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San Francisco Cherry Blossom Parade

April 23rd, 2006

To The Apartment
Sunday. I'm sitting here this morning after breakfast thinking of heading out toward the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Parade around ten. The batteries have been recharged from yesterday's portrait session (good grief: seven hundred photographs, I ran out of flash cards) and I'm sitting here looking at the overcast sky (should be OK, rain is a pain, but overcast makes for good photography) and thinking, well, the head is funky but reasonably functional. “Reasonably functional” may be my mantra for the decade. One hopes for “reasonably functional”. One adapts to “reasonably functional”. One does not complain.

That will be the day.

The portrait session was instructive after going through the images. Seven hundred in just over an hour is a lot and my guess is I'll have to go through each one with a fairly critical eye to suss out what it is I'm after in a studio session. For me it's in the eyes and the expressions (this was a couple), how they're relating to one another, how they're relating to the camera. Does the image communicate at some level: with me, with the couple? If it does, it works, no matter the emotional feeling communicated. Often it's not necessarily what the client is after, but that's not what gets me up out of bed in the morning to shoot pictures.

Later. I arrived at the San Francisco City Center just after ten, a little earlier than I'd planned, but I parked and caught the train without breaking step. I thought, as I was driving toward BART looking at the dark clouds gathered in the west, it looks like rain and, as I was walking toward the crowd forming up at the parade site opposite City Hall, it began to drizzle - a few drops - nothing to worry about for the camera, but something that could stop me cold if it got worse. It didn't. It stopped soon enough and, by the time I left some three hours later, the sun was poking through in places. Good for me. Good for them. Some things work out.

They have a costume contest of some kind that forms up early before the parade begins and kids - I say kids, but they run from what I assume is about grade school age to people in their late twenties - are dressed up as Ninja characters - masks, swords - Star Wars characters - the usual accessories- and things that go bump in the night characters about which I know nothing.

Yes there were Miss Cherry Blossom Queens and Princesses of various varieties (whom I'm more than happy to photograph), but they and their handlers tend to discourage photographs (for reasons I don't quite understand, this being a parade and all) and I happily shot pictures of Japanese Princesses, but later when they strolled forth from whatever places they were hiding as the parade was getting started. I was running out of steam about this time, three hours evidently being enough for a Cherry Blossom Parade (no matter how good the pictures), so I got back on BART and returned to the apartment.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco Cherry Blossom parade with a Nikon D2x mounted with a 70-200mm 2.8 Nikkor VR lens at 1/100th second, f 2.8, ISO 100.