Playing in the Band

Young Men Olympian Jr. Benevolent Association, second line parade in Central City.
Young Men Olympian Jr. Benevolent Association, second line parade in Central City.

This is a brand new picture. It’s not even 24 hours old. I realized when we left the house to make pictures at Young Men Olympian Jr. Benevolent Association’s second line parade in Central City, that this is where I came in. Last year. So, this parade and these pictures mean something to me. The backstory. I started photographing in Central City in Spring 2012. I decided I would work on the evolution of the area in sort of a long form project. A lot of stuff, deadlines and commitments got, and continue to get in, the way. But, I keep plugging away at it. As you know, 2012 was a year of a lot of traveling for me. But, I managed to come home to photograph this parade. To pull it off, I left where I was working, hopped on a plane and arrived in New Orleans in the late morning. I photographed the parade, went back to the airport and made it back in time for that night’s work. I really must have wanted to photograph the parade. Talk about a long commute. For me, it was the first second line parade I attended in Central City. Milestones are important to me.

Flash forward. It’s 2013. September 8, to be exact. I’m back on those very same streets, photographing this years’ version of the parade. I had a pretty good shooting day. You’ll see mores picture from the parade as the week rolls toward the middle of September. That’s another thing. 2013 comes to a close in a little over three months. Where did this year go? I know that the years seem to pass faster as you get older, but this is crazy. The last time I looked it was January. Sure. The first quarter of the year was more of the same — traveling. But, I’ve been pretty much hanging out since then.


This picture.  As I said, I had a really good shooting day. I think tomorrow’s picture holds up very well too. You’ll see. Tomorrow. What is interesting to me is that I sort of made a picture like this one, last year. You know, with the foreground being out of focus and the main subject being set back into the image. I guess it’s just how I see. I changed my gear around so it can’t be that. Last year, I was working with Nikon DSLRs. This year, I’ve switched to Sony mirror less cameras. They are great, but I learned their limits yesterday. The sun was very bright. What did I expect? It’s the end of summer in Southeast Louisiana. Hot, humid and bright. Here’s how they failed. I could barely see to focus through the camera’s LCD. So, I switched to the electronic viewfinder. Normally, it’s wonderful. It’s very bright and enables me to work in low, low light. But, guess what? Ah, you guessed. If it’s bright in low light, it’s almost unbearable in super bright light. So, I reset the camera to focus on faces and more-or-less just pointed the lens at the person I wanted to photograph. It worked pretty well, but there are also some interesting crops and auto-selections. Technology can never be better than a human being.  And, that word? Interesting. The worst possible Chinese curse is, “May you live in interesting times.”





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