In the Middle of Things

The stare.
The stare.

The thing about second lines is that everyone is a participant .

Even photographers. Even the beverage vendors. And, the food vendors. None of us have permits. Nor, do we have any special right to be there. The only folks that do have a parade permit and a police permit are the social clubs who host the second line. Even for them, parades are fairly chaotic. The do get to control about a 20 yard piece of street in front of the mainline and that’s about it.

That’s the blessing. And, the curse.

Y’all can imagine why. For me, regardless of the pictures, it’s just great exercise. It’s like being in the middle of a sporting event. Something like rugby comes to mind. That’s how I think you have to look at it. You’re going to get bounced around. You’re going to have people jump in and out of your “perfect” picture. Oh well. So what. Whatever.


Then, there are guys like the one on the cowboy hat. He’s at every parade. He rarely talks to the photographers on the scene. And, look at him. Not only is he blocking my picture, but he’s blocking the little boy and the woman in the tiara who is trying to take a picture of the little boy. He thinks nothing of it. I left him in the picture because he’s part of the scene and therefore, the picture.

The karma gods did intervene. He turned to stay ahead of the second line and ran… into me. I wasn’t moving. I was busy. Taking pictures. I’m a good-sized guy. He more or less bounced off of me and spent the rest of the parade trying to catch up to it.

Oh well. Stuff happens.

The benefit of being nice and playing by street rules shows up in the third picture. She saw me, dancing and smiled for me and… well, there you have it.

The top picture is sort of fun. The cat in the hat (See what I did there, Doctor Seuss fans?) backed up to pose for me and ran into the big guy in the very cool green suit. He wasn’t amused.

Oh well. Stuff happens.

The pictures. Those nice open overcast skies are the best thing for making pictures like these. No deep shadows and the light looks like it was made using a giant soft box. Nature’s soft box. So. ISO 100. F5.6 at about a shutter speed of 500th to 1,000th. These pictures can be enlarged to fit a huge wall with no technical gyrations.

In the way.
In the way.


  1. As long as the big guy in the green suit doesn’t run into you………..chaos is what they are about for me, why I like the assembly better than the parade.


      1. Thank you, Tim. Sticking with it is another thing. There are 47 planned second lines per year. Then, there are Mardi Gras Indian events and Mardi Gras, itself. There are also some unplanned jazz funerals for members of “the culture.”


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