driftwood retreat 2024

I had a teacher in high school who’s biggest pet peeve was the phrase ‘first annual’, because, she said, if it was the first, then there was no way for it to be annual. An annual event, in her mind, was something that happened over and over again, every year. So first annual was something of an oxymoron.

That said, I’m not sure she was right. It’s not wrong to say first of an annual series, if you intend to make it happen again. At worst, it’s a little aspirational. I don’t think that’s that much of a crime? Anyway, this was the first annual Driftwood Retreat I alluded to in the last post.

It was at a house somewhere in the Sierra Foothills, south of Tahoe. Not actually super far from here for a drive; I think we got out there in about three hours? but also we avoided traffic by leaving at 10am. I took my then-new Noctilux with me, and shot with it a bunch all weekend. Protip: if you are shooting and your main light comes from a digital projector, make sure your shutter speed is slower than the refresh rate. I shot some of these under a projected light at 1/200th of a second, and it caused all sorts of issues.

Some of the other photos I made black and white just because I feel like it. Either it was very dark or the light was monochromatic or blown out in one channel (which also happens when there’s only one color of light) and I don’t feel like taming the weirdness. The ones that can be color are.

Anyway, the retreat: a bunch of people came together to make music and art and meals together, away from all our normal worries and cares. Very chill vibes, good company, good times. There was a table big enough to lay out all the San Pablo work prints on, the first time I got to see the whole thing at once. Still working on the order for that, but I should be moving into book design soon.

Gonna push publish and go to bed.

Posted on 2024-06-07T07:48:47Z GMT

world's largest factory floor

These were from some months ago, driving out through the delta and across the central valley. The Driftwood spring retreat was out in the foothills, in a spot that was pretty ideal for a dozen or so people to descend and party it up. But first we had to get there.

Someone once told me the framing in the title, that California’s central valley wasn’t a collection of farms but a factory for turning the water from the sierrra snowpack into food. As we drove through it this time it was hard not to see it that way, as a vast organism of production. Incredible amounts of labor shape and reshape the landscape. Even the delta we started the trip in is a collection of man made dikes and islands.

Anyway. I should mention here that if you like this sort of thing, Matt does a travellogue, I’m going to be taking a trip later this year, in September, and sending out a pop-up newsletter to go with it. https://bigempty.photos/ if you’d like to sign up for that; the first issue in the archive has a little more background.

Posted on 2024-06-06T04:37:59Z GMT

pi(e) day at casey's

This was a party I was something like four years late to. That is, Casey has it every year, and every year on 3/14 since the first one I was invited to, something prevented me from going. COVID lockdown was the first year (although the party happened, I had a small fever that morning from something and stayed away out of an abundance of caution), I think the next year I was somewhere for work, etc etc. I’m very lucky that my friends tolerate me, I know. This year I forgot yet again, and scheduled a trip to Texas that week, but as luck would have it I was landing at SFO in time to go directly to the party.

Touched down, texted Sophie the wrong address from my cab, got there and was greeted by just the nicest, warmest group of folks you could want after a couple days away from home. And I want to say soup? And pie. A lot of pie.

Sophie texted to say she was there and I went down and she wasn’t and we figured out she was at the wrong place, and so got her headed to the right place, went down again, let her in and went to park the car while she went up to get some wine to relieve the effects of San Francisco rush hour.

We sat, we talked, pie was had. And I marked my dang calendar for next year.

Posted on 2024-05-12T04:48:14Z GMT

drama clouds, working on things

Shot these one day back in… December? Went up to Santa Rosa to meet Cason and Ryan for brunch at the Flamingo. I had the edit ready a couple weeks ago and then forgot about it. Been working on the San Pablo edit. I had some vague vibes-based categories and then got some help from my friend Michela to put them in order… unfortunately it kind of fell flat when I looked at it again with Sophie. I think the groupings made it too much of the same thing all at once. So now they’re shuffled together again and I need to try to sequence them again.

Speaking of putting things in order, I’m also working on a bunch of different stuff for the motorcycle trip this fall. I picked up ten yards of high-viz yellow (if you’ve seen the yellow I use in most of my bags, it’s that) to make some saddlebags, and I’m trying to figure out what camping gear and other things to take. I realized it would be a much better trip if I didn’t do it out-and-back, instead shipping the bike to Minnesota and taking the full time just to make my way back home. I need to get a different set of tires on the new moto, and probably half a dozen other things I’m forgetting.

I’m also thinking about doing some kind of email newsletter while I’m on the road, maybe a few editions before then. Modeled after Craig Mod’s walking practice. The road versions will be photos and field notes from that day; if I made a couple posts before then it’d be preparation, what I’m taking, how I’m routing, stuff like that. It’d be difficult to do I think, but pretty rewarding to have that record at the end. And I know at least some people would like to be able to follow along, so there’s that. But I have to come up with a name for it and pick a newsletter platform that isn’t for fascists, but I have a couple to pick from.

Anyway, these clouds: just sort of bursting with energy. There’s a pattern here in the bay where it’ll rain for the first part of the day, and then gradually it’ll kind of clear up, but in the middle of the day the clouds do this wild thing. In other places, you see clouds like this before the weather comes in, but here it’s often the opposite. A quirk of living out here on the west coast, I suppose. Surrounded by mountains and ocean.

Posted on 2024-05-07T04:45:27Z GMT

eclipse 2024

I’ll try to write more about this later, but people have been asking where are my pictures from the eclipse, so here they are…

Posted on 2024-04-12T20:36:10Z GMT