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Oakland City Center demonstration

May 22nd, 2005

I'm Still Alive
Friday. The rain has stopped, biddle-dee-bop, and it is Friday, here in Oakland. A promise to shoot some pictures tomorrow morning at a crew race (my company sponsors a racing crew that participates locally on the Bay) and a gig shooting candids at a fund raising event early in the evening. And I'm thinking this is good. It's good to be thinking things are good on a Friday.

It's good to be thinking things are good? This is the punch line in your first paragraph?

It's the silly season. The only problem, if there is a problem, is I seem to have lost any sense of embarrassment as I've grown older and I no longer care when I miss the target. Says something about the overall quality of my existence. Which sounds about right although I have no idea if it's true.

Sunday. The photography went halfway well last night. The pictures are OK, although I wondered when I loaded them into Photo Mechanic and then into the PhotoShop browser - My god, did the strobe light malfunction? Are they all dark and underexposed? - then opened them in PhotoShop itself and they looked just fine, thank you. Nikon Capture displayed them in the same miserable funky way - dark, no light - yet PhotoShop showed them to be well exposed. Nikon, whatever you say about it, has mastered flash. You shoot a picture with an F5 or an F6 or the D2h or now the D2x and they look great. Their marketing people call it various things, no doubt, but the result is no brainer great lighting even for the idiots.

I realized, as I was getting ready to leave for the gig, that it would have been better if I'd prepared at something other than the last minute, but what the hell, I'm into on the job training. It burns it into your brain when you screw up in front of a crowd. I'm an amateur, after all. A man of modest talents and little ambition. The critical pictures with Congresswoman Lee turned out OK and the client is happy and that's good, but it might have been better to test with a before the last minute trial run. But what the hell, I believe I mentioned good is good in an earlier paragraph.

Barbara Lee is the only member of Congress who voted against the attack on Iraq and the charity event audience let her know they appreciated it. I stopped shooting long enough to participate in the applause. A small thing, maybe. An historical footnote, someone who actually voted against going into a war when the government and the media were beating the drums of blood and destruction.

Then again there are plenty of other drums beating at the moment. Plenty of potential disasters waiting their turn, but this is a Sunday, the weather is perfect and I am going to can my gloom and doom for at least another sentence. The Great Depression, after all, produced some decent pictures, did it not? Can decent photographs alleviate the daily strain?

Can it.

Yes, yes. I do go on. A trip over to Telegraph Avenue near the campus this afternoon to purchase shoe polish for the new no laces shoes I've been wearing for the last couple of months ending up buying another pair in grey. They didn't have my size in stock, so they're being sent from the factory. Or the distributor. Wherever. Now I'll have two pair of shoes to choose from on any given day, the beaten to crud shoes I've had sitting in my closet for the last fifteen years don't really count. A guy thing, not throwing out your old shoes? Not something to emphasize when you say you're saying you're playing at a new image. What sort of image, you ask? Any old kind of image is my answer. I see it as some small proof I'm still alive.

The photograph was taken in front of the Oakland City Hall with a Nikon D2x mounted with a 17-55mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens at 1/250th second at f 5.6 at ISO 100.