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May 28, 2012

My Collective Fingers
Monday. It looks like it's going to be a decent day, the sun peeking through the still prominent clouds. Up this morning without the alarm at seven, off to breakfast and back some time after nine feeling fine. Indeed. Whatever exertions earlier and then the sake later yesterday seem to have had no ill effect. Strange. We'll leave it at that, although I find it hard to keep my mouth shut.

Some time spent on yesterday's entry when I got back this morning. I find it difficult (as in too lazy) to axe and then rewrite paragraphs when I discover I've made errors or the subject is too silly to push out into the light. I'd written on interminably about my error thinking the parade started at ten-thirty rather than nine-thirty. Reading the paper this morning and putting the pieces together I realized it had indeed started at nine-thirty in the morning and the reason I've always had more than enough time to properly photograph it, even though I arrive at nine, is it takes an hour for the damned thing to cross the starting line. It's a long parade. Starts at nine-thirty, gets to its destination at two in the afternoon but, of course, I'm long gone and oblivious to the world by two in the afternoon.


I dunno. Twelve years now shooting this thing and I finally figure out its schedule and how it actually works. Maybe I've always been this slow and can't blame it on getting old anymore. And so I've been futzing with yesterday's entry this morning with no great success.

I did make progress yesterday with the photographs, but I'm still far from having them done, so I don't know if they'll be up and posted today. I suspect they will, but right now, in the morning, it's still a question. It turns out there's more there than I first understood.

So, out now for a walk I think, no thoughts of a nap. A good night's sleep last night. I still wake up two or three times during the night with whatever side I'm sleeping on aching. I don't seem to toss and turn, but sleep like a log on the same side in the same spot and now, maybe because I'm thinner and don't have the old padding, sleeping this way hurts. After a while. Or something like that. I'm thinking again maybe another mattress, something softer. Didn't I go through this years ago writing interminably about it here? Ads for pillows and such now catch my attention. More opportunity for recycling a bunch of bitching and moaning, though. Got to say that for it.

Later. OK, another pretty good day. Lots of time working on the photographs, lots of time, I'm realizing, yet to go. Looking at last year's parade I posted six sections, over one hundred and thirty pictures. What I was thinking was a good day's shooting on Sunday may turn into seven sections, probably too many in the sense I'm not being hard enough in my selections. So be it.

A quick walk in the early afternoon down to the lake and back, not long enough to really call a walk. I was wearing a light jacket over a long sleeved shirt and t-shirt, so I returned, processed a few more pictures and then headed out again in the same outfit, but this time adding a sweater. Much better. A walk along the lake again getting a snapshot of the ducklings. They seem healthy. A walk on to the other side of the white columned pergola to run into the larger goslings huddled together with their parents and flock. Good. All good.

A late lunch at the usual place, two eggs over medium, a side of toast, ice cream and coffee. My waitress suggested the ice cream, knowing my habits. I didn't put up a fight. Back then to work on more photographs. The seven sections won't get done today, but I suppose I should be grateful. It isn't just that I was lucky or hot, but the parade itself. Two hours is plenty of time, everyone's in costume, most of the women aren't wearing much in the way of clothes and there are so many photographers running around that everyone understands they're there to be photographed and there's no way to avoid it, so what the hell? Shoot.

Two hours of this at five or six images a minute, close to six hundred total. In other parades and festivals I average maybe half that. I've always thought a good production rate would be one decent photograph out of ten. I seem to have gotten one out of four on Sunday, which means I'm either not really am not judging them with a critical enough eye or, for the candid portrait shooter, a Carnaval parade is definitely the way to go.

So you've thought to doing Carnaval in Rio? The Big Mama? The heart of the beast itself?

I have, many times, but my excuse is I'm too old to be traveling alone to a place I don't know, where they speak Portuguese and the photographers who do go have to hire security when they're out shooting on the street. A bit like the reputation here in Oakland: outsiders with my inhibitions don't go there because they'll be killed.

So, as in chicken shit.

As in I don't speak Portuguese.

Evening. Progress, but they won't be done until later tomorrow. Seven sections. My, my. Some time on the guitar listening to whatever's on television, a program about the news business and the Internet. My, my. To bed early. This has been a good clear headed day, not visits by the usual culprits. Cross my collective fingers.

The photo up top was taken on the way to the San Francisco Carnaval Parade with a Nikon D4 mounted with a 70-200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens.