Last Saturday the streets of the city of Rotterdam filled up with color, music, dance and exuberantly dressed up man and sexy, scarcely clad women.

It was the parade of ‘Zomercarnaval 2012’ that moved itself forward, zigzagging through the city like a serpent. The starts off at a location nearby the Erasmusbrug every year. Also this year this was not different. The parade goes through the streets, surprising and reviving all spectators with their colorful outfits, smooth dancing participants and rhythmic drums that make you start jumping up and down. At the Coolsingel the parade is passing by the Municipal hall and will finally end at the location where it started off.

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Filling the frame with color. Here I focused at the girl at the right and used the rest of the parade as a colorful blurred background.
Lens: Sigma 50mm F1.4 at ISO 100 – 1/3200sec – F2.8. Use of wireless flash.

My favorite location to see the parade pass by is at the ‘Witte de Withstraat’. But this year, together with some friends and my wife who were with me, we decided to try a location a bit further on at ‘Museumpark’. There I stood prepared for the front of the parade to arrive, my camera steady in my hands, my Sigma 50mm F1.4 attached to its body. It makes it all a bit difficult using a fixed focal length during such an event, but at least it makes you end up with a good background blur. The trick is to be patient enough to let people come quite close to you and then shoot their profile. I like to use a very large diaphragm, but I rather do not choose the lowest (F1.4) possible because that makes the chance of a back focus a lot larger. Especially with this people that are moving towards you. I tried the continuous focus mode for a short time again with this Sony A580 but I noticed that it gives some shutter delay. It makes me uncertain at what exact split of a second I am freezing my framing. And off course that is not something that I want. So that made me switch back to single focus in my menu.

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Waiting to have this beautiful lady’s profile framed and then shoot at the right moment. Lens: Sigma 50mm F1.4 at ISO 100 -1/4000sec – F2.0 – with wireless flash.

After the parade had passed by we would move to the location of ‘Westblaak’ to meet the parade there once again. I switched lenses there, from then I started shooting with my 18-250dt. This made it possible to try to zoom in to faces that were a bit too far away. Also I  was able to compress the depth of field. The 18-250dt also makes it possible to give a larger overview of a scene with its wide angle mode. Quality of the images remain average and are not top of the box like with the Sigma 50mmf1.4.

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Zooming in on the hats creates a compressed and shallow depth of field which results in an attractive background blur (bokeh). Lens: Sony 18-250dt. ISO 100 – 1/160sec – 150mm F5.6. Flash (HVL58AM) on camera.