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September 12, 2010

A Second Too Late
Sunday. A slow day, yesterday, the head just foggy enough to make me worry I needed to spend more time editing the journal, the foggy headed thing slick at slipping sloppy silliness into my near deathless prose. Ten hours of sleep last night yet not feeling not altogether sharp this morning and, because I slept in two hours later than usual, I skipped breakfast and the papers at the usual place and have just now returned from the local WiFi café where I fumbled through the posting of yesterday's entry. Maybe the coffee will kick in and the day will become clearer, maybe this is just the way it goes after a certain number of years: two days on, two days off, sake in the evenings notwithstanding.

But enough. Writing it down just makes it sounds worse than it is. Then again maybe I have no idea. How many people do I pass on the street during the day who's brains are totally scrambled? I'm not talking about the old and indigent, the shouters and the screamers, but the folks who's outward appearance makes you think “proper member of the community” and who's interior life parallels some of the more extreme themes you see expressed on television in programs such as NCIS and Jack, the Motherfucking Ripper. Interesting thought, but probably not one over which you'd want to become too obsessive. No good can come of it. One of those cheap seat junkets into paranoia.

You're feeling paranoid?

I almost never feel paranoid, which probably means I err on the other side of the syndrome. Some things deserve a shot of paranoia if you're into survival. Too much, too little. Where's the editor to give you advice in these times of turmoil? Ophra? Dr. Phil?

Later. A drive over to Solano Avenue around ten, the parade starting at ten, finding a parking space in a quiet neighborhood two blocks off the main drag. Two hours of shooting walking up and down searching out faces. Generally the photographs come faster in the beginning and slow down as the day progresses. I assume it's my eye and endurance fading and not the opportunities for pictures. Two hours is good. About right at this stage of my endurance.

Ran into two people from the old office, Mr. D and Ms. Y, evidently as addicted to these street festivals as I, although they're not into them as photographers. A short article in the newspaper this morning suggested they were expecting 300 to 500 thousand people to flow through during its eight hours. That's a lot of people. I wonder if I'm remembering that right. I was wondering if I were reading it right when I was reading. Still, they said fifty thousand people showed up at the Oakland Pride Festival in a much smaller area and I thought that a lot then. Still, half a million....

Anyway, enough photographs for another Solano Stroll section on artandlife. It was one of the first street festivals I began photographing when I took up photography again in the mid nineties. It was like breaking rocks in the beginning to get a decent picture, although I got a few I'm certainly happy with. When you're starting out, you learn through practice. Photography is like other arts in that it takes practice, not something I thought about way back when I started (as a teenager, restarting later as an old fart). You never stop learning and there can't be any regrets you didn't understand certain things sooner. Although there are always regrets.

Maybe it was harder then because your standards were higher.

Button your lip.

Anyway, back to the apartment to switch cameras. I took along but one camera with the 70 - 200mm lens, leaving the second camera with the 24- 70mm lens at the apartment. I finally figured out I never use but the 70 -200 for all my shooting and have decided I don't need the extra grief (and weight) of a second camera to catch at most maybe one or two pictures. It's only taken me fifteen years to figure this out. I'm a fast learner.

Anyway, get the papers and drive on to breakfast. Breakfast at one-thirty. No reason not to fall back into my interrupted daily groove, late or no, and I was hungry.

Later still. I've gone through the photographs and there are enough to make a second Solano Stroll section under artandlife. I was wondering, before I had a chance to look at them, if that were really true. I'd found a number of images I thought interesting, but had I been able to capture them in the camera? You never really know until you go through them and even then they'll surprise you. What you'd seen in one and thought you'd caught failed miserably. What you hadn't noticed in another makes the picture. It takes me some time to go through them, open them in Photoshop and make necessary corrections (some of which, I realize later, make the picture worse, not better), experiment with the cropping (closer seems to be better), save them for the web. For prints you can go back and re-size them later. These took me about five hours: adjust the photographs and create the web pages. Still, tired or not, double visioned or not, doing it seems to keep me happy.

Why then do you scream and shout and kick your computer if it makes you so happy? All that noise. You'd think you'd hear from your neighbors.

Did I mention many of them turn out to be crap? I wish I did kick and shout. Might indicate the necessary energy inside to gear up and do something about them, these failed images, caught a tenth of a second too late.

The photograph was taken at the Oakland Pride Street Festival with a Nikon D3s mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR II lens.