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Monday, March 6, 2017

••◊ Tiffen 4 Point Star Filter and Mardi Gras

Last Tuesday I was given an opportunity to be a photographer for San Diego's annual Mardi Gras celebration in the Gaslamp Quarter.  I had an all access press pass from Henry's Pub thanks to DJ Yodah, which meant I could go just about anywhere I wanted.  Woo hoo!  ...and double woo hoo for samba dancers!  Normally I'm not much of an event photographer, and not even set up as such anymore.  I only have my little Fuji X-E2S, which struggles to keep up without a flash and with just the 18-55 kit lens.  Most of my photos were ruined by not having the right equipment, but I made the best of what I had. 

Given that this was going to be a party I opted to buy a small toy ahead of time; a Tiffen 4 point star filter.  I wanted to try one of these filters out for a while and I found this filter used on Amazon for $18 + shipping.  Lucky for me, it arrived just the day before the event.  I wouldn't recommend this filter for a wedding or corporate event, but it's a fun way to add some pizazz to concert or party events - definitely suitable for Mardi Gras.  You just have to accept that sometimes the filter is going to be appropriate and sometimes it's going to be completely overbearing.  This was Mardi Gras with three DJ's, so there was no such thing as over the top.

First, meet the DJ stage build crew...  That's Joshua on the far right.  He's the crew foreman and travels around with the DJ stages to various events.  If the stages look like something from Burning Man, that's because they are.  I even noticed Burning Man bumper stickers on the back of the stage.  Cassandra is on the far left.  She's one of the build crew and even took up dancing on one of the stages during the evening.

This is the stage that Joshua and crew brought to Henry's that evening - a giant neon moth with a DJ stage on top!

The crew also brought the "Candy Mountain" stage, which came with it's own motto: "Unicorning So Hard."  I still don't get it, but hey...it's from Burning Man and I don't do drugs.  The star filter was in full effect here.

Wolf Alexander, Christopher London, DJ Kurty, and Antonio (DJ Yodah) had people dancing outside Henry's all night.  I was grateful that I remembered to bring ear plugs!  I had to be very patient when taking these photos since I could only photograph people when they stopped moving.  I was really missing a high ISO camera, a fast prime lens, and a good flash.  I still think it worked out OK for the most part.

Mardi Gras would be a complete bust without samba dancers.  The star filter really helped them sparkle - literally!  Some of the headlights really over powered the filter, which may or may not have worked; depending on your opinion.

The star filter is a fun toy, but definitely not for everyday use.  Someday I hope to use it on a music video or commercial.

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