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Monday, January 01, 2007

Everything Changes on New Year's Day

But not as much as I'd hoped.

Waikiki Beach, Jan 1, 2002Waikiki Beach, Jan. 1, 2002

I love this photo. The man in the yellow trunks absolutely makes the picture, and of course at the time I wished he would go the hell away or sit the hell down and quit spoiling my photo.

I love the pastel candy colors. This is what the print looks like. But when I scanned the negative, I got something perfectly nice and crisp, but not quite the same. A little color-level diddling recovered the candy colors. So when you read about photographers being fired or having awards rescinded for tweaking the photos (see the links in this post), remember that what comes off the CCD chip is not the final word on the picture. (I also edited out a power line that hung across the top of the frame.)

This would make a great postcard. You look at it and know that the world is perfect and everyone in it is having the time of their lives.

Unless, of course, you took the picture and you know that the photographer is a dumpy woman who does not get into a bathing suit in public and is feeling like a damn fool standing on the beach in black jeans and is worrying about the money the trip is costing her because it was a business trip and she had to pay it out of her own pocket and the now-concluded business part didn't go very well and why did she get into this stupid business in the first place and now she's going to Molokai and that's going to cost even more money and why did she let her boyfriend talk her into this expensive trip rather than staying alone in her apartment in Sydney, sulking, which was her plan for New Year's.

The moral of the story is that the enjoyment of an event is largely in the recall, rather than in its unfolding. That's what I've always found, anyway. Which is why you should always take lots and lots of pictures. Maybe one will turn out like this and fool you into thinking you were having a good time.

What did change that day is that immediately after (or before; I forget) taking this picture, my telephoto lens just came apart in my hands. It was an old, cheapy lens -- a much-appreciated gift at the time, but never very good. I managed to put it back together, but it didn't really work right. I wasn't able to get a new one until the next year.

At the time, I was trying to get a picture of the pink building in the center of the photo, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel:

That's just an enlargement from the scan above. This beautiful, romantic old place was built in 1927. One of the large modern buildings in the background (maybe the one with the pink trim) is also a part of the hotel. The way it usually goes with these old places is that the dull modern block has the best rooms, while the rooms in the lovely old hotel are cramped and short on amenities. From the outside (er, but not from here), you can see that the lanais in the old building are barely big enough to stand on, and may be just decorative. I was going to say that you probably can't even get the internet in the old hotel, but the web site says you can.

Naturally, I've never been able to afford to stay there -- cheapest room is $420!

UPDATE: Almost forgot -- Happy New Year!