The Yellowstone effect


I’m not sure how to respond after Keith’s epic post. He may have blown our cover. Snappers are usually posed? What? Yes, it’s true. Many of the snappers you see aren’t actually documentation.. But when they aren’t instructed, guided or fabricated they’re that much more valuable. It’s hard to see, but Elliott is unknowingly making the same face that I am in this photo.


OK, I hope I can match Keith’s writing. Probably not but here goes the real thing.

Yesterday we went down to see a gallery opening for fashion photographer Neal Barr (another one of Grandpa Mac’s successful students). His studio is supposed to be amazing and all we’ve heard about is how impressive his photography is. The gallery that was set up at the museum last night, not so much. His prints were as tiny as the photos you’re seeing now. He only had one or two large prints and only one of those was recent and in color. The gallery opened at 5:00, we arrived at 5:17 and were out the door by 5:29.

apier9.jpg      We went to California Street where we parked and walked down to the pier for the evening (yes I shot this picture of Ed just to show you I’m not fabricating these tales, I knew Keith’s motives for his first update). We just slowly moved down the pier in the direction a pond where all of the pelicans and sea gulls hang out. It’s a pretty happening place, well if you’re a bird. Otherwise it’s pretty boring about two hours before the sun sets. Since the gallery was a bust, we had way too much time before any sign of a good sunset. We had faith it would be though since it was the first sign of clouds since we had been in Ventura County.

So we spralled out onto the rocks just sat there hoping our presence wouldn’t scare away the birds. Once Ed started throwing boulders into the pond and batting stones into the water with a stick and the birds didn’t move, we were pretty sure just being there wouldn’t scare the flock off. For an hour and a half we sat waiting on the sun to go down. It was relaxing to sit and take snappers of each other, but the longer we seemed to sit there like we were waiting for something with these cameras the more people started to wonder what we were doing.

apier7.jpg   apier4.jpg   apier81.jpg

Eventually we realized it was just the Yellowstone effect. If you stand in one place and pretend you see something everyone else can’t, you can draw a crowd. Of course it helps to have a few thousand dollars worth of camera gear sitting in the sun with you. People were starting to stand behind us before the sun even got remotely pretty. After the sun did get pretty and low there were a few people who started to ask questions like, “How are you taking pictures without any light.” Elliott stopped, looked a little confused, and just gave the guy a generic answer of, “I’m just trying to get a picture of the birds.”

For now this is cut short. Martha has someone coming to look at her house (which is for sale if you’ve just loved my stories of Ventura so much you want to move here). So we have to be out of here in about 45 minutes.



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