Semana Santa doesn’t just equal countless parades featuring Jesus Christ after a full thrashing and earsplitting bottle rockets; it also means the carnival is coming to town. A sizable carnival materialized in el Parque Llano for the week and I badgered Rad about going since I saw it from the window of a taxi on Monday. On Thursday, we hopped on the bus and rode down to the city in order to snatch some photos of the fold-up Ferris wheels and tilt-a-whirls that were trucked in at the beginning of the week. Even Michael Jackson made an appearance, so it was pretty special night.
This was sort of an experiment since this was the first carnival I photographed after the sun went down. When I go out for the evening, I usually leave my tripod at home, later wish I had it, and end up trying to steady the camera against a telephone pole or on the roof of a parked car. But this time was different. As we exited the bus, I hoisted the cumbersome tripod onto my shoulder and marched through the crowded streets. If you’re in the market for a tripod that doubles and a lethal weapon, I highly recommend the Manfrotto 290. It is the lead sled of tripods. You could really crack some skulls with this model.
The winds started to get a bit gusty and we could smell the impending rain in the air. Therefore, we were forced to drink a beer while riding out the freak storm at La Biznaga before heading back down to the park. It wasn’t a total bust since we took photos of a few craft beers to discuss on another blog named American Cerveza. The pavement was still a bit damp when we showed up to take pictures, so you can see a slight reflection from the neon lights bouncing off the concrete. I didn’t plan it like that. Cumulonimbus clouds just happened to drop precipitation on the right spot.
I set the ISO at 200 to cut out most of the noise often visible in low-light photos, but I think I could have gone even lower. Depending on the amount of light coming from a particular ride, I adjusted the shutter speed between 1 and 4 seconds while keeping the aperture at f13. Since the scene was packed with both locals and tourists, I had to set up quickly, hit the shutter release and move on to avoid blocking the midway. It was a real “stick and move” operation. The last thing I wanted was to be the gringa who blocked up the action alley with a bunch of camera equipment while some kid was simply trying to get a ride on the Sea Dragon.