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December 12, 2009

Starting Now
Saturday. I was walking between the Rotunda building and the building next door off Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland yesterday, when I saw this plaque affixed to the Rotunda building wall. You can see the sun lit wall in the distance beyond the lamp posts in the photograph above. How many times have I walked this way without seeing it? I wonder what its history might be? Local or national?

Slept in til seven this morning, raining, as it happens. I'd hoped to shoot the SantaCon mashup at the San Francisco Civic Center Plaza this noon, but I'm sure I'll crap out if this keeps up. Doesn't look good. Such is life. Back from breakfast - a waffle, mixed fruit, toast and coffee - the heater on full blast here at the apartment. My utility bill was thirty percent higher this month turning on the electric heater but the bill is so low anyway it doesn't really matter.

Ran some prints last night. Two of the cartridges ran out of ink in the big Epson printer, but (ah ha!), I'd bought three replacement ink cartridges in various colors in anticipation, only to discover one of the exhausted cartridge wasn't a color I'd ordered. OK, life in Epson Land, these things happen, get online and order replacements, the old photo printer will cover me for a few days. How many prints do I really make anyway? How often do I get the printer bug?

Who cares about any of this?

We old loners can become fixated on minor issues. Major, minor, it's all the same at some point. My clever little preparation in anticipating which of the nine cartridges this printer of mine needs came to naught last night. No big deal, I ordered the one I was missing plus another just in case and last night's major trauma was resolved. Life is good when running out of printer ink is your life's major trauma, let me tell you.

Later. Don't ask how, don't ask why, but it had been drizzling instead of raining as the time approached to leave, if I were going to leave, for SantaCon and somehow, some way, I found myself on BART headed for the city. People in Santa gear were in evidence on the bus, on BART, on the streets heading for City Center Plaza, rain evidently not much of a factor leading me to think, well, this thing is actually going to happen. Maybe there's some not altogether well known “dressing in red and acting out in public” obsessive-recessive gene floating about in the populace. Fine with me if it results in pictures.

And so I arrived ready to go fifteen minutes before it was to start, some fair number of people in Santa outfits about, along with Pixies and Elves and who knows what. So I shot pictures as it started raining. Raining harder. I had plastic bags for the cameras which are, after all, hot patootie water proofed professional models, so I wasn't all that worried about water as such (an exaggeration, I'm afraid, water is not your camera's best friend), but I figured, what the hell, I've come, I've taken one or two photographs, time now to go home now that it's cold and raining. Right? I'm good at “time to go home” when it's cold and raining. What I can figure out is how I came there in the rain in the first place.

It was interesting heading back as large numbers of people in Santa suits were streaming along the sidewalks, getting out of cabs and BART cars on their way to the event. Evidently their “start” time isn't all that serious. My guess is the kick people get out of SantaCon is in the parties held at various nearby watering holes after they've gathered. Only in San Francisco? Maybe. I don't get out enough to know.

Any pictures? I'd say one or two, but only one or two. I shoot these things from my candid portrait, street photographer's perspective. Were I shooting for a newspaper I'd shoot these things much differently as they want and need a little more drama than I'm looking for in my own work. More obvious drama, anyway. We overlap a bit in the fact we both like to photograph attractive women. Newspapers run photographs of attractive women (have you noticed?).

I got off BART thinking I'd have a cup of coffee at the Madrid Café while waiting for the bus, misjudging the arrival time (thinking weekday arrival time, rather than weekend arrival time) and so sat watching it suddenly arrive and then disappear into the distance, as the rain really started coming down. My, my. An idiot getting old, his brain going dumb. Then a break in the rain well before the next bus to arrive and a walk (got in the walk, today I'm thinking) on to the lake before catching the following bus for the last remaining blocks and now here I am home at the apartment. Gosh. A nap? Starting now?

The photograph was taken at the Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall in Oakland with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 135mm f 2.0 Nikkor DC lens at f 5 at 1/1000th second, ISO 200.