I thought it might rain during my afternoon run but I went anyway. As you can see, no problems with social distancing....
I thought it would be a good afternoon for a run so I grabbed a small and lightweight camera, my rain jacket and my running shoes and headed down to Lady Bird Lake to hit the hike and bike trails. Dr. Fauci would be so proud of me because I wore my homemade face mask for the entire run. It hung in there well.
I stopped a couple of times near the beginning of the run to take some still photos which I intend to turn into masterpieces later but the few threatening rain drops decided to up the ante and, with a little help from a vicious north wind, the rain became a full bore downpour. Torrents and torrents of rain deftly guided by vicious wind gusts. The temperature dropped about 25 degrees over the course of a 45 minute run.
Even though the Sigma fp camera and the Panasonic 24-105mm lens are supposed to be "weather resistant" at a certain point I chickened out of this "trial by fire" (or should it be trial by immersion?) and tucked the camera and lens inside my rain jacket. The last half of the run was uncomfortably fun.
My shoes and socks were soaked, the bottom half of my shorts were soaked and I was starting to get concerned about lightning. So I stopped for a few minutes under the famous and well documented pedestrian bridge and then I remembered that the Sigma fp does video. Lots and lots of video, so I took a few minutes to catch my breath and shoot some footage of the Biblical style rain.
It wasn't my best time for a four mile run but I don't usually have a camera under my jacket either.
The camera and lens are both fine and ready for the next adventure. Me? I'll have to let everything dry out first.
As you can probably see from the footage there is little chance anyone played fast and loose with social distancing out there this afternoon. There were only three other people on the entire four mile loop. Everyone else seems to believe that you can't go outside in a cold rain. They just don't know what they are missing....
I was sitting at home reading novels. Now I'm getting back in touch with clients and planning for a time when we all re-open and re-engage. We should understand the power of pre-planning and intention.
Blue skies will return. Keep the sunscreen handy.
We all tend to operate under our own unproven set of assumptions. My assumption lately was that all business is shut down and people were hunkered down for the long haul. Like one of the apocalyptic movies about nuclear war I thought we'd start to emerge from our bunkers months from now, blinking at the sun and defeated by a vision of a landscape laid to waste.
Imagine my surprise when I started getting texts and e-mails this week from clients who are already planning ahead for the recovery. One group of attorneys is ready to (tele) conference immediately about tasking me to write and produce a series of videos for their firm. Another company queried me about making exterior photographs of big infrastructure projects around Texas. Places I could get to and back from in one day of driving, and photographing without having to interface with people. Just landscapes and construction infrastructure. Another client is a post graduate institution that wants to get a head start on a projected, August video program.
This input inspired me to get off my ass and try to stay focused on the parts of the business I could be working on right now. Building a better and more complex presence on LinkedIn and Instagram, planning my own marketing strategies and building advertising collateral I can put into place when the timing seems appropriate. Re-envisioning my portfolio. Rebuilding my website.
When we emerge from our cocoons and once again become shimmering Chrysalis it will be a new business environment and much will need to be done. It's becoming obvious to me how much more important all types of video production will be: from fun, quick piece on social media to full on television commercials and much in between. The period of stasis right now is an opportunity for us to find our own niches, to figure out stories to tell and how to tell them.
As a photographer the one thing I keep thinking about is all the cancelled gallery shows. I regret now that I didn't do more personal project work and show it to the public in the days B.C. (Before Covid). I'm enthusiastic right now about getting a new show of prints together and shopping it around (online) to Austin and Texas galleries. I have a vision in my head of standing around with a bunch of other photographers. We'd all have those flimsy, plastic glasses of box wine in our hands and we'd be talking about nonsense like printers and our favorite lenses.
I don't know which clients will be left when this whole thing subsides but I know I'd like to work for the ones who had deep enough pockets to survive. My intention is to use some of their $$ to finance a bunch of pro bono work for great non-profits that are really, really taking it on the chin right now.
I'll volunteer, certainly, but it might also be nice to write a few checks. Sometimes keeping the lights on takes precedence over having nice photographs.
It all starts with intention. If your intention is to retire or move into another career then that's great. But if your intention is to remain as a viable part of the commercial photography community then you need to firm up that intention and start making plans now for how your business will look when we all reconnect with the clients who will need us. It's never too early to plan and it's never too late to turn off Netflix for a while and get some work done. There are few among us whose businesses couldn't be made better with a sharp focus on what's next.
Yes, all of this came out of a conversation with my spouse who reminded me that even though we are social distancing I still have to clean my bathroom. And she mentioned that it might also be a good time to clean the leaves out of the gutters. What I interpreted from hearing this growing list is that this would be a good time to rush into the office and at least try to look busy.... or at least write a blog that makes me sound like I've already got plenty of stuff to tackle.
Now, how to handle the idea that the living room needs painted?
Mr. Andreas Schultz. Introduction Video. from Kirk Tuck on Vimeo.
The above is a video I did as a solo operator as an introduction for the north American CEO of Ottobock at a leadership conference. I shot most of it with a Panasonic GH5 and a selection of image stabilized lenses but I also used a Nikon D810 for a few segments. We did the V.O. in a little glass meeting room but I'm particularly happy with the way the audio came through in spite of the ad hoc "sound studio". I edited everything together in Final Cut Pro X. It was fun to have nearly complete control over every aspect of the video. The script was provided by the client's in-house writers.
Marty Robinson, Clinician. Discusses the Ottobock C-Leg. from Kirk Tuck on Vimeo.
And here's is a quiet video that I don't think I've shown before but I really like. I shot it just outside of Toronto with the assistance of a great guy named, Abraham Latchin. This video was shot with a Sony A7Rii and a Sony RX10iii. We used an Aputure Diety shotgun microphone just out of frame and I personally like the audio from a mic used like that much better than the less dynamic sound of a lavaliere microphone.
Just wanted to show some of the projects I've worked on recently and show you how photography can help one move into video production.
Kindest regards to everyone, Kirk