5.31.2010

Busman's holiday. It's like a Sunday but I have nothing to rant about....

I don't know about you but after a long, tough week of commercial photography and swim meets and weddings and videos nothing relaxes me quite like a nice hot stroll thru downtown Austin with a favorite camera and lens.  When I go out walking there's really no agenda.  No picture quota.  No pressure to come back with something "fantastic".  I just walk and wander and get my camera feet wet.

I started my walk around 3:30 pm over by Flip Happy Crepes, just south of the river.  The tables and chairs always seem to have otherworldly colors that make me happy.  Then I crossed over the pedestrian bridge and I was happy I was paying attention to my space because I got to watch kids jumping off the arches of the next bridge over and into Town Lake.  Some were jumping from thirty or forty feet in the air. Their insouciance was palpable and their unrestrained joy at risk taking made me a bit envious.

I stumbled through the west side of downtown and stopped at Jo's on 2nd street for an ice tea.  It was in the high 90's outside and the ice tea gave me a bit of brain freeze for a couple of minutes.  Hasn't happened to me in a while.  I swung around to Six Street and made my way back up to the Whole Foods Store on Lamar Blvd.

I was using my Olympus e30 with a 14-35mm f2 SHG lens on the front.  I didn't see many interesting people and all the buildings are starting to look the same to me.  A sure sign that it's time to travel some more.  I'm really longing to get back to Rome or Milan and meander through crowds of tourists and Italians, hunting for good images.  But that can wait till the Fall when the crowds thin out and the prices fall.

What I wanted to see today was if there really is magic in the SHG lens.  Problem is, during most of the walk there was nothing to aim the magic at.  Goes back to what the Zen guys say,  "The harder you try the more distant the reward."  The combination of the heat and the holiday put the downtown dynamic on hold, but that's okay. Just the walking is also part of the creative process.

I had a contemplative walnut, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookie and a small coffe with milk at Whole Foods and chatted with an old friend.  Then I continued the return phase of my walk.  The part where your car seems much further away than you remember.  On the way there I walked past a green wall that shields a construction site.  Young trees were planted at skimpy intervals along the temporary, plywood wall.  At last.  Something I could sink my camera into.

And so I did.  And I'm happy with what I shot.  I love the saturated green and the skinny trees.  I had a conversation with a friend who's life is very, very different from mine.  He's very successful in his field and very well thought of.  We've made different choices.  Neither of us has made the wrong choice, just different.  I can't imagine having a real job.  Having a schedule beyond the capricious and mercurial schedule of a freelance photographer.  I can't imagine eating lunch in my office every day or not being able to "call it a day" when I'm bored or tired.

I imagine my friend can't imagine a life where you don't really know if, or from where, next month's money will come from.  Whether or not clients will emerge, just in the nick of time.  Whether or not the checks will come in time to make the next mortgage payment.  Not knowing if what you've saved for the kid's college education will cover the real costs.  Whether your idea of art will find a market.  And much more.

I chose a life of insecurity and freedom.  He chose a life of security and responsibility.  Neither is perfect and yet there isn't really an intersection either.  There's no way either of us can now trade for the attributes of the other's experiences even if we wanted to.  It's too late for me to become a famous brain surgeon or corporate attorney.  To cash in and become truly secure.  It's too late for him to have the kind of extended adventures and close calls that only youth can survive.

One way is black.  One way is white.  Intermixing them is a fool's errand diluting both sides and, in the end, yields nothing of real value.  There's no way of knowing which fork of the road is the one that will make you happiest.  There are no wrong choices.  The only regret is not making a choice.

I really believe that one can't be an artist without being strongly opinionated.  That doesn't mean you constantly argue with people.  It means you don't argue with yourself.  You know how a thing should be.  You make things the way they should be.  That's all you can do.

Whatever your choices, I hope you have a great week!  Kirk

7 comments:

Poagao said...

Stick your tongue to the top of your mouth to help with a brain freeze.

kirk tuck said...

Thanks. I'll try that next time. It really hurt for a minute or two.....thought it was the conflict between multiple camera systems....

Michael Ferron said...

3:30 am??

kirk tuck said...

ooops. meant PM. Now correctly aligned with my intention.

Kurt Shoens said...

I've had the 5D ii for several months now. I planned for it 4 years in advance by buying the 20D, but avoiding EF-S lenses. I knew Canon would make the camera I was looking for. I love shooting with it and if I have a different camera with me, mostly I wish I had the 5d2 instead.

With that background, I don't think it's the camera for Kirk. When I opened this blog post, I knew it would feature some walk around shooting for fun and that it would not be with the new Canon.

The description of the selection process almost hurt ...

Anonymous said...

Love the greens in the top image Kirk,
great Olympus colour rendition,
Alan D

Chase Palmer said...

I have driven by that green wall dozens of times without noticing, but after stumbling across your blog last week, I noticed it while driving on Lamar. I never would have thought to photograph it.