The perfect summer. The perfect day.

I don't know what the "perfect day" looks like to you but to me it's never the big banner days of giant projects, wild celebrations or "once in a lifetime" events.  I've come to enjoy days that don't revolve around breathlessness and adrenaline.  I like small pleasures that have the promise of being repeatably enjoyable. I prefer the quiet and personal photograph to the big production. I prefer simple to complicated and I like my aesthetics clean and uncluttered by the make-up of the moment.

I may be having the best Summer of my life.  And today is an example of one of the best days of my life. I would have shaken my head in disbelief if I'd found myself saying something like this a few years back. I was caught in the relentlessness of being relentless.  Always busy. Always scheduled. Always moving. This Summer is a slow one for my business. I don't have a publisher's deadline to goad me. I'm not booked on lots of small, busy jobs. I'm just coasting in commerce and savoring the downtime.

My June days have been spent in the relative luxury of laziness.  Not a "do nothing" laziness but a "do fun stuff" kind of laziness.

Yesterday was my idea of my ideal.  I got Ben (my teenage son..) up at 6:30 am, we both drank big glasses of water and had a spoonful of local honey.  I drove him to Barton Springs Pool where he met up with the other members of his cross country team for a nice two hour run.  I turned the car around and headed to the Rollingwood Pool, just a mile away, and was in the water with my swim friends--coach on deck--by 7:00 am.  We pounded out about 3000 yards and in between sets we watched the most beautiful clouds swirl in three directions, three layers deep across the blue sky.

After workout I put individual envelopes containing 147 portraits of the Rollingwood Waves Kid's swim team (and team pictures)  into their folders at the pool so their moms and dads could pick them up when the kids came to practice.

Then I headed back to Barton Springs Pool to pick up Ben.  It was a warm day and we had nothing pressing on the schedule so Ben's crew all jumped into the pool to cool down the road miles.  I sat in the shade of a giant cottonwood tree and read a chapter from a book I'm reading on Creativity.  After the swim we headed to P. Terry's, an Austin style, drive through organicky burger joint to get breakfast sandwiches of scrambled eggs, cheese and sausage, chased down with Ruta Maya coffee.  Ben and I sat at one of the robin's egg blue picnic tables enjoying the breakfast and watching the amazing swirl of cloud ballet against the blue of the sky.

I dropped Ben at Jack's house.  They're working on some sort of project.... and I headed in to the studio to check on e-mail and phone messages. Nothing life or death.  I made few phone calls, addressed a few post cards, sent out some gratuitous e-mail and called it a day.  In the early afternoon I picked up Ben and we met my photographer friend, Paul, at the Whole Foods flagship store for lunch.  We had an odd mix of sushi and barbeque.

In the afternoon Ben slogged through another novel and I went horizontal on the couch to finish reading about creativity.  The dog curled up on my feet and snored softly.  I did a load of laundry.

Later in the day Ben's friends came over to play video games and horse around.  I retreated into the studio to read all the crazy stuff on the web.  Then Belinda came home.  We opened a bottle of Stag's Leap Artemis wine and made dinner.  We sat down to Sopa de Lima and quesadillas just as the last magenta slash of sunset kissed the sky.

I could worry about business but I've come to realize that there will always be an ebb and a flow and I can always make myself busy with a book or a project if I want to. But I only have two years left before Ben goes off to college and spending the Summer with him makes me feel like a billionaire on my own private island.  I'll get back to the business of photography just a little later...

The photo above sums up the pleasure of photography for me. A small group of us were lazily taking images along the banks of the Pedernales River.  We were all wading in and out of the running water.  I asked my model to close her eyes and feel the laziness of a hot Summer day and then I photographed here with an film SLR and a 180mm lens. No schedule, only a hazy agenda and all the time in the world.  If you chase it too hard you might never catch it...


  1. Funny, our months of June have a lot in common. I've been on a vacation of sorts (terminated by employer) since earlier this month, and thoroughly enjoying myself. Spend my time basking in taking care of my kid, riding my horse and shooting pictures. Could do that for a lifetime. Enjoy your summer.

  2. Kirk, another Austinite has also titled his art as "A Perfect Day".


    Although Bob was thinking about it LAST summer, it seems to line up with your experience this summer.

  3. You sir are a bright man, enjoy these days with your son, I speak from experience they will soon be gone and will never be recaptured. I spent every second I could with my kids, even more when they got older as I knew the bliss of having them at home was quickly drawing to an end.

  4. A very perfect summer day, indeed. My older son is graduating from High School in two days, and then h's off to college in August. Lenard is right, it goes by so fast, and wish I wish spent more lazy summer days with my son. Enjoy the time with Ben.


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