February 2004
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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

This is typical.  The weather changes.  I walk up to Fedex to drop off a print.  And I start wandering around with the camera.  Nothing much in mind.  Mostly doing the usual thing, shooting puddles etc.  I like being in the sun.  So I need some cash and decide to walk a few blocks to the bank.  On the way out, two ways to go -- either uptown or crosstown.  I say to myself, this crosstown block is the most boring block there is, so I'll take that route.  There's never anything happening on this block. 

I walk about half a block and see red flags, and hear chanting on the other side of the street.  Something is happening.  Cops all over the place.  I approach and see a lot of signs in some language I can't read, and a small crowd waving red flags.

A speaker is perched on some steps above the crowd, speaking in a foreign language and someone hands me a flyer.  I begin to understand that it has something to do with Albania.  But I can't figure out why they are here or what exactly it is about.

I ask the woman who handed me the flyer why they are here -- and she points across the street and says that's where the Albanian Embassy is.

At any rate, I get up behind the speaker and do some shots of the crowd, many of whom are wrapped in American flags.

Here's something from the flyer:

"We, members of the Albanian-American Community, are gathered here today, across the street from the Albanian Mission to the U.N. to voice our opposition to the corrupt and criminal Albanian socialist government.

"The cabinet ministers of the mafia type Albanian socialist government are known to have their hands in the illegal trafficking of migrants from Eastern Europe and Asia to the West, for having their share in the business of exporting drugs and prostitution to Europe, for money laundering...

The situation in Albania is getting worse every day.  The country is headed for catastrophe."

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1:24:32 PM    

I'm starting to get that deluge of student photographer's questions again (both high-school and college) which made me think back to how I got started.  

To the best of my faulty recollection, there were these things called books.  Not sure if they make them anymore, but back in the middle of the last century, I bought a couple of them which gave all the basic photographic techniques that a 14 year old kid needed to get started. I suppose that it is possible that such books no longer exist.

I remember that it wasn't a big deal to figure out the reciprocal relationship between aperture size and shutter speed. The iris gets bigger, let's in more light, you have to make the shutter open and close more quickly. Once you got that relationship you were good to go.

And I still answer questions of that nature, but what troubles me the most is when I get e-mails asking things like:

"I'm not sure what to take pictures of. Do you have any ideas?

"Everything here is boring. If I were in New York, I could take better pictures."

If you sense some irritability this morning -- it is real. I didn't sleep well due to the cat running around like a maniac and staying up late (me, not the cat) to watch the primary results.   I was actually thinking about getting a second cat to keep the first cat busy during the day and stopped in to a pet store where they showed me a Siamese kitten called Charcoal. I don't really care for the Siamese, but asked what it cost and they told me $1400.

I thanked them politely and decided to just pick up a bag of catnip and a wind up toy instead.

As far as the primaries go, they are over in my opinion with Kerry the guy. I think that we're basically looking for the toughest, macho- non-Dukasis guy we can find. Edwards is too sweet-looking. No vegans need apply. And Kerry is the tallest and even plays ice-hockey. Case closed.

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11:19:25 AM