Tokyo. It’s a maze of stalls and narrow passageways.

If possible you could spend hours walking the narrow corridors, seeking the best photo opportunities. The halls are vast, the stalls many and the concentrated activity captivating. The ‘if possible’ at the beginning of this paragraph is key, though, as time is your enemy.

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Photo Opp: 2014 New York Puerto Rican Day Parade

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So, I did go and take pictures of the Puerto Rican parade Sunday. With almost 1400 shots, editing them down becomes quite a job. More about that in the next post.

My selects are below, intertwined with my impressions from shooting the parade. Hopefully, my experience is of some use to photographers planning to cover this or other festive parades in the future.

The crowd loved to be photographed. A little girl looking bored, pepped up and struck a cute pose the moment she noticed my camera pointed at her.

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You’d think I’m a popular guy, because every time I steered my camera toward the crowd, I got cheers and kisses thrown my way. People would call me over to be photographed. Only one time did a guy refuse to have his picture taken. He was a tough-looking guy with bright red sunglasses and a bright red bandana. Admittedly, I was right in his face, because it was extremely crowded. Still, it would have made an interesting shot.

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