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Here In Oakland

Art & Life


January 14, 2013

Written On A Tombstone
Monday. To bed early, up with the alarm without seeming effort, off to breakfast and back on a cold, but not as cold as it was yesterday, morning. They're saying sun today and warmer when we reach the weekend. Better sooner than later.

A haircut scheduled for tomorrow, but that's pretty much the only commitment for the week. A more ambitious young man would make a plan to go out and find photographs; a trip, perhaps, to most anywhere other than my usual close in around here territory. We'll see. Again, a nice day, now refreshed after lying down to close the eyes without going to sleep after breakfast. Now. Good. What's up?

Later. It's cold out there - too cold, I discovered, after heading out and then immediately returning to the apartment - too cold to go downtown and eat-drink something outside at a table - and so, not able to come up with another option, I turned around, came home and decided to put the next attempt off for another hour.

In the meantime I futzed with one or two unoriginal photographs taken on my brief outing, getting into the DxO Viewpoint program to straighten the right side of the building in the background on the right and the lamp post on the left in the picture. I kept the height of both photographs the same, but, as you can see, the software shortens the width of the corrected photograph. Six of one, half a dozen of another, more an aesthetic preference than anything else, not that the esthetics are unimportant.

Pretty exciting stuff for a Monday.

You're not getting the picture. Excitement is wherever you're able to sort through the trash and find it.

Later still. Another walk the hour later, this time with a winter coat over the padded goose down jacket. I'm not sure if it was the later, warmer sun, or the heavier winter jacket, but a comfortable walk to the morning restaurant for half a turkey with Swiss cheese sandwich, potato salad and coffee. Not a lot of potato salad, but we were to some degree gambling on whether they'd used MSG in the seasoning. We'll know soon enough, it hasn't been subtle in its reminders.

I took along the older D2Xs camera body that turns the mounted 24-200mm lens into the equivalent of a 36-300mm lens, thinking I'd try something different. I'd upped the ISO to 360, but evidently that wasn't enough to up the shutter speed to take a clear picture. The rule of thumb is a 300mm lens requires shooting at 1/300th of a second or faster. (Yes, this is a VR lens allowing slower shutter speeds, but we'll skip that to keep it simple.) It couldn't possibly have been that I was in any way careless in my handling of the camera, of course (when has that ever happened?), but whatever it was, the pictures were noticeably unsharp and unhappy.

This older camera doesn't focus as fast as the later model full frame cameras do, the full frame cameras almost focus before the camera reaches its target. Almost scary. Spoils you. So nothing in the way of pictures today (now that I've cravenly laid out my excuses), but then I was just, you know, ambling along all bulked up in layers of bird feather underwear under a winter jacket, absentmindedly taking the odd (focus challenged) photograph.

That would have been deep-sixed and deleted if you'd done a decent edit.

Evening. A Don Matteo at six. I may have mentioned I'm not able to watch a Don Matteo at six. Or seven. No negative thoughts here about priests or the Catholic church, more a strangely potent aversion to this fashion I assume is current in Italian humor and how for me it overwhelms and destroys appreciating any of the better elements in the story. I loved the Don Camillo series of books by Giovanni Guareschi, for instance, Italian through and through, but Don Camillo was created fifty years ago by an Italian writer with talent.

You have no idea what you're talking about.

If I had more ambition I'd write an analysis for my own personal clarification, figure out what exactly my aversion is and where it's coming from. (Scary thought.) It's a specific vein or kind of humor, similar to the American slapstick strains of decades back, that gives me the creeps easily upsets me. But I don't have more ambition so I don't. Won't.

You have no idea what you're talking about.

Probably not what you'd want to see written on a tombstone.

The photo up top was taken early this afternoon along Lake Merritt with a Nikon D4 mounted with a 24-120mm f 4.0 VR Nikkor lens.