|Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.|
|First Amendment to the US Constitution|
|And I went down to the demonstration to get my fair share of abuse, singin' "We're gonna vent our frustration..."|
|The Rolling Stones, "You Can't Always Get What You Want"|
My wife and I drove downtown in the little red Prius today to participate, in some small way, in the Occupy Orlando march down Orange Avenue to city hall. And while we were at it, to recapture a bit of our own youth and the protests and marches out of the 60's and 70's. The two of us made quite the pair, she in her wheelchair with a boot on her right foot and me pushing her along, gear hanging off of me consisting of an E-1, an E-3, and a small backpack with extra batteries and flash cards. My wife was carrying the E-P2. The plan was to use the E-1 and E-3 for stills and the E-P2 for video.
We Are The 99 - Occupy Orlando from William Beebe on Vimeo.
We parked downtown on Pine street, just west of Magnolia at 11 am. The downtown was pretty empty and we thought no-one was going to show up. We headed east on Pine, then north on Magnolia since we thought that might be faster than trying to head straight up Orange. As we got to Robinson we spotted a father and his young child headed towards Orange on Robinson, and so we followed him. A short distance later we caught up with them both and we struck up a nice conversation. Turns out that the father was there to participate in the march with his baby daughter for his baby daughter's future. Her name is Molly.
|Young Molly and her Dad, come to march (same sign, different messages)|
The leader of the march was a young dynamic man with a powerful voice to match. We'd walked up Orange, crossed Colonial, and was headed towards Lake Ivanhoe where the march was supposed to start. We first saw them just south of that at Mark's Street. Once they crossed to the south of Marks on Orange the march took on a real organization and energy, with plenty of slogans and chants. Their biggest chant was "We Are the 99!"
Once the marchers reached city hall they congregated on the steps and commenced to chant together, expressing their various ideas, frustrations, and possible hopes for solutions to the problems. Their messages might have been all over the map, but their driving motivation was pretty consistent; frustration with the current economic situation and how it's directly effecting them for the worse.
From my limited observation, there were around 1,000 or so participants, probably less.
If you want to see all the photos I uploaded, you can look here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wbeebe/tags/occupyorlando/
The Orlando Police are to be commended for behaving in an exemplary manner today. For all the time we were there (two hours) there wasn't a single incident between the marchers and the police we were aware of. The marchers were well organized, and had monitors along the route advising the marchers to stay on the sidewalk. It appeared that the marchers and the police were organized to good effect. This is in stark contrast to New Your, Washington D.C., Denver, San Diego and The Colosseum in Rome.
We've been far to passive for far to long in this country. The children of the 60's and 70's have grown obese and morally and ethically decadent. We've raided the future, our children's and grandchildren's future, to pay for the pleasures of the present, and now the bill has come due. I feel this with my own two girls as they struggle to find the kind of job they went to college for. While I can't speak for the nation as a whole, Florida, after 11 years of continuous Republican "leadership" starting with Jeb Bush up to the worst governor in recent history, Rick Scott, has left this state an economic shambles. Unfortunately, it's going to have to get worse than this before enough people are motivated to make it better. Voting convicted crooks like Rick Scott out of office is but the first step.
My wife and I have decided on a course of action for local participation and help. More about that as it unfolds for us.
The majority of the stills were taken with the E-1 and 12-60mm zoom. The E-3 was mounted with the EC-14 and the 50-200mm zoom. The video at the top was taken with the E-P2 and M.Zuiko 14-42mm kit lens.
While I was quite pleased with the E-1 and E-3, the final result of the E-P2 left a lot to be desired. When I played it raw on my notebook, it looked fairly good. But when I uploaded it to both Flickr and Vimeo the image quality took a hit, especially on Flickr. I need a crash course in video shooting and post-processing, primarily to reduce the size (the video at the top was nearly 400GiB SOOC) as well as cleaning up blown highlights and rolling shutter effects. I should probably invest in a video rig (SteadyCam and Zucato come to mind).