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Royals Celebration


Kansas City officials estimated the Royals Parade and Rally crowd at 800,000. That is the largest gathering EVER in the history in the entire state of Missouri. The likeness was struck from the roof of Union Station. I photographed the restoration of the station on a volunteer basis, beginning in 1994 and ending in 1999, and have continued to shoot various significant events. The World Series Celebration parade and rally was one such event. On this day, November 3, 2015, when I arrived at the station I immediately wanted to go the roof to get a better view of the jaw-dropping assemblage. As I stepped out on the walkway around the roof I was stopped by the fire marshall who said, with emphasis “You can’t be up here!” There were pyrotechnic experts who had fireworks igniters in place that were to be ignited shortly. I pleaded with the fire marshall and was aided by Union Station personnel in my appeal, so the fire marshall relented, but added: “You have five minutes!” The wall around the top of the roof is 12’ high. We only had an 8’ ladder and no time to scout for another one. So we braced the bottom end against the A/C unit box and the top end against the 12’ wall. My assistant stood on the bottom rung to keep me from going over the side. As I crawled up the nearly horizontal ladder and looked over the edge, I witnessed a scene that I had never viewed before and probably never will again: The mall between the station and Liberty Memorial was completely filled with bodies mostly dressed in blue. Not a blade of grass was visible, except for the foreground area which was off-limits to the general public. I am sure I uttered a profound profanity of discovery, something like “Holy.....(Cow).” By now I am white-knuckle clutching the ladder and edge of the wall with one hand and holding the camera with the other. I instantly realized that even with my wide-angle lens I would need to create a panoramic shot. The view was just too vast. I had never done a pano with one hand. A steady grip and a level horizon are crucial. Somehow I was able to keep the camera level, make two passes of four exposures each, scramble down the ladder and leave the pyrotechnics and fire marshall in peace. I had recorded what was literally a once in a lifetime moment of history.

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