Up Close at the 2017 Dia de los Muertos Parade

Up close on Congress Avenue - Austin, Texas

Up close on Congress Avenue – Austin, Texas

I was shooting like crazy, like I usually do at these events. With two cameras around my neck, I would shoot telephoto and close up, quickly switching between the two, as the opportunities presented. Quite by accident, I discovered a series of photographs, up close, which are different from what I’ve shot before.

It might sound odd that I discovered these images. After all, I did make them. But sometimes, things become a blur and as I get in the zone — I don’t always remember what I’ve done. All I see are scenes and I try enthusiastically to capture them in interesting ways.

I shot yesterday’s photos with a telephoto, a 150mm equivalent which produces a comparably shallow depth of field. Today’s are with a 50mm equivalent, one of the classic street photography focal lengths. Shooting a lot closer, they have an entirely different feel.

I would love to claim that I instinctively positioned myself in the optimal place to take these closeups, but I can’t. I ended up here as I moved around during the parade. What I realized in hindsight is the location allowed me to get close, without blocking the route of the parade.

Also, a note about the image processing. I’ve shot more and more black and whites but most are often highly contrasty with deep blacks. Sometimes I add extra grain, either through the built in Olympus PEN-F processing or in post production. Today’s monochromes are processed very differently.

My typical contrasty and grainy pictures didn’t worked for me here. They looked heavy-handed, confusing and overwhelmed the details. I’m no monochrome expert, but they just didn’t feel right. Instead, these photos are post processed from RAWs with Capture One. I used a preset that “claims” to mimic Fujifilm Neopan 100 ACROS, which I tweaked slightly. I have no idea if this looks like ACROS, but it works for me.

Between the closeups, framing and black and white processing, I ended up creating a different look, for me. It’s always fun when I end up with something new, even though there was a healthy dose of serendipity involved.

Up close on Congress Avenue - Austin, Texas
Up close on Congress Avenue - Austin, Texas
Up close on Congress Avenue - Austin, Texas
Up close on Congress Avenue - Austin, Texas
Up close on Congress Avenue - Austin, Texas
Up close on Congress Avenue - Austin, Texas
Up close on Congress Avenue - Austin, Texas
Up close on Congress Avenue - Austin, Texas

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8 thoughts on “Up Close at the 2017 Dia de los Muertos Parade

  1. It’s a nice set but I’m surprised you went with black and white for these. The colorful costumes would seem to be perfect for your vivid color processing. So what’s the frame count from the “shoot like crazy” frenzy? 🙂

    1. Thanks, Mike.

      I like the detail and texture of the black and whites, plus it’s something different. I also have other color photos taken with my other camera. I deleted a bunch of photos so I don’t have a count of how many pictures I took. The craziness was more from switching back and forth between cameras, though.

  2. Very fine, both pre and post. I’d never think of moving these to B&W because of the abundance of color native to the subject, but the tonalities shown here edging toward sublime.

    1. Thank you, Mike. My other friend, Michael, also made a similar comment.

      I certainly like color but I really like the detail and tones I got from these. Thank you for the feedback. I certainly appreciate it.

  3. I find the black and white quite effective — and different from most Dia de los Muertos . It adds a bit of starkness as well. Thanks for sharing the photos.

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