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Lake Oswego, Oregon

August 2nd, 2001

Manual Automatic
I shot pictures with the manual Nikon F3 today. Brought back memories. It might be useful for the kind of photographs I take in conditions where the light doesn't change very much and I wouldn't have to worry about setting exposure and then fumbling with the manual focus as the image disintegrated before my eyes. You want to get the image before it disintegrates before your eyes. Your editors prefer it. I myself prefer it.

The F5 can be set to take photographs in many ways: Aperture priority, shutter priority, manual priority, sorority priority in a pinch, and once set, you just point, frame and shoot. In a rough and tumble crowd this can be important as the light can change quickly and people's expressions can change in a snit. How many times have I shot a photograph after the photograph has turned tail and eloped with the photographer standing beside me, grinning like a slut as it disappeared into the distance, laughing? Inside a bar or a building, where the lighting is constant and the smaller size of the F3 might be less intrusive, it could make sense. It could.

My thought is by using the F3 and forcing myself to go through the thinking and fumbling required to bring in a good picture, this might make me see what I'm doing with the larger Nikons in better perspective. Clean up my act. (We're still justifying the purchase of the F3 here, you understand.) It's easy to get lazy. The overexposures I've been seeing with the black and white. Is it happening to the same degree with both camera bodies? I think so, but I don't know so for sure. In looking at the negatives of the family party and the trip to Portland and Seattle, I see that most of them came out, but some could have been better if I'd made some necessary adjustments. OK. I'm testing over the weekend. Should have done this years ago. Should have done this at the age of three. By ten I'd have won the Pulitzer. By twelve I'd have gotten laid.

I have a color photograph of the Hummingbird that I'll run later. My sister and brother in law Bainbridge Island, Washington have been working to attract a Hummingbird to their feeder for some time. When they lived in Napa, they had a Hummingbird who decided that their feeder belonged to him alone and he'd dive bomb other Hummingbirds that might drop by for a quick drink, not to mention bees and bats and anything else that could fly. He'd perch up on a nearby telephone poll ready to defend "his" sugar mine. They mentioned that in Oregon they have to be careful and ween any feeding Hummingbirds off their sugar fix so they'd get hungry and go south for the winter. You keep feeding them and they'll stick around until one night it gets too cold and they catch Hummingbird fever and die. I assume I don't have to worry about that here in Oakland, but I'll check before I put my own feeder out back on the balcony (With hidden radio controlled strobe lights cleverly clamped beside it and a tripod mounted camera inside with a telephoto lens and some sort of eclectic electric mechanism to trigger the shutter. I say that with a wink, but, you know, who knows? It could happen.)

Mr. Wuss seems to be happy to see me home. He's lying across my legs here in the chair staring at the floor. He has not pissed once on my pants. He may have leaked a little on the bedspread while I was gone, I'm not sure, but what the hell, throw the stuff in the washer and add something for the smell. This is America. There's a solution for everything.

Ten o'clock now and tired. Sleep. Shoot pictures. Tomorrow.

The banner photograph was taken in my sister's back yard in Lake Oswego, a suburb of Portland. The second photo is of my cousin John's daughter, who, she tells me, reads this journal. The quote is from The Zen Koan, by Miura and Sasaki.