BFF’s in the Christmas Parade

Yeah, I know I said I was wrapping up the series of images from the Tupelo Christmas parade, but there’s still a few that I just had to share.

I couldn’t resist this one.  These three little girls just looked so cute in their Santa hats and reindeer antlers, even as their facial expressions made it plain they were ready for the whole event to be over with!  They were just adorable!

Tupelo Christmas Parade 008

I’m really getting antsy to do some more shooting, but unfortunately it’s pretty difficult on my schedule.  There just isn’t enough daylight in my non-working hours during the week, and the weekends have been pretty hectic getting ready for the holidays.  I may have to resort to doing some creative things in the studio before long!

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Parades Are For Children (Mostly)

Continuing my series of images from the 2011 Christmas Parade in Tupelo, Mississippi:

I love taking candid shots of kids–their faces can’t lie.  You know when they’re happy or sad, tired or excited, bored or angry.

We had positioned ourselves on the sidewalk along Main Street toward the end of the parade route.  I wanted to be near the judges’ viewing stand because I knew that the marching bands and floats would be stopping to perform in front of the judges.  By the time the parade got to where we were located, the participants had been marching or riding for about an hour, not including the time they spent getting organized before the parade even started.

Little kids get tired and bored pretty quickly, and even though they’re in a parade, they haven’t yet learned that they’re supposed to “put on a happy face”.  And that’s when you get the really good shots!

This guy had been riding this toy pony for awhile, and I think he was ready to dismount:

Tupelo Christmas Parade 008

And this little girl was obviously bored with the whole thing and was ready to go “off the wagon”:

Tupelo Christmas Parade 007

I have so many more images from the parade, but they’re pretty standard stuff….snapshot quality, mostly. But we had a great time, met some really nice people, and I’ve had plenty of images to use while getting acquainted with the new versions of Paintshop Photo Pro X4 and Topaz Adjust 5.

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Observing the Observer

Continuing my series of images from the Tupelo Christmas Parade:

I love my 28-300mm zoom lens.  It gives me such flexibility when I’m in a situation where I can’t control the distance between myself and that interesting subject matter that presents itself.  Sometimes you just need that telephoto capability to capture that candid moment when your subject has no idea they’re being observed, much less photographed.

While we were watching the parade, I noticed several people across the street watching the scene from the upstairs windows.  Most of them had the windows open, leaning out to get a great view and hear the marching bands.  But this guy either could not open the window, or chose not to.  In fact, he looked a little bit put out that the parade was disturbing the routine of his Saturday morning.

Tupelo Christmas Parade 006

Nah, I’m sure the sun was just in his eyes and that’s why he was squinting like that.

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments. You can also find me on:
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Christmas Parades Need Veterans

Continuing my series of images from last weekend’s Christmas parade in downtown Tupelo, Mississippi:

People in this part of the country are probably a little more unabashedly patriotic than people in other locales, but I don’t know of any town where the sight of grizzled old veterans of past wars doesn’t bring a lump to the throat.  There were several veterans and military groups marching or riding in this year’s parade, but this was my favorite–the Veterans of the Korean War, known as “The Forgotten War”.

Tupelo Christmas Parade 005

There’s just something about the evident camaraderie and shared life experience that appears in the lined faces of these guys that appeals to the heart of any American, young or old. I love them all, but my favorite is the guy in the back in the green fatigues and helmet, holding the American flag. Don’t you think he looks just like Leslie Neilsen?

Leslie Neilsen

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Christmas Parades Need Motorcycles

Continuing my series from last weekend’s Tupelo Christmas Parade:

Motorcycles were a big thing in the Christmas parade, starting with the ones ridden by the officers from the Tupelo Police Department that escorted the parade marchers down Main Street.  Tupelo’s finest were looking pretty spiffy on their personalized bikes. Here’s Officer Alan Chavers, if the name on his bike is accurate:

Tupelo Christmas Parade 004

I used Paintshop Photo Pro X4 to process the shot, and Topaz Adjust 5 to accentuate the detail a little bit.

There were several groups of motorcycle enthusiasts who participated in the parade. This spirited couple was part of the Underground Ryderz Motorcycle Club, who absolutely had the LOUDEST bikes in the parade. I decided to do a little color popping in this shot:

Tupelo Christmas Parade 003

On this shot, I decided to go with black and white processing, using Topaz Black and White Effects, adding a little bit of grain but color-popping the two Santa hats. Kind of a fun effect, I think!

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Tupelo Christmas Parade 2011

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to any Christmas parade, and it’s been about forty years since I’ve been to the one in Tupelo.  The last time I went to the Tupelo Christmas parade, it was still a nighttime event, and my parents would park our car in front of the Firestone store on Main Street so we could see the Shriners drive their little cars around in circles–that was my favorite part, better even than Santa Claus!

There were no Shriners this year, and the parade was held at 10:00 in the morning, but it was a beautiful day and we thoroughly enjoyed soaking up some of the local flavor.  I carried my Nikon D700 and the 28-300mm lens.  I used a very wide aperture, not only to get a high shutter speed but also to practice some depth-of-field techniques.  I wanted to see if I could focus on particular faces in the crowd, or on certain features of the parade floats.

I wound up taking 447 frames, so I have a lot of images to go through.  Of course, most aren’t worth mentioning, but I did capture a few that I really like.  Here are the first two that I’ve spent some time on this evening.  I’m using Paintshop Photo Pro X4 and Topaz Adjust 5 for my processing:

Tupelo Christmas Parade 002

Tupelo Christmas Parade 001

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments. You can also find me on:
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