Parades, Parades and More Parades!
Upon returning from Afghanistan I was literally straight into Parade Season with Homecomings, Medals and Freedom Parades I knew I was going to be busy. Some may see them as dull, most of the Army Photographers have done more than their share, even before becoming an Army Photographer.
That said I quite enjoy them, especially Town Parades, as you never quite know what you are going to have on the day. Will it rain? Will the turnout be good? Who knows, it’s just a matter of getting some good solid shots that the Unit can have for their own purposes. Usually, the local Press Photographers are out in force so there isn’t much pressure to get my images out, but I still always make a point of sending them.
I quite like to get the crowd going by encouraging them to applaud and cheer for the lads and lasses marching by. It sometimes brings some funny looks as I found out in London. I also look for popular landmarks that the locals will know and try to include them somewhere in the images.
For me the season was a good one, with the most memorable parade being Widness with The 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment. It was like the whole town had come out to watch! Schools were lining the routes with banners and drawings showing support for their local Battalion. It really was quite heart warming to see.
Sometimes I liken the town parade to a fitness test we soldiers call ‘the two miler’. Although superseded by newer test the old two miler involved a two mile best effort run carrying 15kg including rifle and helmet. Keeping ahead of the marching group with camera bag can sometimes be quite the effort as I found out in Leeds covering 3 Rifles who march at an increased pace. It was still fun though although I was blowing in the end.
In summary, I like parades as its a chance to get out and about and is usually a good day away from the office. Sometimes you even get the quirky shot.