Gitcha Motah Runnin’

One of my favorite driving songs is Born to be Wild by Dennis Edmonton (a.k.a. Mars Bonfire) as performed by Steppenwolf, which became an anthem for us 60’s kids. Visions of me on a chopper a la Peter Fonda or Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider, denied my nerdy glasses and boring, teenage dweeb reality. Yes! Sit me, Walter Mitty, down in my Ford Falcon and crank it up… the radio that is, and there I would be in my mind, tooling down the backroads, gale force winds whipping touseled locks across my ruggedly chiseled, model-esque countenance. Forget about my acne and life with no dates and no prospects of any. Even today, this gray-haired, pot-bellied old fart still gets revved up by Born to Be Wild, and Call Me the Breeze written by J.J. Cale and famously performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd. (If you click on the links you probably will not want to return here, but that is okay. I totally understand.)

The past is so much more colorful in memory than in reality. Forget about the 60’s. They were not that great for a lot of folks – too much stuff going on, too much war, too much racism, too many Kennedy’s and Kings shot, not to mention that the heroes of Easy Rider were killed at the end of the movie by a couple rednecks in a pickup truck. It was all very scripted, telegraphed in as they say, all very much stereotypical, and the same stereotypes continue today. Stereotypes are the hyperbole of humanity.

I still managed by God’s grace and love to overcome those years and I converted the daydreams into a life with a beautiful family and successful career.

Sometime during the matinee showing of my teenage daydreams, I developed talents of sorts in photography and music, maybe blooming lately. Being the gregarious type, I enjoy entertaining folks with them both. I enjoy entertaining people with just about anything. Give me a fake nose, glasses, and mustache and I’m good to go. That is probably a throwback to my dweeb years, and my social and spiritual poverty, and my desperate obsession to have an audience whether or not they laughed with me or at me.

When I go out to the streets, I go to fish or hunt or both. I walk about with camera in hand. For street photography I prefer small, point and shoot, or rangefinder style cameras. They are discrete and unintimidating. The tiny 1-inch sensor cameras are almost perfect in size, but lack a bit in image quality. There are all kinds of tools for that kind of work; Sony A6000 (aps-c), Canon G7x variants (1-inch), Lumix LX100 (Micro Four-thirds), Fujifilm X100 models (aps-c), the Ricoh GR models (aps-c), and if you just must have it regardless the cost, there is the ultimate street machine… a Leica.

However, for the photograph on display here, I had a Nikon D3400 with a 55-200mm, f4-5.6 zoom lens. The D3400, and the newer D3500, are Nikon’s consumer/enthusiast DSLR models. But do not doubt it’s capability. The 55-200 is also the low end of Nikon’s lens line. Again, do not doubt it. The D3400/3500 has a honkin’ 24.5 mp sensor, nosing out the Canon Rebel T6 by a nominal point 3 megapixels. Unless you go full FX format, I don’t know of a digital camera with more delivery potential. They say size isn’t important… hmm… Anyway, in the case of camera’s with about the same megapixel delivery, it really is what you do with them. And the D3400/3500 is a great photo tool. They are feather weight even with a Nikon G model zoom lens.

A great pairing for the street or home is the D3400/3500 and Nikkor 35mm f1.8g. That rig is about $500 brand new, with warranty, out of New York. I buy used. You can get the same body with the 18-55 f3.5 kit, but you don’t have as much low light capability and the viewfinder will be a little darker. Either combination will give you excellent sharp photographs, and you will save a thousand or more, and unless you plan to shoot for Vogue or Sports Illustrated or National Geographic, you more than likely will not wear out the camera. I have only worn out a Nikon F100 and that is when I was shooting weddings and covering conferences at the World Congress Center in Atlanta.

I shot with Canon for awhile and returned to Nikon. This is a Chevy-Ford, Toyota-Nissan, chocolate-vanilla kind of opinion thing, but I never really liked the Canon. Say what you will. I know. Canon owns the territory now, but the Nikon lenses are the reason for my loyalty. I’m also of the Vietnam War generation, and all my hero photographers there were shooting Nikons or Leicas. My old F-mount Nikkors will fit a D3400 and my FM2N, with the caveats of strictly manual operation. They work fine on my D7500 with very few caveats. However, over the years, Nikon has put their R&D money into their newer zooms, and they are comparatively inexpensive and optically excellent.

Said all that to say, on this day, I had the D3400 with a 55-200mm G lens. I plopped my behind down upon a marble planter that the city of Marietta, Georgia has installed around the square. I sat and watched the city pass me by, but I was not passive. There were tourists, and people eating lunch outside, and there was traffic.

I got a few nice photos just sitting there and then I heard it, that distinctive low, guttural, rumble of a Harley. I could tell by how he throttled the engine, this guy was tired of traffic. I don’t blame him. Even suburban Atlanta traffic is a pain in the rear. As soon as the light changed he was off to the races.

I could not follow him exactly and caught him after he was entering the cross-walk. You can see the orange hand across the street. (Yeah. You better wait.) I panned, and I got three images of him. Two were sharp. One was good compositionally. That is the one here. Enjoy it. I think the spikes over the rear fender is very nuanced, don’t you? I bet this guy don’t get no dates either, at least not to ride behind him on his Harley.

Lightroom tells me I was shooting at 70mm, f5.6, 1/400th sec, at ISO 100.


~ by Bill on March 28, 2021.

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