CategoryRandom Thoughts

What’s happening?

So what’s happening with this web site?

I hear that question a lot.

Honestly, I’ve been swamped. We had a water leak in our new house, which led to mold remediation, which led to asbestos remediation, which led to a reconstruction project. So, life has been in a bit of a shambles while this has been dealt with.

The downsides to this interval are many (expense, damage to the house, damage to my cameras), but it has afforded me some time to think, and that’s always a good thing.

It’s led me to some conclusions, and I’ve made some changes.

A few months ago, I decided to pretty much stop listening to the film photography podcasts I was listening to. Photography podcasts are a coastal thing anyway. Events on the east coast or west, but not much else. Us folks in flyover country don’t count. I stopped listening to one when the host talked about visiting Montana as “a trip to the midwest.”

But I think my underlying problem was the fact they all fell in to a similar trap: they weren’t really talking about photography, they were talking about cameras.

I’m really tired of talking about cameras.

I admit, I’ve done it in the past, and I was actively moving to get away from it when the activity on this site dwindled down. It was a step in the right direction, but I’m not sure I went far enough.

Part of it is the general fatigue about talking about some camera again. I mean, we’re all pretty familiar with how one works. This ground has been well trod.

Mostly though, I’m tired of the douchebag it brings out in the people who feel compelled to comment and nitpick about everything.

“Idiot! That lens is not a true retro focus design!”

“You like that stuff? Enjoy your overpriced film, asshole!”

“You just hate digital cameras! You have no idea what you’re talking about! Digital is superior! Fuck you, Luddite! Die in a fire!”

Those were all comments I’ve received. The last person persisted on putting at least two comments about how digital is better in every entry I did on this website for more than eight months straight. I kept all this bad noise off of my site by requiring every comment to be approved and moderated. Looking back, the negatives are ahead of the positives.

I’ve run out of fun tickets. I’ve toyed with eliminating the comment section on my site, but I do get some really good ones, talking about good things. I’d hate to miss them. I hope the break gives the gaggle of assholes impetus to go bother someone else.

You know what I really enjoy writing about?

How it feels to get to the top of a trail where it opens up in to a high meadow just as the sun is in the perfect spot to nail a shot.

How I love bombing down hill on a bike, even if I don’t really like climbing up. How rattling around on a bike in the city I love has shown me parts of it most people don’t ever see, and given me ideas about capturing hidden beauty along bike paths and in back yards.

How it feels to spend time honestly, intentionally working on honing your craft, reading books and picking the brains of people better than you. How good it can feel to see when that has a concrete result.

I’ve honestly laughed out loud when I find that spot, or nail that shot, or crest that hill. Talking about cameras never once made me do that. Sure, my website views are going to take a nose dive, which is what kept me from doing this a long time ago. But that’s a trade off I’m far more comfortable with now.

So that’s where this website is going, that’s that’s going on. If you’re here solely to lecture pedantically, use the phrase “well, actually,” self-aggrandize, bitch, moan, complain, nitpick, or fling insults, this is where you get off.

Everyone else, let’s go on an adventure.

4:45 AM

It’s 4:45 AM, and I’m watching snow fall and cover my 4Runner parked on the street outside. It’s warm, comfortable in our new house. There’s a silence fallen over the neighborhood. What little noise there usually is, is covered over by the snow.

I’m up writing. And doing a little research in to places to go. The film scanner whirs next to me as I see the results of an experiment using filters. The coffee is hot, strong, and plentiful.

This is my quiet season. A heavy pack on snowshoes at altitude is slow going and hard work. I mostly leave it to other folks. I haven’t been above treeline in the winter in a handful of years. I can camp high with the best of them, I just don’t feel the need to much anymore.

The snow pulls the color out of the mountains, and the only way to capture it is in monochrome. Eventually, I feel bored, and I want to spend my time lower down, closer to home.

But winter isn’t forever. And this year, I intend to push spring, getting out early and going farther this year. Maybe out to the badlands early, wait for the spring to come to the mountains while shooting in the wide open spaces.

Soon, I’ll have more film rolled for the 6×9 camera I’m starting to use. I have a proven hiking rig sorted out. I’ve got a wider circle on the map to explore. Every year, I go further. And every year, I want to go further still.

I never want to lose that.