On the general nature of traveling for business.

Assignments that require travel sometimes go awry. We're on hold at our hotel right now, waiting for our "hero" product to show up. It was supposed to be delivered yesterday. And then today. But weather, etc. have pushed everything to tomorrow. This, of course, adds to the client's stress and plays havoc with our schedules. We're hopeful that we'll be shooting tomorrow morning and afternoon and still able to make a late flight back home to Austin. Worst case scenario? We fly back on Thurs. morning and eat another day. But Thursday is a "drop dead" date because we're booked with another client all day Friday. A long day of exacting, macro work. 

The waiting around is frustrating but the real dissatisfaction I have with jobs that involve travel, in general, is the stuff you have to leave at home. I'm traveling with my son, Ben, so I'm lucky. I have someone to room with that I like and someone to hang-out with while we wait. But there are some things I really miss from my usual routine in Austin, Texas. There is the unconditional love and exuberance of Studio Dog. I heard there was thunder and lightning in Austin last night and I feel a bit guilty that I wasn't there to reassure her. I'd love to bring her on every assignment but she's a true terrier and has no patience for travel and downtime. Even riding to San Antonio in the car makes her forlorn and moody. 

Then, of course, I miss the Western Hills Athletic Club pool and my daily masters swim workout. How could you not miss something so routinely perfect? Clear, clean water. A bunch of happy, optimistic swimmers who defy aging and gravity. A chance to stretch out and go hard first thing in the morning. It's a wonderful thing. And hard work in the pool provides the perfect rationalization for a good coffee and maybe even a warm croissant afterwards. I'm sure the people in lanes three or four were wondering where I was this morning... 

Trips away from home on business also remind of how much I depend on my lifelong partner/spouse Belinda. She's the driving force in the boy and I eating well and healthily. After a lackluster dinner last night I'm actually missing the perfectly prepared fish, roasted cauliflower and fresh kale and cranberry salad of Sunday evening. That, and the stinging spiritual course correction that she occasionally delivers so effectively. 

And, finally, this project has convinced me that I really have an extremely short attention span when it comes to equipment. On Sunday, while packing, I was convinced that the two cameras and two lenses (three, if you include an all purpose back up...) were exactly what I wanted to shoot with. Today I am pining for other toys. I shoulda, I shoulda. We have a down day to spend in the city and I'd love to have the RX10iii. I'm anxious to play with the new lenses. I wish I'd driven here because now I'm thinking I'd love to have some C-Stands....

The beauty of photographing close to home is that you can go for a swim, pack some gear, change your mind and swing by for more gear, wrap the job, play with the dog, eat a healthy dinner and end up in your own bed. Luxury. 

On a totally different note I am quickly becoming a fan of variable neutral density lenses; not just for video (where they are a necessity) but also for still photography. I used to think of them as an adjunct for syncing up fill flash but now I find myself using the to shoot in the sweet spots of my taking lenses. Love the look of Sony A7ii and A7Rii files shot at ISO 100 and some sweet f-stop like f2.8 or f4.0. Pretty pictures that way.


Anonymous said...

A beautiful post, Kirk. I think I enjoy these pieces even more than those aimed at gear and technique.

Alan Fairley said...

Kirk, I'm curious when you bid on a travel job like this you include a provision for delays like you are experiencing, maybe some kind of per diem for dead days? What sort of terms? Thanks. P.S. The best parts of your blog are the business and organizational insights!

Fred said...

Hi Kirk,
I hope this job is working out ok.
I wondered about the swimming photo above when you posted it before. Are the people doing IM repeats? The woman in the right hand lane appears to be doing breaststroke while the rest of the swimmers in that lane appear to be swimming backstroke.