Handmade Parade 2014

Every year Hebden Bridge throws a wonderful, quirky parade where everyone wears handmade, fantastical costumes. The procession marches through the town, dancing and interacting with the audience that lines the streets, to the sound of drums and brass instruments. This years theme was “Not just endangered, but brought back to life”, featuring everything from dodos to whales. I took these images with my X-E1 paired with the 18mm, 60mm and 50-230mm zoom.

I love Fuji’s Velvia film simulation, with its strongly saturated colours and punchy contrast. Since the most recent Lightroom update finally made it possible for RAW shooters to fully benefit from the film simulations, I’ve found myself using it quite a bit. As you can imagine it was a match made in heaven when it came to photographing the vibrant costumes of the parade.

Riding a purple dodo
X-E1, XC 50-230mm @ 135mm, f6, 1/210 sec
Fishy bicycle
X-E1, 18mm, f8, 1/340 sec

A brief pause in the procession gave me the opportunity to get this low angle shot of this incredible ‘bicycle fish’. A person at the back peddles with their hands to make the fish’s body undulate as if it were swimming, while the person upfront tows it along. The trick to using the 18mm well at this kind of event is to get close to your subject to avoid getting a shot mostly full of spectators.

Give us your gold
X-E1, 60mm, f2.4, 1/1900 sec
X-E1, 60mm, f2.4, 1/950 sec
X-E1, 60mm, f2.4, 1/1000 sec

The 60mm really shines at f2.4 in terms of image quality, but the focus speed can sometimes let you down. Perhaps the phase detect AF of the X-E2 or X-T1 would help if anyone has one lying around they feel like donating to a good home 😉

X-E1, 18mm, f2, 1/4000 sec

The 18mm gave great perspective to this high angled shot of a stilt walker. At this kind of distance you don’t get that much subject isolation from the 18mm, but f2 was just enough to throw the background out of focus. In hindsight I should have used a bit of fill flash to brighten the subject’s face.

X-E1, 18mm, f8, 1/450 sec

Here’s another shot of the chap from above, but here from a little further away. Looking up from a low angle with a wide lens helps to emphasise the height of the stilts.

X-E1, 18mm, f8, 1/300 sec

The huge muskox complete with be-horned drummer on its back was one of the most impressive floats of this years parade, preceded by energetic local band Drum Machine.

X-E1, 60mm, f2.4, 1/800 sec
X-E1, 50-230mm @ 50mm, f5, 1/950 sec

The parade finishes in Calder Holmes Park where each section gives one final lively show to the assembled audience and the large puppets and floats are lined up so everyone can get a good look at them. My thanks to the organisers for putting on such a great show again this year, I can’t wait for 2015’s parade!

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