The Setting Sun
Saturday. The rain forecast (60% chance) was wrong so I drove to downtown Oakland, parked the car and took BART over to San Francisco to photograph the St. Patrick's Day parade on this Ides of March, 2008. Since I wasn't interested in carrying a camera with a big lens, I left the 70 - 200mm sitting in the closet and took the D3 with the 24 - 70mm. Nice carrying but one camera. Nice not having four hundred pounds of camera bag over your shoulder when you're navigating through a crowd.
What did Cartier-Bresson and those cats carry out the field? A couple of Leicas, maybe, a single Leica with a 50mm lens? Light weight. Easy to carry. Not too obvious. Of course you have to get right up in people's faces when you're traveling light, but I'm getting better at that. Old guy with a camera, a look of professional determination on his face, certainly no harm in the fact he's just taken your photograph (with the ice cream cone in your mouth).
“Why, in the middle of a St. Patrick's Day parade, would you shoot a photograph of my stunningly attractive wife, sir, as she's standing on the sidelines minding her own business?” Well, if I really have to explain.... Just figure I'm with the Associated Press, my man, an old not yet retired photographer whom they keep on staff for old time's sake. I suspect the AP doesn't do anything for old time's sake in this now dog eat dog newspaper business, but just assume this is the media knocking and your wife may well be on the front page tomorrow of every newspaper in the world!
Does any of this really go through your mind?
Nah. I'm out there looking for my particular kind of image. I know it when I see it and generally I'm able to shoot. Mostly I get a few. Sometimes I get hot and come up with more. Lately I've been throwing in the occasional cute little boy or girl image because some of my readers like them and they're easy enough to take, but otherwise I take my pictures and mind my P's and Q's.
Indeed. Still, it's Saturday, and not yet two in the afternoon. I'm tired after all the running around, but there may still be something out there I and my psyched up energy might like to check out. My Congresswoman, Barbara Lee, had a town hall meeting in the Grand Lake Theater earlier this morning. I'd have gone if it weren't for the parade. (Do they let you shoot pictures in a town hall meeting? Probably not.) Barbara voted against the invasion of Iraq, against the invasion of Afghanistan (not sure I agree with that, although I suspect she may be proven right) and so I really don't need to go to her town hall and voice any complaints. Give 'em hell, Barbara Lee.
Later. A walk down to the breakfast café for a coffee and gooey cookie, a walk (more a ramble, really, as little old grey haired ladies were rocketing by me without so much as a glance) back home feeling righteously tired and ready to read the morning paper. Maybe a nap. Maybe, who knows, a small flask of sake to finish the day while looking out over the city and the setting sun. It's OK to do these things now that I've retired.