Welcome to Love Fest

This past Saturday, some friends and I dropped by Love Fest, a festival… party… concert… thing.  Regardless, it's the largest one I've been to in the US (trumped only by the few times I've been to Carnival in Trinidad).  It was a blast.  Love Fest is a travelling celebration, which parades from 2nd and Market streets to the Civic Center Plaza.

When we arrived at the Civic Center Plaza around 17:30, there were costumed folks everywhere.  We took an approximate lap of the Plaza over the next 45 minutes, and as is my wont, I took photos.  The light was pretty good, and the variety of costumes, of activities, and of people, was awesome.  I shot the above at 1/1250s at f/3.5.

Despite the diversity, there were a number of similarly-themed costumes.  For instance, here, a guy standing on something and sporting the national flag of New Zealand as a cape gives a fist-bump to a lady with a purple scepter, and all as another guy walks past with a crown on his head.

This is just a single example of a lot of friendly interaction that took place between people who didn't seem to know each other.  But I guess that's a little bit of what Love Fest is all about — make friends with people just because they're there.  This was at 1/640s and f/4.5.

There were a bunch of people with cameras.  The guy on the left really stood out to me, though.  It likely has at least something to do with his posture — this is a stance I've seen a lot of people assume when taking photos, and I'm not really sure where it comes from.

I also like his expression and body language.  After holding the "Shh!  Artist at work!" facial expression seen here, he subsequently smiled and gave the subjects a thumbs-up.  1/200s at f/3.5.

We were standing around a bit before departing when I spotted this guy.  He was also standing around, having a smoke.

Now, I've always enjoyed trying to take photos of people smoking; likely because the situations can often offer a combination of smoke, fire, and interesting facial expressions and body language, all rolled up into one image.  They're hard to nail, though, and the ones I've tried rarely turn out well.  I guess that's why I like this one a lot.

Shooting smoke is always difficult because, usually, it's not dense enough to see unless you actually backlight or side-light it.  Here, I was fortunate in that the smoke is rather dense, and I was getting what is effectively a bluish side-light from the sky, in front of the darker background of people in the shade.  This was at 1/250s and f/4.5.

I met Alton on the way home on Caltrain.  The train was jam-packed with homeward-bound Love Fest attendees, and consequently, the floor of the usually-spacious bike car was crammed with people.  Alton was passing the time practicing his contact juggling and card flourishes, as well as messing around with his D90 and 50/1.4.  Nice.  (As an aside, Nikon fans, rejoice: the long awaited AF-S 50/1.4 is coming)

This photo of Alton performing a spring came out surprisingly well, given the slow shutter speed and given that the train was moving at the time.  Exposure was 1/40s at f/3.5 and ISO1000.

This guy and his borrowed sign embody the atmosphere at Love Fest.  The party started long before my friends and I arrived, and continued long after we departed.  However, the weekend of dancing alone doesn't reveal the depth of Love Fest's purpose.

As Dr. Syd Gris put it, "In this time of economic and political turmoil, a celebration of love, peace, justice, and tolerance is just what our country needs… We do not dance in the streets to escape the reality of our times - we dance to face them as a community…"



Hey, it's me! I’ve been a documentary photographer for 17 yrs, software engineer for even longer, and plenty of other things in between.