Brighton, Pride weekend and some of the most extrovert people on the planet were putting on a show. It was an opportunity too good to miss. Not having been to a Pride event previously, I went with a group organised by the Royal Photographic Society. That was definitely a good move. The parade started at 11:00, but it is worthwhile to arrive earlier as it is possible to walk around the assembly area on the seafront. There are a lot of people crowding the parade route and it is far easier to get shots beforehand.
Anticipating that it would be busy, my plan was to use my Fuji X-E2 and 56 f/1.2 lens, a combination I have previously used for street photography. The theory was that I would shoot at around f/2 to throw any distractions in the background out of focus. Unfortunately, theory did not translate into practice for a couple of reasons. The event took place in the middle of a heatwave and conditions were very bright. The mechanical shutter on the X-E2 has a fastest speed of 1/4000 sec. Combined with a minimum ISO of 200, as the sun climbeed ver higher in the sky, I soon found that the camera was over exposing by around a stop. It was only afterwards that I realised that I could have switched to the camera’s electronic shutter which to goes to 1/32,000 sec.
Trading a smaller aperture for focal length versatility, I switched to my 18-55 f/2.8 – f/4 XF lens and shot wide open. Fuji offers bundles which include this lens, but its capabilities are far beyond those normally found in kits. Mine remains on the camera for the majority of the time and it is my most used lens. There was another problem, though, the autofocus system. Most of the time it functioned well, but occasionally either it would not focus or took a second or so which meant that I missed some shots. I suspect that the issue was that I had set the camera to use the central focus points and face AF. The autofocus system in the older Fuji cameras can struggle and I suspect that I was occasionally asking too much of it.
Most of the other people in the group were using DSLRs and this might have been a better choice. The people in the parade are far from camera shy, so a discrete set-up is not necessary. Indeed, the participants will put on a pose as soon as they see a camera pointed in their direction. On the other hand, there were occasions when I would have preferred a less formal stance.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable day. There was a lot going on both as part of the parade and away from it. Rather than write a lot of words, the pictures tell their own story. My thanks go to Judy and David from the RPS London Region for organising the day.
Some more pictures