Chinese New Year!
It was a crazy parade running through the streets of San Francisco.
Before it all started, I met up with my good friend Jason who was one of the legs of the parade's main dragon. I asked him how he got involved with this, turns out he was roommates with Thomas—one of the guys that'll hold the head.
Waiting for the night to come, we had a lot of time to get some cool shots with the dragon.
Hover over the photos for a caption.
The other various floats and smaller dragons were already out there making there way between the crowds. It was almost time for this dragon to take its place at the end as the parade's finale. I had some time to catch up and hang out with Jason, Kristen, and Jason's dad—Bruce. It was nice to see some familiar faces in the city.
…and they were off! Raising and lowering the poles, the dragon wiggled and zig-zagged its way up Market Street.
I ran ahead to catch up to the other dragons and floats. A couple of spots were set up with bleachers where sections of the parade would stop and perform—they were way to crowded to see anything.
There was one float in particular I wanted to get a selfie with—and there it was just up the street!
Yep, the Academy of Art had its own float in the parade…which seemed out of place considering everything else was very much centered around Chinese culture. It had some funky looking dancing roosters on it but I was feeling a strong sense of pride nonetheless.
Having taken my selfie, I focused my efforts on taking photos of Jason's dragon the rest of the way. I new of a spot that would make a good composition with interesting lighting (they were testing out these bright lights the night before and I got a cool shot in the previous blog post). I had to get to the other side of the gated parade line and the main dragon was coming up; Eventually I made my way around to the spot in front of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel:
Wherever it went, loud strings of firecrackers were popping in front of its path; Everyone was covering there ears almost wishing it would just pass by quicker.
In the end, the dragon left the streets to go back into its cave leaving a large firecracker finale at the entrance:
Back into the booth filled Chinatown streets was a group dinner for Jeff's dragon group. He invited me which was awesome. People were firing off their last few firecrackers and street fireworks as we made our way to a back alley up a narrow staircase and into a small workout room filled with Chinese dragon heads.
Apparently their culture loves to chew on straight up fat. Jason was telling my about the food they've forced him to try while Thomas was there salivating over the description. One guy there exclaimed, "soda and Chinese food, what a combination!" which was strangely a good mix. Anything is good though when you've been running around for the last few hours—or in their case—carrying a dragon through the streets.
Anyways, I had a good time with that crazy night and seeing Jason. Luckily had the weekend to wind down before I went back to school.