Notting Hill Carnival 2011

I generally go to the Notting Hill Carnival, but I have never been to the Sunday "Children's Day" before. This year, I went along and one thing I can take from it is that it is not worth going to when you could instead go to Adults day.

Children's day lacks a lot of the atmosphere that you find on the adults day. For me, there are two amazing things about the Notting Hill Carnival; firstly, there are incredible, outrageous outfits everywhere and secondly, there are guys selling Red Strip beer from buckets on every street corner. Neither of these things were true during the Children's day, most of the processions were people in t-shirts or kids, and on one occasion to get a "beer" (it was an American Budwiser, so Beer is being very very generous!) I had to go into a stall, down some steps and risk a Pulp Fiction moment.....

I was also amazed by the number of policemen and women around the place. I'd heard that after the riots the police presence was being ramped up, but I'd really not expected just how many would be around. Units of a dozen offices blocked of some streets, most side streets had a couple of people looking on. 

I'm not sure they were needed, but then how can you ever know if prevention is effective.

In terms of photography, this is pretty much the defining use of my walkabout lens, the 24-105mm. With huge crowds you want to minimize what you are carrying around and with the carnival's reputation for casual theft you always want to be sure you've got a close eye on your belongings. As such, I just bring the body and the lens and a little bag for them. Nothing else. It does mean you sometimes can't get as great a shot, but at least 80% of what you are looking for can be done within these ranges and you've immediately made your risk lower. Plus, its a lot simpler to carry a beer around as well.

Perhaps my favourite image of the day however was catching a shot of a pair of policemen guarding the doughnut shop....