i left the house thinking i didn't bring enough memory cards. the 4gb in my camera and the 2gb in my bag. will that be enough? i was after all going to the one event i've been waiting all year for: the annual boston carnival parade. i couldn't believe i didn't bring all my memory cards. that meant i'd have to ration my photos, could probably only take about 2000 or so. the 2 other times i've been to the parade (2005 2007) i've always taken the motorcycle; but since it was still in the shop (for the second time), i took the subway this time, getting off at jackson square in jamaica plain then walking over to roxbury. i arrived at noon, knowing full well that even though technically the parade is supposed to start 12pm, realistically it probably wouldn't happen until about 1pm.

these carnival parades can be a bit overwhelming. there are so many photo opps that i experience a sort of sensory overload and it takes me a while to get acclimated before i can start shooting. the first thing to do is just to walk around, get a sense of what's happening, figure out the best places to stand. i saw some other dSLR photographers, some of them i recognize from past events as being press photographers. they usually have at least two cameras, one with a wide angle, one with a telephoto. i feel like there's a pecking order amongst dSLR shooters. the bigger your lens, the more envious the other photographers. i think equipment is definitely one aspect of good photography, but i think being at the right place at the right time is probably even greater. i'm sort of a stationary shooter, so i'm always jealous of those people we can get right into the fray and stick their cameras into the action. there was a young man there, dressed like he just went to a job interview, shooting with a kit lens canon. i admired his tenacity, getting up close and personal with the carnival participants, probably getting some great shots. that's one of the things you can do at this carnival parade. it's not very structured, and there aren't barricades to prevent spectators from becoming parade participants themselves. that's good because it allows great access, but bad because people with cameras are swarming everywhere, getting in the way. that's what i didn't like, the jostling for position. plus the parade seemed more disorganized than years past, and instead of a steady procession, there'd be gaps or congestions or long mysterious waits.

walking around, i bumped into kris, a patron of my parents' cafe whom i know from bumping into her a bunch of times at the somerville market basket. she was there to organize a get-out-the-vote march for barack obama and asked if i wanted to put on a t-shirt and march with them. i declined, told her i was there to take photos. my first spot was on top of a wall that i had some success with last year. unfortunately it was located towards the start of the parade, so none of the carnival people were dancing, they were just standing around, looking bored. i then went around the corner to warren street and shot from there the whole time.

i experimented with shooting at f8.0 instead of the usual f4.5. i used my telephoto lens the whole time, even though there were occasions when i wanted to switch to my 17-50mm f2.8 lens. despite all that sunlight, shooting at f8.0 forced me to set the ISO to 400 in order to get a fast enough shutter speed (i was shooting aperture priority). the downside is the photos are a bit grainy. the f8.0 shots were no clearer than the f4.5 so i think i'll go back to my usual mode.

i ended up not taking very many photos, 732 in all. all that stressing over not having enough memory cards was totally unnecessary. maybe i've grown jaded with the carnival parade, or perhaps i hyped it up so much in my mind, that the reality didn't live up to the expectation. now i think the best parade is the annual mermaid parade on coney island, for sheer imagination and eye candy spectacle. you see a woman in a feathered carnival costume a few times, and it gets sort of old.

with the parade nearly over, i started making my way back to jackson square. there were street vendors selling food. i don't think they were licensed, just local folks with a barbecue grill looking to make a few bucks. i bought a sausage for the obscene amount of $7. i was so hungry and tired by that point (almost 3 hours spent underneath the hot sun) i didn't care and sat down on the curb and quickly ate my lunch. i got to the station and took the subway back to cambridge.

i got off at harvard square so i could pay a visit to the community garden before going home. i found one more red tomato, the most perfect one thus far. it's weird, but after i cut back some of the morning glory vines a few days ago, some of the newly-exposed tomato leaves have turned yellow and spotted. it's almost like the morning glories were somehow keeping the tomato plants green. also, i haven't seen one tomatillo yet. this was supposed to be the year of the tomatillo ever since i planted two plants instead of one so they could cross-pollinate. i'll have to check again to make sure, since tomato fruits stay green so they'd be camouflaged.

strangest thing happened last night: i woke up around 3:30am after hearing sounds in the kitchen, like maybe somebody had gotten into the house. with the lights still off, i trained my vision to see if i could spot any motion. after a few minutes of walking around the house in the dark, looking for the mysterious intruder, i finally opened the lights for a more careful inspection. nothing. but the weirdest thing was i could still hear it. so then i thought maybe some animal had gotten into the house, maybe the basement. but the sounds were definitely inside the house, and more precisely, in the kitchen. i opened the cabinets, looked behind the plates, checked for holes, but didn't see anything unusual. i thought maybe it was something outside but didn't see anything out the window (besides, the motion-sensor light would've turned on if there was). so i went back to bed, but then i heard the sounds again. that was the last time. but it got me thinking: maybe the house is haunted? being a devote atheist, i don't believe in souls, much less ghosts. however, i do admit there are weird things in the world that can't be explained by science. and the strange noises in my kitchen late at night is one of them.