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November 27, 2011

String Bending Stuff

Sunday. To bed reasonably early, no thought to stay up to watch that late night on the weekends only Korean soap, as even I occasionally draw the line; awakening a number of times to get up and take a leak, although I'm sure that wasn't what was driving it (I have no idea what was driving it, but awaken I did and up I got); up this morning at seven without an alarm. So far, so good. I guess. To breakfast and back before nine, the papers read, the sky overcast, but the forecast saying sun later today, a projected high of sixty-five. Not so bad for a Sunday in November I think.

I need to do something more than head downtown and shoot a couple of pictures. Over to San Francisco? Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley? Old haunts now feeling a bit new since I haven't visited them in such a long time? Who knows? Anything goes if it works. I think. Smoke and mirrors are fine if they can get you out of the house in a half decent mood? He said?

How about doing something that doesn't involve a camera? A movie? An exhibit? Watch a ball game, if only on a television set?

Ow! My brain is strained just at the thought!

Later. A compromise of sorts. A walk down toward the morning restaurant after ten, setting out with just the Nikon V1 mounted with a 30-110mm lens, equivalent to an 80-300mm on a full frame camera such as the D3 or 3s. Felt a little strange with a strap around my neck, the camera comfortable enough sitting over my jacket above my stomach, the lens not so long as to be out of balance. I was wondering if I might find a Coot at the same place I'd found one the other day walking along with the D2Xs mounted with the 18-200mm zoom, a very different camera, but with the same 300mm telephoto top end. A jump right out of my comfortable box, don't you think?


Anyway, I did find three Coots next to the exposed pipe just off the white columns and took a bunch of photographs. They're different than they would have been with the D2Xs. There's a lag between pushing the button and taking the shot, another lag after the shot has been taken, the camera briefly displaying the shot you've just gotten before you can see through the viewfinder again. The big Nikons just go - snap! - up to nine snaps a second until the memory card is full. I wondered how you handled getting the shot so much later than I would with my normal outfit, although it didn't seem discouraging. There must be some way to make it work.

Still, they are quite different, these two cameras, although I'm realizing different doesn't necessarily give one or the other an advantage if you're open to following the various paths each of them open up. We'll see how it goes. I'm straining a little here to justify my purchase. But only a little. Really. Sorta really.

An amble on to the morning café for coffee and a croissant, an amble back to sit for a bit by the white columns on the lake before heading back to the apartment. I liked these for whatever reason, again taken with the V1. I found myself taking shots I've taken in the past with the bigger cameras thinking they'd make a good comparison. “I've taken this shot before” is a reason I've used many times to not take a shot and, although true, I believe it means I miss what still would have been be a good photograph. You turn your eye off and the brain goes to sleep. Not good. But again, that's the rationalization I used in getting the V1 system: find new ways to see instead of sleep.

I still wanted to head downtown and walk around the Occupy area although I wasn't sure I'd find all that much to shoot. A bus downtown, a walk across the street, the tree people out in force. I say tree people as there was another crew up in the branches and a large pile of donated food and support materials at its base, six or seven people conducting a poetry reading just behind them up off the sidewalk.

There was a speaker holding forth in front of the City Hall discussing foreclosures, clearly a lawyer with a good depth of knowledge, how we and other states are handling evictions and how to stand up to the law. More people, more structure than I was expecting. Another small group beside other small groups sitting, discussing this and that, all of it related to the current political debate.

Oh, and the same number of security people in evidence (something like a dozen in small groups). I haven't noted any hostile interaction between the security and the Occupiers. No interaction at all while I was there. I realize I'm able to be more aggressive in my shooting with the security presence. Nobody's going to take a pop at a photographer when we're out in full sight. Then again the photographer hasn't been very aggressive in taking pictures of the security people themselves. Who's the more scary? How much of this is made up?

You do seem to go on about it.

Some small part of this nervousness is real, most of it is indeed made up: fantasy stuff half real and half propaganda in the press. Not, by the way, that anyone was giving me any guff in the first place, but this is something you always think about. Be nice, but be careful. Your rules are not everyone's rules. Be prepared.

Who is this old guy with the camera? Some few may recognize me because I'm there at the same time within the same couple of hours most every day; others, I suspect, don't care. Another touring idiot taking pictures. The “don't take my picture!” mood of the Occupy people was, I suspect, just that: a mood, an agreed upon stance that helped define the group - us versus them - similar to wearing a mask. Art rather than life, fantasy rather than reality, and it has the advantage of freaking the straights. This is not, after all, Egypt (one hopes). At least not yet.

So a laid back ride on the bus back home, no thought to stop for an ice cream cone, no need to do more than I've already done, the whole day having gone pretty much like that. No complaints. It's the come down day after the holiday, even if you didn't participate.

Later still. Some guitar, but not enough. The string bending exercises aren't any easier, although they're really good at making the fingertips howl. A surprise there. String bending makes the somewhat unpleasant tingling you get when you first started to play something of a joke. They turn purple they do, the fingertips, with this string bending stuff.

The photograph was taken at Frank Ogawa Plaza, November 26, 2011, with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 24-70mm f 2.8 VR Nikkor lens.