Those "in between" days. You know; where we get all the boring stuff done so we can do the fun stuff the next day....

I've been treating my Sony RX10iii like a chubby little Hasselblad.
I've got it set to shoot squares and sometimes I go one step further and 
set it to shoot black and white. And it's a camera I nearly always use
in the Jpeg format. So it's more like the old days of film when you
kind of had to more or less nail your shots in the camera.

Studio Dog is waiting for someone to come down the hall, 
exclaim, "Oh my gosh, you are so cute!!!" at which 
point she will manipulate them into giving her yet another 
treat from the little jar on the small kitchen table 
next to the (hardwired) telephone.
It's all retro here.

So, it's Tuesday. Yesterday was my day to get up way too early and drive the hour to Johnson City where we were supposed to shoot some board members for a utility company. I got there at 7 a.m., set up by 7:30 and had my first board member show up, in a rush, at 7:45. I got his photograph taken and waited for the next of the three new people to arrive. At the last minute the schedule changed and everyone went into a board meeting right at 8:15. "Another day." my contact said, "we'll come back and get the other ones on another day." 

I tore down the lights and the soft boxes and the meticulously placed green screen and packed everything carefully back in their cases and bags. Then I headed back to Austin. I'll charge them enough to make the trip worth my time but it seemed empty to travel so much and shoot so little. I came back to the world headquarters of the Visual Science Lab and imported the files into Lightroom, did some rudimentary color correction and converted the selects into Jpegs then put them up on Smugmug.com, in a private little gallery for the client. I spent the rest of the day making airline reservations for next week's assignment in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, sorting out retouching and post production orders from clients and hanging out with my sometimes assistant and full time son, Ben. 

Today is a "limbo" day. Not as in dancing under the limbo stick but as in stuck in limbo. I had a stack of things growing like weeds on the corner of my desk: Sign a contract to get a bunch of work done on my trees. Calculate and pay my state sales taxes. Bill several clients whose jobs I shot last week. Interrupt the billing process to read a book about how to cure procrastination. Get back to billing. Pay some bills online. Pay some bills offline. Have lunch at a little Mexican restaurant on First St. with my friend, Will. And then return to the studio to clean, clean and then clean again. 

If you work as a photographer and you stay pretty busy you are always coming back from somewhere, on a job where you chose to use some assemblage of gear, and you are always getting ready to go somewhere else and, if you are like me, choosing other gear to take on the next job. There never seems to be time to unpack, stow the used gear and get organized so stuff starts to accumulate in little piles. 

Then, all at once, you realize that tomorrow you'll be shooting in the studio with two clients in tow and you need to pretend that you are one of those highly organized photographers who keep their studios looking spare and Swiss. At this point I panic and start trying to do all my organization at once. 

The schedule for the next 24 hours is a little tricky. I'm getting the studio totally set up and ready to shoot still life stuff first thing in the morning. Right now I'm taking a break (procrastinating) after having set up three soft boxes and five, big LED lights. The reason I want everything set is that I am scheduled to go to Zach Theatre tonight at 7:30 pm to photograph the dress rehearsal of Mary Poppins. Since the production goes "live" tomorrow I need to shoot this evening (usually until around 11pm) and then head home to post process the files right after. We need to get them to assorted sites and media tomorrow...

From 11pm till about 2 am I'll be importing, editing, color correcting and outputting. My hope is to start an upload to Smugmug.com as I walk out the door at the end of the night and then be up and going by 6:30 in the morning for the first of two shoots; the still life shoot for the healthcare devices client, followed by another location shoot at a different theater. We're shooting marketing images at a downtown theater and we'll need to set up lights, etc. but not the same lights we'll be using to shoot product...

I'm sure that by the end of the day I'll be toast. I hope to get some sleep on Weds. night so I can hit the post processing for these two jobs right after a dentist appointment (see, I'm having all the fun!).

I've got the shop vac out and my earplugs in. I'm trying to figure out a design-y way to store sandbags. I'm constantly back and forth on e-mail scheduling portraits with doctors who seem to have rampant scheduling issues. Little issues that seem to require a nearly constant fine tuning of appointments. It's largely insane. 

But I am reticent to actually complain about any of this. It's what we wished for all the way through the downturn in 2007-2013 = a Summer of good paying, non-stop photographic work. Now, if I can just get through it all without collapsing from exhaustion. Some down time to nap on the couch with Studio Dog would be wonderful.

Testing a lighting set up before an important shoot (they're all important!).

The business of photograph is mostly about getting good images delivered. Clients don't really give a crap why something "didn't work" they just need photographs they can use. The better the photographs the happier they are to pay on time and hire you again next time. Since guaranteed delivery is essential we try not to leave much to chance and usually will have an assistant step in for some test shots. That way we can fine tune a lot before the clients arrive on the set. 

The test shot above was supposed to be of my assistant. We were going to photograph former president, Bill Clinton, in conjunction with a Dell, Inc. event. The problem in this situation is that, at the last minute, the secret service refused to approve my assistant. They wouldn't give him security clearance to be in the room.  I would be making photographs of the former president, and a big collection of Dell executives and local dignitaries and, all of a sudden, I found myself flying solo. 

Well, that's why camera makers put self-timers on our cameras. Sure, it's a pain in the butt to shoot, then chimp, then shoot and chimp again while walking a circuit from the subject position to the back of the camera but it beats the hell out of noticing that something isn't working in the middle of a non-repeatable assignment. Especially one on an insanely tight time schedule. 

The tension of a last minute change in staff, along with the pressures of the moment probably go a long way toward explaining why I am not smiling my usual endearing smile in this particular image....