I’m early, which means according to my watch (if I could find it) I am on time. I park between two vehicles in the parking lot at the Lincoln Center such that the brilliance of the evening sun cannot find me. I roll my windows down. To my left, a macho 4×4 pickup with exaggerated tires. To my right, a mother in a van. I’m not eavesdropping, but she’s talking on her cell phone about how to heat up breadsticks, and Aunt Sally can show him if he’s not sure how to run the oven. And Zach is walking to his cross-country run. Save three sticks for him and a plate of spaghetti. She won’t be home til nine.
I’m not as organized as she sounds. Last week’s banana is still in my book bag. There aren’t bread sticks warming in my oven, but I know there is a wasp waiting underneath my favorite antique tea cup in my kitchen sink. This is how things are.
The man who owns the large pickup next to me comes out of the center, pauses to unlock his door. He’s wearing cowboy boots and has sneakers in his hands. He smiles with a sort of shrug and tells me he has to drive to where he runs.
Once he drives off, I turn back to my journal and study notes from last week’s photography class. Photography = light + drawing, which means drawing with light. Before the 1950s, burning magnesium was how we made our light. In shadows, light is bluer than one might think.
A camera is taught 18% of everything it sees is gray. There are times we must override this by studying the histogram of each photo taken. My notebook has four pages of etchings to demonstrate a variety of bad shots as graphed in a histogram.This graph has a sliding scale from zero to 255, with zero standing for darkness and 255 being white without detail. Who would want shots like that, our instructor asked. He took his green marker and made a messy circle in the center of the graph on the board in front of the class — showing us where the detail of most life exists.
I flip to the back of my journal and write a note to remind me when I get home at nine to let the wasp loose.