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February 19, 2011

With The World

Saturday. I've photographed maybe ten weddings, perhaps four of them as the primary photographer, the photograph above taken at a wedding where I was the primary, this particular shot taken early in the morning as the bride and her family prepared for a very long day of ceremonies: the Chinese tea ceremony, the wedding itself and the wedding dinner later in the evening. I was one tired photographer when the evening was done.

The photograph was one of a series shot while the makeup artist was preparing the bride and I knew then I had the entire shoot nailed when I'd taken this one. I try to get candids of everyone, but judge my own success on how well I'm able to photograph the bride (as in making her look like a Wedding Fantasy Princess with a capital “P”). No apologies, it fits in well with my own particular preference.

Morning. Rain early on but I'm hoping to see it start clearing. To breakfast and back by eight taking another picture of a gas price increase, another two cents since Thursday. They say people will start griping about it when it hits four dollars. They say many things. Why do I continue to monitor the prices of a single station sitting in Oakland? I have no idea. Habit, maybe. The ease with which I'm able to do it sitting across from my morning restaurant. Time on my hands. Easy enough to do with an empty head.

Later. A two hour nap. I was in bed not long after ten last night - good for me - but was unable to drift off for some reason until after midnight and awakened at six with the alarm. Best not to set forth to photograph without enough sleep, he said, tease the ocular migraine gods. Still raining, so we'll cross our fingers for the parade, but otherwise the motor is running and life goes on.

I've just finished a first look through the current issue of Rolling Stone. I have some interest in whatever it is that seems to be happening in music, how much of what I remember from my own years of relatively intense listening in the sixties and seventies, but I really get the thing to read the occasional article by Matt Taibbi who fills the old National Affairs Desk once held by Hunter Thompson.

Taibbi's style is Thompson light, not an easy writer to emulate, although he manages to carry it off in his own style, and he focuses on the national political scene, this issue summing up the penalties suffered by the people who brought us the financial crisis. His summary is there haven't been any penalties for the lying and cheating that helped in bringing it on: some small cash payments by the companies involved, no penalties for the individuals who lied and cheated to reap obscene compensation for their personally profitable performance: the government and the financial industry one and the same for these last many decades so they don't send one another to jail.

The problem with this isn't that it's true - Goldman Sachs was the single largest contributor to Obama's presidential run, after all - the problem is that it's happening right up there spelled out in lights and we, those 99 percent of us who've suffered at their hands, don't do anything about it. We trade little fables - the one about the child who points out that the emperor has no clothes comes to mind - and we nod our heads (so true! so true!), but we allow a large, rich and powerful financial class to strip us like criminals in a jail cell.

Now, now.

It's OK. I needed that.

Evening. I got all dressed up for the cold and the rain, packed but one camera into the backpack this time, the D3s mounted with the 70 - 200mm lens, checked to see I had a rain cover or two for the camera in a side pocket and headed to the bus stop thinking, well, will I turn back? It was raining, not all that hard, but then again not all that light when the bus arrived. Committed. I'd tricked myself. I needed to get out. I needed pictures.

It was raining in San Francisco and the parade participants were huddled in groups in various building entrances and other places with cover, everyone covered head to foot in plastic. Which was expected. Did I get any photographs? I shot a number, somewhat over a hundred in the space of well over an hour, leaving when the parade was starting, again in the rain. A fair crowd, I thought, for all the wet.

Back now having taken a first brief look. Not much variety, but there are enough for another artandlife page. I was wondering. The designed for a long lens camera plastic cover has a nice self tightening draw string that cinches the one end around the lens cover, but you need to cut holes and such if you want to see really clearly through the viewfinder, so I was shooting somewhat blind wondering if these things are really in focus? The low late afternoon light is tricky, are they turning out? As I said, too many pictures of the same people in the same costumes because they were the only ones available, but enough for another page of twenty-one or so photographs, so I'm happy with the result.

I did pass one or two photographers I knew, we nodded to one another. Other photographers were there with various forms of rain protection ranging from hiding their cameras under their coats, under an umbrella, encased in some of the more elaborate forms of camera protection, one with the particular kind of plastic sleeve I've settled on for my own. At least they were out.

Home now having taken a cab. The bus I take is running one every hour, the result of budget cut backs introduced at the beginning of the year. So a cab. Very civilized, very nice. Home now with the heat running, the camera bag and backpack sitting on the rug close, but not too close of the heater grill. All seems well with the world.

The photograph was taken of a bride preparing for her wedding with a Nikon D2X mounted with a 17 - 55mm f 2.8 Nikkor DX lens.