Traditional Characters Festival - Trinidad Carnival 2017
This festival of traditional carnival characters was held on the streets of Port of Spain on February 24th at noon. It's a great opportunity to see the old time carnival characters and since the parade moves fairly slowly it's easy to get some good photos. Of course, having gotten up at 2:30am to shoot Canboulay that morning I was a little slow on the uptick so I'm not going to say how many shots I missed. I think the kids definitely outnumbered the adults for this festival and you could see that someone spent some serious time designing and making their costumes. They were accompanied by a few pan bands and a bunch of sound trucks. The kids in Trinidad are like kids everywhere else. Some were really into it, some were noncommittal and others were plotting against their parents for making them wear the costumes. But, it seemed like everyone was having fun.
For this event I used my Fuji XT-2 with the 16-55mm lens. The streets are narrow so you won't need a longer lens. Access to the paraders is not a problem; there wasn't a huge crowd on the sidewalks so you could pretty much shoot from anywhere. Also, the parade moved slowly so you have plenty of time to get your photo.
There are two must-haves for photographing this event - sunscreen and earplugs. Even though the streets are not as open as the Savannah, you may find a vantage point that's in the sunlight and the Trinidad sun is not to be fooled with. The earplugs are for the ubiquitous sound trucks that accompany the marchers with that great carnival music. They have the volume cranked way up and on these narrow streets there's no escape when they roll by. Besides, you'll make good use of both the sunscreen and earplugs for all the other events.
Aside from that, bring some TT dollar bills for the Jabs and stay out of the way of the Moko Jumbies (although, after shooting Canboulay, they were much more agile on their stilts than I was on my feet).
Next up - the Junior Parade of Bands.