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Here In Oakland

Art & Life


January 19, 2014

Need The Practice
Sunday. To bed and to sleep by ten, up at seven, a good night's sleep feeling clear headed and ready for something more interesting than usual, similar I'd say to the way I felt yesterday morning. Two mornings in a row. My, my. The year is starting to look interesting.

I looked up (the sun shining, the air clear, the colors bright) to see the cherry tree right outside my morning café in full bloom as I was walking to the car after breakfast. Full bloom? In January? Am I missing something here, do they do this? Bloom in January? The Cherry Blossom Festival is held in May. They bloom in May, right? Sometimes by the end of April, but January?

You know nothing about this. It might not be uncommon. Could be just a single tree bent on beating the rush.

OK. Every day you learn something.

The waitress mentioned her mother had attended a street festival in Chinatown yesterday, had I gone to photograph it? No. Had no idea one was underway, no mention in any of the usual places, but in checking at home I see there's a Lunar New Year Bazaar underway this weekend and so, of course, I'll go photograph it.

I do believe (it's hard, even for me, to miss noticing these things when reading the morning papers) there's a football game later - the 49ers and the Seahawks - although the photographs will need to take precedence. I figure whichever team wins I'm home free. Born in Seattle, college in Seattle, family in Seattle, but over forty years a Bay Area resident. Either way, whoever wins, I'm good.

Later. Packed one camera into the backpack, the other over the shoulder and met the bus as it arrived, heading downtown at eleven to the Lunar New Year Bazaar to find three of the streets cordoned off and filled with the usual tent covered tables selling stuff.


Lunar New Year pinwheels and flowers, insurance, mobile phones, medicinal herbs and anything else you may care to imagine. Nice elaborate pinwheels and flowers seemed the big sellers, had a thought to buy one of the pinwheels myself.

Spent a couple of hours shooting and finding it difficult to get good pictures. Had this same problem at last year's bazaar (yes, I did remember I'd photographed it last year, ending up with little to show for it). There's really not all that much going on at one of these that lends itself to photography (at least my kind of photography, I have a hunch I may be whistling alone in the dark about this) and so, when I came to a point when I thought to stop and go home, I remembered I really did want to come up with at least one section for the web sites and consciously made the decision to stay and shoot for another hour. Besides, I was feeling pretty good, right? My Jacko? Yes, I was. Sunny day, sunny me, no excuses.

Home by two to then process the photographs. One or two good ones, a number of others the world could live without, but I did have a section and posted it to both artandlife and HereInOakland. A good day of shooting, even if many if not most of the photographs aren't much to talk about. Best if I'd been able to attend both days, best I'd checked. We'll note it in the calendar for this month and make sure we check for it (if we're still around) next year. There are other events like this one coming up. Be alert. Start the year right.

Later still. The Seahawks won. I was disappointed as I soon discovered I was obviously supporting the 49ers, even though I haven't followed the season. Such is life. We'll not mention this to the family in Seattle.

Evening. Nothing on television unless you count Downton Abbey and I'm not able to watch Downton Abbey. When I was younger, yes, but no longer. Guitar now, we need the practice.

The photo up top was taken from under the Lake Merritt white column pergola with a Nikon D4 mounted with an 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Nikkor lens.