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October 1, 2011

An Instructional Curve

Saturday. A somewhat fitful, but decent night's sleep I'd guess. Up at seven without the alarm, to breakfast and back just after eight, the shorter time because there's no New York Times to read on the weekends. If the Times had a six day a week delivery option I'd go for it. The Sunday edition, the edition most people prize, would be too much. Three Sunday papers over breakfast would keep me there until lunch.

Overcast and cool this early morning, we'll see how the ambition sits in an hour or so, see if we're wired to get outside. I suspect we are. For all these hup, hups! and stuff I really do feel a certain energy rise and widening of ambition. I tell myself this, anyway, and it seems to be true. Unless it isn't. No need to overly worry about it, the engine will turn itself off eventually, just not this year or the next one hopes.

Or the next decade?

Many get away with another decade I'm told.

Later. So I set out around nine-thirty with a full frame camera mounted with the 180mm lens thinking I could use the higher ISO's, see what I could see at 180mm rather than 270mm, see if it made much of a difference. I thought of heading downtown, but the bus wasn't due for another thirteen minutes (we must be accurate here even if the number is considered unlucky) and I'd not had all that large a breakfast. So naturally I walked across the street to the lake and headed toward the morning restaurant.

Naturally, with heading out now with the shorter lens, there was a Pelican sitting on the boom in front of the white columns. Still, a picture or two and then a closer cropping. I thought to wait to see if I could get a shot of it taking off, but I didn't and he did in the minute he was blocked from my view by the columns. OK, makes sense. Lots of people walking around the lake, some doing some of the usual stuff at the white columns, something called an ecstatic dance group setting up on the other side. I've run into them before on a Saturday morning, maybe this is now a Saturday morning routine. It seems to have an eastern religious practice aspect to it and maybe one of these days I'll have to set out to take photographs.

The farmers market was in swing and in passing I took but a single picture. I rather like the way this thing has been done, its more than a bit out of the ordinary while as the same time appealing to a more commercial market. Nice. Also the quality of the image color is nice reminding me of another reason I like these full frame sensor cameras. I'm afraid I'm going to dump the old 1.5 factor cameras once the new replacement D400 is released, get the 1.5 factor with better ISO's and, who knows, color too.

Otherwise coffee and a piece of poppy seed cake at the usual place and then a walk back colliding with the bus as I was passing my stop. OK. Felt good, the energy was good, I could go downtown and have another cup of coffee I guess, see what was about. Didn't take much to talk me into it, the bus right there in front of my nose.

So, at this point we collide with Ms. Kismet. Yes we do. Getting off the bus there's a Chinese dragon walking along the sidewalk across the street. Two of them actually, but I took but one or two photographs as the angle wasn't all that great and I wasn't seeing anything from where I was standing that knocked me out. A store opening of some kind? So I walked over into the City Center, looked around, didn't see anywhere I wanted to sit and drink coffee, I didn't want any coffee, so I took a peek over across the street at the City Hall.

My, my. There were my Chinese dragons along with a small crowd of Chinese Americans waiting on something to start. Moth to flame, I guess, why I say Kismet: fate, fortune and photographs!

To cut it short I spent well over an hour photographing what turned out to be a celebration of the founding of the People's Republic of China 62 years ago today. They said something about it wasn't celebrated on a weekend in China, but for some reason, which I didn't quite catch, it was OK for us in the U.S. to be doing it today. OK.

A mixed set of feelings, the People's Republic. One day it's the enemy, the next it's an emerging partner, a third world rapidly moving to a first world country that doesn't obey our every wish and need, and it's hard to keep track of where we stand by following along in the press. I'm unusually sensitive to censorship issues and the other forms of repression you find in places like China, but I also separate the people from their government and have no trouble keeping that separation in mind. Think what we as a people would be called in half the known world if we as individuals were judged by the actions of our own government.

You're allowed to stop at this point. You've done enough poor mouthed mea culpas to cover your timid ass.

Ah, well. So a bunch of pictures, more than I usually shoot, taking my time standing in one place looking for the right expression and taking two or three pictures where I might usually have taken but one. And, of course, I had the 180mm fixed focus lens, so there was no zooming back or forth. Interesting problem when you wanted to shoot a group. Which is OK. Makes you attack the situation differently than you would otherwise, go places you wouldn't normally go, take it from the edges rather than getting right down in the middle and up close. That's not exactly true, but something like to that.

Evening. So five, maybe six hours working on the photographs. Time goes quickly without seeming to mind. A break to have dinner at the sushi house, a bit of sake as a reward for a long and productive afternoon. A decent group of pictures, although nothing to write home about. Kismet, as I mentioned, a gift from the gods. Don't ever complain about a gift from the gods just because it didn't contain each and every favorable expression and act you might have liked to have captured. Don't complain because the ice cream was vanilla when you'd have preferred chocolate. (Or the gods will pitch you an instructional curve.)

The photograph was taken yesterday at Splash Pad Park with a Nikon D2Xs mounted with a 180mm f 2.8 Nikkor AF lens.