I still don't really know. I have asked myself this question last weekend. Joan and I were in Marcus, a small town in Northwest Iowa, for a school reunion. Another reason to be there was the 75th annual Marcus Community Fair. The city had a lot going on last weekend and one of the events was of course a parade. Fire engines, old-timer cars, people on horses, tractors, and many more colorful things were moving through the streets of Marcus. I have been at heir parade before four years ago, took a lot of pictures and didn't really like any of them. Why? Busy backgrounds, harsh light with high contrast, and making too many mistakes were the main reasons. I wanted to do much better this time.
The parade started at 4 PM and there was still plenty of light available. First we chose a street with some big trees that covered the sky in the background and would minimize so the high contrast in the frame. I believe that worked well for most of the pictures.
How about the background? There were cars parked along the streets, people in lawn chairs had lined up along the route of the parade, with other words it was hard to find a spot without a busy background. I tried to solve the problem by zooming in and leave as much as possible of the distracting parts out of the frame. It didn't always work, but like in this image of happy girls on horses I was able to keep the "dudes with their beer coolers" out of the frame. A little crop was necessary in some instances.
I still don't feel comfortable about shooting an event like the Marcus parade, but this time I had some keepers that, I believe, reflect the spirit of the event and tell the story about the fun everybody had.