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San Francisco Critical Mass.

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March 1, 2008

Luck Will Hold
Saturday. Last night I met with two of the usual crew at Harrington's in San Francisco. Arriving on BART I noticed a number of passengers with bicycles and realized Friday was the last day of the month and these people were travelling to attend Critical Mass, a gathering of bike riders that meets on the last day of every month at the Embarcadero and takes a ride through the streets to demonstrate for safety and other rider issues. They promote bicycle lanes and increasing driver awareness of bicycles on the road and it's been, from the look of it, a tough sell where more than one or two these Critical Mass gatherings have resulted in traffic jams, banged up cars and angry people.

Anyway, they meet on the last day of every month and, since Harrington's was standing room only when I arrived, I walked back the few blocks to the Embarcadero where Critical Mass was assembling and took some pictures. Nice. I was there to test this camera under low light anyway and Kismet this Friday evening was evidently on my side.

We did finally meet at Harrington's, staying just long enough for a Guinness, then headed for a local Indian restaurant for dinner before taking a cab to Irish 32 out in the avenues where Mr. S's Celtic band was playing starting at nine.

A young woman (probably in her early forties) happened to be riding with us on the escalator in one of the Embarcadero building mezzanines when we just out of the blue struck up a conversation. We were on our way to dinner, could she recommend a restaurant? Well, there was a Thai restaurant she liked very much just down the way. Where was she going? She was going to a movie. Perhaps she'd like to join us for dinner? “You're inviting me to dinner?” she asked. Of course.

Now I wasn't the one in our group she was interested in but we all took this chance encounter to be a personal stroke of favor, a brush of Karma that only happens in fables and books (and occasionally, evidently, in downtown San Francisco) so we had dinner at an undoubtedly trendy Thai restaurant that faces on the Embarcadero where I'd photographed the cyclists before we all grabbed a cab to Irish 32 where I took many photographs at impossibly high ISO's. I kept the alcohol to a reasonable minimum as I wanted to be clear eyed and clear headed when I awoke this morning, but a good time was had, photographs were taken and I was home and in bed not too long after midnight. A good introduction to a weekend I was thinking. And who knows? Maybe our luck will hold.

The photograph was taken at yesterday's San Francisco Critical Mass with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 24 - 70mm f 2.8 Nikkor F lens at 1/2000th second, f 2.8, ISO 3200.