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Under Construction

Ah yes, I remember it well.

May 16th, 2003

Or a Parachute
I slept in an hour late and headed out the door, camera over shoulder, clear headed and ready.

Clear headed and ready?

As clear headed and ready as I get these days.


I set out for the usual cafe for breakfast thinking, well, maybe I should break my routine. A bus pulled up at the base of the hill just as I was passing and I thought, well, I could have breakfast downtown, but an unhurried breakfast downtown at this later hour, something different, but the bus was crowded and I said to hell with it and continued on. Walking under the Highway 580 overpass coming up on the Grand Lake Theater, another bus pulled up and opened its door as if to meet me, no one waiting to get on, no one standing on the bus by the open front door ready to exit, although someone must have been waiting to get off at the back.

This was an omen. Buses don't just pull up at your feet. I got on, it was practically empty, I talked with the driver on the way downtown, got off, bought a paper and had breakfast; no looking at my watch, reading the Jon Carroll column clear through without a thought I might be late. I wouldn't be late for another three days.

A walk through the Friday farmer's market across the street, a leisurely walk, examining people's faces, taking my time. Detour back to the City Center, a cup of coffee out at a table in the sun, again, watching people as they passed. Young, old, big, small, a continuous stream flowing toward the two Federal buildings behind me. Nice. The sun warm. I thought, well, how would a photograph of one or two of these people look with the panorama behind them in blurry soft focus, dark figures sharp against the white background? So I took a couple of photographs, thinking maybe I'll look at them later, make whatever changes were necessary and come back to shoot them again. (Progress.) Thirty minutes sitting at a table feeling just fine.

Continue down Broadway, another cup of coffee at The Bulldog Cafe. The Bulldog isn't a particularly comfortable place, a couple of tables out on a busy street, a couple of tables inside, but interesting photographs on the walls. I get the impression they're dealing weed in the back, but what do I know? Or care?

An amble back to the apartment. A detour to look at a fountain in front of a large building overlooking Lake Merritt, a fountain I haven't noticed before. I shot half a dozen pictures, not sure how they'll turn out, but I may go back with an even wider lens, see what I can come up with. I don't shoot buildings except when I do and I did this morning.

I'm thinking, getting into the home stretch, maybe this developing my own black and white isn't such a bad idea, mild thoughts, positive thoughts, thoughts along the line of, well, they make a film feeder for the Nikon scanner. I could develop the film and feed it through the scanner unattended, the scanner spitting out small images that could be used to print a contact sheet. Or is that only for slides? How would such a feeder work? It would allow me to do everything here, film and contact sheets both, no need to wait on a camera shop.

They're not altogether happy with this digital photography business, by the way. My camera shop. None of them are. Camera shops will probably become self service walk-in kiosks of some kind, unless the technology goes so far and so fast that everyone just pops their digital camera into the small metal box they got for Christmas and it spits out prints a nickel apiece. Nineteen cents apiece. Go to the kiosk if you want larger prints, poster size prints, framed prints, send them to your Aunt Mary paper pre folded airplane prints. Wouldn't want to be doing long range business planning for Kodak, at the moment. Not without a Ouija board. Or a parachute.

What we have here is Mr. Amaya at f 1.2 or, more accurately, Mr. Amaya's goatee at f 1.2 and the rest of him in blurry relief. A certain Pan-like aura, don't you think?