Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The faces of St. Thomas - Celebrating Carnival on the island

As you can tell from the last blog post, two weeks ago we were in St. Thomas for a little rest and relaxation. The primary purpose of the trip was to spend time with the family, but that does not mean that I was not shooting. Heck, taking photos for fun is how I relax.

Unbeknownst to us, we ended up on the island of St. Thomas during their celebration of Carnival. Some people might think that this is a bad thing (since the traffic in and out of the city was affected and there was not a rental car to be found). But, we thought that it was a good thing, and had fun visiting the Carnival celebrations numerous times.

Since I had my camera (Canon 5D Mark III with the 24-105mm lens) with me, I did my best to capture the people and atmosphere of Carnival.


On our first night on the island, we decided to go into town to see what this was all about. It was early in the evening and way before the crowds arrived. But after flying all night to get to St. Thomas, and getting very little sleep. we were not about to stay up too late. I took this photo to show the main area for food (well...most of it was for drinks). (Photographer's tip: I took this photo handheld, since I did not bring my tripod with me this evening. I turned the ISO up to 1250, set the camera for f/4, turned up the exposure comp to +1.3 and had a shutter speed of 1/13th of a second. I held on for dear life and squeezed off 3 shots. )


We were walking around the area and heard music coming from behind the stage area. After a minute, the group came out playing the local Caribbean music. We saw this cute little boy sitting on the front of this drum, and I just had to get a photo. I used a slow shutter speed (once again 1/13 sec) to get some motion blur on the hands of the drummers. Luckily the little boy did not move much, so he is still sharp.



Towards the end of our trip, the girls wanted to go back to Carnival to buy gifts for their friends. Since I am not a real shopper, I took advantage of this time to explore Carnival on my own. After only a minute or two, and seeing all the locals in the vending area, I knew that I had to capture the faces of these people. Each of them had so much character in their faces and clothes!


When I think of Rastafarian people, I think of someone just like this guy. He has the colors, the hair, the beard and even the ganja T-shirt.


It was fun to stroll through the area and grab shots of the locals interacting.


Along with the candid shots, I also would ask the vendors if I could take their photos.



While walking around, I came across the Carnival Queen...


...and the Carnival princess. Too cute!


And then right back to photographing the locals wearing their colors.


Ya man!


One of the booths was selling jars of jam, and I liked the fabric tops. I got in close and shot this.


There was a face painter there, and he was just finishing his composition on this little boy. I quickly moved to a position where I was facing the boy and grabbed this photo of his first inspection of his new face painting.


Sometimes the absence of color is just as powerful as the abundance of color.


Everyone was involved in Carnival, young and old.


It was our last day on St. Thomas and we happened to be there for the children's parade. This goes on for hours and hours, and we only caught a small portion of it. But I loved these two boys driving the mini police vehicle.


These last two photos were taken along the parade route.


It was really cool that we were on the island during this time. It gave us a chance to see the locals enjoying themselves and celebrating their heritage.

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1 comment:

Nancy Pegler said...

WOW. Your perfect exposures never cease to amaze me!