Ben and his Mom at Emma Long Park.
Hard to know when Spring started here in Austin. The trees were already showing their leaves in February and we've had none of the late freezes that marked past winters. Now we're almost submerged in a vast sea of green. We've had good rains and, for the most part, the moderate temperatures that seem to tickle the growth instincts of our lawns, gardens and random flora.
I generally spend a few days in the Spring getting rid of lots of material objects that I find myself mindlessly hoarding from year to year. Right now I am looking at a Fotodiox 72 inch Octobank that seemed like an especially good idea about four years ago. The fatal flaw for this modifier is that, at nine to ten pounds (steel rods x 8) the soft box is so front heavy that it pops the speed rings right off the Elinchrom flashes and tries the patience of the tightening mechanism on my Profoto monolight stand brackets. The damn thing is a beast. I've put effort into it and about three years ago I just gave up using it. It's almost new... And it's sitting on the floor with some other junk as I try to decide what to do with it.
I can say the same thing about an ill (self) advised purchase of an early LED panel. If it was just an LED panel that took double A batteries I would have passed it along to someone who needed a quickly deployed light source that's small. But it's actually a "system" that came with a five pound, lead-acid battery and a big charger. The battery and charger were overkill for the small panel --- except that one could run said panel for eight to ten hours before it would finally dim and sputter. The battery and charger were just too much effort for too little reward and so they've sat in a dark corner, slowly deteriorating, and the LED panel kept them company.
This is also the year I do something about all the damn frames that live in the studio. They appear to multiply like bunnies. Most of the frames are utilitarian ones that I used for doing photography shows in Sweetish Hill Bakery over the course of the 20 odd years I displayed work there. They aren't quite what we might want to use to decorate in our home and there's little available wall space in the studio. These will probably go to the curb (after I've removed the images) along with a sign that says, "Free to Anyone who Needs Them." I think we are quickly coming to be a "post frame society."
Then I really have to do something with the growing forest of tripods that threatens to take over my space. I think I hit the tipping point last month when I capriciously acquired a very big Benro tripod that extends up about seven or eight feet in the air. Well over my head without having to extend the center column. I thought I was going to need it for a job but it turns out, no. So, it's joined eight other tripods and the assortment of monopods and I think they are all plotting a takeover of the rest of the space. They are inanimate so they are patient. The patient ones are the dangerous ones...
The sneaky ones are the old tripod heads that seem to be free ranging around the studio floor. I thought there was a place on a shelf for these renegades but apparently gremlins come in and free them every once in a while and scatter them over the floor. They use some sort of high speed computer to calculate the exact spots throughout the room that will do the most damage when I inevitably trip over them.
And then there are the books. Like viruses in a verdant Petri dish, they just keep reproducing in an attempt to overwhelm the bookshelves and give me a complex for not having enough time to read them all; expediently.
As it is Spring in Texas all my acquaintances who know that I am a photographer, but who have no clue what sorts of things I like to photograph, are either asking me where the most photogenic patches of native bluebonnet flowers are to be found ---- or they are texting, Facebooking and e-mailing me (not so) secret maps the motherlode of these plain, low-lying flowers. I'm sure the last group think they are enabling me to fulfill my pent up desire to photography chubby, cherubic children nestled in among the plants, and, are looking forward to seeing the rosy cheeks of children, over-lit with poorly done fill-in flash. My only advice to them (and it's serious!) is to watch out for rattlesnakes. They love the blue bonnets....
I like to mess with the folks who seem disposed to love the kitschy photographic adorations of the bluebonnets and other native flowers. I always say how much I love to photograph the rich color palette of the flowers but, like Ansel Adams, I always shoot my landscapes in black and white. For all of you who came of age, photographically, just in the last ten years, let me translate: "black and white" means "monochrome."
I've been cleaning up all morning and trying to find new homes for the endless materiel I've accumulated recently whose value to me didn't match my anticipation. Now I am taking a break to head out for lunch.
Which camera will I take? Oh, I am so glad you asked. It's the Sony a6000, saddled up with a Sony nex-to-Nikon adapter and an ancient (pre-Ai) 50mm f1.4 lens. All the fun, none of the progress.....
Any hints on what to do with a stout and heavy, Canon promotional ball head from 25 years ago?
Didn't think so....