Every year the small market town of Hebden Bridge, nestled in the Pennines, bursts to life with the vibrant and magical Handmade Parade. The various floats, puppets and multitude of costumes are created by local residents around a theme that’s picked by the public. This year’s theme was “Come fly with us” and featured everything from birds to giant insects and aliens to crazy flying machines.
This year I shot the parade with the following gear; my trusty (but increasingly long-in-the-tooth) X-E1, XF 14mm f2.8, XF 27mm f2.8 and XF 55-200mm. This the first year I’ve shot the parade without a fast prime and there were some occasions where I missed having one. The 55-200 can produce good subject separation, but the bokeh can be quite busy in some circumstances.
The parade was led by a jovial pair of air traffic controllers.
When you’re close to the action the 14mm lens is great to fill the frame with multiple subjects.
I’m not sure how the raggedy lion fit with the theme but it was cool all the same.
There are always some impressive stilt walkers in the parade. These two in butterfly costumes were particularly impressive and given the reasonably strong gusts of wind still blowing through the valley, did a good job in staying upright! Choosing a low angle is great of accentuating the height of tall subjects.
As I mentioned above you can get some nice subject isolation with the 55-200 and at closer distances the bokeh is smooth and creamy. Framing can be more of a challenge during a fast moving parade though. In previous years I’ve used the 60mm f2.4 for this kind of shot and while it was easier to handle, the slow focusing could ruin shots. I’d love to try a 56mm f1.2 for this, but that will take quite a few print sales to make a reality!
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