Arlington July 4th Parade

This morning, I went with my camera to the staging site for the Arlington July 4th parade.  This year marked the 46th annual parade.  Of course, every parade in Texas needs at least one horse, one politician, one marching band, one float, one old car and Miss Texas.  This parade had multiples of each (except for Miss Texas).  I learned many things while there and took a few photos as well.

I learned that it was often hard to take photos without background distractions.  It was also easier to get close ups of parts of floats or vehicles while they were standing still instead of moving in the parade.  I learned that the riding Elvis group (see photos) did not grow their Elvis hair naturally.  I learned that International Harvester tractor owners generally did not think much of John Deere, similar to the way Nikon camera owners view Canon (in a playful way for most).  I learned that everyone I talked to really enjoyed being in the parade, even when it was as hot as it was today.  I saw great respect for the military personnel as well as police and firefighters.  I also learned that there are many interesting ways to dress for a patriotic parade.

A few tips from a photo perspective.  Make sure that you bring your flash as you will need fill flash for shots where the sun is not quite in the right place to light faces or other parts of your photos that would otherwise be shrouded in shadows.  Don’t hesitate to ask people if you want to take their photo.  Most will happily pose for a shot if a candid is not available.  Bring both a wide angle and a telephoto lens.  You can use the telephoto to   isolate candid expressions of the participants or portions of vehicles, such as antique autos or parade floats.  If you see someone in an interesting costume, you can also isolate your subject with a telephto lens.  Because each entry in the parade was staged very close to the next entry, it was difficult to isolate as much as I would have liked.

I watched the beginning of the parade since I was already in the staging area and tried a few shots there as well, but that also has its challenges that will not be a subject of this entry.

I added a few other photos to my Flickr site at

Mark Lenz