Carnival Tuesday - Colors of Carnival
It's Carnival Tuesday in Port of Spain, Trinidad. This is the big day. The day the bands will be judged as they move through Queen's Park Savannah. All the months of preparation and practice culminate here. The music is blaring from the sound trucks as the band members hit the stage. You're assaulted by colors of every possible hue imaginable. You can't take photographs fast enough. It's an endless feast. Being primarily a sports photographer I can tell you that this is the time to go into sports photography mode. Fast shutter speed, wide aperture. These people are having the time of their lives. They're on stage in front of photographers, TV cameras and just about every other media you can think of and they're going to make the best of it. This is probably the only chance of the year, maybe the only chance of their lives they get to do something like this. When they hit that stage they are jammin' and they're not going to stop until they make it to the end of the stage, and maybe not even then.
So, here's the deal. For the rest of Carnival Tuesday you just became a sports photographer. You don't give a crap about who wins or loses; you care about three things (which I'm unapologetically stealing from Jay Maisel) - Light, Gesture, Color. OK, maybe one more thing - a clean background, but good luck with that. You don't notice the deafening music from the sound trucks blaring in your ears, you don't see the security folks herding people around, you don't even notice the TV camera boom about to take your head off. Nope, you're looking at the people crossing the stage in front of you and giving you everything they've got. And you need to take their photograph in the perfect light with the perfect gesture they can give you showing every color they have on. Because they spent lots of money they don't have to get to this very spot and you were put in this same spot for a reason.
They will be coming at you like a tidal wave. At first, you won't know where to point your camera but after a few minutes it will become abundantly clear. I'm not sure how this works but something will tell you who to photograph. They may magically appear in front of you or you may be drawn across the stage to them. They are the people who have put every ounce of energy they have into Carnival. They are not paid to be here. They paid to be here. They want to be here. Now it's up to you to make them look their best, which isn't hard because they pretty much look their best.