Thursday, July 13, 2017
I took a much needed mental health break yesterday and drove to the beach. Tell me I'm crazy but it seems like I need a lot of mental health breaks lately, doesn't it? After a week of genuine hell and successive sleepless nights I figured I could allow myself a day to chill and hopefully get my shit together.
Hurricane Eugene in Baja has been delivering some big surf on the California coast, especially south facing beaches. It was double overhead at the Wedge on Tuesday and was supposed to be six to seven foot tall yesterday at Huntington so my friend Pete and I got in my van and drove up there together.
Pete is a long time Orange County surfer. He is having some health issues of his own and the doctor's won't let him have his car keys for a while so the trip would be good for both of us, we both really needed to be near the water.
And it would give me a chance to see how the new nikkor 400mm 2.8 fl lens would work for surf and action photography. I have learned one thing as I get older and I have said it before; even for a creative narcissist like me, you can't get good at anything without practice and mileage. I know that Bobby Clampett shot a 77 the first time he ever touched a golf club but he was a freak.
I'm no Mozart.
But I can and do get better, I'm a pretty fast learner.
The tip was slow and uneventful. We counted three major multiple car accidents on the way up, two on the way back down. In each one, no less than three cars were pretending to be accordions. I figure it has to be one of those braindeads I often see texting in the car, there can be no other explanation. Young whippersnappers with notions of immortality meet the hard wall and the Pauli exclusion principle, that mean old law of physics that says that two particles can't occupy the same space at the same time. Best to text when you get to your destination.
Shooting surf with the big lens was tricky. I got wore out lugging the tripod, heavy lens and Wimberly to the pier. I was shooting down on my subjects and I was too close to my subjects and never really found my sweet spot in terms of range.
When a person is flying by you on a fiberglass board they are also getting closer to you. Shooting with a prime lens of this focal length has its pluses and minuses. But it certainly has its utility and all the problems I encountered are easily fixed.
Not only did I not need the added range of the nikkor tc 14e II that Pete was holding for me in his pocket, I would have everything nearly exactly perfect if I had merely brought my full frame Nikon D810 camera rather than the 1.53 crop factor of the smaller sensored Nikon D7200.
Is that enough technical jargon for you? How about some pictures? Click on one...
The performance of the lens was perfect, what I expected, fast, sharp and spot on in terms of focus acquisition. Operator could use a little work. Lost a couple shots through a combination of sheer proximity and bad panning technique, cut off some hands. Next time I will nail it.
By the way, blog reader Jerry Hall was a college roommate of mine in Encinitas. He was a very fine surfer in his day, long and elegant, he dominated. Unfortunately he got into a car accident and had to give up the sport he loved the best. Tragic. I love Jerry, what a beautiful, nice person.
Big Mike called yesterday, crying about Buzz. I appreciate that so much Mike, he loved you too. I appreciate all of your good wishes. Pain is going around. Don Leichtling's wife Debbie died of cancer this weekend too. Blast love to her family. That disease is such a horrible beast.
Look forward to trying it again one day.
My second viral wave in Brazil. Love it, the blast now rolling along in the many millions of hits. Google stopped letting me know after 14 million views or so, whatever that metric actually means... I have a Wainrober cousin in Brazil, a heart surgeon, a bunch of mom's family landed there.
Anyway I always liked that short story. Remember Feeler, my three part short story from years past? John Colombero always loved that one. I think I will finish it this year. Instead of scrambling around New Mexico I will hole up in a dirty motel in Albuquerque with a liter of vodka and finish the damn thing.