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Today at the pump

The Sole Prop's Sister?

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August 9, 2009

Starting Today
Sunday. We are back now from breakfast, feeling pretty good, seemingly recovered from yesterday's exertions; ready, I think, for the Pistahan festival later today in San Francisco. I'm never quite sure how I'll feel on any given tomorrow if I've been pushing the envelop the day before. That's not entirely true, I'm usually in pretty good shape if I'm in shape (we're talking a low level “shape” here, daily walking, nothing like the gym or pull ups in the morning), then again, yesterday was a long day, my journal entry a slow slog through “I did this, I did that”, so you can never quite tell, here in Dingle Dell, when you start predicting tomorrow.

I got an email from Land's End this morning, free shipping and two-fifty off each on the price of their t-shirts. Do I need t-shirts? Not after my recent order, a dozen to replenish those that had gotten too old, but I ordered six of them anyway (you had to order three for the discount and well, hell, three? six?, what's the difference?). I've cut back on my expenses - upgrading the computer an exception - and my Visa bills have been miniscule these last couple of months, but still. Point click and you're in business. I - sober I, hip I, can't be snowed I - seem to have been sucked down the rabbit hole. Of course I'll have a clean t-shirt when they nail me in my coffin, good if I weren't opting for ashes and an ocean.

Calm down.

Later. I managed to not quite find Yerba Buena Gardens right off, walking around a block in the wrong direction, but there it was, there I was and there was the Pistahan festival. I'd forgotten how nice the Yerba Buena Gardens are, right there in the middle of the high rise buildings around Moscone Center and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

I thought about taking in the Richard Avedon exhibit at SFMOMA after I'd finished, but I was tired and disoriented and decided the hell with it. I really would like to see it, maybe next week. (Why do I have such trouble remembering Avedon's name? I had to go over to one of the book cases where I keep my photography books to remember. I can recall it starts with an “A”, but no more. This has happened now a number of times. Failing memory or some kind of Avedon aversion? I do like his work, have no difficulty in describing him as one of the great practitioners of the art.)

Oh, and I managed to drop the D2Xs with the 17 - 55mm lens attached, breaking the lens and maybe screwing up the camera. It will go to the Nikon repair facility tomorrow. The first and last incident of this kind (please!). I'm hoping the repair costs are nowhere near the purchase cost of the damned things. I have backup equipment. I am a Nikon shooter who says he needs their professional level equipment. Suck it up and smile. This is where we see what is true. Rather like owning an expensive car. You own the car, but realize at some point you can't afford to have it break because you really can't afford to repair it.

You really concerned?

No, but the thought occurred. That, perhaps, is one of the disadvantages of keeping a journal: you write down thoughts that occur even though they're transient and not quite real. Here in Oakland.

So did I make any progress with the photographs this weekend? I didn't shoot very many, none of them really stand out, today was no more productive than yesterday but for one exception.


I'm very good at taking a certain kind of photograph in certain kinds of surroundings. Very good in the sense I like them and they've given me the impetus to continue to the point where breaking one today is just another blip on the line: it happens, you don't think about it, you fix it and keep on shooting. Today I experimented with using the camera I dropped later, the one without the telephoto lens, holding it on my lap and shooting it without looking, for example, (and not unsettling any subjects). Nothing exotic, nothing I haven't experimented with before, but another path, another direction.

Why the telephoto all the time? Why carry two cameras unless I'm doing it for money and I need the backup? Two cameras weigh more than you'd think. Take a camera with a lens, say the 50mm, small but very good, and try something different? The minute you stop making mistakes is the minute you stop learning, a “busy being born rather than busy dying” kind of a thing. Take some very bad pictures and look at them. Why did I take them? What's in there? Shoot the parades forming up with the long lens, no reason to stop, there aren't that many of them, but other days, those other days that make up most of my existence, well try for something more. Starting today. Starting tomorrow.

The photograph was taken at the Nihonmachi festival in San Francisco yesterday with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR lens at f 2.8 at 1/2000th second, ISO 200.