Just a bit busy sorting pictures and driving back from Mobile. Hope to have some new pictures ready to go and posts very shortly.

Dreams of Dragons_x50.jpg

Since this was the kids first Mardi Gras, we wanted to make sure that they understood that they might not get something huge, and big at the parades, even though they would see other people doing so. The theory being to prevent the disappointments from spoiling the fun, be happy with what you get, etc…

Boy, we were wrong. For her first parade, she walks away with a HUGE Dora doll, about as big as her. For the Mystics of Time, she manages THIS large PINK Stuffed DRAGON. How does this happen???? We show up for a parade with fire breathing Dragons, and she gets one of her own? and in PINK, her favorite color? When I say that the bar is raised, I mean stratospheric.

To the kind soul on the float that sent this her way, I can’t thank you enough. These kids drove from Franklin to Mobile on the day of the Parade, and had an awesome time. Completely worn out. And as you can see from the picture, she picked up a new lovie. The Bear that has accompanied her everywhere, well, he’s still there, but you see what her arm is wrapped around.

Now, I’m a sucker for pictures of my kids, and we try not to do pictures highlighting them. But frankly, what she is dreaming about, simply IS Mardi Gras.

Mystics of Time Smiles_x50.jpg

This picture is, without a doubt, one of my favorites of the closeups that I took during the parades. There isn’t a lot that I can really add to this photo, except that I wished the guy in the right corner was slightly better lighted. Masks or no, you can see the enjoyment in the faces. We saw this everywhere, and I have lots of pictures to evidence that. But I keep coming back to this one.

I assure you, the smiles on my families faces met or exceeded these, but it’s still awesome to see.

No picture right now. We are in the process of packing everything up, and will be heading down to Mobile again in a few hours to our Second Mardi Gras. It should be a bit different this year, especially since Mobile is apparently getting a few inches of SNOW at the moment.

Last year was a bit chilly. This year seems like it might just be COLD.

Hopefully, we will have some new pictures from the event. If I can get them processed and printed up, we’ll consider rotating a few of them into the exhibition. I’ll still put any that we rotate through up here, and once I have everything posted, I’ll load them into the main gallery in a bit larger size.

Having said that, however, if you are reading this, chances are, you’ve already seen the prints. If you haven’t, and any of the posts here look interesting, I can’t stress enough that you need to see the prints. The web is a great communications mechanism, but these pictures look much better printed big, in frames and matting. A browser doesn’t do justice.

I will try to preload some posts so the blog is continuously updated, but there is a LOT to do, and we are running thin on the time…

Greg Nicholson

Feb 12 2010

Mystic Dragons

greg | Exhibit | 0 Comments

Mystic Dragon_x50.jpg

So, after the Conde Cavalier parade, we didn’t need much persuasion to get the kids to come back to Mobile for more celebrations. But someone did mention Dragons around the little girl. That’s all it took. For the next 2 weeks, I believe that every prayer at night was simply “please let there be dragons.” Because she locked on, and wasn’t letting go.

We need not have worried. We have dragons, and they breath fire. Shortly after this, I’m pretty sure that she breathed oxygen again, after the screams. I’m fairly sure they were in joy. These were from the Mystics of Time, and to say she was excited, simply didn’t express it.

Oh, and this was just to BEGIN with.

Pharoh 20000 Leagues_x50.jpg

This is another float we saw first in the Conde parade.

Background: My daughter saw a discovery channel special on giant squid when she was 2. 2 days old that is. Ever since then, squid are the most awesome thing to her. We watched her drawing on scrap paper and thought it was meaningly scribbles, until we noticed it was the depth chart that showed the hunting behaviors of whales after the squid. We haven’t played that show to her in quite a while now….

So, you’ll note the beasty at the front of the float, and understand the reason this became a favorite. When it came through in the Conde parade, I didn’t get a good shot of the front, so when we noticed that the floats were repeating during the Pharoh’s, I made sure that I got a good picture.

Oh, and just because I’m shooting from the room with a tripod doesn’t actually make this any easier. I’m pretty stable holding my gear, but in these cases, I’ve got to get the shutter speed up just to make sure that the subject I’m shooting doesn’t blur out from it’s own movement. The floats might not be moving as fast as a F1 car, but the people on the floats aren’t standing still, and neither are the people on the sides of the street.

Pharoh Hogwarts_x50.jpg

A couple of things about this picture:

A> Our hotel was RIGHT on the parade route, and we overlooked Government Street. It ROCKED. We could watch the parades go by at street level for the beginning, and then head up to the room, and watch them again, from the comfort of the room. (which considering the number of people we squeezed into the room, wasn’t very comfortable).

B> The Societies reuse floats. It makes sense, but I never considered it. This is the Pharoh’s Mystic Society parade. That is the same Harry Potter float from the Conde Cavaliers.

Yes, I cheated. I setup a tripod in the room, mounted the big lens and just snapped using a remote release on the camera. But it does give a better view and understanding of the floats. It’s pretty hard to see what’s involved in one of those from the ground level. It’s also quite nice to see the rows of people lined up on the ground to see the parades.

Joe Cain Ring the Camera_x50.jpg

This one is a bit out of the time line, but hey, it’s also a bit late in the day. This is one picture (and probably the best defined) of people doing their best to hit the camera.

Some background: I’m 6 feet tall, and at the time, 200 pounds. I’m also standing on a step ladder, so let’s push that to 9′. So, in and of myself, I’m not exactly easy to miss.

Add to this, most of the time, I’ve got a 70-200 F2.8 L ISM lens mounted to a Canon 5D Mark II with the battery grip, and 580 flash on the top. It looks like a medium sized missile array launcher. Multiple frames, WITH the flash firing, means that just about every head in the parade swivel towards the second Sun that has suddenly appeared on the horizon.

So… I became quite the target. This gentleman was quite kind, as he simply tried to ring the lens. We had very large bags of beads hurled, and practically everything else. I think we ended up throwing some of our clothes away simply to fit the beads and throws we received into the van for the trip home.

The other point of this picture was that I burn a TON of flash memory during these parades. We are heading back down for Mardi Gras this year, and I’m considering bringing an additional terabyte drive or two for the weekend. So, it’s always fun when I find a shot like this during culling.. where you thought you got it, but weren’t quite sure, and then, you notice a well defined ring of beads heading straight down the muzzle of the camera.

Feb 08 2010


greg | Exhibit, Ganphoto | 0 Comments


This was taken while the last exhibition was underway. There is so much about this picture that I love, from the colors in the sky, to the patterns, to the silhouette. When I do an astrophotography exhibit, I’m using this picture as a backdrop to illustrate Jupiter’s atmosphere.

While most of the rest of the photos are from the Mobile, AL area, this was taken here in Franklin. It doesn’t technically fit the theme for this exhibition, but to me, it feels like it belongs.

Feb 07 2010

Mobile Church

greg | Exhibit, Ganphoto | 0 Comments


It’s a break from Mardi Gras, but only from the celebration part. The thumbnail doesn’t really do this justice. The morning sun reflecting off the golden dome of the church was a very nice awakening.

It’s also a nice reminder to me that Mardi Gras, while being absorbed into the mainstream culture, is still very much a religious event. One of the things that I found quite incredible, in New Orleans, was that the parties would go VERY hard, right up to 11:59 Tuesday night. But at Midnight, it stopped. Fat Tuesday was over, and Ash Wednesday began. Mardi Gras was over.

But it’s not Ash Wednesday yet, so we’ve got some more to do.

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