fat gold harvest

Two of my friends, Kathryn and Robin, just started an olive oil business this year, Fat Gold (peep that domain, yowsers). The farm is about 45 minutes east of town, in Sunol. It’s an area of rich rolling alluvium, with lots of small farms and other interesting things that there aren’t room for here in the city. Kathryn is a veteran of the olive oil industry as an award-winning miller. Robin is the author of 2.5 books (counting Scheme as a novella) and is his best self when slightly annoyed on an overloaded tractor.

So they’ve spent the last year working in the grove doing farm things and posting them on their instagram. The instagram feed is mostly Robin, so you get this great enthusiastic novice’s view of the whole enterprise, which has been good for me, a person that didn’t know anything about olives. It’s been interesting to follow along and see the process evolve as they get their footing.

Last weekend was the last harvest day, where a bunch of friends of Fat Gold gathered at the grove to harvest some olives and eat good food. While the amateurs worked at one end of the grove, professionals tackled the majority of the work at lightning speed. The amateurs’ process is simple: individual pickers have a belly bucket, and you kind of take a whole branch in one hand, and strip the olives off with the other, dumping them in the bucket. The professional method is basically to cover the ground under a tree in a mesh and shake off all the olives with sticks. It’s faster, but requires coordination and a lot more effort.

I helped with the harvest for about an hour, camera over my shoulder, but I sensed I wasn’t getting enough pictures, so I dropped off the bucket back by the barn and switched to just taking pictures, which was really enjoyable, the sort of work I’m made for. Which is to say, the participant observer; do some work, take some pictures, do some more work. I helped a bit with the gleaning, and certainly lifted my share of crates durning the weighing and transfer to the giant macrobins.

So this was last weekend, which is record time for me to get a blog post together these days. I can remember waking up with a hangover in someone else’s house and putting together a post, but that was almost a decade ago. As I was there to also photograph for my friends, I hustled and put together a loose edit for them. There is part of me that thinks of this as a client project, and not just personal documentary effort. It doesn’t make much difference in the way I work, but does affect the post-shooting timeline.

Posted by Matt on 2017-11-26 10:22:13 +0000

mom was here

apparently I forgot to post these? Anyway, my mom came to town to hang out for her birthday, which is also the week of the fourth of july. Good times.


Posted by Matt on 2017-10-22 20:39:39 +0000

photos out a plane window of smoke

I photographed the milky way from an airplane, bitches. This probably beats the time I took photos under startlight. These were all on the way back from Santa Ana, where I was working for a week to meet all the new comrades and get a feel for how they do things at Weedmaps.

The first photo is with the ISO at 12k, and I just shot a bunch until I got one that was relatively steady. I could see the milky way, faintly, and I thought I had a chance if I could get a long enough exposure. Might’ve been better if I’d had IS, but you’ve gotta dance with the gal you brought with you (wish someone had told me that before prom) (s/gal/guy/gnc as appropriate, natch).

The second two photos are smoke from the fires that have been raging basically since I left town. Like, whoa. The second picture is the big dipper, except I have no idea what the bright object in the lower left part of the constelation is. It’s the same object you see in the last photo, at the top of the image. Has to be a star, or a geostationary satellite reflecting the sun. Or maybe a start went supernova? At the time, I though it was so bright and big it must be venus. Anyway, it’s a mystery.

The light in that second picture, incidentally, is mostly coming from the city below the smoke, not the stars above. And yes, I know technically the clouds of gas out there that make the milky way milky aren’t “smoke” but they do scatter light in a similar way, don’t they?

Posted by Matt on 2017-10-14 07:33:58 +0000

pride parade 2017

A lot of pictures in this one, and I’m not sorry. Pride is such a visually overwhelming spectacle.

We got up a little late, I don’t remember why, but we were starving, so we went to Rudy’s first thing, got a great breakfast, and then hopped on the BART. Got off at Civic Center, and watched the parade from there for a couple hours. At least it seemed like a couple hours. Timestamps say an hour and a half. A lot of huge showings from tech companies, and a lot of really wonderful community groups too.

<Insert informed political dialog everyone else already had several months ago about the corporatization of Pride and the attempted rainbow-washing of companies’ reputations>

I’ve just changed jobs (now, October 2017), and I’m two and a half days in, and I couldn’t be happier that I did. I started my new job monday, and yesterday, on the way home, I actually felt like taking pictures. I was tired after 6 hours of pairing, but I wasn’t drained in the same way I was coming home from my former employer. That’s fucking fantastic. As someone who draws a great deal of self worth from creative projects, I can’t overstate how great that is.

And! look at me, blogging again! who knows, it might become a habit.

Posted by Matt on 2017-10-11 19:28:46 +0000