Friday, November 7, 2008

Phantastic day

I was looking. I swear. OK, I was looking through the camera lens. Maybe not where I was going. So while I was framing this shot of Charlie Manuel my foot met, well, what horses leave behind. A large pile of it. A good way to start one of the most exciting days of my photographic career.

The Phillies celebrated their monumental World Series victory in style with a parade down Broad Street, complete with floats, players, hundreds of cops and millions of fans.
Through some research and a good dose of luck, I finagled a press pass to cover the parade. I was the youngest photog there, brushing elbows with photogs from the Inquirer, AP and Reuters.

We started out on the press buses, double deckers reminiscent of those London trademarks. There were two buses, and as we started the parade the crowd’s cheers turned to screams of words I can’t say here and gestures that you can probably imagine.

As the parade approached City Hall, I, along with other photogs on the bus, realized the angles presented from the bus were not very good, so we left the bus, allowing us basically unlimited access to the parade route.

I could get in the faces of the fans and get right up next to the trucks of players. I also could get in the way of cops on bikes—one officer screamed at me that I was “in his way” and that he would “throw me out” if it happened again. The cops also had horses, which they, unlike the Budweiser Clydesdales that were also there, did not clean up after.

Photographing an event like this brought with it some different challenges. For one, lens changes were difficult. I brought my backpack instead of the bag so it’d be easier to take on the (packed) trains, so that meant, for most of the time, shooting with the 18-70 and keeping the 80-200, which is a huge lens, in my cargo pocket. When it came time to switch, it was a sort of balancing act, holding onto two lenses and a camera while walking along the parade route, dodging cops and horses and fans.

With stories like this, the close ups are as important as the wide shots. In other words, the story can be told shooting something more small scale than large, such as fans vs. a wide angle of the parade snaking its way down Broad St. However, this event was such a big deal I had a feeling I’d have a significant amount of space allotted to me in the paper (in the end, this got full page, back page and in color—can’t ask for much more).

Some of my favorites:

Pitcher Jamie Moyer raised his hat in recognition of the fans as confetti rains down. I'm still curious as to how I got this one--I guess I just zoomed out the 18-70 all the way, held the camera up, and shot away.

The Phillie Phanatic stares down at the statue of William Penn, a statue that local folklore states has cursed Philadelphia sports for decades, as the Phillies celebrate their triumphant World Series victory.

J Roll points to the crowd.

This shot was taken from the bus with the wide angle. I think it's kinda cool how you basically start at the feet of these kids and then continue on to the thousands of fans.

Confetti! Yes, I gave her the OK to throw it at me. Though one kid almost silly stringed my camera, which would've ended up badly. She aimed at me and was about to shoot before I yelled "Shoot up! Shoot up!" As she shot, I shot too, though the pictures didn't turn out as well.

In the end, this thrilling day hopefully will bode well as the city moves on. It’s been a rough year for Philly, with countless murders—especially of police officers—poverty, homelessness, unemployment and budget cuts. And hopefully this day, this team, brought this special city together.

(More photos of the parade are available at

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