Monday, December 31, 2007


Something bad is in the offing, I fear. I ate seared tuna at a dive on the beach for lunch, and now my stomach is painfully distended. I will skip dinner and seek to kill any little beast that might inhabit me now with a slow but steady drip of Glenn Fiddich. It could work.

2007 has not been a good year for me and I am not loathe to see it go. The year ended with a cancelled trip to Tanzania (for which I have not gotten any money back) and someone stealing thousands of dollars from my bank account for the past ninety days (I don't check my statements very often). My girlfriend left Christmas day and will not be back until tomorrow, so I am sentenced to spending New Year's Eve alone. It is a self-imposed exile, but exile nonetheless. It is OK. The weather has turned and the night is wet. I am already in what passes for my pajamas. Selavy.

I have been slow and old for two weeks, so this morning I woke at 4:30, made coffee, got a bunch of cameras together, and drove through the misty predawn to Sebastian Inlet State Park. I had not been there for many years and had forgotten that there is really nothing there to see. But I wanted to do a field test of my Polaroid 600 SE camera with the no longer produced 665 pos/neg film (I have a fair stash). It was a test run for using my Graflex Crown Graphic with type 55 film later when the 665 runs out. I won't bore you with the process, but it is cumbersome and requires a lot of voodoo that seems to fairly hypnotize the crowd. The first photo I took was of a fellow surf fishing from the beach. Without confronting him, I was framing through the viewfinder when he began talking. "It's awful. They just catch the mullet for the roe. They only come out when the females are full. They sell it to the Japanese. Greed. The water around here used to be alive with mullet. Now they're gone." Small skiffs were gathered about the mouth of the inlet, men tossing cast nets into the sea. "What are you fishing for," I asked him. "Dinner," he said.

Next week there will be a big professional surf competition on the other side of the jetties. World famous. "I don't know why they don't have the contest over here," the fisherman told me. "I like it over here better. I surf right there, Monster Hole." He waved to a spot about a hundred yards offshore. "It's called Monster Hole because of the size of the sharks. The kids don't like to surf here because of that. They want to surf where the photographers are," he complained.

Courage up, I approached some other people to pose. Things were working. This was a breakthrough. I was pleased. I sloshed around a zip lock bag full of negatives for the rest of the day. They are washing now. If there is anything good there, you will be the first to know.

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