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September 19, 2010

Sake And Cheese
Sunday. The alarm went off at six and I got up at six, so I'm assuming I got a decent night's rest, otherwise I'd have turned off the alarm, turned over and continued to sleep. I think. In any case, up, to breakfast and the papers, back now under an overcast sky. None of the occasional very light rain from yesterday and it doesn't look like there's any rain ahead. But it's eight as I write, most of the day to come, and I realize I'm thinking of taking a nap. The day may have started, but I haven't quite started yet. Hard to judge, but I'm definitely tired.

Not good news about Mr. W yesterday. Evidently the brain damage received over a year ago is now deteriorating further and he's losing more of his ability to grasp or do simple day to day tasks. His wife described an emergency trip to the hospital after a series of headaches starting this last week freaked out their doctor on a scheduled visit. A CT scan, a comparison to an earlier scan, showing marked deterioration in the frontal lobes, none of this any good.

The days go by, we get older and old friends recede, recede, recede. Ms. K gone now from stomach cancer, a light still remembered from the past. Now Mr. W is in a difficult fight. Shoot your photographs now, Mr. Prop, while there's still an option, don't put it off. The cameras don't get any lighter, the words don't flow any more easily as the days and years pass.

That seems a bit down.

How else do you describe any of that? Time though for that nap, maybe thirty minutes, get these batteries charged. We're talking about heading over to San Francisco again later for the Autumn Moon Festival in Chinatown. I've photographed it once or twice in the past, back in the days, to no great success. Might make sense now that I've had more practice. Was my thought.

Later. I understand why I haven't been doing the Autumn Moon Festival in San Francisco. Large crowds, a series of blocked off streets lined with the various booths and such you see at all of the local festivals, not just Chinese Autumn Moon festivals, and it's hard to pry a picture out of the mess.

Poor Prop. Can't get his camera up. Hup! Hup!

OK, that's fair. I suspect this kind of event is exactly the kind of event you need to learn to do “real” street photography. Taking pictures of people up close in circumstances other than at parades and such where people are there, often in costume, to be seen and photographed. Well, I've discovered some of them don't like to be photographed, which is a bit strange if you're preparing to take part in the parade, but shooting a picture is generally acknowledged to be OK, whether you want it or not. In a street fair like this one that's less the case.

So let's start this again. It's a good place to learn the craft. In looking through the pictures I discovered one or two well worth the effort, photographs that suggested a little work and more would come. Best to remember there are always photographs about. It's the photographers who fail to dig them out.

So what can be said? I took the usual bus, hopped on BART, the train right at the station as I descended the stairs, and then a walk to Grant, no need for a bus as it's reasonably close by. I walked up and down the length of the festival area on Grant, the first pass with the 24 - 70mm lens and then back with the 70 - 200mm lens on the backpack camera, the reason being I was lazy and put off going through the effort of taking off the backpack and unpacking, not liking to do it in a crowd.

Still, I must have been there shooting for a couple of hours, the leg acting up throughout and toward the end hobbling me pretty good. I mentioned the shin I'd banged the other day and, although it had been sore yesterday at the JPop Festival, it was sore, but it let me walk. Today it really kicked in while I was walking, making my trip back to BART in the end a slow foot dragging event. Old man hobbling down the San Francisco street. I took it real easy and acted cool, camera in hand. What else can you do? A long afternoon in the city, home now at five, ready for a much slower week ahead starting right now (hup! hup!).

So a rough look at the pictures, maybe ten of them turned out, maybe I"m being too generous in my estimate. An interesting series photographing four people standing in a square kicking a shuttlecock from person to person, back and forth, kicking it in the sense of hitting it with the side of their foot both with the shuttlecock in front of them and using a back kick (seemingly without looking) when it fell behind their back. And they were good. They rarely missed. I have no idea how long they've been doing this, practicing, but I suspect for years. A way to get together and get in a bit of exerciset, maybe? Living in the city with but a small and crowded park available to get out and about? It's an interesting world.

I did put two sections of JPop photographs up on artandlife this morning, completing them after returning from breakfast and before taking that thirty minute nap I was threatening when I started this thing. Another “do I want to go, it's overcast, etc., etc.” conversation with myself, but I again went out on autopilot and found myself on the street waiting for a bus, camera in hand, another in the backpack. The auto-photographer at work. Which is good, I guess.

Back now from Beverages & More with a couple of bottles of sake, a block of Stilton cheese and a box of odd but edible looking crackers in hand. Exactly what they've warned me against for the ocular migraines. No migraines in a while, although the double vision thing has been acting up this last week. Hard to describe. Yes, double vision, but other factors involved. Not all that distressing unless it gets worse. Now where's that sake and cheese? I haven't eaten anything since breakfast.

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.