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Here In Oakland

Art & Life


March 24, 2013

To Repeat Them
Sunday. I skipped out on House last night and got to bed well before ten. I want to get to bed before ten if I'm going to get up at six for a shot at a decent night's sleep. It takes a while to drop off, sometimes soon, sometimes (it seems) much later, I can never tell. So even with the early hour it's a gamble. Best not to fiddle with the basics lest they turn around and bite thee on the behind (said the man on the mountain). Early to bed, early to rise: allows a fellow to get up and go out for breakfast, read the papers and return to a day that may then go well (with life turning out swell). He said.

Anyway, up with the alarm without effort, off to breakfast and back passing by the line of orange street cones set out along Grand near where I turn, there for the runners who will come sometime after nine. They start at Splash Pad Park, located maybe a mile or so away on the other side of the lake, arriving here sometime after nine. An event to photograph that brushes my very front door.

Later. I can see why a sports photographer would shoot more pictures on an outing than I on one of mine. The usability percentage drastically drops, but that's the price when people are moving and it's almost impossible to catch and then shoot an interesting look or facial expression. So I shot just over eight hundred pictures of people running around my end of the lake and, after a first look, figure maybe there's fifty worth keeping.

You sure there's fifty?

No. I've just finished downloading them from the cameras, taking a first go through one at a time, all the while wondering how I might have varied it more, used different angles and locations and such, although I'm not unhappy with the result. One or two pop out as you go through them, I think there will be enough for two sections, but a good two twenty-one picture sections. After this first glance. Maybe.

Later still. The rest of the afternoon spent working on the photographs, there are two sections, some fifty pictures. So good. About one in twenty worth keeping. At a parade or a festival I can now get forty percent, sometimes as much as sixty or seventy percent, which is off the charts compared to my first outings, percentages built over time through practice. But people forming up for a parade aren't, well, moving. Running. I suspect this moving target percentage will get better, but slowly as a tortoise eye figures out how catch rabbits, and never get all that much better.

I've been thinking, now that I've been taking pictures for the last fifteen years, had I continued when I'd started at the age of fifteen, then after those fifteen years, at the age of thirty, I'd have been ready to “begin” taking pictures. I'd have figured out enough of what I was about as a photographer to then set out and do whatever it is I was after.

Interesting thought. I'm not particularly upset I didn't, there were other necessary things I needed to learn, but it's entertaining to look back and babble. Right or wrong doesn't matter, even dim bulbs achieve illumination.

Evening. Working the photographs has bumped this evening's French amateur detective series, the wine expert, but for the best. Better to be doing something you prefer. Besides, it runs again at nine and, well yes: nine. I want to get to bed not long after nine and it runs until eleven-thirty. Well hell. Next week. Next month. They, as you may have noticed, tend to repeat them.

The photo up top was taken at the Oakland Running Festival with a Nikon D4 mounted with a 70-200mm f 2.8 VR II Nikkor lens.