Many years ago, I knew an old carpenter who had taken up preaching in a now defunct church. A kindly man, wise, and understanding. The sort you hoped would turn out to be a preacher. We’d talked about working wood, and about the proper use of tools, and many things, but rarely about much more. He asked me how I was doing one afternoon, and I expressed frustration.

I’d had it with my career at that point. I was rethinking everything I had ever done. I was burned out, and wanting a change. I was finding my day-to-day existence tiring and I felt like I was getting nowhere. It was making me a bit down, and he listened patiently to my frustration while he put away his pocket knife as he had just finished whittling.

After I was done, he smiled at me. “Time spent sharpening your tools is never wasted.” he said. He patted me on the shoulder, got up, and walked away.

Sometimes, things are just that simple.

I’ve been unsatisfied by what I am producing, and so I’ve gone back to sharpen my tools.

shoot-547I’ve had a consistent issue in my developing that has plagued me for years. I finally sat down and reread some books and experimented, and now I am well on the way to fixing it. I’m fixing another problem I have had with c41 at the same time.

I’ve been sharpening my literal tools as well. I’ve torn down and rebuilt my 4×5 camera. I’ve cleaned lenses, replaced glass, scrubbed, re-timed the shutter, and replaced a few parts. I’ll have it out soon, and perhaps this time around the results will be worth seeing.

shoot-549I’ve been shooting with new glass, and making other changes as well. I’m trying to look at things and see them differently. I’ve been in the back woods, decompressing, and straightening things out.

I think my tools are sharper now. Let’s see if that time paid off.