Sunday, August 29, 2010

Glowy Night Parade at Six Flags

About a month ago, my fiancé and brother and sister and I went up to Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL. It had been years since I'd been to an amusement park, and we went on a lot of fun rides and roller coasters, but one of the most enjoyable parts of the day turned out to be the nifty glow-in-the-dark parade at the very end.


I had my camera with me and I tried my best to photograph the parade, though it proved challenging -- despite the glowy-ness, the light levels were still really low, and all my subjects kept moving along for some reason. But I did manage to capture a handful of reasonably clear shots -- the red-lighted trolley car shown above, for instance, is probably one of the better ones I ended up with.

This parade -- punningly entitled "Glow In The Park Parade" -- is just like a normal parade, except at night and with a lot more glowing things. There were glowing floats, and glowing stilt-walkers, and performers in glowing attire. For more info on the parade in general, check out this page on the Six Flags website. (Unfortunately, as of this writing it appears to have ended for the 2010 season, but I assume it will come back at some point.)

Anyway, it works like this: the parade moves along on tracks that wind throughout the park, and the spectators stand behind painted lines watching it pass. During the day, the tracks kind of just blend in with the walkways and no one really pays any attention to them. To illustrate, I've used a photo taken earlier in the day to produce a handy diagram:


But here's what it looks like at night with the parade going on, with all those pesky visitors herded to the sidelines by park staff:


This one wasn't taken in exactly the same location in the park as the daytime photo, but it gives a pretty clear idea nonetheless. And it even has a giant glowing frog approaching, with a float coming up behind it.

The floats themselves were pretty neat, with lots of glowing lights and even costumed actors onboard. Like this lovely pink and red one:


As I mentioned above, I found all this to be rather challenging to photograph, although I could admittedly use more practice with nighttime photography. I ended up discarding a lot of shots that came out too blurry, but occasionally something interesting would come out of it, I thought. Like this shot of some dancers blurring past:


And sometimes, the blurring due to movement would actually turn out looking almost cooler than photos without it -- like this dragon float, made up of a hollow glowing wire-like structure, but transformed into something a bit more solid and substantial by the blurring effect:


For even more glowy parade-y goodness than the few pictures shown here, feel free to check out my "Glow in the Park Parade" photoset on Flickr.

Anyway, I expect this to be the first of many posts involving photos I've taken and my adventures relating to photography in general. (As you may have guessed by now, photography is kind of a hobby of mine.)

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