Change of venue

For a very long time, I have considered myself a street photographer. Recently, things have come along to push me away from that environment. The CV has made urban areas less accessable. The problem is, the alternative around here and within the limits imposed by the CV is this:

This is a much different space from what I'm used to. There aren't very many people out here. Just a lot of farm stuff. It's not like it's unimportant. The Central Valley of California is one of the major ag regions on the planet. But I wonder if I will come to understand it as a photographer?
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I will not paraphrase Shakespeare by saying this is the summer of our you-know-what

This is from about a month ago.  Things were looking pretty bad though there was still hope at least the virus might abate. It appears we were wrong to get our hopes up. Now in the U.S., we have politicized public health measures though it won't be the first time.   I will be grateful if July 4th passes peacefully.
So I took this with one of my cheapie film cameras,  a Minolta X570.  The lens is a Rokkor 45mm f/2. The camera was about US$80 and the lens another sixty.  It was built with a far amount of plastic so it's light and easy to carry with you casually.
I like how film makes you wait. It restores your ability to enjoy the pleasure of anticipation. Imagine taking a picture and having to wait a month to see it? It sounds crazy in this instant digital age but it's actually a lot of fun.

Putah Creek on the Summer Solstice.

I took this with my phone. The other camera I had with me runs on film not pixels. And the film is not back yet. Sometimes it's nice to wait for things.  Since the lockdown, I've been doing more trips out into the country.  I don't consider myself a landscape photographer. There was a lot of bird song including an owl who kept trying to get a word in edgewise.

Whatever I thought of the future, I didn't imagine it would be like this.

Okay.  At the end of January, I left my job of almost thirty years. Also moved from the home where I had been living for the same length of time.  Then I got in a small car for a six thousand plus miles road trip. Managed to not pick up any diseases along the way.  We were barely settled in the new place when the lockdown hit the fan. I knew I was going to have a lot more free time after I left the job, so I was somewhat prepared.  In a lot of ways, my routine is what it would have been except for the addition of a surgical mask, a bottle of hand sanitizer and an awareness of how close I'm standing to strangers. For me, the strangest thing is how quickly we have gotten used to the strange situation. 

On days when transportation is available, I go places where I know I won't encounter people.  I shot these research greenhouses on campus.  The place is mostly deserted since they moved classes to online.  (This was done with a Nikon F100 and Kodak Portra 400. I use an online account/mail order lab for my film processing so it was only slightly affected by the lockdown here.)  

And March is even stranger. I think.



The line was better at the grocery store this week. It took five instead of ten minutes to get inside. Once there, we had plenty of room and food. Even though California is supposed to be hard hit, I don't know anyone who is sick or who knows anyone who is sick. I have a young family member whose job has been cut back by 75%. The one-time cash giveaway and unemployment insurance will do little to alleviate the financial shortfall. I don't want to die but I would rather take my chances than see so many people suffer this much financial hardship. To me it isn't a matter of money versus lives. Money is lives. Money is food. Money is shelter.
A couple days ago there was an article on the BBC newsfeed about the situation in India. They said that 90% of the workers in that country are day laborers. If they don't work that day, they and their families don't eat that night. How many of them do we sacrifice to give rich old people a few more years?