It was a rare weekend home for me. We had intended to go somewhere, but I'd been on the road so much, we decided to make it a weekend at home instead. We had so much to do - gardening, cleaning, organizing, shopping, etc., so the house, our home became the priority. We pruned the roses, weeded the garden; we cleaned, we repotted indoor plants, we sorted through the never-stopping piles of outdoor and photo magazines. We took our dog to the dog park, where she could run free and play in a kiddy pool. We grilled and enjoyed our small garden each evening under warm starlit skies. It was all very fulfilling and relaxing in an odd way, since we fell into bed exhausted each night!
We had talked idly about going to a 4th of July parade, about going as a “family” with our little dog. Convinced I couldn’t get good photographs with a dog leash in my hand, I decided not to bother bringing my camera bag. “No use bringing all that stuff if you’re not really going to make use of it and produce,” my mind said, always thinking in terms of work. But at the last minute, I decided to take the camera with just one lens. “What the heck, I probably won’t use it, but I’ll have it just in case there’s something I want to photograph,” my mind said again. With that attitude, I took my EOS 10D and a 24-70mm lens, -- and one 640 mb flash card. I wasn’t going to need more than that, for this little dinky hometown parade. That’s when things took an interesting turn. We arrived, and seeing the crowds, my eyes went to work; like a hunter, I stalked the crowd, looking for images that were quintessentially about celebration, summer, holidays, Americana, children. I had a partner and dog in tow, but when I spotted something, I’d either drag the dog through the crowd with me or hand her off to my partner.
The light was high-contrast, so the little pop-up flash on the camera helped a little when I was close in but not much. I looked for situations where bounce light would work, or people sitting under white canopies. And I found myself focusing mostly on the kids at this parade, the pure, wholesome innocence of them in their celebration. Did they have a clue to what the “4th” meant? Doubtful any of us did at ages 4-7. But they love a party, and dressing up for it. And they love popcorn, ice cream and flags! In the end, I'd had fun, made some cute pictures, and was feeling pretty content, when I spotted this young one, oblivious to the noises and celebrations around it. Ah, blissful sleep!
Needless to say, I ran out of room very quickly on that 640mb card. At one point, I stood in the shade and edited to make more room - the very thing I DON’T want to do when photographing events. Ironic, that I'd gone with the assumption that I probably wasn’t going to get any good pictures. Photographic inertia had struck again, but thankfully, I had sense enough, experience enough, to know that it was worth bringing at least one camera and lens.