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Here In Oakland

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October 22, 2011


Saturday. They announced on the news last night that the Occupy people in front of City Hall had been served notice they are to be evicted by ten that evening, so I'll see if they're still there today when I go to photograph a demonstration and parade they're saying will start at noon. No way I was going downtown last night to see if I could photograph them being evicted. I thought about it. For about two seconds. A younger me, maybe, but best even then, if you were going, to go with friends (who can pick you up off the street and ferry you to a hospital). The papers this morning didn't say what happened.

Up with the alarm after a fitful night's sleep, but I do feel pretty good - tight and clear headed - as I write, much better than I felt yesterday throughout the day and evening. For some reason the aching upper palate was acting up last night making me wonder, well, just wonder where this might eventually be going. But this morning is good, we'll head downtown with the gear pretty soon looking for, well, pictures.

Later. I said I felt pretty good this morning, energy up and stuff, so naturally I took a bus downtown and spent over three hours shooting pictures. No regrets, I'm a little tired, but still feel like a human being. Clear headed, anyway, an ache or pain or two, but nothing serious, the normal minor aftereffects of a good long outing. So good.

The encampment is still intact and they did indeed have a rally and then a parade around the area. More of a parade than I'd realized. The three hours of shooting had pretty much ended when I photographed them heading out of the City Hall area on 14th Street, so I walked over to the City Center across 14th and had an iced tea while I waited for a bus to arrive over on Broadway.

A bus then back home only to find the Occupy Wall Street people had paraded all the way down and along Grand Avenue beside Lake Merritt, so I got off the bus at the point it had to detour off Grand to get around the parade and caught up with it just as they were passing my street. Took a picture or two on the fly, not sure any of them turned out. I find that it's very difficult to shoot on the fly unless you concentrate and identify something specific before you shoot, not easy when jostling in a crowd. Easy to just pull the trigger without thinking or seeing. Another thing to work on.

So a long late morning and early afternoon, home now at three. I mentioned I'd taken a picture of a fellow who'd been selling t-shirts on the sidewalk over near the theater yesterday and I'd promised to give him a print, running the prints yesterday afternoon. So after returning from the parade I walked over and gave them to him. Talk about surprised. Hell, maybe I was surprised, but with the delivery my tasks for the day are done. With the exception of the guitar, of course. There's always guitar practice ahead. It doesn't go away. No it doesn't.

Then again, I was listening to a CD in the car, one of six in the changer under the seat. One of six that have been sitting in the car now for a while, that I haven't been playing for a while, and I'd forgotten exactly what they were, but one started playing as I was driving to breakfast the other day and I realized it was the latest from The Flying Burrito Brothers, a Texas band I became familiar with way back when. Anyway, I remembered I'd bought it after hearing a cover they'd done of a well known song, but I'd forgotten which song until in came on (track 9): Wild Horses by the Stones. Ah.

I bring this up because I need to learn to play it. Doesn't matter how long it takes, I'm learning to play Wild Horses, learning it along with my regular lessons. Don't want anyone to think I'm not enjoying this guitar business, doing it for b.s. reasons. There is some sense to my madness and even I get glimpses of it now and again.

Evening. Oh, dear. I seem to have taken a lot of pictures, many of them quite good (in my own eyes, at least for the moment). All my thinking about how it wasn't going all that well yesterday (with the shooting) seem to have evaporated in one three hour block of time out there with a camera. I've spent four hours working on them in Photoshop and probably have an hour or two more before I start to prepare them for the web, but good, I guess. Up, down, up down. Unsettling.

The photograph was taken Thursday at the Oakland Occupy Wall Street encampment with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 24-120mm f 4.0 Nikkor VR lens.