Sunday, December 23, 2007

"ol' man winter" is here........and he's definitely gonna hang out for a while.

I'm a transplant to the west coast - I grew up in Maine & New Hampshire, spent 20+ years in the Washington DC area, before moving to San Francisco in 1992.

Back east? ...winter is unavoidable, unless you are in the deep south - 'Flaw-rida', some place like that...
On the west coast, in California, it's negotiable...and/or optional,
and quite different from the east coast.

I have heard California described as a place that is season-less, in some ways - you've probably heard the pitch, & seen pictures or gotten postcards of bodacious young things on the beach, with surfboards....
That's very 'L.A.' ...not very representative of the whole state.
Or maybe it's just advertising at it's most... uh...creative best?

At the northern CA. coast, winter means rain, lots of it.
(Snow?? ... i think that's something that only appears very briefly below 3000 ft.elev. ........ and disappears about the same time the frivolous novelty factor has worn off. If I wanted to see some, I could drive there in a few hours, but thank you, no.
& I NEVER want to pick up a snow shovel again.)

So to get back to something relating to photography?... winter brings much more interesting skies, & clouds.

Here's a couple of recent ones:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sometimes you have to be willing to make some 'mistakes'...

...So you can learn from them, and make some progress.

For quite a while now, i have had two (montage) images in mind:

#1.... is based on a shot I took at the north end of Pt. Reyes, at Pierce Ranch - looking out, from inside a barn, at a few other of the farm buildings, a triangular roof peak cropped the image......
on top of it? ......I always 'saw'....... flames!
I have no idea why, not a clue, except maybe the shape of the roof peak, coinciding with the shape of the flames.
So that's exactly why I had to try and print it.
'Not having a clue' can be the best place to start.
But I have to admit, 'flames' and fires of whatever sort don't seem to be very appreciated in CA. right now...
I printed a version that sort of fulfilled my initial vision, but seemed a bit lacking....
so I dug thru my negs, and ended up using a shot of a figure ( it's actually me, in the buff, taken many years ago. for some project I no longer remember).
For whatever wacko reason, this seemed to work, for me.
Maybe now the image is about.... a memory of some sort?
The pose of the figure seems... apprehensive? scared? I guess if it was your barn burning, you'd be a bit apprehensive.

To see both images larger:

#2 .... The lighthouse at Pt. Bonita, Marin Headlands, is another place that has 'stuck in mind' for a while.
...I went back to it recently, & shot a few more frames.
A lighthouse is supposed to be there to send signals out, to anyone who needs guidance.
What if, for once, it was a 'receiving' device....?
That's what this print/image is about...I think.
I blew in clouds, some dappled wave hi-lites, shot thru a star cross filter ( I rarely use filters other than a yellow one to boost skies)...
and there it was - a 'receptor', not receiver.
The landscape beyond the tower is the view from 'Key's View', a place in Joshua Tree.

I am still thinking about another image, using the lighthouse...
I seem to think of it as a watchtower, as in 'All along the watchtower', written by Bob Dylan, best performed/recorded by Jimi Hendrix.

To see both images larger:

I made 4 prints of both images, half of them don't work ("mistakes")........ but half of them did (aha! progress!).

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Feedback from recent post- "Traveling, photographing, and staying safe"

To read the full text of the comments, please scroll down to the original post, and click on "comments to this post" - I will allow any and all comments, so long as they are 'constructive' in some way.....
and polite! - I've read too many blogs that have comments that descend into insulting the previous comments' author - I'll have none of that, thank you.

Jay River posted links to a film clip excerpted from Edward S. Curtis's observations of Canyon de Chelly in 1911. It's part of a much larger film.

(While we are on the topic of Canyon de Chelly, here's a link to my pages/images:

I don't feel i did much more than 'scratch the surface'...but that's better than never having been there at all - it's a special place, native americans seem to have figured that out.)

The history of the Native American cultures that thrived in the southwest (for a short time) is very well chronicled (so far as I can tell) by Craig Childs:

Anything this guy has written you can lay your hands on? Read it!
I got his book "Secret knowledge of water" from the local library, ended up locking the apt. door, & couldn't put it down, until I was done reading.

Rick Deutsch, author of the only guidebook to Half Dome at Yosemite National Park, called "One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome" published by Wilderness Press, made comments about the relative safety of the Half Dome hike, and concludes by stating:

"....responsibility for SELF is paramount..."
Yep, definitely!
He also provides links to relevant material.......

Thanks to both of the above for their comments!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Traveling, photographing, and staying safe.

(It's been a busy few weeks, with a lot of images in progress, but none ready to post and talk about quite yet.
But because winter is approaching, and that makes traveling a whole more dangerous ( there's already been one big chain reaction accident in the California central valley thanks to tule fog), these thoughts are particularly relevant.....)

There have been a few news stories that have gotten anything from minor to major national media coverage in the last few years about people who have gotten into big trouble while traveling/hiking in the west.
James Kim, who died last winter while trying to use a 'shortcut' through the Oregon mountains to the coast, was... I am sorry to say... stupid. Driving down ANY unmarked mountain road with no center divider or route signs is hazardous, under any conditions - even if you are experienced and prepared. These are not publicly maintained roads, and as such, 'caveat emptor' - loosely translated as 'driver beware'!
There were numerous other 'risk factors' involved, but the guy ignored all of them - I guess he'd been spending too much time at a desk, and believed that if a road was shown on a Google map, that made it 'safe'.
No, sorry... that just means 'it exists(in some way/shape/form)' - and that's ALL it means.

A hiker in Yosemite recently fell to his death trying to climb to the top of Half Dome:
(SF Chronicle - 6/19/07)
"Deadly trek up Half Dome -
Rangers re-examining safety of popular hike after a fatal fall from cables during final ascent..."

The victim fell about 300 feet and landed on a ledge just before going over a cliff about 1,000 feet high - (the dome itself is 4,800 ft high).
"(the victim)..was not doing anything unsafe, according to the initial investigation".

How 'bout... just being there?
Click on the link above, and check out a picture of this trail.
No, not even the presence of Nat'l Park Service gaurantees your safety. They'll send a helicopter to scoop up yer bod...
and probably send your heirs the bill. Which, as a taxpayer, I hope they do - I don't want to pay for other people's stupidity.
(Alot of people seem to think that if they carry a cell phone, they can just call 911, and they'll get bailed out - yeah, right.
The helicopter that comes to save them will have to dodge between all the pigs that are flying, ya know?)

I have taken a similar trail, except it had no cables or safety precautions at all. It was at Canyon de Chelly (in Arizona) a few years ago. There is an NPS maintained road around the canyon, there are a number of places where you can turn off, park, and walk to a lookout/view of some sort.
There is one turnout parking lot that leads to a trail that goes down to the 'White House' ruins, a very well known place. That's one of the things I came (all the way from SF, CA.) to see. A sign at the beginning of the trail reads simply something like "Beware, hang onto your kids...". They don't make a big deal out of it.
Much of the trail is, indeed, easy.
However!......there is one section about 30 or 40 feet long that is simply a notch carved in a 75 degree angle cliff. It is not neat and clean, there's alot of gravel/crumbling rock to negotitate, and it's 2 feet wide, at the very most. There are no cables to hang onto, at all.
If I slip/loose my footing and fall?...well, even if I survive the fall, it may be hours before anyone finds me, and hours more before I medical attention.
I managed to do it (in spite of my great fear of heights/vertigo/lousy knees and hips), and really enjoyed seeing 'the White House' (west coast version ;-) )........but I won't ever do that kind of trail again - next time I'll take the bus tour driven by the Navajo - they'll drive me (or you) there, much safer.

At the end of this trip, on the way back to good ol' S.F., Ca., I drove through such a windy storm on US 40 around Flagstaff that half the wheels on the big rigs in front of me left the ground, they were being blown so hard!
I've also driven thru tule fog in the central valley that limited visibility to near zero.
In both cases, I was only too happy to take the next exit, and give my credit card a 'work-out' at whatever motel and restaurants I found. ( I don't watch hardly any television anymore, but every once in a while, channel-surfing cable TV in a motel room w/ a fresh pack of smokes and a bottle of wine is an excellent diversion.)

The bottom line on all this is:
I now have a rule of thumb I ask myself before I do anything that looks the least bit risky:
"If the worst that can possibly happen, happens... is the damage survivable/tolerable?"
If the answer is 'no'... then I don't do it!
Life is dangerous, nothing will change that...
as Warren Zevon put it so well:
"Life'll kill ya"!
...Just don't give it any more chances to do that then there already are......!!

That way we will all be around to trade travel stories.... and images :-)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Back into the darkroom - October 6 & 7

I started this session on a Saturday..
( i tend to set up the darkroom over the weekend - start saturday,
continue on sunday, and wrap it all up sunday PM)
w/ two basic image ideas:

#1 - the 'bales of something', wrapped in white plastic, ( hay, maybe?..don't get carried away here - just because it's in California, it doesn't mean these are bales of marijuana!) ..taken somewhere out on Pt Reyes ( there are still some functioning farms that exist there)...
I saw them as bales of clouds ( and not 'bales that turned into clouds', there IS a difference)
For the moment, i have titled this one 'Mysterious product'.

#2 - Footprints in the sand - Also taken out at Pt. Reyes, a perfectly smooth slope of sand with perfectly lit footprints, leading to....? who knows where.

Though I really like printing on 16x20", the last few years I've been sticking with 11x14" - I'm tending to work faster, make more prints, and in a relatively small apartment I just run out of room to deal with & dry a dozen 16x20" sheets.
I usually do four sheets with the initial exposure, use #1 to see how the second exposure works/completes the image... and I still have three more to work with.
(For a more detailed description of how I do my montage images, go to:

I found a relatively satisfactory sky to complete the bales on the first pass. I did a couple more, with some slight variation in the position of the clouds, and by the time I got to #4, it was time to spice things up, and add a bit of icing on the cake.
I chose a detail from a negative made at a Ca. State Park north of Jenner, that preserves an old Russian settlement, and has various rooms furnished authentically from the 1800's. This detail shows a desk in front of a window, with various items on it - they had the right light on them ( & a sort of 'blown out' background). so that was it - print # 4 of 4, done!

The footprints?... well, that was a bit more difficult.
I did one print on saturday (second print of the day), that had the basic elements in roughly the right place...
but it just wasn't coming together.
I 'slept on it' - I do that, a lot.
On Sunday, I decided it was worth the effort to do this one again - it just kept nagging me, being 'close, but not quite'.
So I exposed 4 sheets, w/ just the foot prints. This time round, I found the perfect position/size for the sky - it almost felt like the person who left the footprints was creating the hole in the sky. That first print worked just fine for me, that was a keeper... but what about the decaying sign?....Hhmmmm....
I burned it in, in three different ways...... not sure which works best, yet.
What do you think?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

October २ - last of the summer fog

I took in what could be the last of the summer fog at Marin Headlands a few weeks ago.
'Twas a VERY nice day, w/ excellent fog - a very shallow layer, that left the tops of the Golden Gate bridge towers peaking above the top of the fog.
Copy & paste this URL into yer browser:

Last weekend was a darkroom weekend - it went very well, and in a couple of weeks, I'll chat about that.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Post #५ - A 'wild and crazy' improvisation opens a new door :-)

From 1993 to 2002 I lived in a very nice studio apt. in what's called the 'Inner Richmond' of SF. It was just a 'hop,skip, & jump' to go to Ocean Beach (true to it's name - what's west of here?... Hawaii!) - and to the 'Cliff House' ( a San Francisco landmark), and whatever goes on there. And I went there often...very often!
On the floor below all the tourist attractions/restaurants was a place called the "Musee Mechanique", which displayed many old fashioned (mechanical) 'amusements', from the days before there was radio or television - fortune telling machines, music machines, old fashioned 'movies' (you had to look into an eyepiece, and insert a quarter), stuff like that.
There were open windows to the 'end of day' light, which falls on some of the displays to various extents, depending on time of year/angle of the sun - including the 'mariachi monkeys' at the top of the montage above. If you inserted a quarter, the monkeys would play for you, a couple of horn players and a drummer. Without even inserting the 25 cents they are very amusing - foppish hats & garish clothes.
I photographed them many times, didn't know what to do w/ the images, montage-wise.
I just let 'em 'percolate'.

I've been down to the southern california deserts a number of times, drifted past & through many places, including the Salton Sea. One trip down there, I turned west from the S.S., and headed up into the Anza Borrego Mountains, late in the day. I drove a crazily switch-backed road that had many turnouts.
And took a few really nice frames of the waning light across some incredibly harsh hillsides.

Whenever I am out in these places, the silence is awesome.
But somewhere in my head, I feel there is a 'music' in this 'awesome nothingness' - it would sound like...uh.... bells, whistles and drums, all played at the same time, but only barely in synch with each other.
So...the hills and the musical monkeys happened to catch my attention simultaneously at the end of a darkroom session. The light hitting both was the same, and I decided to make just one print of the two blended together. Just winging it, entirely.
I exposed just one sheet, with the hills, leaving a triangular space... and then burned in the monkeys to the triangular space left unexposed.

(A lot of montage prints up 'til this point had been rather complicated - I'd make a few exposures on the paper, but still have gaps and holes that needed filling in, and I spent a lot of time finding something that 'fit', to some degree, which gives many of these prints a rather surreal/ 'non-sequitor' quality.)

This print ended up being a turning point - for it's simplicity, and for the idea of focusing more on really smooth blending between *just two* images, which can be done much more easily and smoothly in a darkroom than with a computer.
This makes the choice of images, and their composition, the real focus.
Exactly where it should be...
In great counterpoint to much that is done digitally, where you can 'do anything', and get totally lost.
I hope I can stay focused on making something 'mysteriously simple'........

Sunday, August 26, 2007

8/26/07 - Digital darkroom

Back to darkroom...sort of - this is 'digital darkroom' - kind of an oxymoron, but that's what I hear people calling it when they work on their images in photoshop, and turn them into something else entirely.
When I first got into computers, alot of my photo-friends said "well, duuude!! now you are going to melt down your enlarger, aren't you? What the hell would you need it for, now that there's photoshop?".
On the contrary, it all makes me appreciate the special qualities of each media/technique. I now have an even better understanding of what's special about the traditional darkroom.
(Anyone tries to take my enlarger away?'re in for a fight!)

When I do get into 'digital darkroom'?... a whole lot of other things kick in.
(For one thing, it's color, and all my montage darkroom is B&W ((the color comes later, if it's appropriate)) - Big, BIG change.)

I used to be an advertsing art director, way back when - 1976 thru '81 or '82 - I've always loved good typography, read 'U&lc' magazine.. and I always wanted to try out an airbrush. Never had the money or time to really get into the airbrush...
and forget about buying a Photo-typositor for my 'personal use'!
Thanks to Photoshop? I can now indulge my crazy youthful fantasies, and do both.
The basic background of the image on the right - 'sand dial' - is, of course, the sand, with one clump of dunegrass in the center adding it's shadow to many others, beyond the frame.
This dune grass can do some interesting things to the sand, given the right circumstances - when the wind blows a certain way, and the sand is smooth and even, the grass carves circular 'grooves', like the image in the center above.

Something digital makes possible is collecting images without any additional film or processing costs, once you've got the basics (camera, memory cards, computer&software). So I shoot all kinds of things I might not if I had to deal with film processing, etc.
If I don't like/it doesn't work...? nothing lost.

I've used these 'carved' things in the sand in a few photomontage prints (see one above on the left)... but hadn't yet played w/ the concept in color/digital.
As soon as I did?... sure enough, all those 'art director/type designer/airbrush-artist-wannabe' things kicked in.
The image itself didn't have but a small carved circular area...the shadows of the grass overwhelmed a... sun dial!
That's what set me off on a conceptual tangent - this wasn't a sun dial, but a sand dial.

The gradient white tone that describes the circle was 'airbrush'......
The Roman numerals were of course the type tool, in white... then I duplicated the (white) layer, inverted it, so it became black, & hit that with a 'gaussian' blur. Pushed that a few pixels over & down.
As usual, I played around with the opacity of all these layers - none of them are at 100%.
Ended up with a clock ..that keeps time a different way.

To see the image larger, and to check out all the layers, go to:
(I've done a screen shot that also shows the Photoshop layers palette.)

Next time round?....... traditional/film stuff, and darkroom...REAL darkroom.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Post #3 - 8/7/07 - It's summer at the California coast..

..and the weather is rather monotonous (but absolutely *nothing* to complain about!) - "..low clouds and fog spreading inland overnite, clearing to near the coast by midday, otherwise, sunny and pleasant - 60's at the coast, to the 90's inland ". What a weather forecast, hunh?........
It's kind of a mantra (VERY repetitive!), but one I've come to appreciate & enjoy - if the coast is foggy?... in San Rafael where I live, it will be relatively clear, cool, and breezy (thanks to the fog burning off).
I am a really 'green' guy (not trying to be, that's just the way it works out) - I don't own a car, haven't for 15 years, I travel by foot & bus - and I can take several connecting routes, and end up in the Marin Headlands, just north of SF ( a nice place to be, and to make pictures), but only on Sunday - that's when SF Muni has a bus that goes there.
(( I definitely know how to pull a credit card out of my wallet, rent a car, fill it (partially!) with the little I need, and disappear to places far, far from SF...but that's another topic entirely, for a future post or 2... or 3...or more.))
If I plan it right?... going to the Headlands is quite enough, "that's the ticket" :-) - the fog spilling over the hills and evaporating has tourists of all nationalities veering into turn-off parking lots, across oncoming traffic - It's that fascinating a sight....

I hang out.. eat a sandwich, smoke a bit... and stick around way longer than any tourist - they pull up, take a few frames, and leave.
I am still there, waiting for the next surge of fog to spill over the hills...
The wait pays off.
That's where it's at: waiting...watching...and being ready.
I always carry a digital camera (Canon Powershot), and a film camera - either a Yashica 6x6 TLR... or Pentax 6x7.
Pixels are cheap, I shoot a lot of them - I save the film for something really worthy, that will 'work' in B&W....(easier said than done, especially when the subject is 'fog'!).
Fog has a personality all it's own - it behaves in ways that never cease to surprise....
In this image, the last of what was a blanket covering the entire Headlands struggles to survive over Pt. Bonita.
I guess a lot of the way fog behaves has to do with the land it is moving over, hunh?

One very nice thing about digital photography is the 'instant gratification' of downloading and checking out the pix while the sweat from the daytrip is still drying off your back - no lab, no drop off/pick-up... just 'download and view' :-)

For over thirty years I've been shooting B&W film, developing and printing it all myself ( I don't need a lab, I AM one!).
I've never collected images the same way in color, til recently, digitally... so it is a rather new experience - I'm still figuring out what I want to do with them.
One thing I do know I like doing... is making panoramas. I don't use any 'stitching' software, I do it all 'manually', so to speak (what's 'manual' about doing it with a computer?...oh, I guess it is my hand on the mouse).
A view of the lingering fog over Pt Bonita, is above.
This image, and a few more, including a panorama of the above view, are visible at:
(copy & paste into your web browser) time round? 'bout some 'digital darkroom........'?
( yeeee-ah, OK, let's do that :-) )

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Post #2 - 7/28/07

((An additional note on the nature of the blog:
I'll probably be posting something new every week or so.
And the posts will probably be 50/50 or thereabouts between digital and darkroom.))

The subtitle of this blog is 'a traditional film photographer... in a digital world...'
I do seem to be surviving....
but let's talk about something 'traditional/film', OK?
That's where my roots, heart, and soul are.
(I'll get to digital real soon, like the next post... with some photos of the California coast & fog).

For the last 30+ years, I have always had a B&W darkroom of some sort wherever I lived - that spans I-don't-know-how-many apartments & houses...( and a couple of marriages).
I started doing photomontage in the early 80's - If you'd like a detailed description of my darkroom techniques/set-up/etc., please go to my website ( and click on 'darkroom techniques'.
No need to repeat myself about all that, here - I would rather talk about the 'thought/ planning/ preparation' that goes into it all - that's the important part. Without that, all the technique in the world isn't worth shit.

So let's look at this 'stoneface' guy, a print I made just a few weeks ago...
(He's at the top of the page)
...he's a bit..uh.. 'stressed', isn't he?...a bit 'squeezed' between the other rocks?

The black shapes are big, BIG rocks... at Joshua Tree Nat'l.Park., California,
which is one marvelous place - if you ever have an opportinity to go there? DO IT!
If you'd like to see more photos of the place, you can visit my website, or search the web - there's no lack of photos of the place.
As soon as I see this, I see a 'negative/positive' thing going on - so I want to record it that way - i'll make the darkroom part of it *mucho easier* - I can dodge back any of the dark portions... and burn in to any of those areas something...'completely different', with as little 'dissonance/interference' from the rock texture, as possible. So I underexpose a bit...
I made this negative about 5 years ago.... it had been lingering on my proof sheets...just waiting...
I never worry about, or consider the 'passage of time'.. between when I make a negative, and when it might become useful.
"When i took the frame" is totally irrelevant.
On a regular basis, I sift thru my proofsheets, and let all the images 'collide'...
I especially like.. looking at alot of images(proofsheets), and then?...falling asleep!, and letting my subconcious work on all of them.
At some point thereafter, it all bubbles to the surface.

When I started this print (during a two day session that produced 5 images, each with some alternate versions) I gave most of the rocks a full exposure... but dodged back the center stone, so I could burn in.. *the face*...which is of a portion of a totem pole I photographed some where along the Oregon coast a few years ago (I think it was outside some kind of small office building that had closed - they managed to put up 'closed' signs... but didn't have the energy to deal w/ the totem pole).
The 'face' image is not tall, it's close to square/slightly horizontal... the space in the rock is definitely not.
Now if I were working digitally, with photoshop?.. I'd probably reach for the clone tool, and extend the face to fit neatly into the rock - but that's kind of the 'easy'/routine way of dealing with this. I've already exposed the rock onto 4 sheets of paper, so I'm stuck... or.. maybe not?
One of the things I like about working in the darkroom the way I do, with only one enlarger, is that there are no 'undo's, no going backwards. This is a lesson that came from a drawing teacher ( Michael Platt, at Northern Va. Community College in Alexandria, Va., circa 1975 ) who made the class 'draw from life' once a week.. with NO ERASERS! - "whatever you do, even if you think it's a mistake?, make it work!". Once he caught someone cheating on the 'no erasers' rule, and he rushed over to the students drawing board, scooped up everything except the pencil in her hand, and tossed it all out the (fourth floor!) window. These days, he'd probably get sued silly for that - back then, it just made for a very interesting and unpredictable class. Thanks, Michael, wherever you are...!

So I already had a drawing of the rock outlines on my easel... and started messing around with the size and position of the face, looking at it projected on the easel with the rocks tracing... hey, this is becoming alot more interesting!
What happens when the 'face shape' we are used to seeing ..*strains* against the boundaries it is in...?
What does that suggest/imply about the origin of this 'face'?
...was it part of this entire rock(extending far beyond the image frame), that was carved somehow, to reveal the face, in this egg shape rock, in such a way?
...or was the egg shape rock (&face) much larger, and eroded to it's present condition... on the way here?..
..and/or is it being squeezed and spun by the two larger rocks on either side..?
Your guess is as good as mine.
I also like that it's left eye is barely visible/receding into shadow...but the right eye?'s looking almost directly at you...
in.. ooh...a few million years, geological forces will have spun it enough that it'll be dead on.
I like the tension, I print two versions - the last one, I added some clouds to the spaces between the rocks.
You can see both versions a bit larger at:
And if you'd like to see more of the totem pole face:

Next week?
Color! Digital! California coast!!, & summer-time fog...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

First Post: 7/22/07

Initially I was going to call this blog: 'Silver & Silicon'..
Because I am a traditional (chemical/darkroom) photographer, who specializes in black and white - in particular, black & white photomontage. So that's where the 'silver' part came from.
The 'silicon' came from...
( a (silver) star for you, if you've already guessed it - paste it in the middle of your forehead!)... computers!
( an incredible tool ...and an incredible curse, on all of us!)
But then it occured to me that this title would attract only metallurgists(sic?) and commodity traders...
which is NOT what I had in mind.......
Soooo.... it's become....
"The Beach Blog - a traditional photographer who's managing to make sense of a digital world...(and actually enjoying it much of the time!)
A much better title.

What will I be talking about?...
- Both the above topics (silver & silicon), and anything else that wanders into my sights:
- Life in Northern California where I live (Marin County, just north of the GG Bridge)......
and beyond.
- Life in general for photographers, such as I see it from my personal perspective -
I've been working w/ photography for 30+ years now, and Bob Dylan sure was right:
"The times they are-a-changin' " - and it never stops ( goddamit!)