drop party

This was what, late in june? Lots of ‘drops’ at this thing, paint, beats, etc etc. IYKYK. Very good, chill backyard vibes. Joseph played a set that went until the neighbor came over and yelled at us, at which point we packed it in. Austin painted (with some help by other partygoers). I took photos with the Ricoh accidentally in jpeg for the first half, realized my error for the darker parts, but the noise is still pretty crunchy after the sun went down.

Posted on 2023-09-12T16:47:26Z GMT

yosemite out and back again

This was what, three weeks ago? getting dangerously close to the fluid present, in any case. Sophie was out of town this weekend, off to do work things on the east coast, and I had a weekend free to do whatever I wanted. I realized it would be a perfect time to do a quick overnight in the sierras, see what Yosemite had to offer. I had a new camera to break in and get used to, and time to burn.

So after brunch and a stop for gallon jugs of water, I started driving east. There are a couple ways to get out there, the northern route on 120, which takes you to tioga pass and switchebacks down to the valley proper or the southern route, which goes through Merced to 140. I was headed for some campgrounds on 140 that are first-come first-serve, hoping to get lucky.

And, as luck would have it, there was one tiny spot open at the first campground I stopped at. Just big enough for my little two person tent and a chair, basically. I got my tent set up and went down to the river to put my feet in the water. I sat there and read my book, there being no cell signal, for maybe an hour, and then got up to go back to the tent and sit there and watch the clouds.

Unfortunately, instead of being high and pretty and harmless, they were a storm coming in. I rushed to get the fly on the tent and hopped inside. Then I had to get back out and re-tie the fly down to bigger rocks; the wind was gusting to maybe 30mph in the canyon, just wild. I sat in the noise of the wind and the rain, waited for it to blow out. Just sitting, alone, in the middle of the storm, can’t see out of the tent because the rain fly went all the way to the ground.

Got up in pretty bad shape, as my ground pad wasn’t holding air; made some coffee and some breakfast. Freeze dried biscuits and gravy, which is actually really palatable. Drove for a half an hour and I was in the park. Walked around, saw some things. Took a bus to a trailhead, hiked up to mirror lake, which is neither mirrored nor a lake; really a wide spot in Tenaya Creek. A nice hike though, with options that kind of get you away from the crowds.

Then, after a quick stop to buy gummy bears (the best gummy bears in the world are hte ones in the gift shop in Yosemite National Park, I don’t know how they do it, it’s some local confectioner), I drove home.

Posted on 2023-09-10T07:43:04Z GMT

that's a good tree

It’s 6am Central European Daylight Time, day four of the trip, and the jet lag has really caught up with me. I’ve been awake since 3:30 or so local time. Really just processing some photos to kill some time, and hope I can get back to sleep again.

Took these on a walk up into some park or another. It was supposed to be a little piece of a 6 mile loop that included redwoods, but we went to the wrong trailhead, didn’t bother looking at the map, and ended up making the walk rather short as a consequence. While we were walking, I had the idea for a blog that would have killed in 2003 or so: “That’s a good tree,” a blog that just had posts of individual pictures of trees that I saw, with the caption “That’s a good tree.”

Of course, it’s 20 years after that would have been fun, and in 2oo3, digital cameras were in their infancy; for what I just spent on a top of the line body and lens, you could get maybe six whole megapixels, with slightly worse than slide film dynamic range.

Then, before we got in the car to head home, we walked across the road and I took this panorama, with the fog rolling over the hills in SF, Tam on the right, and yes, another good tree. It’ll print something like 80 inches wide, which might be interesting. We’ll see when I’m back to my big printer.

Posted on 2023-09-09T04:24:01Z GMT

thurdsay for sanity

Sometimes, when work is more or less just me, working on a problem for a long time, it’s good for my head to get out of the house. I think this week I was also solo, Sophie was somewhere; Chicago? Amsterdam? I don’t remember. Anyway. “It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation,” to steal a sentence. SFMOMA has a nice cafe, and a couple little nooks scattered throughout the museum that are great for this, as they also have decent wifi and the 5G coverage is excellent. I’m a museum member, so I get in free (well, something like $150/year).

I’m not worried about spoiling the uncrowded space, nobody reads blogs.

But it’s great, I can work for a little bit, go look at some art if I get restless, get a coffee from the cafe, whatever I feel like. I’m always really productive because of the slight pressure of not wanting people to see me goofing off on my phone or whatever. There’s also the “I can do that later” thought that helps; I’m in a rad place, I should either be looking at the rad art or doing work, not scrolling.

And then, the city is there for me when the workday is done. I think this day I went to NOPA? I was alone, and I wanted a fancy burger, but made a game time decision to have bolognese.

Still haven’t been back for that burger.

Posted on 2023-09-01T08:27:23Z GMT

re-photography (sort of)

re-photography, as a genre, is usually about finding an old photograph, going to where it was taken, and making a new picture. It’s a study in changes over time. Some of these aren’t that, exactly, but I’m quite sure they’re a in a long line of pictures of the same subjects, things that have been photographed ad infinitum, just over and over and over.

So anyway, it was thursday, I had to mail the camera back the next day, and I hadn’t planned anything. But for some reason I hadn’t been able to sleep the night before, finally drifted off around 4am, and then woke up to my alarm and realized I was going to be completely useless if I actually tried to work. So, instead, I took a sick day and went back to sleep. Woke up around one and decided to make use of the time I had. I called a lift and had it drop me off near chrissy field.

there’s definitely something about photographers that makes us want to both go to see the big stuff, the landmarks, the most interesting parts of the world, while also wanting to do something different. Go to a place that’s literally one of the most photographed objects in the world, and try to find something new or interesting to look at. It helps when the light is ‘bad’ because all the obvious sweeping views are cut off at the knees.

It also helped that I had a bunch of focal lengths to play with; 15, 21, and 50mm, with the 15 doing a lot more work than I’m used to doing with it. through-the-lens viewing is rad. I don’t want to be too anal retentive about most things, but my compositions are usually very precise. or at least I want things in the picture to be there I put them, not cut off weirdly at the edges.

But sometimes in the end you go out to the stupid place everyone else goes and you take the stupid picture you’ve seen a million times, just to get it out of your system, like a song stuck in your head. And along the way, since you’ve got the camera out, maybe you see a few other interesting things. Maybe the bad light is just mood, from the right angle. sometimes, just getting the camera out and putting it to your eye is enough to get the brain in gear.

of course, I don’t think anything here is terribly original. It’s not like I’m the first person to notice how cool the symmetry of the girders under the arch section of the bridge is, or the surface texture of the rust on these old anchor chains. Still: there are many like it, these are mine.

Posted on 2023-08-24T07:54:49Z GMT