Just Keep Talking

The moonlight was so strong last night that I wanted to see how it illuminated the trees in the closest park, Anza Narrows. Knowing that the park’s gates were likely to be closed, I packed the G1 and the Manfrotto tripod into the bike’s saddlebags, then rode to the park’s entrance. Sure enough, the gates were closed, but I was able to ride through the pedestrian entrance to the side.

Three minutes later, as I was walking away from the parked bike with the tripod and camera in hand, the night watchman pulled up, parking his pickup truck beside the bike. “The park is closed.” He said.

I walked back toward the bike. “I’m a photographer.” I said, “I wanted to catch the way all this moonlight is falling on the trees.”

That seemed to satisfy him for some reason (or lack thereof). His tone changed completely. “Oh.”, he said.

I talked to him for about three minutes, telling him that I frequently photographed in the park when it was “closed”. I mentioned shooting the sunrise a few days ago, and getting the frame shown in the Mount San Jacinto post. I handed him one of the business cards printed with this blog’s address.

The western end of the park, where I captured the photos shown in Down By The River, is a staging area for a construction project. A large amount of piping and various equipment is currently stored at that end of the park. The City is installing a miles-long sewer tunnel, which will replace one that is over eighty years old. A large amount of material and equipment such as compressors and generators was stolen from the site and now there is always a night watchman on the site to keep things from “walking away”. I had talked to the other night watchman about the project a week before.

I told him that I wouldn’t put any of the construction equipment or materials in my saddlebags, then ride away.

He laughed. “I have your card, anyway.”, he said. “Have a good night.” He drove away toward the western end of the park.

The point of this article, at least beyond the moonlight photos, is that sometimes everything is made easier if one simply talks to people.

A few days before this non-incident I had finally become fed up with the new satellite TV controller box that replaced one we used for close to eight years. The newer box arrived three months ago. I swapped it out, then sent the old dying box back to the satellite company. The new box had all kinds of problems. It is not necessary to go into that laundry list of faults, but I will say that it later turned out that I had found it necessary to reboot the system 864 times, according to the counter in the box.

I phoned tech support. When the agent heard about the problems I was having with my equipment “downgrade”, she set up an appointment for a tech to come to the house on the following day, a Saturday, and fix the problems. That sounded good to me. I then talked about how long we had been customers, and asked if there was a “grandfather rate” or any kind of special promotion that would lower our cost. She had me wait on the line a few moments. Twice. The first time, she came back on the line and said that she could give us a $5 per month discount for a year. The second time it was $10 per month for a year. That is a $120 savings. Not a huge amount of money, but certainly worth consideration. I accepted the discount, of course.

When the tech arrived at the house he quickly determined that the old box had been improperly installed. He replaced all of the wiring, switches, and splitters. He also replaced the two satellite dishes with a new dish that picks up all the channels we originally received on two. I originally had the 2nd dish installed in order to receive a Japanese channel that used to run a series on Miyamoto Musashi. Due to being correctly installed, the system now has a number of capabilities that it didn’t have before AND it works properly.

Just keep talking…

About the photos: The strength of the moonlight is clearly evident in the photos, though it would have been better shown if I had teleported myself to some place without all of the city lights, like the San Jacinto Mountains. The pine trees in Garner Valley would probably have been perfect. Both photos are JPEGs direct from the camera. As usual, click on the thumbnails to view the larger version of the photo.

Metadata 1st photo: f/5.6, 40 seconds, ISO 200. 2nd photo: f/8, 60 seconds, ISO 200, -0.3 exposure compensation.