“Tis the season in the central Washington for…lighted holiday parades.
Over the next two weeks there will be five more lighted parades (we’ve already had one) in communities in the Yakima and Kittltas Valleys. There will be three parades on three consecutive nights this week and we will photograph them all. The parades have become a fixture in each city’s holiday season and as a community newspaper we can’t ignore any of them. There’s only one lighted parade we’re not covering – the one in Kittitas – and that’s because that parade time conflicts with the Sunnyside lighted farm implement parade, the biggest lighted parade in the Yakima Valley.
A lighted parade is like any other parade we other photograph except it’s colder and darker and usually fewer spectators along the route. In short, take your average garden-variety parade and make it more challenging to shoot.
This is your basic “I was there”/CYA lighted parade shot:
I tend to approach lighted parades a little bit differently than daylight parades in that I first look for the light. What float or float rider or spectator is going to be lit up enough to photograph?
Patrick Kirk, playing the role of Santa Claus, waves to spectators on South Toppenish Avenue during the annual Toppenish Parade of Lights Nov. 29, 2014. Kirk was riding on the Mukwu family and friends float which won the trophy for the “most holiday spirit” in the parade. The Toppenish parade was the first of the lighted holiday parades in the Valley. Selah’s parade is Dec. 5; Sunnyside’s parade, Dec. 6 and Yakima’s, Dec. 7. Union Gap’s lighted parade will be held Sunday, Dec. 14. (GORDON KING/Yakima Herald-Republic)
Also, it’s helpful if there are lights in the background (street lights, headlights, etc. to add some depth to the photos.
One other challenge I’ve had during lighted parades is writing down names of subjects and any other information. Not only are my hands usually in gloves (if they’re not gloved they’ re usually cold) it’s usually dark and hard to see well enough to write down the names. I sometimes use a small headlamp at such night time events to shed light on dark situations but the headlamp does no good if the battery is dead (note to self: change headlamp battery).