Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Back in town and out on the water

I am back from my show in Santa Barbara. The show itself was good enough I suppose, by today's standards anyway, but certainly not great. Decent but not enough to relieve the pressure. There are so few shows that if you do not max out every one you stay behind the eight ball. And with me not doing my big shows in New Mexico this month for medical and budgetary reasons, the next two months should be very interesting.

Anyway, I did better than some and worse than others. Jewelry is still big, decorative arts not so much. I saw a few people in their twenties or thirties but I didn't notice them buying anything. Tag-alongs. Many of my regulars did not show up, bless those that did, I really appreciate your support.

I got very sick at the show. Wednesday was good, Thursday I was completely congested and feeling awful. Even worse on Friday. Steve and I went out for Thai and I decided to have a soup, which was the only thing I thought I could tolerate. About eight minutes in I ran to the door and did a little projectile thing in the parking lot. Didn't sleep all night. 

The show venue was ungodly hot and they brought big fans in. They were very loud and the dust they blew did not help things much. But they did cool things down a bit.

I had a tickle in my throat and people told me that some people were confusing the new Covid strain for a cold. I went to the pharmacy, loaded up on C, benadryl, nyquil, dayquil, everything you could think of to staunch the dreaded cold or flu and threw in a Covid test to make sure. 


What a relief! Still, it was a bear to function and keep my game face on while feeling so terrible. I marshaled on.

I brought a camera, intending to take some people shots this trip. I only brought my old modified 55mm ƒ1.2 nikkor film lens to mix things up. I took it out exactly one time.

A woman walked into my booth with a Leica and we had a chat and talked shop. She had been in the film business and had gotten burned out. She had a ƒ 1.5 on and owned a ƒ.9 noctilux. So we were trying to do the same thing, grab the elusive, potato chip thin wide open focal plane.

It is really hard to do, especially in a dark room. 

I was at iso 2000 for this shot of her and slightly missed my focus. 

But I will take it anyway. Wide open, manual focus is a very good discipline with a low win rate, a good challenge. 

It definitely has its benefits in this automatic world of perfect focus, exposure and photography we supposedly live in.

I packed myself out Sunday night and gutted it back home to Fallbrook, arriving at my gate at 11:20 p.m. fairly exhausted.

I woke up at five yesterday so I could drive in and secure a parking space before the yoga and pilates people grabbed them all. I managed to bring the totes and tables in when I got the call from my wife that we had a whale watching trip scheduled.

I told her I was sick and totally fried. She called the Oceanside Adventures company and told them I was sick but they said they would not reschedule at and it would cost me $120 that they had already dinged my credit card. So I sucked it up and went, hopefully not getting the rest of the boat sick.

I had an hour, ran across the street to Harry's and got food in my system for the first time of the day and finally took off for the harbor with her. I would have to finish unloading the van in the dark when I got back.

The blue whales and occasional Minke have been cruising through of late. 

Renee saw a blue whale up in Dana Point last week. 

We got skunked for whales this time but landed in a megapod of common dolphin right off the bat. 

A couple thousand easy. 

Not as dense as we have seen before but very wide.

There was a huge bait ball of anchovy and the dolphin were going to town.

Photographing on the open water is the hardest thing for me.

Very hard to judge the shots and to figure out the proper equipment and technique. 

I am not quite there yet.

A lot of it is what we camera bugs call spray and pray. 

Hammer the shutter and see what you end up with.

Yesterday was gray and rainy, there was a noticeable lack of color  and contrast and it made it even harder.

We had our favorite captain, Chris. The crew and fellow passengers could not have been nicer. A bad day on the water is still better than a good day in an office.

It was fun to watch the symbiotic relationship between the gulls, pelicans and dolphin. 

Everybody in on the same dance.

I used the Nikkor ƒ2.8 70-200mm on the Nikon D850 this time. 

I tended to shoot ƒ5 at a shutter speed of around 2000 with auto iso. 

Went up to ƒ7 as required. 

I opened up the aperture as much as I could because it was dreary out and I needed all the light I could get.

I did have somewhat better luck grabbing and freezing sharp shots than last time but still not as good as I hoped.

I think that next time I will bring my slower Sigma 150-600 zoom that I shoot a lot of birds with if it is sunnier. 

I think I am more familiar with it and hope that it will deliver better results for me.

Still I feel like I delivered fairly admirably for what was a challenging day optically. The deck hand told Leslie that we should try the 9:30 boat next time and that the conditions are generally more glassy and we think that is a good idea. We look forward to returning.

1 comment:

Ken Seals said...

I really enjoyed these pix.