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Mermaids Out of the Water - It Is On!

- Updated on 6/1/2013 Please Read!

The Kickstarter program raised over $100,000 so the Mermaid Parade is offically on! Make your plans for June 22 to be at the parade. The only thing that can cancel this Meetup is the weather.

Also please be aware there is a $20 fee to enter the staging area this year. They raise it from last year.

- End of the 6/1/2013 Update

This has to be one of my favorite events to photograph in New York City. It is safe to save say the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island is the most popular event for most New Yorkers too!

- An Overview

Personally I think this fun event to photograph for many reasons. Many people marching in the parade will be wearing crazy color outfits, along with hair and makeup. On top of that there will be some that are wearing crazy looking outfits to the "extreme!" Another thing I like about the parade is the various ages of the marchers from babies to the old and every age in between. You will see groups of people that are marching as a theme and have spent months creating outfits and dancing routines. There will be families too marching along with people that have made marching in the Mermaid Parade a yearly tradition. Because of the popularity of the Mermaid Parade you will see plenty of pro photographers too shooting.

But most of all for me this event, the Mermaid Parade makes me work hard for the photographs I want to create. So I always feel good when I sitting on my computer reviewing the photographs I just shot at the Mermaid Parade and saying “Yeah!” when it all comes together for me.

- We Will Not Be at the Parade Route but The Staging Area

This Photo Safari will take place in the staging area where the Mermaid Parade marchers go to meet before the parade starts and it is location where the parade starts too. I feel this will give us the best opportunity to shoot photographs of most the parade marchers we see. If we were to shoot on the street we will have to stay at one spot on Surf Ave which is a big wide venue and limited to only those marchers that walk close by.

- My Personal Notes at the Staging Area for First Timers.

Below are my personal notes just shooting at the staging area for those who never attended. For those who have attended in prior years please feel free to add your own views at the end.

1 - There is an fee of $20 to enter the staging area. The staging area is closed off area. I think it is worth the money we will have to paid as it give us access to an area that is off limits to the general public for us to photograph in.

2 – The Meetup takes place in late June and that usually means hot and humid weather. I carry a liter of bottle water and find I will drink it all of it within a few hours. There are places to buy something to drink but you have to leave the staging area. Why waste time finding something to drink instead of shooting photographs? So I would strongly recommend carry water if we have hot weather. Because it is June wear sunscreen and/hat because you could get sunburn as there is no shade.

3 – There will be racy outfits that men and women will be wearing. Some women will be semi topless too. My style of photography is that I focus on subjects faces to tell my story. You can choose how you want to photograph them or even not photograph them at all. There is plenty of photo material to shoot like families, kids or fully dressed people in outfits. Just be ready for the shock if you never been to the Mermaid Parade. Just remember when posting your photographs to Meetup site please use some common sense.

4 – If you want to get the photograph of someone, feel free to ask them to pose for you if they are not in your direction. I would also add, have them turn into the sun and be lookout for shadows on their face that could be caused by the hat they could be wearing. Also be on the look of some pro doing something. Last year one pro had enclosed an alley added a background and had an assistant fetch marchers to pose for him in this area.

5 – Some photographers at the staging area will use flash as fill. I find I do not need fill flash if I can get them to turn into the light or shoot them in the shade. I did try using flash one year and slowed my style. It is up to you to decide to use flash or not.

6 – There will be some photographers that are shooting photographs to make money from parade marchers. Give them their space many of them are jerks! I say jerks because after they get their shot in, the photographer then has the person they just shot busy signing a model release form and you cannot get your shot or shots in. Photographers with class will let you get your photographs in too before they start with the model release.

One year I watch two of these jerk photographers almost come to blows because each one wanted to get their model releases sign first by the marcher they both just shot.

7 – Some of the marchers will start partying in the staging area waiting to be called to start marching. Good time to get some action photographs in or you last photographs in of them.

8 Forget about using a tripod in the staging area. There are too many people it will get damage and you have deal with crowds.

9 – When I am shooting, I see someone interesting to shoot but they are being photographed by many other photographers, I make a mental note and come back later like 5-10 minutes and maybe they are no photographers around now. It usually works. The staging area is about two city blocks long and we will be earlier to shoot so you will have the time to shoot many photographs as you want.

10 - Because the staging area is large, two blocks I walk up and down looking for subjects to photographs. This gives me the best chance to finding marchers that had finished get their outfits on and/or makeup on. I strongly suggest not staying in one spot be walk around and mingle among the crowds.

- Some Meetup Advice

Forget about staying as a group as the staging area is crowded, with marchers and photographers.

But will we will be in a contained area with only one entrance/exit, so we will be seeing each other. There will be no time to shot at the staging area and on the street when the parade starts. You can try but I will be in the staging area all the time

The Meetup ends when you want it to end.

- The Weather

They, the people that run the Mermaid Parade will not canceled because of rain, but I will cancel the Meetup because of rain.

- Important Website links

The Mermaid Parade website is

The Mermaid Parade FAQ is here

- Transportation

The trains N,Q,F,D all go to Coney Island. My train ride from Jackson Heights to Coney Island on the F train was one and half hours long. Not including the time to walk to the subway!  So make sure you give yourself enough time to get there on time and take note that you should be at the meetup location before 11:00 AM. I do leave on time at 11:00 AM we will be heading towards the staging area.

- The Meetup Location

The Meetup location is not far from the Subway station and five blocks away.

The Meetup Location is at the corner of Surf Ave and West 19th Street in front of the Brooklyn Dodgers Statue which is next to the MCU Park Stadium where the Brooklyn Cyclones play. I will be standing on the sidewalk in front of the statue holding a sign the will say "Safari Meetup"

- If You Get to the Meetup Location Late

If you are late please still go to Staging Area and start shooting.

- Contact Information

I will update a few days before the event letting you know what I will be wearing (Yes I wear some cloths) for those who have never have met me before. Also the day before the event I will email my cell# to contact me but it better to text message to contact me.

- The Price for this Meetup is $0

That right nothing for this Meetup! But there is $20 fee for us photographers to enter the staging area.

-Final Notes

Please check this meetup page a day before Mermaid Parade as I will add and changes or information that I feel you should know about.

Hope to see you all there and below is a link to the photographs 2012 Mermaid Parade Meetup. Enjoy!

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  • Andrew B.


    June 26, 2013

  • Ralph

    It was awesome. The group was kind of scattered but I'm glad I found out about the staging area. Definitely better than camping out on the parade route for three hours!

    June 23, 2013

  • Lisa Panzarino D.

    Bill, thanks for organizing this. It was my first time at the event and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. Your tips were great, now the fun is choosing among the 450 or so shots I took.

    June 23, 2013

  • Michael H.

    It was a great parade and the new route seems better than last time. During the exit of the prep area was better than the "official" photographers location. What was even better was on the boardwalk near the end. Good light and fewer people. The official area opposite the reviewing stand was a disaster. Fortunately I figured it out fairly quickly and moved to the locations mentioned above. The light was behind them, when the approached the stand they would look at the stand and away from the photographers (obviously) and there was a arge number of uncontrolled photographers in the street getting in everyone way.

    June 23, 2013

    • Michael H.

      Meant to say "During the parade, the exit of the prep area was better than the official location"

      June 23, 2013

    • Sandra F.

      I and several others could not find the viewing stand for photographers. We were just told to go to another street. Sounds like a missed the good shots at the end of the parade as I had to leave by 3. Thanks Bill for photo tips you gave in staging area when we met,

      June 23, 2013

  • Peter T.

    I got there and could not find a parking spot!
    I circled for almost an hour before finding a spot just before the entrance to the BELT towards the East direction which helped when I left. Sorry I could not find the group, hope all went well for you.

    June 22, 2013

  • Jen

    Sorry I missed meeting the group at the original meeting point. Bill thank you for the tips you posted they were very helpful.

    June 22, 2013

  • Stacey Newman W.

    Really a lot of fun! Thanks Bill for letting us know the tip about the staging area. And the photo press area too

    June 22, 2013

  • iz

    As usual, Bill did a great job organizing the meetup. Although I left just before the start of the parade, I was able to get several good shots pre-event. Thank you Bill.

    June 22, 2013

  • Chris T.

    Had a great day with the group!! Thanks Bill

    June 22, 2013

  • diane w.


    June 22, 2013

  • Andrew B.


    June 20, 2013

  • Ram

    Sorry, won't be able to make it for this event due to work :(

    June 20, 2013

  • Samir

    If I'm planning to use a prime lens, what focal length would be advisable? 30mm, 85mm or a[masked]mm zoom?

    June 20, 2013

  • Robert St. G.

    my nieces are in town,unexpected, I will have to help entertain them. Thanks and enjoy, I will view the photos instead.

    June 18, 2013

  • lorraine

    i am going to say no but its really a maybe. going to try my best.

    June 17, 2013

  • Bill H.

    Will be attending with another group.

    June 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be in Chicago :(

    June 16, 2013

  • Andrew B.

    i will be there.........amb

    June 13, 2013

  • Stephanie C.

    Would LOVE to go this but, alas, I will be out of town. Next time...enjoy!

    June 13, 2013

  • iz

    YsaaaaY!!! so glad it's going to happen!

    June 1, 2013

  • Robert St. G.

    not sure if I will be bringing anyguests yet.

    April 12, 2013

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