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SF Gay Pride Parade.

July 1st, 2001

Almost Over Weekend
You can see some of the issues I had with my camera settings with the photos on this page. I'd been shooting earlier (I hate to admit it, but "earlier" was the day before and I didn't check! I didn't check! I didn't check! the cameras.) with a 50mm lens and I'd set the camera to a shutter speed priority of an 80th of a second. The camera holds the shutter speed constant at 1/80th, in this case, and calculates the correct exposure by varying the aperture. The rule of thumb is to simply use the inverse of the lens diameter. A 50mm lens should be fine shooting at a 50th of a second or faster, preferably faster, but you get the idea.

The thing to keep in mind is that the camera with this particular 50mm lens will only close down to an aperture of f 16, which is the setting on this lens that lets in the smallest possible amount of light. If the film is fast and the light is too bright, f 16 won't be small enough to bring the light down to the right level and you will overexpose the film. Since I had been shooting a reasonably slow speed color film (ISO 100) under hazy skies when I'd originally made the setting, looking to get a good depth of field with the smaller aperture, setting the shutter speed to an 80th made sense. Mumble.

As I was shooting the parade the next day, however, I changed on the fly from the 50mm to a 135mm lens that has the same minimum f 16 setting and from color, with an ISO of 100, to Kodak TMY black and white, with a two stop faster ISO of 400. Two problems: The 135mm lens should have been set to 1/135th of a second or faster to keep the photographs from wobbling, and the faster black and white film, at 1/80th of a second, is so fast that the lens couldn't close down far enough to make the correct exposure. So I got overexposed blurry pictures. Hi, ho, expert I. I've done worse. I learned. I keep learning. Life is like that.

So now that I've lost any readers I might have had at the start with all the camera stuff, let's SF Gay Pride parade. get on to the weekend. Beautiful weekend. Breakfast as usual, but walking by the lake instead of driving. A minor point, but it's a good barometer of where my head is at, walking being better. I took a detour coming back Saturday morning and followed along the lake shore. There's a flock of geese, maybe twenty or thirty, that hangs out near the shore that's visible from the road, and I walked through them along the path. They're accustomed to being fed and they let you pass quite closely by, checking you out for food rather than weapons. I thought, this is nice, twenty or thirty geese near the heart of Oakland, when I made the turn and found another two hundred or so geese in some kind of goose confabulation along the shore. Geese, yes, lots of geese, but herons and some other little unknown buggers too. There were actually half a dozen pelicans holding forth near the opposite shore. Bird shit, of course, everywhere.

I returned along the same path this morning with a 200mm lens, this time, and shot two rolls of film. This will probably turn out to be one of those good ideas that produces a lot of unusable film, but you never know until you've tried, searching out that one elusive photo that will make your name in black and white goose photography circles. The excitement, my friends, the excitement.

I did not buy a television set, by the way, but I did drive down to a Walmart and bought a combination cordless telephone and answering machine. One of those things that's been on the list of things to do for over two years. I also tracked down a lightweight jacket in Oakland at an impossibly hip to the point of hop combination clothing store and barber shop catering, I would imagine, to middle class old farts such as myself who think they are cleverly buying close to the fashion bone. There was, for example, a sixteen channel mixing board just inside the front door. What more can you want for ambiance?

Still, the jacket had all these pockets, you understand, a kind of photographer's vest or carpenter's vest with all the little pockets that still didn't make you look impossibly geeky. I wore it today. Not bad. Holds a spiral notebook, a pen, half a dozen rolls of film, a spare battery pack for the camera, a pair of reading glasses, pharmaceuticals, in case things need to get crazy, and all without screaming "geek!" "geek!""geek!". It was good. I bought it. Things are going well.

What is this not wanting to look like a geek business? You are a geek, aren't you? Computers and all that shit?

No, I am not. I am a faux geek, which is different, and probably requires the services of an analyst to keep in perspective.


I did see Spielberg's AI this afternoon. Interesting, almost schizophrenic movie, the first half making you think, whoa momma!, where is Spielberg going?, this might be one interesting (Stanley Kubrick-ian) trip, and the second half, well, the second half, I guess, you'll have to experience for yourself. Spielberg meets Kubrick. Weird.

Anything else I can ruin for you on this nice, almost over, weekend?

The photographs were taken at the San Francisco Gay Pride parade. The quote is attributed to an English professor at Ohio University.