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Sunburn, big boobs and sexy cops


Here they are, big boobs!
Yesterday Diane, her friend, Dolores, and I went to Coney Island with the Mid-CT Photography Meetup Group for the 30th annual Mermaid Festival. Sue Fenton was our hostess and did a marvelous job in organizing the meet up.

Having seen photos from the previous year's event I knew I did not want to miss thie event this year and I''m so happy I went. The event was threatened with bad weather in the days leading up to Saturday. With a nasty thunderstorm just the night before. As it turned out, the day was clear and the sun was out. In full force. Not the greatest for a photographer as it makes for some very contrasty images. Not to mention the burned skin.

But the best thing about the event wasn't the crazy costumed participants, the sexy cop (I'll tell you about him later) or the throng of people. It was Massimo, Sanjeev, Marla, Sue and all the other members who came out to share in all that craziness.

Can  you say, Nat Geo Wild?
The reason I mention this is because one of the things I really noticed were the rather large number of photographers that were at the festival. I'm not talking about your common parade goer who has his cell phone or her little pocket camera. They were there in droves too. I'm talking about people with serious equipment. The kind of person you look at and say, "he's a pro."

You can also tell who was there to 'work' the parade because they were roaming free on the parade side of the barricade, getting in everyone's way. At one point a photographer came up close to our group and we noticed his shooting vest had the prestigious National Geographic logo embroidered on the front. Not that it means he was shooting for NG, but he was sporting it.

I watched these guys and gals (quite a few female photographers were out there) roaming up and down the parade route, the sun blazing down on them, rushing to get their shot with their expensive lenses. In the meantime I'm on the sidelines cracking jokes with Marla, getting Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs with Kathy, spending time with everyone and having a really great time, despite the heat. I can't say the same for the photogs in the street. But then, they're probably getting paid too. All I know is I got some of the same shots they did.

Body painting in progress
One of the disclaimers posted online on several web sites is a warning about the rather risque nature of some of the participants. Partial nudity is a common theme, after all, the festival has it roots in burlesque. So needless to say, where ever there were scantly clad women there was a circle of male photographers around them. I have pictures to prove it too. Er, yeah, for journalistic purposes only... really.

I don't know what I enjoyed most, the sight of all the photographers gathered to photograph naked people or the comments from the bystanders about the naked people. Either case, it made for some fun observations.

So I promised to tell you about the sexy cop.

Mr. Sexy Cop, officer Perez
Diane and Dolores, being non-photographers, volunteered to sit with the chairs and hold our parade side seats while those of us with cameras wandered around taking pictures. Many thanks to Diane and Dolores for that. While they waited for the start of the parade they were chatting with several police officers hanging out in the shade with them, including a very handsome young man in uniform that made all the ladies go ga-ga.

Once the parade started that's when the fun really started. Before long I realized all the female photographers from our group were aiming their lenses up the street instead of down the street where the parade was coming in from. I turned to look and that's when I noticed Mr. Sexy Cop standing in the middle of the street looking like he stepped out of a police man's fund raiser calendar. Well, he was rather photogenic so I took some shots too.

Were we always together as a group? I did my own thing, walking through the staging area, grabbing shots of anyone willing to pose, and most were. Ask Diane about her run in with a couple of photographers. She is now in someone's photo collection. Others did their own thing too but then we'd run into each other, share info, make suggestions and spend time together shooting then move on to something else. Those interactions are what really made the event for me.

By five o'clock I was beat and fairly sunburned, Diane was tired and so was Dolores. We ended up leaving soon after for a quick bite to eat and then home. Diane and I crashed and were asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows where I dreamed of boobs and Diane dreamed of Mr. Sexy Cop.

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