Lessons learned from the SF Lunar New Year Parade: 1. Don't choose a viewing spot just beyond the judges tent. 2. Don't choose a viewing spot near the end of the parade. The final block of the parade was just past the judging tent and was packed with a crowd 6-8 people deep, yet many of the parade performers took off their costumes/ stopped dancing/ ran out of tossable freebies/ looked exhausted/ walked really fast because the end was drawing near.
Some 500 of us craned our necks to see the performers give it their all in front of the judges, only to be disappointed to find their effort level was much decreased for us. I do applaud the Golden Dragon runners, who in their meandering path must have covered 5 times as much distance as performers that walked in a straight line down the streets.
I didn't exercise my media connection in photographing this event, though in hindsight I wish I had; I could've asked where the best viewing spots were, and perhaps gotten a media pass to not be bound to the sidewalk like everyone else. I'd assumed that everyone everywhere would have a great view and show, so I needn't go to the trouble. Oh well. I did my best, and realized that I was out of photographing-with-flash-at-night shape (it's been... almost 3/4 of a year since I had to do a flash heavy shoot?), and was quite unsatisfied with my photos in the end.
And, I sat on gum on the curb. And, don't EVER eat at The Pot Sticker in Chinatown. It's terrible. Even their pot stickers weren't very good. I should have noted that there were no Chinese people dining in there, and that there were only forks and plates; no chopsticks, nor bowls on plates. Just one of those nights.