Edited by Gerald Boerner



JerryPhotoOn this last day of the year we want to offer some suggestions for taking digital (or film) pictures of significant events on New Year’s morning, such as taking in a parade, like the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. Since these are a one time opportunity for photographing the parade, you need to be prepared, both mentally and equipment-wise. We present both general tips and some specific tips for your convenience. Have a great day watching history go by with each float, band, equestrian group, or other participant.

Even though you may not be a professional photographer, you, too, can obtain memorable images at any parades that will be viewed tomorrow. Some of the key things to remember include: You will get one (and only one) chance to get shots of any float, equestrian unit, or band unless there is a halt to the parade’s progress and you will be surrounded by a crowd. So you need to be ready to shot for each unit and you need to select a location that will not be blocked.

This necessitates planning to pick a good position, selecting the correct lenses, and know the order that the floats, bands and equestrian groups ahead of time. Street corners are usually good, especially if the parade must turn around that corner. Get there early; this may mean the afternoon before to get in front. If you are using a camera with an interchangeable lens, don’t plan on changing lenses! Use multiple camera bodies if you want more than one lens will be needed (one for a telephoto lens & another for a wide angle lens). Extra batteries and empty storage cards (digital cameras) or extra film.

Finally, shot a lot! Remember, only a few images out of every 100. By being well-prepared and shooting a lot should will yield rich results. Good luck!

So, let’s look at some of these techniques…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2111 Words ]


Quotations Related to PARADE

“Leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it.”
— John Naisbitt

“And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
— G. K. Chesterton

“Campaign behavior for wives: Always be on time. Do as little talking as humanly possible. Lean back in the parade car so everybody can see the president.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

“Group conformity scares the pants off me because it’s so often a prelude to cruelty towards anyone who doesn’t want to — or can’t — join the Big Parade.”
— Bette Midler

“Most of life is routine – dull and grubby, but routine is the momentum that keeps a man going. If you wait for inspiration you’ll be standing on the corner after the parade is a mile down the street.”
— Ben Nicholas

“The Times reported that an estimated 700,000 people attended this year’s Rose Parade. That figure is obviously false, so I’m wondering why The Times continues to report false attendance figures year after year.”
— LA Times

“When I do something directly political, even if [an audience] doesn’t agree with it, if it’s funny and true, they gotta give it up. . . . Stand-up is more personal; a monologue is standing on the corner watching the parade go by and making wisecracks about it.”
— Bill Maher

“Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Remember that no talent, no self-denial, no brains, no character, are required to set up in the fault-finding business. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Your time is too precious to be sacrificed in wasted days combating the menial forces of hate, jealously, and envy. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces.”
— Og Mandino


The quotes included in this posting were taken from the public quotation site. This blog makes every attempt to comply with the legal rights of copyright holders.

This posting is intended for the educational use of photographers and photography students and complies with the “educational fair use” provisions of copyright law. For readers who might wish to reuse some of these images should check out their compliance with copyright limitations that might apply to that use.



Parade and Festival Photography Tips


For many of us in southern California, New Year’s morning means getting up, bundling up in warm blankets around the TV, maybe starting some logs in the fireplace, and, above all else, tuning the TV into the Rose Parade. Yes, we have occasionally made treks to Pasadena to see the parade live, but spending the night on the parade route is an activity for the young or the “newbie” amongst us.

TOR_New_Orleans_float If we go to the parade ourselves or if we go to Pasadena in the days after the parade to view the de-peopled floats, we will no doubt have our digital cameras with us. But how do we get some of those “immortal” images from this experience? By careful planning and preparation (equipment-wise and mentally) for the opportunities that will present themselves. But just remember, if you get one “WOW” images out of 100 snapshots, you’re lucky!

Take a look at this article below to help you prepare for your parade (or festival) experience. And above all, enjoy the sights, sounds, and the general experience of being at the parade.

The Rose Parade

The Tournament of Roses Parade, better known as the Rose Parade, is the “America’s New Year Celebration”, a festival of flowers, music and equestrians and a college football game on New Year’s Day, produced by the non-profit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.

The annual parade was first held January 1, 1890 in Pasadena, California. Today, the Rose Parade is watched in person by hundreds of thousands of spectators on the parade route, and is broadcast on multiple television networks in the United States. It is seen by millions more on television worldwide in more than 200 international territories and countries. The Rose Bowl college football game was added in 1902 to help fund the cost of staging the parade.


Tips from Russ Burden

TakeGreatPictures.com has posted a good general guide for taking photographs of parades, including the people involved. We include it here for your convenience, but we encourage you to visit this web site to explore this and other information. The author, Russ Burden, also has a book on photography available both online and local Borders or Barnes and Nobles stores (see the end of article). Enjoy this posting:

A small town parade or festival can provide more opportunities than a grand scale one such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in that the restrictions to gain access to the participants aren’t as rigid. Check the events sections of your local paper to see when one is scheduled and give it a whirl.

parade_festival_tips1 © 2006 Russ Burden

People Shots:
Knowing how to work with people is equally as important as knowing how to work the camera. If you see an interesting face, don’t be afraid to approach that person and ask if he or she wouldn’t mind being photographed. More often than not you’ll get a positive response. When you begin to make your photographs, direct the person as to where to look or place their hands. If the background is cluttered or distracting, take a look around the area to find a better shooting location and ask if the person if he or she wouldn’t mind moving. Be friendly while you’re engaged in your image making by simply talking about the event. Look for that special moment of emotion that completes the time spent with your subject. Don’t be discouraged if the first time you try this it doesn’t pan out. The more you make the attempt, the more natural it feels.


The equipment you bring has a direct correlation to the types of images you capture. My parade and festival kit consists of two zoom lenses, a back up camera body, flash, compact flash cards, and extra batteries. All this fits very compactly in a small camera bag as one of the lenses is on the body I carry. I use a wide angle zoom when working in tight quarters and my intent is to include a lot of subject matter. If I want to get face shots or isolate a small portion of the action, I use my telephoto zoom. Regardless of the lens I use, what I look for is the decisive moment of emotion from my subject.

parade_festival_tips2 © 2006 Russ Burden

Fill Flash:
To control the harsh contrast of sunlit events, I use fill flash. This allows me to put light where it doesn’t exist. The result is a much more evenly lit image. Deep shadows in eye sockets, under the nose, and beneath the chin are very distracting. By adding light from my flash that is balanced with the light from the sun, these troublesome areas now reveal detail yielding a pleasing image. Dependent upon the strength of the sun, I’ll dial in anywhere from minus one and two third stops of light to no compensation at all. The stronger the sun, the less I compensate. For instance, if the sun is subdued by a passing cloud, the amount of fill I use is normally minus one and two thirds. If the sun is directly overhead in the middle of the summer, I dial in no compensation.

parade_festival_tips3 © 2006 Russ Burden


Don’t arrive just when the festival starts and plan on leaving at its end as you’ll miss many great opportunities to get memorable images. A lot of good shooting moments occur as people are getting ready, fine tuning their make up, and going through the motions of the day. Additionally, this is a great time to get up close and personal shots of the participants. Concentrate on getting face shots and close ups of the costumes. During the parade, these shots are not available so take advantage of this situation. The same goes for after the parade. Things may be a bit more hectic, but this is a great time to capture photo journalistic images.

parade_festival_tips4 © 2006 Russ Burden

To learn more about this topic, join me on one of my Photographic Nature Tours. Visit
www.russburdenphotography.com and click on the NATURE TOURS button for more information. Also, pick up a copy of my new book, Amphoto’s Complete Book of Photography. You can purchase a signed copy directly from me or visit your local book store or Amazon. Contact me at: rburden@ecentral.com to order your signed copy.


Logistics: Practical Tips

Digital Parade Photography Help and Tips includes seven specific tips for getting better parade photos with your digital camera. These include:

#1: Don’t Neglect the Background
Zoom out so your parade photos can tell a story.

#2: Get Near a Corner
Consider situating yourself at a corner when taking digital photos of parades.

#3: Ensure you Have Enough Power
Don’t let empty batteries spoil your digital parade photography.

#4: Don’t Neglect the Bystanders
A parade audience may provide lots of unique photo-taking opportunities.

#5: Shoot Quicker Without Refocusing
Don’t waste time refocusing between shots during a parade.

#6: Get There Early
Two reasons why arriving early is vital when shooting digital photos of parades.

#7: Scout out a Location Beforehand
A little preparation before a parade may result in spectacular digital photo.

To these tips, I would suggest two others — set your digital camera to “Aperture Priority” (often indicated as Av) and set the aperture to f/8 and when getting ready to “shoot”, hold you shutter release button down half-way (this sets the focus in most cameras). With these settings you can concentrate on getting a good picture in your viewfinder and/or preview screen. Then take the image. Don’t spend time previewing the image in detail, but get ready to make the next image! You may shoot a lot of images, but you will probably find some real gems from your experience.


Please take time to further explore more about PARADES, PHOTOGRAPHY, TECHNIQUES, and LOGISTICS by accessing the Wikipedia articles referenced below…




Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Tournament of Roses Parade

TakeGreatPictues.com: Parade and Festival Photography Tips

MalekTips.com: Digital Parade Photography Help and Tips

Brainy Quote: PARADE Quotes…


Other Posts on this Topic:

Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Thanksgiving Day Parades — Macy’s and Gimbal’s…