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Oakland Tribune Holiday parade

January 7th, 2005

No Stinkin' Problems
Friday, the first week on the new job, the weather terrible and I feel fine. Could be the almost full flask of hot sake I have inside - not much compared to the two or three I usually consume in an evening - could be the fact I think the week has gone well. Could be I'm living in denial, but good is good and good is what I'm going with this early Friday evening, the weekend ahead a whoop-dee-do weekend (as are all weekends) here in Oakland.


It's supposed to rain tomorrow, but I was thinking maybe I could find a way to shoot some pictures. You don't think about going outside when it's raining, particularly with a camera, but there are often opportunities for unusual shots. And opportunities to get wet and cold and spend money to have Nikon clean and reseal your equipment. This is one of the tests, of course: what you're willing to put up with to “get the picture”. A younger less cranky moi would be out there this evening poking a lens into places where the more sensible moi would never think to venture.

Rien mentioned feeling a certain paranoia from the people he was photographing when they found him shooting their picture (with a small digital; held, in his case, by a dressed all in black Nederlander travelling with an assistant named Mahoud who's got a laptop, a satellite phone and a short barreled shotgun concealed under his garments). Yes, I do shoot parades decked out in cameras, shooting jacket (and short barreled shotgun), but I also carry an (albeit large professional looking) Nikon at all times. I've thought of getting something smaller and silent like one of the classic little Leica's, but find the price intimidating and the idea pretentious. I'm pretentious enough as it is sitting here late on a Friday.

I don't get the feeling people are suspicious of my reasons for shooting their picture: no thoughts I might be a terrorist scouting targets. No, they figure I'm an ersatz picture taking asshole of the kind they associate with the paparazzi who pursued a Princess one night years ago in Paris. I'm not certain I wouldn't find some paranoia out there if I were photographing, say, Golden Gate bridge pilings or the local nuclear power plant. I'm into photographing people, as it happens, with, what with living here in Oakland, the occasional bridge in the background. I don't go near no stinkin' nuclear power plants. Bad enough just driving by the one still running off Highway 5 over the Washington border.

This could change. I hope it doesn't, because if it does change (for the worse) it will probably be because we've experienced problems. I'm sitting here feeling good on this Friday, the weekend ahead: I'm not up for no stinkin' problems.

The photograph was taken at the Oakland Tribune Holiday parade with a Nikon F6 mounted with a 135mm f2.0 Nikkor lens on Tmax-400.