Tuesday morning random stream of consciousness blog for no good reason.

Lens Portrait.

I didn't want to get up in the cold and the dark this morning to go outside and swim. It was a moist kind of cold that chills you quickly and wraps you in discomfort. But I didn't seem to have a choice. You see, we have new neighbors. The spent enormous amounts of money to scrape an older house off the lot next door and build a new house with lots of big windows and, for some reason, enormous television sets in nearly every room. When I say "big television sets" I mean monstrous ones that are wider than most people are tall. And they are the brightest televisions/monitors I think anyone could buy. Even though their house is two hundred feet from mine when they click on the early morning talk shows in one of the rooms facing my bedroom it's as though a psychedelic lightning storm is occurring right in our own little eco-sphere. 

I don't know what time the neighbor's brilliant television set clicked on this morning but I started responding to the abrupt shift in circadian cues around 6:15 am. Way too early for anyone to be watching cable programming. The "quick cut" editing of the early morning talk shows doesn't help either. It's a series of constant cuts between one bright screen after the other. 

But I was up so I grabbed a clean towel and my car keys and headed to the pool. It was still dark at 7 as I walked gingerly across the pool deck which was awash in the red glow of the digital pace clocks at each end. A puffy blanket of steam floated above the water lit from beneath by the underwater pool lights. I hopped into lane three and began the warm up. The fast lanes filled up quickly. A young woman hopped into my lane and started warming up. I'm always a bit nervous when swimming with college kids because they have boundless energy and love to push the intervals. We made it through the workout and I was satisfied that I had at least kept up with someone a third of my age in what our master's club calls, "The Varsity Practice." 

I would have loved to have stopped by Starbucks for a venti "half-caff" and a warm, chocolate croissant but I wanted to get home. We were scheduled to have a sectional couch delivered in the morning and I wanted to be there to help. We only buy couches once every thirty years so it's a big deal to me. I also wanted to be on hand to slip some money to the guys from the Salvation Army who were coming to take away our old sofa. As I got close to home I could see that Belinda and Studio Dog had just started their morning walk and were halfway around the loop that runs near our house. I had just enough time to hit the kitchen, make coffee in a Keurig machine and head out with a to-go cup and meet them for the next leg of their walk.  Studio Dog was pretty happy to see me. I'm a soft touch when it comes to handing out treats...

The delivery people from the furniture store were here early and did a nice job getting the sections of the couch in, unwrapped and set up. We inspected everything and gave them a "thumbs up." A few minutes later the guys from the Salvation Army came and looked at the old sofa. "Today is your lucky day! We'll take it." they said. We breathed a sigh of relief because who really knows how to get rid of an old sofa in this day and age? Especially a sleeper sofa that weighs too much. Once all the non-family members cleared out Belinda and I took turns making subtle changes in our furniture arrangements. I knew that the couch was just an opening feint in a new acquisition binge as we started talking about new chairs, a new rug and the idea of perhaps refinishing the hardwood floors.

I finally made it out to the studio/office where I was curious to see if I'd gotten any more results from an e-mail marketing campaign I embarked on last week. To date I've gotten three bid requests, one from as far away as Boston, and several dozen, "Beautiful Work!!!!" responses. I did my mailer differently this time. I sent out 500+ messages and each one was sent individually. Personalized notes included, where appropriate. I think bulk e-mails tend to get spam filtered but I have no real data to back up that presumption. I am happy with the initial response and I took a few more minutes to look over a greeting card (physical) mailer that I'm sending off to Overnight Prints later today. I'll have 500 cards printed, we'll stuff them into envelopes and mail them to the same list as the e-mail blast, as a follow up. 

I went back into the house to take another look at the couch and to wake up Ben. He and I are meeting my advertising mentor-friend, Mike, for Chinese food at 1 pm. He's known Ben since forever and he thought it would be nice to have a meal together before we bundle the boy up and send him back to college in the frigid Northeast. Funny, my old sofa is out. My kid is leaving again and I'm going to have to get used to a new piece of furniture. I'm certain Studio Dog will help me break it in. 

Just as in every previous year I am in the danger zone when it comes to gear. A year has come and gone and I spent it mostly doing jobs with the smaller format cameras. For the most part they worked well. Especially for video. But while I sit here and wait for clients to get fired up again after a long holiday of non-work I wonder if I should change everything up again and dive head first into something crazy like the Pentax 645Z or the Nikon D810. It's dangerous to be adrift for too long. I start over analyzing everything and making all kinds of photographic contingency plans. 

I'm just back from lunch and I've already been on phone to Precision Camera to talk about trade ins. Here's the root of today's first world problem: I can't find anything in the drawers that I dislike enough to trade in. I was thinking about the Panasonic GH4 system till I watched some 4K test footage earlier. That stuff is too good to lose money on. The EM-5's? Now way. They're going too cheap and they are too much fun to have into the bargain. 

I guess I'll have to do this the old fashioned way and just buy new stuff when the old stuff breaks. It could take a while. I'll think about the 2015 gear inventory later, right now Studio Dog has made the brilliant suggestion that I join her on the new couch for a nap. Now that seems like an intelligent priority.  I guess nothing gets traded or acquired today. 


  1. Good to see you're following Studio Dog's suggestion today about the couch. It's always a "priority" to properly break in/adjust the new piece of furniture properly.

    And I echo your sentiment concerning the EM5's. A fun and good work horse, though I'm flirting with the idea of adding a Fuji to the stable to compliment the m4/3's. We'll see what shows up in the used section in the local camera store in the new year. Not a mad dash but a considered decision ; )

    Cheers to you and your families for the new year. Always visiting and occasionally commenting…


  2. My favorite lens right there. Would look great on an NX1 :)

  3. I'm very happy with my E-M1, however I hit the wall in the patience department and went on eBay and made a retro purchase on what was once my "dream" camera, a Pentax K-5. Price was $350 and the daughter who sold it for her dad had no idea how many shutter actuations it had on it. I hit the floor when I ran it through the software - only 725 clicks. Whew. But it's satisfying to have a this beast on the shelf alongside the Olympus.

  4. Frigid northeast is right! As I write this, it is 0 degrees here in Saratoga Springs, and falling! Tell Ben to bring some of that Texas sunshine back.

  5. "Who really knows how to get rid of an old sofa in this day and age?"
    Luckily here in my county there is a free pickup service for old furnitures/electrical appliances/tv sets. You contact them by phone and they tell you what day later in the week they will come. You just have to put the furniture outside your home the night before.

  6. "I should change everything up again and dive head first into something crazy like the Pentax 645Z or the Nikon D810."

    Yes, please do. That would entertain your readers again for a while. ;)
    They could then follow you haul those around for maybe less than a year, after which they could read about your trading them for something smaller but still fancy, maybe even Leica gear this time around. :)

    Just like Mark Wallace did, along with a long video about it in Adorama TV.
    Looks like making a video statement about your switching gear has become a must among the online celeb photographers.

    "It's dangerous to be adrift for too long. I start over analyzing everything and making all kinds of photographic contingency plans."

    Unfortunately that's not just you, but there seem to be a kind of GAS-flu season raging among photographers. It turns us all into easily intimidated gear nerds.

    "Here's the root of today's first world problem: I can't find anything in the drawers that I dislike enough to trade in."

    Sure you do, all that Nikon gear. Whether you dislike them enough or not. ;)

  7. I see Samsung NX 30mm f2. Didn't you get rid of all your Samsung NX stuff? there was also vage promise of NX1 review in second part of December...


  8. Re: Pentax 645..Nikon 810, been wondering how long until you ventured to the "mega" camera world.
    Actually, for you, a logical progression. Ming has been there for a bit, producing some stunning results. Awaiting 1st portraits.

    Best of all to you and family in 2015.

  9. "Mr. Green, he's so serene, he's got a tv in every room. Another pleasant valley Sunday!" - from Monkees 1967. Seems even today some people never learn. Spend time on "your life", not "others fantasy".

  10. Burt, Every time I look at the temperatures in Saratoga Springs I rush to Amazon.com and look for more mittens, wool socks, long underwear and additional headwear for Ben. He leaves on Sunday morning so I hope the weather in SS is warmer, clearer and nicer for his return. Once he gets to campus it's all pretty easy.

    Saw you guys at near zero this morning. I hope you are staying warm!!! If you get a bit chilled head over to Uncommon Grounds and grab a really big coffee. Vital to maintain a caffeinated core temperature.

  11. Arbuz. Funny how photography works, I posted an image of the 30mm lens yesterday but actually took the image almost a year ago.

    As to the review, I am waiting on my friend at the PR agency to get me a sample to shoot with. He indicated he would be sending one in late December but it has not yet materialized. I'm thinking it's because of one of two things; either the camera is so popular that they are having trouble freeing up review copies or that they would like to wait until they have the full firmware update (1.20) installed to show off the video features I will inevitably comment upon...

    I have divested of most Samsung stuff at this point. A few bits and pieces remain. Too bad I wasn't more patient, the new NX-1 is getting good reviews.

  12. Howard. Still on the fence. Waiting for some kid to come along and throw that snowball to knock me off. One way or the other.


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