by J.D. Roth

This week’s Photo Friday assignment is small.

I had hoped to make a photograph in which ‘small’ was represented by contrasts in scale: a small ant next to a gigantic apple, a small infant held in his father’s hands, etc.

This isn’t going to happen. I don’t have the time.

Instead, here is a previous photograph of a small object: a dandelion photographed with my 105mm macro lens (exposure unrecorded).

[close-up photo of a dandelion]

The Beyond the Basics photography field trip was held this morning in downtown Portland. I had high hopes for the trip, but, just five minutes in, I broke my tripod. I forgot to lock one leg segment, and as I was digging my camera out of its bag, the tripod collapsed. The cheap plastic head shattered. Since the entire tripod is cheap, there’s no separating the legs from the head. This is a good excuse to buy a nice tripod, but I can’t exactly afford it at the moment. If you know of a good used tripod for sale, please let me know.

Warren allowed me to use his tripod for the rest of the field trip; it’s a huge, heavy beast, but after using it, and experiencing its stability, I understand just how cheap my tripod was.

We spent a part of our field trip in Ladd’s Addition, a relatively nice Portland neighborhood constructed around a series of large roundabouts (they’re too large to just call traffic circles). I used call this area “the Black Hole of Portland” because before I knew the streets well, I’d often get sucked into the center roundabout and not be able to find my way out. I hadn’t ever considered taking photographs in the area, but it’s actually a fantastic location. There are several public alleyways, lots of old trees and flowers in bloom, and there’s even some relatively interesting architecture. I’ll return there myself in the future.

Next week in David Falconer‘s class, we’re taking a field trip to Portland’s Saturday Market. This ought to be fun, but it’s going to be a little intimidating. I don’t have much experience photographing strangers, and that is, essentially, what we’ll be doing.

In preparation, I did some research on photographers’ rights. I found a lawyer’s viewpoint, and some useful information from an experienced photographer.

Before class on Saturday morning, I drove out to take some photographs of a field and a barn near Gribble Road. As I was setting up my equipment, an old man from the house across the street came out to see what I was doing. He seemed wary of my presence.

He introduced himself as Paul Grand, and when I told him my name, he brightened.

“I knew your grandpa, Noey,” he said, and I knew that he was telling the truth. Grandpa’s name was Noah, and only his friends and family called him Noey.

“Your grandpa used to get tired while driving, and he’d stop to take naps along the way home,” Paul said. “I’d drive home from work — I worked at the Oregon City post office — and see Ol’ Noey parked along the side of the road, sleeping. One day he ran his car off the road right up there” — and Paul pointed to a ditch near the Van Gordon house — “and I was outside so I ran up to make sure that he was okay.”

“‘Are you alright?’ I asked.”

“‘Yes,’ he said. ‘I was tired, but I thought I could make it home. I guess I fell asleep while driving.'”

Paul and I talked for about ten minutes. His daughter graduated from Willamette University, so he was excited to hear that I had, too. He told me about other people that had photographed his property (which extends on both sides of the highway). In the end, he granted me permission to access his land at any time, even the property set back from the road. Outstanding! I’d been eyeing an old barn of his for the past few weeks…

Updated: 04 May 2003

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
Copyright © 1994 - 2022 by J.D. Roth