Sunday, February 14, 2016

Tournament of Roses Parade 2016 - Pasadena, California

South Pasadena - Pasadena, California
When we moved to California several years ago my wife and I wanted to see in person the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, but the opportunity eluded us each year. Since we're moving out of state soon, we made an extra effort to get there this year.

The Tournament of Roses, also called the Rose Parade, is one of the largest parades in America. It's on New Years Day in Pasadena and is followed by the Rose Bowl football game. It's watched by hundreds of thousands of people along the parade route and broadcast to millions on national television.

People will camp out overnight to get a good spot along the route. We have three young kids so that wasn't an option. We did a little research and discovered that we could arrive late and still get a decent spot on the east end of the parade route. 
Come To Jesus - Pasadena, California
We arrived in Pasadena right as the parade was starting. We found a parking spot in a neighborhood a few blocks away from the route. We walked to the corner of Colorado Blvd and Sierra Madre Blvd. It was beginning to get crowded.

We found a spot along Sierra Madre across the street from the Vons grocery store. There were three or four rows of people in front of us, but they all had chairs so we could easily see over them. We had a stroller for the youngest and we brought a wagon for the other two kids.

Even though the parade began before we got there, it took about an hour for it to reach where we were. Waiting. That's a difficult thing for little kids to do. There were some unofficial sideshows (if you know what I mean) going on to provide some entertainment. We also brought with us breakfast, so we used this time to eat.
White - Pasadena, California
There were 44 floats and 20 marching bands in the parade. As always, the floats are decorated with flowers, plants, fruits, vegetables--all visible surfaces must be covered with natural materials. They can take up to a year to build. As impressive as the floats are to see on TV, they are much more fantastic to view in person. You can really appreciate the fine details. Disney's float was the best in my opinion.

The marching bands were all great. Some were local and some were from the other side of the world. The largest had 780 members! The kids really appreciated the music.

Perhaps most interesting was the California Highway Patrol's motorcycle cops. The best that I can describe it is the Blue Angles on wheels. They did a number of different stunts and it was quite entertaining.
Cheer Watcher - Pasadena, California
We left after about two hours. The parade wasn't done, but the kids were done, especially the youngest. It was beginning to get warm. Thankfully we dressed in layers. Even though we left early, traffic was still a mess because the parade was already over at the beginning of the route.

I used a Sony RX100 II camera to capture these photographs. The camera's small size and weight made it an excellent tool to photograph this event. The light wasn't great and became progressively worse as the sun got higher. Even so, it is the photographer's job to do his or her best with what's given.

Alien Skin's Exposure 7 had been my software of choice. However, these are some of the very first photographs that I edited using Exposure X, the latest version of Alien Skin's photo editing software. It's quite impressive, yet, not all that much different from the previous version--a few new helpful tools and options, plus it's faster. Most importantly for me, it offers RAW support for my Sony camera (while Exposure 7 doesn't), so that's why I upgraded.
And The Kitchen Sink - Pasadena, California
This was in Stanford's marching band.
Bees & Flowers - Pasadena, California
Mismatch - Pasadena, California
Selfie - Pasadena, California

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