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Downtown Oakland.

Under here.

November 17, 2007

Go In Peace
Saturday. Last night went very well, the head clear and the body willing. This is good. All this sleeping seems to be having a positive effect. The pictures were less than exciting for a lot of reasons having to do with how I handled them and the fact the dinner was held under low light below the flight deck of the aircraft carrier (USS Hornet). The light available combined with the infra-red beam put out by the attached strobes wasn't quite enough to auto focus the cameras. So some of the shots were a little fuzzy. A nice place to have a party, by the way, with a line of old restored fighter jets sitting on either side of the dinner area, the USS Hornet, moored at the Alameda Naval Base, having been converted into a museum.

But again, a good night that went into the morning as I spent quite a bit of time off loading the photographs from the cameras and tweaking a dozen or so in PhotoShop when I got back to the apartment. I charge very little for my services and nobody's going to be upset with the pictures, but this old man's delicate little ego needs to deliver at least one or two images they'll care for and remember. And, what the hell, I learned more things in the process having now done a fair number of these “candid” wedding dinner assignments. But I see ways they could have been better.

So lunch, this time down at the usual café - what can I say? I was up late last night and I got up at noon - a walk back with the camera in hand shooting the occasional picture. I note these things: getting the damned brick off my shoulder and taking pictures is the rationale I use to carry it in the first place. No reason to bear the “camera geek” mark on your forehead if you're not going to take pictures. So the morning went well, the red wine and Jack Daniel's from last night but a distant memory, the weekend ahead with a head start now in preparing the pictures for delivery.

On a more somber note: On September 14th I made a less serious than I should note that one of my co-workers, let go from the company with the rest of our group, a woman somewhat younger than I, had gone to the doctor with a pain in her side and was diagnosed with a lung cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes and brain. Just like that. An ache in the side that leads to a terminal diagnosis. She died today at 3:30 in the morning.

We were not close, although she was close to other friends, someone I saw in passing three or four times during a week, someone whom I worked with in solving particular problems. Whatever she experienced these last months she experienced alone, as we all experience this meeting alone - something you don't want to think about - and so there's a flash of insight that time passes quickly and people are gone in a blink, almost as if they'd never existed, as I will pass one day as if I had never existed. I can only repeat what her friend said in the email: “Be content with your life, don't take your health for granted, be kind, be happy, be grateful, and love like you'll never get hurt.” Good advice if you have the intelligence and strength to take it.

So I'm not taking it for granted that this evening I feel good and last evening I felt good and that's pretty much as successful as you get when you put all the rest of the crap aside. A walk down the way, the sun warm, the day cool, interesting people passing, the light a little different through the trees. Another good Saturday in Oakland. Go in peace, Jeanne.

The photograph was taken in downtown Oakland with a Nikon D2X mounted with a 17 - 55mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens at 1/2500th second, f 2.8, ISO 100.