7.28.2020

Okay. So everyone is concerned that I might be sitting on the couch eating bon-bons. Here's what today looked like. And yes, I did take some photographs.


I was working in the studio when the last comment on yesterday's blog post came in today. I guess I'm not being clear enough about my intention to work at my profession for a while longer. Here's the comment: 
"Dear Kirk -

While you are spinning your wheels you could go over to Archer City and shoot the Dairy Queen, if it's still there. Walter Benjamin and Larry McMurty may appreciate it.

But don't do it on my account. I respect your need to spin wheels. Street photos of Austin must be getting a bit tiresome; you need to get out more."


And, once again, here's my response: 

I woke up before my alarm clock today and headed to the pool for the 6 a.m. swim practice. It was coached by Chris who is a 6 foot 9 inch tall All American swimmer. The workout was difficult because I love to sprint but today Chris rolled out endless sets of 200 yard repeats. That's eight lengths of the pool times however much time we have. Oh, and to make it more interesting we were supposed to descend our times through the sets. That means we had to get faster and faster with each 200. A couple miles before 7 a.m.

I got home and hosed off the chlorine in my back yard. We can't use the showers at the pool right now because....Covid-19. I toweled off, made coffee and eggs with potatoes and bacon. Then I drove to Dripping Springs, Texas to walk fast through the rolling and steep hills for five miles with my friend, Emmett. I took an iPhone with me. I stopped once in awhile to photograph puffy clouds against azure skies...

Then back home to sit down and work on dropping out backgrounds in photographs of lawyers I'd previously photographed on a white background, in the studio. I took a break for lunch around 1 p.m. I had a California Club sandwich from Thundercloud Subs which I ate at my dining room table while returning e-mails from four clients, on my laptop. 

I headed back into the studio to finish my composites and to send layered Tiff files to the ad agency that's handling the lawyer's website and advertising construction. I made a note on my white board to bill them for the time I spent photographing and in post production. 

Next was a check-in phone call with the marketing director of a big radiology practice to make sure she got the files for the five physicians that I retouched and sent over via FTP yesterday. This thing where you call to make sure your client is happy is called: follow up. It's not necessarily a sexy part of the business but it sure helps one keep up to date with clients and to be very responsive is there is anything they would like to change in the product you've delivered. I jotted down our conversation on my daily journal and added a line to the white board reminding me to bill for five different sessions as soon as time permits. 

Around this time my phone let me know there was a text waiting. It was from the marketing team at Zach Theatre. They usually do a fund-raising gala each year that raises a ton of money for programs but this year they are unable to do an actual, in person gala. The text was to confirm that I would be on a conference call tomorrow from noon to one p.m. so we can discuss my participation all through August and early September. We'll be doing a virtual fundraiser that will culminate in a two hour show with lots of programming as well as live content.  At this point it looks like they'll need some pre-recorded video to showcase the live auction, to showcase the pre-professional company actors doing music and dance on stage. They'll need interviews with celebs and "commercials" to get people donating. Think: a combination of a telethon and a series of short movies. There will be video programs with up to 50 people that will need to be shot across three or four cameras. Some of them moving, etc. 

They'll also need hundreds of images of actors, donors, stage sets, etc. I'll find out more in our hour long conference call.

I RSVP'd affirmative and put it on my calendar. That should be good for a couple weeks of hard, complicated work. No bon-bons there... And a lot of the time will be pro bono.

I took a break to get some coffee and came back out to start setting up the studio for two projects I'm doing for an advertising agency tomorrow. But as I was pulling lights out of cases I got a voice mail. I'd bid a large job with an international bio-tech company yesterday. The client and I go all the way back to when NXP was called Motorola. It's a job with lots of moving pieces so I assumed it would take a while for him to get back to me. I returned the call thinking we might need to go over some details; or that his bosses wanted to negotiate down the price I quoted. But no. He was calling to award me the job and ask if I could come by their facility to scout on Thursday or Friday and possibly shoot three days next week. 
This will be a combination of heroic product shots of half million dollar test machines bundled with clinical shots of the machines being operated by scientists. Real scientists. 

I shrugged, smiled to myself and agreed to hold days for him. I pulled out my daily journal and made contemporaneous notes of our conversation so I didn't get any of the information confused. After we agreed on a scouting day and time I hung up with him and texted my favorite assist to lock him in for next week. 

Then it was back to the cleaning cycle/studio reset for tomorrow. We have two tasks to complete. One will be taking full length, then mid-length then classic portraits, all against white, of the CEO of a new tech start-up. She'll have make-up done remotely and I limited the engagement to the CEO, the ad agency creative director and myself. I can handle that safely. Everyone masked until the shots are set. 

After we do the photographs we'll switch over to a video camera (from the S1R to the S1 with V-Log upgrade) and shoot footage of the same CEO both for B-roll, and also doing a classic acting job of being a keynote speaker in front of my white background. 

I spoke earlier today with that company's CFO to get credit card information for direct payment on the day of the shoot. Another piece of the puzzle that has nothing to do with steering cameras and everything to do with running a healthy creative services business. 

I need to make sure the studio is set and ready and the bathroom is clean before I jump in bed tonight because everyone will be here around 9 a.m. and I don't want to miss tomorrow's 6 a.m. swim. 

It's 7:30 p.m. right now and I think I'll take a short break to head in for some dinner. 

But that's what I've been doing this week while "I've been spinning my wheels" and pondering "retirement." 

 How are you doing?


14 comments:

MikeR said...

Ha! I'm exhausted just reading.

I think everybody loves you, and wants the best for you ... even if it means acting like helicopter parents.

Me, I AM retired, as of last December. And right now, I am surprisingly busy helping my wife wind down in her retirement, which began last month. I had been well-covered by her company's superb benefits package, so we both needed to do research, and decide our separate Medicare and Supplement options. More recently, it's trying to make sense of conflicting information regarding what we can do with her 401(k) money.

I have to say, also, that getting one's mind around the idea that our income is now solely Social Security and spending the money we've both spent years saving is - has been - quite an emotional adjustment. What hits me is, where does my "play" money come from? There's a camera I want to buy.

VERY first world problems. We know that we're lucky.

amolitor said...

I am deeply concerned that you are eating dangerously few bonbons and also that your couch may float away unless it is firmly held down.

Anonymous said...

Well, what I was thinking while reading, MikeR (in his first sentence) and amolitor said in their own words better than I could've said it. If that is what retirement is like, forget it - I am not retiring!

Ken

Anonymous said...

I am not sure I would feel safe doing all of that but I am sure you will have a well thought out plan. Sounds like fun, though.

Anonymous said...

Well that's all well and good... But when do you think business will start rolling in again???

(I'm meaning cappuccinos)

Mark

Derrick said...

Wow you have some highly opinionated readers who seem to have no problems leaving their opinions on your working life in public fora. I admire your responses to these readers and shake my head at the manners of the others.

Anonymous said...

Additional - as someone who has worked solid (safely) through the pandemic since day one, I am also used to having conversations with people who are 'spinning wheels' themselves and finding it hard to fathom that some people (even on conventional, not medical, jobs) have actually been busy (busier) these last months.

At least I'm saving the commute - which is when I'm reading this!

M

Joe said...


Trolling types of comments speak more about the writer than the subject. Unfortunately, stupidity, acting badly and in an irresponsible manner seems to have become politicized and de rigeur in some quarters. Perhaps it's best to ignore such comments and neither post them nor respond to them.

I envy your ability to make the opportunity to a photo walk. I kept looking out the window at the sunny, pleasant day and then ruefully returned to working away at the keyboard. Cameras still in drawer, alien DNA kept at bay, and more "inside" work completed.

Cathal Gantly said...

Kirk,

Disappointed to see that your "spinning wheel" time hasn't allowed a slot to pop down to Precision Camera and pick up that Fuji GFR you're about to buy! Hurry up, some of us are waiting on your review! It's been days since you said you're not yet buying one...

CG in UK

leicapixie said...

I am so pleased each day, there's Kirk writing again!
My breakfast reading. In a time of great world stress, Kirk soldiers on, safely.
So many other blogs are closed or barely functioning..guess they were only about the money..
Exercise, walking, thinking, planning adding formidable swimming time and effort.Bravo.
I walk slowly, not my choice the slow but some meds do that! Rats!
Your 'walk" photos no winners in terms of the critics but simple winners in my books..
Your love of new equipment has caused me vertigo..
Me using same M3 past 53 years, not always as a pro camera..
The SLR ruled the roost and pay checks..
Write on, post on, great thoughts, wonderful photos and never boring!
All the best.

Michael Matthews said...

Were you to eat a bon bon, your physical conditioning regimen would compel you to run four miles immediately to burn it off. Better to abstain. Think of your knees.

David said...

I played pickleball and took a nap. Today I’m going to wash clothes and vacuum. If you are working hard, that’s great! If you want to hang out and do nothing, that’s great, too. We just enjoy the time you spend talking to us.

seany said...

Kirk as someone who is retired over 18 years and doesn't suffer from the need to justify how I spent my time or record every action I partake in throughout the day my humble advice to you[feel free to ignore, I won't be offended] is to chill out, you only live for a short time and apart from your nearest and dearest nobody really cares how you spend your time. Should these comments offend please don't respond in an aggressive manner as it doesn't reflect well on you irrespective of the approval of fans.

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

HI Seany, It's my prerogative to blow off steam from time to time. And if you found that post to be "aggressive" well.......

But thanks!