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San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival parade

May 10th, 2003

Doing It Right
I walked down the way toward Broadway this morning and then cut north toward auto row rather than south toward downtown Oakland. Thought I'd look through the windows of a couple of car dealerships. Passed the Dodge lot filled with massive bulldog nosed pickup trucks, passed the Porsche dealer with something called a Boxster S on the showroom floor, passed the Chrysler dealership. No Jeeps. Lots of these retro 30's or 40's looking things you see these days. Popular car. Thought that was enough and headed left over the hill to Telegraph just south of the hospital and caught a bus to Berkeley.

Been a while since I've been to Telegraph near the University, crowded sidewalks, the vendors and their tables of, um, stuff. Store windows filled with bong pipes, used CD's, books, t-shirts, bumper stickers, pizza by the slice. Crazies of every kind, real crazies, pretend crazies, students, middle aged visitors from, I don't know, outer space. Who knows where these people come from? Who knows where I come from? Who knows where I'm going? I certainly didn't. Don't.

Continued down University parallel to the campus to the downtown Berkeley BART station, checked out the theater marquees, bought three bound blank page books at a small book bindery (3 for $5) then hopped a train all the way back to the downtown Oakland 12th street station and ate a Caesar salad at a table in the City Center in front of a fast food place. A Caesar under plastic. I could hear a rally in the distance in front of Oakland City Hall, single mothers against murder - seemed a reasonably non controversial position - and walked over briefly to take a couple of photographs, then caught a bus home. A long morning stretching into the early afternoon walk.

Seems almost, I don't know, frenetic, your walks. You going down hill?

You mean other than growing old? Older. Maybe. I wonder about my running around on weekends. Why walk? Why the bus? Why not drive? Go north. Go south. As I did thirty years ago when I first came to San Francisco, early Sunday morning runs up to the Russian River. Take a camera this time. Feed the ever present need to get out of this apartment with more exotic wheels. Leave the computer. Leave the world. I'm running out of places to go, though. Telegraph was depressing. The Oakland downtown is nice, but is it nice because it's (generally) empty? No people around? Is that what I'm about? Is that even the right question? Is there even a question to ask? Hard to say. Sometimes it seems to matter, sometimes it doesn't seem to matter, but mostly it feels right.

Tomorrow the product shots. I haven't even asked what it is, just how big is it and where will we shoot the photographs, so I can think about the light. I've been planning to run the balance of a black and white roll through the camera today, testing to determine more precisely if this new lens requires aperture settings different than the old 35 - 70. I've printed out a sheet of paper with three lines: "minus two thirds of a stop, no adjustment, and plus two thirds of a stop". Photograph the section of the page that applies to the settings being used, shoot some photographs, shoot the next section of the page, make the camera adjustments to match, shoot the same photographs under the same light, look at them when I get the negatives back and scratch my head. Think about them, then do it again, if I'm going to do it right. Hi, ho. A drag, often times, doing it right.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival parade.