I didn’t know that was what you wished people at the Pride Parade, but I must have heard it a hundred times last Sunday, so apparently it is.

I went into San Francisco with a friend to shoot the parade, and it didn’t disappoint. We managed to get a spot right next to the barricade, which turned out to be great for photography.

I stayed from about 10 to 4:30 and shot 2,547 photos, from which I selected 78 to process, and six to post here.

A few lessons I learned and will apply next year are:

  • With focus tracking, pick the most interesting person, lock focus on them and track them. It’s too easy to get distracted by other subjects and miss focus on the person you’re trying to capture.
  • Bring my 85mm f/1.8 lens. My 135mm was a little too long, and the 24-70 f/2.8 couldn’t defocus the background enough on many shots.
  • Look for more details. I took a lot of wide shots of groups, some of which worked out, but to get more variety, I should look for smaller scenes and details.
  • Do some longer exposures to get blurs. Balloons, floats, costumes and more were so colorful, I should have tried this technique for some impressionistic photos.
  • Do swipes on colorful scenes. Same comment as above.
  • With a longer lens, focus either on the person closest to the camera or on someone in the middle of a group. Focusing on the person furthest away doesn’t make for a pleasing photo; better to focus closer and throw everyone behind out of focus or focus on someone in the middle and throw everyone in front of and behind them out of focus.

I like the Pride hat standing out against the orange background, the sign, and the poses.

He had a great costume and a great Goth look.

At the other end of the spectrum, this Cal cheerleader is about as squeaky clean as you can get.

Skies were overcast early in the day, which, of course, I preferred, but when the sun came out it did really make the colors pop.

Is body paint a costume? I guess so.

This guy had on the dress of the day. Creative tailoring that makes a political statement.

This was my fourth year at the Pride Parade. I almost didn’t go until my friend invited me. I realize now that it’s really an event not to be missed. Everyone’s in a good mood, the participants are characters, the spectators are characters, and it’s a lot of fun. So, Happy Pride!