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Today I was covering the Pride Parade in Queens, one of my favorites in New York, because of the nice “summer block party” mood I have always experienced there in the many years I photographed it.

Photographing any parade is pretty much “standard procedure”: I know the shots and, by now, I also know where to exactly place myself in order to get them without running and sweating too much.

At the same time, as it might happen with a well know subject, every time I shoot a parade I try challenging myself to capture new and different images instead of just rolling with the routine.

As a matter of fact, my favorite moments when I shoot a parade are before it starts and after it finishes: the preparation, the excitement and then, when it’s over, the happy tiredness, the getting together by all the participants in small groups, talking about how it went and planning where to go to eat and party.

So many beautiful, intense, funny things to photograph before and after a parade!

I was quite lucky today, as I discovered where everybody was getting dressed up, face-painted and ready: a nicely decorated dark bar with mirrors on the walls and mostly illuminated by a skylight. Kind of a perfect place, as it was such a sunny, hot day outside.

So I went in, just armed with a 50mm f 1.4 lens and found a friendly, relaxed environment filled with people having fun, putting their costumes on and painting each other. And a beautiful light…

By the time I got out to cover the actual parade I was really happy.

I hadn’t started yet, but felt I already had the shot !!
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