30
Jul
09

Ground Control to Major Tom, eh?

I’m just back from a trip to British Columbia to attend my cousin’s wedding. It was a same-sex union, the first I’ve been to, and not much different from any other wedding. I spent five days in the vicinity, visiting Fort Langley, Vancouver, and Seattle. I took about six hundred photos (including some of the wedding, though I was not on duty).

At a Washington State truck stop

At a truck stop in Washington State

The official photographer at the wedding was kind of a jackass to me, although I suspect he is generally a nice guy. Photographers are like tomcats — put two or more of them in the same vicinity and there’s a good chance they’ll hiss and spit at each other. It’s a competitive trade. I think the worst example of this I’ve seen was in Pittsburgh, when I spent a night in the press box photographing the Pirates. I had been invited by a photographer from Reuters, who was a really nice guy, but the other photographers there were complete d-bags. I haven’t seen such aggressive behavior since junior high school. These guys (from the local papers and another wire service) hated each other, hated the fans, hated the players, hated baseball, and hated themselves. They would bump and jostle each other to try to spoil shots. They talked trash. One guy went apoplectic on me for “not paying attention” to a batter. They made fun of my 200mm f2.8 lens. (I resisted the temptation to point out that, since they were using 2.7MP Nikon D1 cameras and I was using a (nominally) 12MP Fuji S2 Pro, I could crop my image in half and still have more detail.)

Anyway, photographers can become territorial. Back to Canada:

In my observation, the local radio stations in BC were lousy. I had a rental car (a POS Suzuki with a transmission problem), and I made efforts to explore the airways as I drove from township to township looking for things to photograph. I must have heard David Bowie thirty times. They played Bowie so frequently that I wondered if maybe he’d died or something, and this was kind of a tribute. It wasn’t just one radio station, either. I have nothing against Ziggy, but it was tedious after a while.

Suzi and I went to the Vancouver Aquarium, which was smaller than I’d expected and really crowded. Photography is allowed there, as evidenced by the hundreds of flash pops bouncing off the plexiglass. Here’s a tip: don’t ever use a popup flash. Ever. Not in an aquarium, not in a terrarium; not in a car and not from afar. (And don’t eat green eggs — with or without ham.) Stanley Park, which surrounds the Aquarium, is especially photogenic.

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