When photographing this event, be sure to bring a wide angle lens and prepare to be on the move. It's important to find a unique perspective in order to fully capture the colorful crowds and give context to their surroundings. Patience is key here, as the best shots are at the climax of the day: the meeting point. If you don't live in NYC don't worry, it's an international event: http://santacon.info/. Just remember, if you plan on joining in, make sure to bring a paper bag.
Phagwah- If you were to guess where this photograph was taken, would you say Richmond Hills, Queens? If so, you're right. Every year the small, ethnically diverse community gathers to celebrate their own Ghanese version of Holi (a predominantly Hindu celebration)--called Phagwah. What starts out as a relatively innocent cultural event transcends into a colorful and energetic spectacle on Liberty Avenue once a year. As the small floats, bands, and costumed celebrants finish their journey across the neighborhood, they wander into a local park. Here, an amazing visual spectacle occurs when a dye war of sorts breaks out. Pounds of dye are shot into the air and flung on to unsuspecting, strangers faces. The sky becomes thick with baby powder, yellow, red, green, orange, blue, and "special mixture" dyes (powders mixed with a liquid for easier use). The scene resembles that of a Jackson Pollock painting, where exposed skin or a lack of a certain color is like a red cape to a bull: it must be further "painted."
If you plan on photographing this event you need a lot of protection: for both you and your camera. Wear clothes that you don't mind getting ruined and make sure you properly cover your camera body (to protect it from the showers of wet, "special mixture" dyes). Stay on the lookout for unique portrait opportunities: preferably those dressed for the occasion in traditional clothing and people with the most colorful faces. When trying to frame the scene as a whole, hold the camera over your head so you can capture dyes in the air. Since this event tends to mirror action photography, put your camera on burst or continuous shooting mode and try to adjust your settings beforehand (or use automatic).
Pillow Fight- Although pillow fights are usually the purview of young kids, there's one day a year that everyone can get in on the action. After all, it's not often that you're allowed to swing pillows at strangers without consequences -- sometimes more than a thousand of them. Which is why this celebration is attracting more and more crowds every year. The one in New York City starts quietly, with a few more people than usual hanging out on park benches. And then, slowly, as one person jokingly hits another, more and more pillows are whipped out of their bags until an all out war is ensues.