Last week C marched in the Indianapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade, as is custom for third graders at St. P’s. It was a fabulous day, especially compared to when M marched two years ago. It was bright and sunny, in the mid–50s when the parade began, and eased into the low 60s by the time it ended. Two years ago, it was maybe 30, with windchills much lower, and flurries blowing around. A truly miserable day.[1]

C had fun. I was perched on the side of the street with a few parents both from St. P’s and our old preschool. When St. P’s marched by, I couldn’t find C in the mass of bodies. I ran with them for a couple blocks until I could cross to the other side. Finally I found her buried in the middle of the group, standing between two boys. After the parade I asked why she stayed in the same spot and didn’t move to the side when she saw me so I could get some good pictures.

“We couldn’t move, Dad!”

Ok then.

I didn’t get too many great pics of C, just because she was always in a big group and it’s tough to find one where she’s looking in my general direction and can be cropped down so I can post it on Facebook without putting a dozen other kids’ faces online.

I was looking forward to walking around and taking some pictures of the festivities of the day. I’m testing out a new camera,[2] and this was my first real chance to use it somewhere other than just on the kids at home. And a St. Patrick’s Day parade is the perfect chance to get some interesting shots of interesting people doing interesting things.

I’m fascinated by the concept of street photography, where you take random, candid shots of strangers, often at close range. I love looking at street photography collections and reading about how they shots were captured. But, as friends will likely guess, my personality doesn’t exactly fit walking up to total strangers and taking quick pics without asking for permission first, or talking with them after. Which I know is weird, since everyone has a phone with a camera in it these days and people are constantly taking quick shots of people they don’t know. There’s something about having a proper camera with a good-sized lens, though, that makes me feel a little uncomfortable doing it.

Anyway, I walked around and, somewhat inconspicuously, took shots of people celebrating the day. Not true street photography, but a start to an introvert I guess. As I walked through the main party area, I saw a table set up where some folks were handing out St. Paddy’s Day baked goods. A guy behind the table was putting on some kind of wacky, costume head. I stopped, maybe 10–15 feet away, put the camera to my eye, and snapped off a few pics. As I was putting it down, I noticed his hand was up, and his middle finger was extended my direction. I started laughing and walked away. I didn’t know if he was pissed I was taking his picture, being a jerk, or just adding to the festive mood of the day.

When I got home, that’s the first pic I looked at. It turned out pretty good. I don’t know that I’ll ever turn into a real street photographer, but this one is fun.


  1. But also one we’ll never forget.  ↩
  2. Not even one year into camera ownership, and I already had bad GAS: Gear Acquisition Syndrome.  ↩