DC Pride Parade, June 7, 2014

Sorry for being a week late with posting these. Life gets in the way of blogging at times. If you remember the last time I photographed the parade, I gave myself a little project to shoot the whole thing with just one lens, the 135 f2 L lens for my Canon 5D. This year I did something similar, but with the 85mm Helios f1.5 Russian-made manual focus lens that I have for my Canon. The Helios has a rather unique character to its out-of-focus areas, which you’ll see quite clearly in these shots. The lens is an odd bird in today’s world in that it is a pre-set aperture lens. You focus wide-open, then turn a manual ring on the barrel to set the aperture to the one you have pre-selected before taking the picture. It’s a holdover from the days when lenses had no mechanical interaction with the camera beyond mounting to the body. The upside is that it makes it easy to adapt the lens to any camera. The downside is, you have to remember to re-set the aperture after focusing.

When the lens is properly focused, it gives a unique signature look – the subject is tack sharp, and really pops out from the background because the background has a “swirl” to it reminiscent of but not the same as you would get with a vintage Petzval-design lens. I chose this lens as my one-and-only for the day not only for the out-of-focus effect but also because it is a shorter lens, therefore a little more intimate than the 135. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Rainbow Streamers, 17th Street
Rainbow Streamers, 17th Street

Politics:

DC Pride would not be complete without a major political section. Actually, in some way, shape or form, most of the parade is political (especially if you include the religious groups that march under that heading). This year marks the first time an official US Military Color Guard contingent was able to march openly in the parade thanks to the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Watching them march in the parade was a very emotional moment for many people.

US Military Color Guard
US Military Color Guard

This year’s honorary grand marshall was Chris Kluwe, the straight former kicker for the Minnesota Vikings who took a very vocal pro-gay, pro- same-sex marriage stance, replete with some very memorable if not entirely polite turns of phrase. It was an extremely brave stance for him to take, and ultimately it cost him his job. He was honored for being a relentless ally.

Chris Kluwe, Grand Marshall
Chris Kluwe, Grand Marshall

This couple marching in the parade with the police contingent showed up at the counter-protest to the Westboro Baptist Church looney-tunes protest of DC Pride, giving silent rebuke to the Westboro clan with a passionate kiss.

Police Officer Couple
Police Officer Couple

David Catania is running for DC Mayor as an independent. It is almost impossible to run for city-wide office anymore without participating in DC Pride – pretty much the entire city council was in the parade, and even several former-candidates who lost their primary elections had marching contingents.

David Catania Supporters
David Catania Supporters

My apologies to David for this photo, but it’s not my fault that he’d been hit by a super-soaker prior to marching past where I was taking photos.

David Catania
David Catania

This is Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC’s Congressional Delegate. She sits in the US House of Representatives but does not have the same rights and authority that a full congressperson has because DC isn’t a state. She’s a regular at Pride, though – I don’t think I’ve been to a single Pride parade in the last 20 or so years that she hasn’t participated in.

Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor Holmes Norton

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