The Next Parade

Well, it’s that time again:  the next Christmas parade.  If the Mainx24 parade was challenging with it’s bright daylight, the Starlight (aka Street light) Parade was even more with its very dark setting.

With my 5D Mark III on a tripod with a ball head attachment that also allows for panning, I was able to pan with the parade.  This is the only way I was able to get anything in focus.

I started out with a non-panning shot of the crowd in front of the Tennessee Aquarium.

In honor the celebration, the Aquarium displayed candy-cane-stripped lights

In honor the celebration, the Aquarium displayed candy-cane-stripped lights

The Tennessee Aquarium has glass pyramids on its 3 separate buildings.  The two buildings in the image each have two lighted edges.  From some angles, you can see all four lighted edges.  From other angles (like the view from our balcony), one of the lighted edges disappears behind the front glass surface.

This is a fun phenomena when walking along the riverfront.  If you start at the West end of Renaissance park, all four edges are visible.  As you walk East, the one edge gradually disappears from view.  I have thought about putting a mark on the sidewalk at the point where the one edge disappears completely.  I might be the only one who notices.

The crowd was getting pretty excited by the time the parade started.  People kept surging into the street to see what was coming.


What was coming was a fire engine, fortunately with its sirens silenced.

The Howard High School marching band soon followed.  They had also marched in the Mainx24 parade.  I found myself wondering if they have a shortage of funding for band uniforms–their drum corps was wearing matching sweatshirts and beanie caps.

They stood in front of us for a long time, waiting for the traffic in front of them to make the turn ahead at slow speed.  The drum corps continued to drum a beat and the rest of the band swayed in time.  The young man to the left seemed to be grooving.  It was fun to watch.


While the band waited to move on, the horn section swayed to the beat of the drum corps

The same dog shelters that were at the Mainx24 parade were also at the Starlight Parade.  However, they opted for more vehicles and fewer dogs.  What they lacked in numbers, they made up for in size.

A giant inflatable dog made up for the lack of live dogs--hopefully they all got adopted

A giant inflatable dog made up for the lack of live dogs–hopefully they all got adopted

Instead of mini-cheerleaders, this parade had twirlers.  I’ll share some photos of individual twirlers later, but this was their float with the tiny-tot-twirlers riding and waving instead of twirling.  I imagine this was a wise decision.

To avoid chaos, the tiniest of the twirlers traveled on a trailer

To avoid chaos, the tiniest of the twirlers traveled on a trailer

A group of girl scouts walked by next.  they all wore red pajamas and santa hats.  Most of them seemed to be busy talking amongst themselves, but one girl scout gave me a long smile while I panned with her.


While the rest of the girls scouts chatted, one girl scout smiles for the camera

Through all of this, Tisen clung to Pat’s side at the curb while I kneeled in the street shooting.  Doesn’t seem like he likes parades much.

Tisen kept giving me "when are we leaving" look

Tisen kept giving me “when are we leaving” look

Not Just Any Parade

Perhaps it is indicative of a slightly twisted sense of humor, but I really love this photo of a small boy staring at a classic truck loaded with whiskey barrels.


When I first started shooting the truck, I tried to frame the scene so the boy wasn’t in it.  As I shifted around trying to find an angle, I suddenly saw this shot and smiled.  I’m not even sure why I think it’s funny.

If a small boy staring at a truck amuses me, the next shot should be adorable enough to make anyone giggle:


Yet, the expression on the woman’s face makes me a little sad.  She just doesn’t look at all happy to be playing Mrs. Claus.  It’s hard to laugh when someone looks miserable.  I like to think that I just missed a big grin and caught her in a pause between smiles.  After all, who could be anything but happy riding behind two such adorable miniature horses?

If there is anything amusing about the image, it’s possibly the ingenious construction of the wheels under the sled that make it possible for a sled to travel down Main St on a 70+ degree day in Chattanooga.  I predict a new style of sleds appearing on the sledding hill in the park this winter.

The next shot is of a middle school band.  They didn’t actually play while they were in earshot, but I loved the fact that they managed to make themselves look like a unit with simple black pants, white shirts, white gloves, and bright blue caps.


I particularly like the blue caps.  After all, a marching band is supposed to have some kind of hat, right?  While I imagine they were pretty hot by the end of the parade, they sure looked cool.

I cannot explain the next image.  I’m guessing I could have asked any of the dozens of people near me what it was all about, but I was too busy shooting.


After all, I didn’t want to miss the next part of the parade:  the lawn mower racing team.


I can honestly say I have never seen a lawn mower racing team before.  While my twisted sense of humor is tempted to make fun, I think they have a great sense of humor to get out there and with their fully decked-out, decorated lawn mowers.  Before you judge the implications of a town having a lawn mower racing team, just know that there is apparently only one lawn mower race a year here and it’s to raise money for the local Autism Center.


It was about the point in the parade  where the SpiderMan themed lawn mower rolled into view that I decided this was the best parade ever.  I hear it’s been growing every year.  I can’t wait to see it next year!