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13 April 2016

We'd shot about 90 images at the crowded, humid de Young and were trudging back to the car, the camera cooling off in our bag, when a park bench decorated with flowers and a sign caught our attention.

The Drocco Bench Tribute. Not long after his death.

It was a tribute from his family to the recently deceased John Drocco, who had been a captain in the San Francisco Fire Dept. and a coach of several high school and university teams.

The flowers were what attracted us after the bouquets in the museum. But then we read the sign attached to the green bench with blue painter's tape. It made the flowers both personal and public.

"In Memory of Our Father & Husband," it read and was signed by everyone. With a little plea in the corner: "Please don't take our flowers."

We thought at first it might be the anniversary of his death but later we realized it could have been the day of his death. The viewing would not be held for two days.

The bench itself had been dedicated with a bronze plaque to John/Lynn Drocco & Family. It notes John was a Stow Lake walker, which is where you'll find the bench, and quotes some advice from him.

"Smile, enjoy the moment!"

Now what photographer has not prompted his subject with just that advice, "Smile!"

Canada Goose. And a few goslings.

We took out the camera and captured the image of that touching tribute to a man who had only just left this world in the place he loved most, marked by his own wise words.

On Sunday when we shot another 90 or so images on the last day of the show, we walked back to the car again with the camera in our bag.

But you're never done. And the minute you put the camera away, you will almost certainly notice something that demands you take a photo.

So we've developed a particular approach to this situation we'll pass along to you.

When we put our camera back in the bag or holster, we do it with a very dramatic flourish (the opposite of those "Abracadabra!" magician revelations) to make sure the Fates notice, just to see if we can coax another shot from them.

"Look here, Fates! This photographer is not going to shoot any more today, no sir. What do you think of that?"

This time the Fates conjured up a couple of Canada geese minding their goslings.

We couldn't help but remember the Drocco bench we'd seen earlier in the week. There were almost as many goslings as Droccos.

"Smile, goslings!" we prompted.

Two images. End of life, beginning of life. Reverse order.

Two stories. End at the beginning of the show, beginning at the end of the show. Another reverse.

Keep Shooting. Something always turns up.

From which we understand, as someone with a camera in our bag, that there is no end to the job.

The world is smiling at you. Keep shooting.

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