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San Francisco 2008 Chinese New Year Parade

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February 22, 2008

In Five Years
Saturday. It was raining, although lightly, when I tried the commercial rain gear on one of the Nikons and thought, although it worked, it really looked ridiculous and not a little awkward so I got out some Scotch tape and fashioned something from a plastic bag. You can do many things with a plastic bag. Everything, it seems, a young man might want. So, did I drive to downtown Oakland, park and take BART to San Francisco? From the picture up top (and the picture behind the logo) I would have to say yes, although it was a compromise of sorts. A good compromise of sorts.

I was thinking the parade started at five when it actually starts at six, so the streets were rainy and empty with small knots of people in costume preparing for their part in the parade in protected spots beside buildings. I believe I've done this in the past: arriving an hour earlier than anyone should. Still, I wanted a picture and I got a picture and I'm feeling just fine. Next time I'll arrive on time and take more than the few photographs I took this afternoon.

So, Saturday night, the rain coming down harder now in the last of the day's light, the head-sinus thing feeling pretty good as I've taken the little pills they've prescribed (do you suppose I should be better about taking them as often as they suggest?), the adventure into the city leaving me in an excellent mood.

Aren't you always in an excellent mood?

Self, with you around, how could I not?

A little esoteric, but with the rain and the need to protect the cameras (these are professional cameras and as such are extensively waterproofed; still, heavy rain is heavy rain) I realized not only that I should take just one, but one was all I really needed as I'd still get photographs I wanted. A clear day, sure, take two, one with a normal range zoom, one with a telephoto zoom, but really, without one or the other together, I could still have a good session wherever I might shoot. I left the big 70 - 200mm f 2.8 zoom because it was big and somewhat cumbersome and brought the 17 - 55mm figuring what's the problem? If I needed to get closer for the shot, I'd get closer for the shot.

This means half (or more) of my equipment could be junked (sold on eBay) without affecting my photographs in any significant way since I now know what I want to photograph and what sort of equipment is required. That may change, but I suspect any changes that may come wouldn't affect the equipment very much. Maybe I should sell it all and get a pair of old Leica rangefinders with maybe three lenses between them, shoot film and take on “fine art” photographer airs. For whatever the professional level of the photographer, for whatever equipment they may use (because that's the best equipment for their particular needs), Leica carries the weight of Cartier-Bresson and all of the original Twentieth Centure street and news photographers of note. Still, film. I like digital and I've never used, let alone owned, a Leica. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next month.

A Moment Later. Oh, dear. Dear, oh, dear. The Nikon D3, a new camera from Nikon that's had the Nikon world's shorts all up in a twist; a camera that, when you (or at least I), have gone to B & H's web site to check it out to see if it was available, have always received the response that not only was it out of stock, but they wouldn't even put me on the email list of people to be notified when it came in stock because the demand was so high they were swamped; that camera? Well, I went to the B & H web site just now for the hell of it (as I often do).

B & H is owned and operated by a group of conservative and observant Jews and they don't take orders during the Saturday sabbath or on other Jewish holidays (I'm always impressed by people with the integrity to act on their beliefs, although I've been grumpy a time or two when I've wanted something and had to wait) so I wasn't expecting to see anything other than the camera is not available, come back tomorrow, except there it was: in stock and ready to be ordered on a Saturday. My, my. I ordered one. Just now. I am an idiot, a retired idiot who shouldn't be blowing his money on cameras, but evidently I'm an idiot in this certain narrow area and I guess I've got to learn to live with it, adjust the budget, try to be more sane in the future. Those of you who have followed this journal aren't surprised. I may sell that old equipment of mine sooner than I expected.

You know these things are going to be worth pennies in another five years?

Pennies from heaven. Who knows where anyone is going to be in five years?

The photograph was taken this afternoon at the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade with a Nikon D2X mounted with a 17 - 55mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens at 1/100th second, f 2.8, ISO 640.