Two Little Gunslingers, San Juan Capistrano, March 2009 photography copyright of Douglas Stockdale
Sometimes it seems that when I start thinking about taking photographs, I start thinking about them in the context of creating a series. Which was the case today at the annual San Juan Capistrano Swallows Day Parade. This was the second year that we attended, as my granddaughter/son-in-law are in the parade with the Indian Princesses and their famous spinning canoes. And this is one of the largest non-motorized parades in the U.S., don’t ya know? (Also means lots of horses and the stuff they sometime leave behind).
So this year, I have been writing notes as to what the parade symbolizes to me and others. So it was a series of thoughts; fun, festive, holiday, party, celebration, cowboys and horses, excitement. I thought, is there a Robert Frank moment here? Well, not for me. And I started thinking about how I felt at parades like this while I was growing up. So with all that in mind, I just started taking photographs.
At some point, these two little “gunslingers” moved forward to the edge of the parade to the side of me. So I stepped back and behind them and then dropped down to frame them with the horse riders. I just knew that I had to compose this from their perspective. To try to incorporate their awe of seeing cowboys ridng real horses.
Initially I created this photograph in color, but the color of riders clothing in the background was too distracting. Thus I went to a black & white adjustment layer to tweak the relative contrast and tonal seperations, and then added a hue/saturation adjustment layer to provide a slightly warm tone.
I think I had a two-gun rig at this same age, I can now remember the white pearl handles along with a fresh roll of caps, my cowboy boots, white cowboy hat and all of the other cowboy trimmings, including a western shirt with pearl covered snaps. My dad had tooled a western belt with I thought had real silver tips. Wonderful memories.
So the start of another series, which is to be continued next year, at the same place. Next year, I hoped to be a little better prepared as to what I want to accomplish.
Best regards, Doug