The Carnival

Saturday night I went to watch the parade in the streets of Funchal. Carnival in Madeira isn’t as glamorous as it is in Brazil, but we sure know how to throw a party. I took my camera and I was excited about shooting the hundreds of participants dancing in all sorts of weird, colorful clothing. If only I knew how hard it was going to be…

The parade is gorgeous. The streets fill with a lot of color, with brazilian sounds and beats, also known as samba,  and everyone is celebrating (although I’m pretty sure most of the people don’t even know what this celebration means).

But what makes this event beautiful is exactly what makes it hard to capture in camera. First, the parade is held at night, so prepare to bump that ISO. Second, everyone is dancing so increase that shutter speed; and the burst mode also hepls. Third, there’s a lot of people with a lot of feathers on their heads and bodies – which focus point(s) should one choose? Fourth, there is all sorts of different lights and reflections that even in Lightroom it gets confusing which white balance settings are adequate. Fifth, it’s crowed so it becomes very hard to move a muscle. Sixth, a prime lens is not ideal when you can’t move, next time carry a zoom lens. Seventh, there were a couple of pro photographers around so the odds of looking like an idiot were quite big.

I took a lot of photos, more than I can remember ever taking in one single day. A great deal of them were blurry and another great deal was very dark. Needless to say the first photos were complete crap because I was trying to figure out which settings would work better. At a certain point I got very frustrated I said to myself “Forget this! I’m turning off the camera.” But I couldn’t do it and I kept shooting.

I wish you a happy Carnival!


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