21st Annual
Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest
First Place, Portraits


By Paige K. Parsons

About Paige K. Parsons

Click on photo for larger image.

When the confetti cannons went off at a Flaming Lips rock concert, and lead singer Wayne Coyne broke intoa huge open-mouthed smile, photographer Paige K. Parsons figured she had a pretty good shot. She fired off her camera as Coyne ran around the stage of Bimbo's 365 Club in San Francisco holding a big homemade party popper. Parsons felt good ("I figured I must have something good in that little burst") and felt even better when she finally saw the prize-winning image. Since then, she has loved hearing from people who were at the same February gig.

"For them, it really sums up the evening," she said. Parsons balances her Palo Alto home life with the lively existence of a concert photographer, which she especially likes because it often lets her hang out with her kids in the afternoons before going out to work. The post-production can be done at home, and that takes up a lot more time.

Recently, Parsons spent 10 hours a day for three days shooting at the Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival in San Francisco. "I have about 8,000 or 9,000 images to go through now," she said. "The actual photographing is just the beginning." Working in Adobe Lightroom, which she uses for nearly all of her photos, Parsons edits judiciously -- "nothing terribly special," she said. With "Wayne," she focused on the light balance because the venue had been so dark. Before that, she'd had to pick the best image in a night's work: one shot out of a thousand.

Fortunately, this one stood out.

-- Rebecca Wallace 

Judge's Comment:

Paige Parsons' "We Are the Champions" feels like a moment in time that could have been recorded in the present day or 60 years ago. Three boys joyfully push their friend in a homemade wagon, the young driver fiercely focusing his gaze to the finish line while young onlookers stretch their necks for a better view of the fun. The composition, light and moment all work perfectly to capture an excellent slice of life that reflects the community and a playful spirit.

-- Veronica Weber

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