Queen In The Making





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Behind The Lens

This photo was taken in New Orleans during Super Sunday. People come out in full regalia, which consists of these traditional costumes that are painstakingly made by hand throughout the year. As you can see, the young are brought into the tradition's fold from an early age.
This was taken just before noon.
Not much than what can already be seen in the picture. High, bright noon sun. I know that as photographers we go ga-ga for the golden hour, but the more I look at this picture, the more I like the light. It's hot and it's brightness produces the harshest shadows. This encapsulates a lot of the history of this place, in which high heat is embraced as a part of life, and both the seemingly polarized brightest and darkest aspects of their past are the pillars upon which such a beautiful, colorful culture was built.
I shot this with a 70-200mm Tamron lens mounted on my old Nikon D90. I'm 6'4", and when I use this lens, I'm able to stand in the middle of a crowd and pivot 360 degrees to capture candid moments from afar. It is one of my favorite ways to take photographs.
I would dare any photographer to resist the urge to take a photograph in this environment. The colors, the emotions, and even the sounds (there are frames from this day that I'm still able to hear today), they were all begging to be captured. This particular one fell in my lap. I was photographing who I assume was one of this girl's family members, since they were wearing the same color. The adult stepped to one side and she was standing right behind, with that look. In my view, it captures the efforts that we make to pass our culture along to our children who, many times, don't quite understand why they are being asked to do what they're doing, or dress how they're dressing, or sing what they're singing.
No post processing on this one. I loved it from the moment I saw it.
In my camera bag
My current camera is a Nikon D750, which I usually pair with a versatile 70-200 Tamron for everyday walking around. For longer trips I'll bring along its 70-200 big brother.
Find a high point among a crowd and wait for the action to come to you. In scenarios like this (festivals, parties, receptions, etc), I like to post up somewhere for 3-5 minutes, then move. At times I'll stay in one place for 15 minutes at a time. Become part of the environment, so that you don't become a distraction. The candid moment should remain unperturbed, and you should remain undetected, in order to capture their unadulterated emotion. As far as technical details, avoid prime lenses because they'll limit your ability to stand in one place without having to move closer or move back. I find the 70-200 is perfect for this, though you could extend the range in either direction.

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