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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Supporting actors and side dramas

This image was taken at the Hokkaido Jingu Shrine Festival. It's a big parade through the streets of Sapporo where priests and temple attendants carry huge palanquins for a whole day around the city. And exhausted photographers try to keep up with them!

Anyway I spent a lot of time photographing the large floats and the poor souls struggling to carry them. I got close-ups and wide shots and then remembered to follow my golden rule of looking behind me.

Although the procession was the main act, there were a lot of side stories happening all around me. The people there to view and cheer on the procession were as much a part of the story as the priests themselves.

The trouble was how to fit both in the frame to tell a story and put the people in context. So for this image above I could see the little children down the street all with their hands together in prayer, as their parents were telling them to do. Just having them in the picture wouldn't explain to people why they had their hands folded in prayer. I needed to have the people being prayed to in there as well. So I just had to wait until the procession moved by them so that they would both be in the frame together.

I needed to do this with a telephoto lens because a wide-angle lens would have had too much irrelevant information in there and I just wanted these two elements. I made sure I timed it to have a palanquin as well as a large number of priests in there. Although their backs are to the camera their unique hats and style of dress shows that they're not run-of-the-mill people.

The funny thing was as I moved down the street past the little kids I could hear the mother getting cranky with her little boy because he was praying for a new video game! Ah it's nice to know kids are the same all over the world. :)

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