There is always something going on here in Bend. Today there was a street fair that covered a major portion of downtown, and everyone was milling about having a very pleasant time. In the midst of this happy crowd was a small bunch of camera buffs who were strangers before today, but we quickly formed quite a lot of “cameraderie”. We had a planned route which was intended to pass by some of the more photogenic places in downtown and beside the Mirror pond on the Deschutes river.
Bend is a new old town. It is a remnant city of the old west—cattle, lumber and farming—and was declared a city only in 1905 when its population reached 500 or so people. Now it has about 90,000 including the close-in suburbs, but it is isolated by high mountains from any other city. However, as small as this town is, there is a mighty strong artistic strain to the community, and the residents have beautified the city to a remarkable degree.
The old town has been upgraded to a tourist’s delight and the newer parts of town are still so newly built that the whole place is tidy from one end to the other. Everyone seems quite happy. However, my morbid side is reminded of the movie On the Beach, where everyone is artificially happy waiting for the end to descend from outside and exterminate everyone and everything. They seem, in the movie, and in Bend, to realize they have been living in a paradise and that it can’t go on much longer, and therefore they are living their presently idyllic lifes with a restrained exuberance, an artful practicality.
Into this bucolic paradise we photographers descended. Everyone but yours truly was armed with an enormous camera. Two people had EOS 5D Mark IIs with lenses that were about 13 inches long. They might have been pros just passing through, or maybe that is the camera I should be using. What I do have is what they called a point and shoot. It’s a Samsung ST700, which fits nicely in my shirt pocket. I discerned a slight tone of contempt for the tininess of my tool. All the same I had a wonderful time, took some snap-shots and our cadre ended up at in old fashioned hamburger restaurant called the Bend Burger Company. Debbie and I shared the best blackberry milkshake I ever had, and I have had some good ones recently.
Here are some shots I took with my cheap point-and-shoot camera:
Bend, Oregon is a convivial place to be living at this time.UPDATE 2011-10-06 Here is a group photo posted to Flickr.