Back from Africa, but still trying to cope with the volume of photos shot over there. Doing so reminded me of my trip to California to do an all-too-brief tutorial with legendary wildlife photographer Moose Peterson. Moose gave me several tips that proved useful during the trip, but probably the most succinct was "nobody wants to see the back of an animal". Not always true, but near enough.
Lots of photos of "the big five" and other impressive creatures to follow, but here's a photo of a rock dassie (or hyrax), which looks like it must be a relative of the yellow-bellied marmots I spent the afternoon photographing in California's Tioga Pass under Moose's tutelage, but is not. (It is, according to many scientists, the elephant's closest relative, despite being only about 18 inches long.)
And here's Moose's blog entry of the marmot shoot. There's video, and (unsurprisingly) a still that's better than mine were. The same is true of the previous blog posts about the gulls and the swallows we shot earlier at Mono Lake.
Blogging has been very light the last week or so, because I've been traveling. I went to the Golden State for a photography workshop/tutorial in Mammoth Lakes, with a great wildlife photographer called Moose Peterson. Moose is a nice guy, and the sessions were intensive, but very interesting and useful. I learned a lot, including how not to bury my subject in its background, how not to include distracting junk in the foreground of a landscape shot, how to hold and pan a camera smoothly and steadily. All of these things will take practice, but that's just fine. I also learned that if you go out and spend the day close to snowbanks at above 10,000 feet, you really ought to put on sun block <dope slap here>. I've learned that before, of course, but maybe this time it will sink in (yeah, right).
I also had a week of music and old friends around the workshop, which would have made the trip a great one even if the workshop itself hadn't been worth it. My old friend Mike Gibbons took me to see the (not yet) Dead in Mountainview on the 10th, and then I saw two house concerts later in the week, one by Corinne West, with whom I was unfamiliar (she was fantastic, as were the musicians who played with her, Doug Adamz and Josh Zucker), and one by her housemate and my old classmate Steve Coyle, who played a few tunes from his new CD and a couple of standards (including a hilarious version of the theme song from Gilligan's Island, played to the tune of Stairway to Heaven), and was also great. I missed seeing Martin Sexton in Golden Gate Park, but I did catch the Bay to Breakers race the following day, which provided its usual share of classic San Francisco looniness. All in all, a neat piece of travelling!
The Bloomberg administration is about to promulgate regulations that would require anyone who takes pictures in NYC with a tripod for more than ten minutes to get a permit and a million dollars in liability insurance. Also, anyone who takes pictures using more than two people, and a variety of other arcane requirements.
This is an infringement on free speech, and a "solution" in search of a problem. It's probably too late, but this group, Picture New York, is creating a petition to urge the city to stop it, at very least until a proper public comment period can happen. Sign here.