Although dogs are the world champions of happy, there exists one subspecies of Homo Sapiens that can equal them in happiness, joy and contentment, at least for a little while: photographers! I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of this earlier! One of the happiest collection of human beings consists of the members of the San Francisco Photography Meetup Group, one of the thousands of social groups you might find at meetup.com, one of the web’s great social sites. Here are a few of the photographers I have photographed during some of our excursions.
This is Digital She, our notorious ringleader, I was trying to get a top-down shot with my Nikon D40, but unlike the iPhone, it’s impossible to guess where you’ve pointed the lens after you lift the camera as far over your head as possible. That’s why such shots are known as “Hail Marys.”
Here she is, coaching other Meetup members on how to compose group shots.
Taken during one of our excursions into San Francisco’s Chinatown. Those are all photographers looking for the perfect shot. Incidentally, if you visit the city, you might want to skip Grant, which is the tourist Chinatown, and shift one block over to Stockton, where you will find the people’s Chinatown.
I have organized exactly one photography expedition, a trip to the western end of Alameda, a former home to the US Navy’s war effort in WWII. Later it became the site of much of the sets and shooting of the second and third Matrix movies (that scene where Carrie-Anne Moss rides the motorcycle without a helmet? Here), and was briefly the site of the first television show in which I had a lead role (Seriality, you haven’t seen it, the pilot was never picked up). I thought the gang would love the gigantic urban landscapes, and they did: that’s Robin, Digital She’s husband, taking pictures of one of the buildings where we built the ships that won the war in the Pacific.
And when you have mastered serendipity (a life skill that yes, can be mastered), things like this happen. The gang had gone to Seal Rocks to photograph another San Francisco sunset at Ocean Beach (one of my favorite subjects: see here and there), when we met a group of fire spinners who had also gone there to practice. We loved the idea of photographing them, they loved the idea of being photographed, everybody got happy, and then it became for me a simple matter of taking roughly 300 pictures and getting lucky on maybe 8 of them, and getting mind-numblingly luckly on 2 of them, including this one.
I hope that taking up this week’s challenge made you feel very, very happy.
Vonn Scott Bair