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November 5, 2011

I Wouldn't

Saturday. Ten hours sleep last night, getting up just after seven, feeling as if I were in a reverse order train wreck. Still, up, seemingly well rested from the hours involved. A drive over to the hospital lab for the blood tests, twenty minutes waiting while they poured over the paperwork, something about a form that needed to be filled out, the meter outside creeping into the red. My Zen lesson for the day no doubt. A drive then to breakfast and the papers. I think most of the various important parts of the mechanism are now up and running, the attitude certainly better and there's now some sign of sun.

The gas prices had fallen again by two cents, so I had to use an earlier picture for yesterday's prices, taking the picture above as I was leaving the café for home. Blood tests, breakfasts and pictures of gas stations, pretty complicated stuff to start a day I'd guess.

I won't say anything if you're actually looking for a response.

We'll chalk all this up to our elongated learning curve as we grow older. You can't go running around as you once did, my man, and just, you know, get a night's sleep and set out to do it again. I'm not sure what a decent night's sleep is anymore, although I may well be getting them. Up once or twice each night to take a leak, roll over onto the other side because the body aches, the bottoms of the feet ache in the mornings as I awake (as if I'd been walking for days and days without rest), all this pretty much disappearing by the time I'm at breakfast. Just take notes, understand the flow, adjust, but don't stop just because you've become frustrated or your butt aches. The butt, by the way, doesn't ache. Yet.

So, more work in Photoshop to get what are now two days worth of pictures ready, another trip to the Occupy area to take more photos (I do hope they all decide to break camp one of these days and I can go back to shooting sea gulls across the street) and more time on the guitar. We are falling behind on our guitar. We are practicing every day, but not enough, not enough. Many balls in the air, perhaps the genesis for the term “air head”. Keeping a journal brings out the details of one's life otherwise hidden from one's self.

Later. A bus downtown, a walk around the Occupy area at about one, the sky heavily overcast but, for some reason, not leading to thoughts of impending rain. I'd worn a long sleeved shirt and my black winter jacket wondering if it might prove to be too warm, but no problem at all. Sometimes we do something right.

Not a lot going on. A Saturday, people visiting, but not that many, all of them doing the usual routine: a picture taken with the encampment in the background, a quick walk around the area, a walk by the front door of City Hall, not wandering into the tent area itself unless there are plenty of other visitors about. There was a slight tussle that came up between a young woman and a middle aged man as I was walking toward them, clearly the lady was freaking out about something and clearly the man was doing what was needed to calm her down.

I, of course, took two or three pictures and was immediately approached by two residents saying stop, stop, stop, be gone, no pictures. I explained I was after the signs and had automatically taken the pictures, it's what you do when you're a photographer, but I wasn't looking to embarrass the young woman by using the pictures themselves.

Oddly, that immediately calmed them down. When they understood I wasn't press, not looking to make them look bad, it had an immediate effect and I was urged to continue shooting. Just, you know, try to keep it sane. So far the people who've approached me who are part of the Occupy staff or whatever they call themselves have been both calm and level headed if not particularly enthralled by the photographers present.

OK, I was lying through my teeth if I said I wouldn't take pictures of the residents, people's expressions in my case, and I'm realizing all this talk about not taking people's photographs is changing the way I've been shooting. This guy had no compunction about getting in close, made me realize I was being a wuss (not that I'd be interested in that particular shot, but other similar shots, yes).

There are various degrees of wuss in the street photography business and, I'm afraid, looking at it without too much emotion, I'm not aggressive enough. Get more aggressive. Remember, I'm an old guy now, people aren't nearly as upset as they'd be were I a much younger male sticking his nose into other people's affairs, best that I take advantage of it. Within reason. There are some small advantages to this getting older crap. (Hup, hup.) It also often gives you a bye if they think you're a press photographer, so don't suggest otherwise unless they ask. No need to lie, the need is to get the photographs.

So, maybe a hundred photographs, maybe two sections for artandlife if I ever finish up yesterday's pictures or the pictures taken from day before that. It will happen. A lunch crepe (a dessert crepe, really, strawberries, brown sugar and whipped cream) over at the City Center, a walk back seeing there was a bus leaving in twenty minutes, so a quick walk through the area again before heading to the bus stop, some very light rain starting to fall.

Home, no rain, an ice cream bar bought at the 7-11 look-alike on the way, back now to, well, do what I'm doing now. Finish this, work in Photoshop, get some things up on artandlife. Work, work, work. I suspect I'll miss it when all this stops.

Later still. More Photoshop. Enough for a day, I think. Photoshop and Dreamweaver (an HTML editor). I've not gone to WordPress or any of the others as the idea of converting old entries is daunting and the layout here doesn't offend me all that much. I don't know how many entries there are, but at least a couple of thousand. (good grief!) A bit of guitar practice, enough to call it a decent day for the guitar, some pages still to finalize for artandlife. And then to bed. And then up to breakfast. And then more photo manipulation and HTML. And then out to take more pictures so I can work on them later and start all over again.

Are we complaining? Are we requiring actual effort on our part?

Not really. It is teaching me things about my photography, about how to take my particular kind of picture, more because I don't think I'm doing it very well at the moment. You live, you learn. I'm OK with all of this or I wouldn't be doing it. Really. I wouldn't.

The photograph was taken at the Oakland Occupy Wall Street protest, November 4th with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 24-70mm f 2.8 Nikkor G lens.