OT: The perfect Saturday Swim Practice.

The Rollingwood Pool. Close to Heaven. 

A cold front blew through last night with the attendant thunder, lightning and drama. It was cold and grey this morning and I was huddled under the blankets willing my alarm clock not to go off. My psychic powers must have been phenomenal because I never noticed it... And I got up late. My watch said 8:15 and swim practice starts promptly at 8:30.

I considered skipping the session and spending that time drinking coffee and reading the aggregated, aggravating news on my computer but then I thought, "this is how the decline into lazy indolence begins.." and started getting ready.

I start Saturday mornings with a large cup of hot, Irish Breakfast tea. One small spoon full of mango infused honey, ample whole milk. I usually drink this in a leisurely fashion while discussing the day with Studio Dog on the steps that lead down into the living. I sit on the steps to put on my socks and shoes. Today I grabbed a towel and the tea and headed straight to the car. I drank the tea on the way. It was no less delicious.

I made it just in time, grabbed my swim accoutrements and jumped into a lane with two much younger, very competitive triathletes. I figured I could draft off them until I got warmed up....

It was still grey and gloomy when I hit the water. I was eager to enter since the temperature was hovering in the mid-40's up on the deck and it was bolstered with a brisk, 30 mph north wind.

We swam sets of 50's and sets of 75's. We swam sets of 200's and sets of I.M.s (individual medleys: butterfly, backstroke, breastroke and freestyle). We even did sets that started with 25 yard underwater swims followed by fast 50 yard swims, repeated over and over. Holding your breath for one lap is okay, the second time is uncomfortable and the rest of the set is daunting.

By the time our hour and a half was up the sun was breaking through, the wind dying down and the temperature was heading to the sixties.

A good portion of the team headed over to the neighborhood coffee shop and pulled together a couple of tables out on the sidewalk. We talked and shared and listened, and drank coffee. A Saturday tradition for me for nearly twenty years now. I change it up on Sundays. I still do the hour and a half workout but I have coffee at home while writing on the blog.

A tip for older swimmers: I've been reading up on CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q-10) and it seems to be the consensus of researchers that this substance (legal and with few or no side effects) supports cell mitochondria, boosting energy levels and supporting muscle integrity. Seems that we produce less as we get older. I started supplementing with 200 mg. a day back in January and, without changing much else in my routine, have seen my swim times improve. I don't sell it and I'm not going to link to any CoQ10 products but I'm suggesting that my friends over 50 give it a try if they are losing some of their usual energy. Might be good. Just my two cents worth. I just buy the Ubiquinol version at my local Trader Joes. You can find it at any pharmacy. It is especially recommended for anyone taking a statin drug as those drugs cause a decline in CoQ10 in the body. And you need that mitochondrial action to keep your heart healthy. 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and have no medical training or expertise. I can read research and I have used myself as a guinea pig. The pace clock doesn't lie....

Flash Nostalgia. Another segment of the industry beset by endless options...

As the author of four books on lighting you can imagine that I've worked with, and tested, lots and lots of lights. From studio flash to fluorescent to LEDs. From tiny battery powered units to 2000 watt second power packs with separate heads. I've learned a lot over the years and I've made my share of mistakes and wrong assumptions but it's been a helluva lot of fun.

What I discovered recently is that it's possible to suffer from electronic flash nostalgia. I'm sure it stems from looking at work that was done in certain periods of my life which played into a style I liked to shoot and, coincided with the availability of portrait subjects who also landed within my aesthetic happy place. 

There are just two brands of the ten or so I have used which have given me the lion's share of my favorite portraits. One is Profoto and the other is Elinchrom. I still have the same two Profoto 300 
w/s monolights I bought several decades ago. They live in a Tenba rolling case, along with power cables and a couple of speedrings. In the Elinchrom family I have a big, portable power pack (Ranger RX AS) and two heads but the flash I remember with the most fondness from that Swiss company is the 500 w/s moonlight that I also acquired sometime back in the 1990's. It's also been around for about two decades. That's a long, long time to survive in my studio space. And, of course the happy thing is that both systems function flawlessly. As flawlessly as they have since day one.