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The Sole Prop's Sister?
Pigeons in Oakland near the Grand Lake Theater

Under here.

August 19, 2007

Took Up Residence
Sunday. Maybe it's a bit like writer's block, this “what do I do now that I'm retired” business. Maybe all of the things I thought I'd probably want to do more of when I retire are things I need to change instead. Not eliminate, but change. How many years have I been shooting pictures at festivals and fairs to the exclusion of most everything else? Could be I need to expand my horizons. Still do the festivals and fairs, most of them are held in the summer and I really do like the pictures I'm getting, but now that I have time perhaps I should be driving to this place or that place, attending this event or that event, wherever this or that may be; perhaps this would be a better approach. My sixty days of white noise - no decisions, no tasks, no stress - are drawing to a close and I'm thinking, well, if the stuff I was expecting isn't coming up on the screen, maybe I'd better clean my glasses and look for the stuff that is coming up on the screen with a different set of eyes.

You're nuts.

And that's not a good sign? When shifting gears you make some noise, in changing habits you generate a little craziness while making the transition. Then again there's what's happening right here and right now: got up later than usual, read the Sunday paper in bed, a walk down in the late morning for coffee and a bagel after buying a copy of the Saturday New York Times to read over breakfast (thinner and easier to get through than the Sunday paper, having already read The Chronicle); a slow walk back sitting for a while in one of the rather nice chairs provided across from the Grand Lake Theater where they hold the farmer's market to watch the pigeons, the pigeons focused on finding scraps left by the farmer's market and anyone or anything else that might shed edible crumbs. Life is simpler, albeit much shorter, in the pigeon universe.

I've read about this, of course: you get older, you sit out in the sun (today wearing my “evil doer” sunglasses and made in Ecuador white Panama hat) and you, um, watch the world pass you by. Not that this will define the central character of this next chapter I'm looking to find except I assume it has its place.

I'm looking for a hint of whatever it is, something that tags me at the corner of my eye, something you have to watch for carefully since it doesn't come wrapped in a marketing campaign with an ad budget. It leads you to where you need to go. One of the disadvantages of finding it in your “comfortable been here forever” surroundings is you become too complacent. You've seen it all before: the pigeons, the traffic, the theater with its one of a kind political marquee.

In a new place your senses are sharper, you're looking at the world as if for the first time, your animal brain keeping you on your toes lest the next street be a place where saber toothed tigers live. Oakland was full of saber tooths when I lived in Napa. Haven't seen a single one since I took up residence. Well, certainly not more than one and besides, I believe she lives in Berkeley.

The photographs were taken across from the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland today with a Nikon D2Xs mounted with a 18-200mm f 3.5 - 5.6 Nikkor VR lens at 1/400th second, f 5.6, ISO 100.