Forget About It
This is better. I've just returned from the cafe down on Grand Avenue after a cup of coffee and a Cranberry muffin. The sun is shining. Some clouds here and there, but it's obvious it will be clear later for the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco. The parade itself begins at six, but I'll get to the staging area on Market Street around three and photograph the people and the preparations. I would find a way to get to Union Square afterward and watch the parade pass by with everybody else, but the crowds will be horrendous and no place to be alone with a lot of equipment. So I'll return home when it starts and watch the last half on TV.
There are two ways to shoot an event like this: deck yourself out in a shooting jacket and a camera bag with an extra camera and a lens or two (film, batteries, strobes, gin, baloney sandwiches and a letter from mom) and go out there like a small frigate ship shooting everything you pass or, and this is the street photographer's approach, pack a single lightweight camera and cruise the crowd shooting opportunities as they pass. You are less obvious and very mobile and the photographs you get are different and, in some ways (to me), more interesting than the ones you'd normally get while decked out like a battleship. Both have their advantages. Today we do battleship.
People are there to watch the parade or participate in the parade and they expect to see photographers. If you see some guy approaching in full blown photographer drag, you don't think about it one way or another because there are film crews, TV crews, similarly encumbered photographers and newspaper reporters shuffling through the crowds of thousands. You don't think about it and you don't notice when one of them takes your picture. As a photographer, then, shooting a parade, you have the relative anonymity of the street photographer coupled with access to every damned dingle-fritz piece of equipment known to modern man. A mix of studio formality and hip shot shooter. Bliss.
Back from a wander through Jack London Square (nice weather, few people) and lunch.
I'd written more before I left two hours ago, but I deleted it and, if I had the time, I'd probably start over. Nothing I haven't written before, but I'd rather write, I guess, about what I'm actually seeing and doing, rather than this aery-faery stuff about street photographers and studio photographers and clown photographers struggling under mounds of equipment. Maybe I'll trade all this stuff in on a Minox, a camera about the size of a package of chewing gum. Drop it right into your pocket. And forget about it.