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December 14, 2009

Good Evening Coming
Monday. Good, the sky is clear and the sun is coming up as I write. They're saying more rain coming, all of which we can use, but today is supposed to be sunny, reaching the mid-fifties, and I am ready for the opportunity to get outside, take my walk and shoot some pictures. How upbeat and icky does that strike you? Really?

I managed a run to the grocery store last night, picked up some cheese, crackers and sake (along with ten small boxes of spaghetti they had on sale at a dollar a box, what was I thinking?), came home and ate the cheese, drank the sake and went to bed quite early. Enough sake, evidently, to get me blitzed while still keeping it to three over the course of the evening, so this morning I'm clear headed and feeling just fine. My, my.

A good start to a week, although I'm realizing I'm heading up to Portland next Monday and next Monday is coming, coming, coming. What to buy in preparation? I'm used to sending the nephew a card with come money inside, another card or two to friends who still send them to old curmudgeons like me. Being with my sister's family for Christmas probably requires more. I'll have to turn that over a few times and come to some decisions, I think, with just a week.

Later. A walk down to the post office to drop off some mail I forgot to take this morning and dump in the street mail box just outside my breakfast place, a photograph or two along the way passing what is, I guess, a carbonation truck delivering CO2 to bars and restaurants with soda fountains. My, my. Global warming on wheels. I wonder how long Coca Cola will keep their logo in place? I suspect that will be a sign people are taking this warming thing more seriously when Coca Cola decides it's better to take a lower profile, at least on the streets. But I digress.

Another photo or two with the sun behind the clouds. I liked this Menorah a group (Chabad of Oakland) has put up across from the Grand Lake theater, joining in the holiday cacophony. A number of the (energy efficient) light bulbs have been stolen from the Menorah, but I'm in a holiday mood: assume they're providing light to small children in a dark apartment. They're certainly not providing any warmth. Well, wait a minute, let me check this pig's tail light I have beside me here at the computer. It's warm. Just not as warm as an incandescent. But then that's the idea, isn't it. And if there's a price to be paid for the chicanery here, the Old Testament God (with whom, you learn from reading the scriptures, you fool around with at your peril) may well take care of it.

Later still. An obituary in the New York Times today, a southern California photographer named Larry Sultan (dead of cancer at the age of 63, three years younger than I - gotta stop reading these things, even for photographers who's work I've admired), in which his father is quoted, commenting on a picture of him sitting on a bed with a vacant stare on his face: “Any time you show that picture you tell people that that's not me sitting on the bed looking all dressed up and nowhere to go, depressed. That's you sitting on the bed, and I am happy to help you with the project, but let's get things straight here.”.

And that's the essence of it. The photographer is searching out images from his own psyche - creatures of the Id, if you like - and the model is just that, whether a found expression on a person passing on the street or a created expression (caught) in the studio. It may or may not be an expression of the person being photographed with a particular look on his or her face; mostly, I would imagine, it's not, but is the expression of the photographer who pulled the trigger and he or she should be the one to get the blame. An understanding of this would make a street photographer's life easier in some respects, I would guess, but harder, perhaps, in others. But that leads us to other places on this never ending descent into gibberish.

A bus ride downtown to sit out at the City Center and drink an exotic cup of Starbucks' something or other (I had trouble pronouncing the name), for some reason noticing the large number of private security people spread throughout the (light) crowd, why so many security people? Enough empty chairs and tables available for a photographer to sit and watch the people, though, taking one or two pictures.

Walking back along Broadway, the head feeling like I seem to remember a head feels with a head cold, no sign of vertigo, no rats scratching away in the distance, but a certain barrier to your surroundings. You hope this doesn't get worse with age, the product of an operation gone wrong is still my guess, not something to get worse, not something that has gotten worse, really, but seems to have remained much the same for years. Years. If my memory is right. Dear oh dear. Still, a photograph or two of places and people, who knows why I took them, who knows if they're worth printing, let alone taking. Which I choose to take as a good sign. Best to be experimenting, making errors, getting the head in shape to recognize whatever it is again with more clarity the next time, getting it right, whatever “it” or “right” might be. Deedle-dee-dee.

We are drifting.

We are indeed. A bus back to the apartment, another picture of the same old tree, the sky becoming more overcast as the afternoon progresses. A good walk, a good afternoon, no reason to think there won't be a good evening coming.

The photograph was taken at Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall with a Nikon D3 mounted with an 85mm f 1.4 Nikkor D lens at f 5.6 at 1/1250th second, ISO 200.