Organizing around a zany schedule. Getting locations and timing right is just as important as working the shutter button...

I've got a long slog ahead of me this week. I'm always optimistic but then again, I always try to plan out every step. This evening I'll be photographing a fundraiser honoring playwright, Terence McNally, at Zach Theatre. I'm shooting the stage show while someone else handles the "red carpet" arrivals, etc. When I finish my job at the theater I'll rush home to post process the results of the 70 minute long program of actors, singers and speakers. My goal is to get the entire edited and color corrected take uploaded to the marketing people at the theater before midnight. I kinda have to because I'm supposed to be on a plane out of Austin the next morning....

I have multiple sets of camera batteries. Two each for cameras tonight and two each, packed with chargers for the cameras that will travel. Not calm enough to put things on chargers at midnight and then remember them early the next morning.

On Tues. I'm heading to Sacramento, CA. where I'll snag a rental car and head to a small, small town where my clients has a large, large infrastructure project underway. I'll make environmental portraits of the key personnel, as I did in other locations in late October and, when we wrap up I'll head back to the Sacramento airport and make my way to Dallas, Texas. 

I'm scheduled to hit Dallas around midnight and I have a reservation at one of the chain hotels for that night. But before I leave DFW airport I'll snag another rental car. We've got one reserved. On Wednesday morning, after breakfast, I'll pray that the GPS gods don't let me get lost and I'll head to a rural location that is dozens of miles from the nearest small town (two hours from Dallas) where we'll spend the afternoon making environmental portraits/photographs at another infrastructure project. The weather is freezing in north Texas; in fact, we have a freeze warning here tonight, much further south, in Austin. 

Once we get the photos we need out in the middle of nowhere it'll be another race back to the airport in time to catch one of the late flights back to Austin. Any time I have in airports goes towards importing files into Lightroom on my MacBook Pro and then making galleries to share with my clients on the east coast. 

I've got everything mapped out, I've got pin drops on all my map coordinates. I've liaised with the managers at every site and I've confirmed locations and weather with everyone. For north Texas I've got long underwear and a good parka. Gloves and a hat. I'm packing two different cameras systems because I want to lean on my experience with the Panasonics but I want to hold a try out for the Fuji XT-3. Since I might want to shoot the XT-3 in earnest I've also added a second Fuji lens, the 55-200mm f3.5 - 4.8. I know I'll hear howls of derision from the Fuji loyalists who believe in their hearts that I should have sprung for the 50-140mm f2.8 but they'll have to be patient with my awkward learning curve. Also, the cheaper lens is lighter, and fits in my Think Tank travel backpack a bit better. 

I'm traveling with one pair of boots on and one pair in the gear case; I've already been warned that both locations are just a bit muddy.... Worst case scenario? One pair of boots is old enough and worn enough to leave behind...

So, when I get back to Austin I'll get (hopefully) a good night's sleep and then Belin and I will drive down to have an early Thanksgiving Lunch with my dad in his very nice memory care facility in San Antonio, Texas. After lunch and a nice visit we head back to Austin where I have a charity event to photograph in the evening at the Four Seasons Hotel. So I start my week in a suit and tie and end my working week in a suit and tie. The middle part in a ragged sweatshirt and old jeans.

Friday is reserved to wrap everything up, send out files to those who need them immediately, and then start working on the bigger galleries that my Dallas/Sacramento client needs. I might take Saturday off but I'm worried that the sudden deceleration might be harmful to my system. Swim days include: Thursday (early practice), Friday (executive practice = after 8 a.m.) and, of course, Saturday for one of the long, tough ones. 

Here's new tip for time pressed travelers going in and out of the Austin airport. For $4 more per day you can now get reserved parking in the parking garage adjacent to the terminal. You need to go online and purchase the reservation. You'll still need to pay the $29 per day rate when you exit to go home but you won't have that cold chill of anxiety and the accompanying knot in your belly when you pull up to the airport with lots of gear only to discover that all the close-in parking is filled to capacity. I'm trying it tomorrow. 

With Pre-Chek (via Global Entry), and now reserved garage parking, we're finally getting back to a more predictable beginning for each trip. Now, if only sheer will power could make all the planes fly on time then we'd really have something. 

It just dawned on me why I never watch sports or anything else on television....who has time?

Kinda looking forward to navigating across north Texas
in search of a huge project in the middle of nowhere. 
Sounds like the beginning of a new novel about a photographer. 

Trying out, new this week: 

Reserved garage parking at the airport.

The Fuji XT-3 camera.

The Fuji XF-18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses.

Reckless disregard for sleep...

If my blog entries slow down it's probably because I'm paying more attention to finishing up projects in the short term. Like most things in life my attention span is cyclical. Stay tuned to hear about 
any disruptions in the schedule. 



David said...

"I know I'll hear howls of derision from the Fuji loyalists who believe in their hearts that I should have sprung for the 50-140mm f2.8 "
Not at all. Fuji users tend not to be strident about their gear. Perhaps it's a result of knowing their cameras work fine despite the constant "you have to have full frame" from Canikon that they have learned to be quieter. A really strong recommendation from a Fuji user is likely to be: "this may work for you, though I completely understand if it doesn't pan out".
The 55-200 is an underrated lens. You won't get tired carrying it around and it's a good match for the 18-55. Nothing wrong with the detail. ("Nothing wrong with the detail" is like "good enough". Fuji users understand that to mean "totally excellent").
I don't know about you but I need an hour or so to get into the flow of the controls of the camera. Maybe because I don't use it every day. Just a heads up if you intend to use it for work.

Larry C. said...

Hi Kirk,

No worries, I've been shooting Fuji for several years now, and have the X-E3 now..... 18-55mm and 55-200mm both capable lenses. and really like the 23mm f/2...... I sometimes use my Minolta Rokkor's with adaptor......

Waiting for you test your legacy Oly Pen lenses with the X-T3...... should be a good combo....


Michael Matthews said...

Such a pace! Don’t forget to pack a smoke filter for Sacramento. Conditions in the region are brutal.

CWM said...

Love the 55-200 except for the huge lens hood when in use. I bought a much smaller metal hood that works great and doesn't have to reverse during bag storage. MUCH easier to carry!

Craig said...

Kirk, I used The Fuji 55-200 prior to switching to m4/3 and found it to be an excellent lens in every regard.

I especially liked using it for headshots at ~90mm, and the focus motor was much quieter than the (optically suberb) 23mm 1.4 that I paired it with.

My main gripe with the system were the loose aperture rings on some of the lenses, and the ease at which controls would get changed even when the camera was just hanging off me on a strap.

I still look back fondly at the jpegs produced by that 1st generation x-trans sensor though.

Edward Richards said...

Double check the fire zones in CA where you are going. You do not want to die for your client.

Anonymous said...

Prepare for potentially smoky conditions in the Sacramento area, as "the worst fire in California history" slowly dies out just 50 miles to the north.

Wally said...

You can purchase a day pass at various airports fpr most business lounges. Usually you get munchies, a Bar, comfortable seats, workspace, a ticket counter and internet!

atmtx said...

Good luck and stay healthy.

DrMickey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I had fuji x-t1, with 18-55. I was deeply disappointed with AF and very average optical performance. Apparently x-t3 solves af issue, but I doubt lens has improved. Hence my reluctance to follow fuji cult community. AF in x-t1 was much complemented, but every next FW update improved it (how do you improve greatness) to the level where it was able to track slow subjects in full light in a center of the frame. This was acknowledged only when x-t2 was released and cult found new object of worship. 18-55 is overhyped as well - it is a kit quality. All new kits from any company provide similar iq. Fuji is no different.
I looking forward to your comments Kirk, as I thinm you're very unbiased when it comes to gear evaluation.

Anonymous said...


How did the Zach job go?