the first boston puerto rican parade i went to was back in 2009, and it was held in dorchester-roxbury. after that i had a hiatus and i didn't go to another PR parade until 2015, at which time it'd graduated to one of the few boston city parades that leave from copley square (others being the pride parade and the greek parade). since then i've gone every year (2016, 2017, 2018), always good for a few photo opps, at the very least gives me practice shooting parades (although i've done it enough times i'm fairly familiar with the routines).
it was my first time photographing a parade with my new canon 80D camera, with its more accurate focusing and faster frames per second. i brought two lenses, my 18-200mm and the 55-250mm. i ended up just shooting with the 55-250mm, its longer reach much better for parades when i shoot mostly from a distance. aperture priority mode, f/8, ISO automatic, exposure compensation -0.7; i shoot a little dark because i find the default EV too bright, and slightly darker also gives me faster shutter speed, though in this case i didn't need it with the bright sun.
i arrived at copley square by 11:30am. the police had already started barricading the side streets. in years past they wouldn't start blocking the roads until the final few minutes, which was a real mess, glad they learned their lesson. i had a good spot, my usual, on the southeastern corner of dartmouth and boylston, looking west as the parade approached on bolyston. i'm a stationary shooter because i'm naturally lazy, but i'm trying to learn to be more mobile, to actively seek out photo opps instead of waiting for them to come to me. it usually takes me a while before i get warmed up, as i started with some practice shots, picking subjects and tracking them out of the crowd.
the whole procession lasted around 40 minutes, but it felt shorter than that. maybe it's because i've been to so many parades over the years, the sense of novelty is gone, i've become more jaded to the experience.
there's didn't seem to be that many groups this year - you got children dance troupes, vintage cars, mini motos, retro bicycles, goya float, puerto rican beauty pageant queens, and prancing horses. since it wasn't an election year, gone were the politicians. even boston mayor marty walsh was a no show. the only ones to show up were michelle wu and police commissioner william gross. where was the duck boats? the hector camacho impersonator with the boxing championship belt? last year there were also cosplayers. and on-air personalities from the local hispanic channel telemundo would show as well, which didn't happen this year.
the procession had passed by copley square by 12:45pm. i got to my bicycle and went up clarendon street then columbus avenue towards the direction of chinatown, making another detour at arlington street to herald street to the super 88 (i mean c-mart) supermarket. i was on a mission to buy yellow dragon fruits for my mother and any additional exotic asian fruits that were on sale. they were selling bags of longans for $2.50/lbs. so i ended up getting two bags.
coming back i crossed thre fieldler footbridge to get onto the charles river bike path. i crossed the mass ave bridge by MIT to get back home. it was so hot i stopped by the 7-11 near inman square to get a blue raspberry slurpee ($1.50). it was super refreshing biking with one hand while holding on to my slurpee with the other. by the time i got home i'd already finished it, i could've easily had another. the 7-11 is nothing like the old blue raspberry slush puppies. slush puppies were sweeter and the ice was pellets instead of 7-11's oxygenated sludge.
this was my first parade event since getting the canon 80D with the pair of kit lenses. i used the 55-250mm throughout: i like the longer reach, the clarity, and seemingly faster focus. the only time i took out my 18-200mm was to get a wider angle on the charles river. i spent all that money to get the 18-200mm fixed and now my favorite lens seems to be the cheaper plastic barrel kit telephoto. nearly all my photos came out clear, which is never the case back when i used the 60D. i don't have a polarizing filter on the telephoto because i want maximum light going into the camera. i didn't miss it though, there wasn't any occasions where i felt i needed the polarizer. the 80D is also a faster camera: higher ISO, faster shutter, and higher frames per second (7fps). compared that to the 5.3 fps of my 60D, that's nearly 2 extra frames of photos per second.
annie was not home when i got back by 2pm. i took a shower, trying to wash off the sweat proof sunblock. i left for belmont around 2:30pm, taking the motorcycle. while i'd gone to the parade, my parents went on a sunday afternoon supply run to the restaurant depot. they bought a case of valencia oranges, for making freshly squeezed orange juice at the cafe. i showed up bearing fruits as we ate the longans, which were super sweet and still cold from being refrigerated.
annie wasn't home when i got back. i took a shower and finished watching the red sox yankees game. boston was trying to sweep new york, having already won 3 games this past weekend, but the yankees got the better of red sox, building up the lead every inning until boston couldn't overcome the deficit. annie finally sent me a message on wechat around 12:40am, said she was staying over at a friend's house because it was so late.