4th of July Parade – Made in America, For Photographers

What could be more mom, apple pie and red, white and blue than a good 4th of July parade? The Baltimore metropolitan area has several, Towson, Catonsville, Dundalk, as well as smaller neighborhood events. Each one offers photographers wonderful opportunities to capture images of marching bands, politicians, parade floats, children and pets.

I love it. A parade displays pageantry and pomp and you never know what surprises there may be such as clown cars or Uncle Same on stilts.

A good 4th of July parade is Americana. I’ve been to and photographed the Towson parade but never been to the one in Catonsville until this year. Its size dwarfs the Towson parade with more floats, bands, and spectators lining Frederick Road.

Before the parade began, I walked up and down Frederick Road snapping pix of children dressed in red, white and blue outfits. There were also kids with their faces painted with stars and stripes. I also grabbed shots of teens and young adults who looked like they were cast members of Sons of Anarchy or old Harley Davidson gang movies.

When the parade began, I stationed myself in front of the Catonsville Optimist Club. Its lawn had miniature American flags plants on it providing the perfect backdrop.

I shot with a Nikon D500 using a 70-200 mm lens and a Nikon 750 using a 20-120 lens. These are the cameras I currently employ to photograph events. The long lens enables me to capture people from a distance and the shorter lens is good for close-ups.

Once the parade started my state of mind changed. I’m focused, no pun intended, on everything around me, scanning what is in front, behind and on both sides of me. While I’m taking photos of the people in the parade I’m searching the crowd for excited and expressive faces. My goal is get the parade participant and the spectator in the same shot. If I succeed what I capture shows the moment and what makes it magical.