Friday, December 14, 2007

A Boy With Attitude!

This young gentleman was working on a school project and noticed that I too was carrying a camera. He was curious about the way I'd hold the camera out at arm's length and wondered how I framed my photographs when I wasn't looking through the viewfinder. He was puzzled about the lack of a screen on the back of the camera until he realized that I was shooting film, not digital. Over the next hour or so we spent a bit of time "talking shop", discussing how photography equipment had changed over the nearly five decades that I've been shooting, and speculating about the directions it might go in the future.

I explained my tricks for judging exposure without using a meter, and how to relax by using the proper breathing techniques so you can hold the camera steady for comparatively long exposure times. Notice how blurry the walking woman is?

The reason we were all at the community center that morning was because of the breakfast meeting hosted by city councilman Despinosse, the bald black guy standing there wearing the black suit. I'll be honest. I was there as much for the free food as for the program. Recently the city council, within a matter of weeks, voted themselves a retirement plan, a generous expense account, and a health insurance plan. This was to get around the fact that their salary was "set in stone" in the city charter. Increasing it would require having the voters approve a charter amendment, unlikely to happen in these lean times.

Then a few weeks ago they voted to increase their own salary by about ten-fold anyway, in direct violation of the city charter. I was pissed big time because for a long time I've been trying to get the council to give some of us advisory board members an expense allowance. Our "pay" is also restricted to the amount stated in the city charter nearly half a century ago. I'm on the Board of Adjustment. Just driving around to look at the properties that have applied for variances cost me more in gas alone than the lousy ten dollars a month the city pays me. I was told that there wasn't enough money in the budget. Yeah, sure. Tell me another one...

Well, the food was pretty decent and saved me a bit of money. We chatted a bit longer about photography and cameras. I told him about The Price Of Silver and handed him my card. I keep wondering if the state attorney would be interested in investigating city charter violations. Things just might get interesting...


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