4.13.2020

OT: Sometimes the old "gear" is the best... Celebrating a big milestone today.



You probably have one old camera that you'd never, ever get rid of. It probably represents consistent performance, trusted reliability and no doubt has given you the best results for years, and even decades, of time together. Sure, new models come and go but fancy stuff is often without much substance and obscures the real measure of value in cameras. I'll nearly always trade "new and improved" for "trusted and satisfying." 

By the way, we're celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary today. I can't say all 35 years were perfect. I can still remember the two arguments that we've had in all those years. Both, of course, were my fault... 

Any success I've had in my careers was made possible only with the wise guidance and unrelenting support of my best friend. And all the joy we've shared was only possible because... we've shared it. I hope you are as lucky.
my secret to success in life: Always marry someone who is smarter/wiser than you are.

With the pandemic it will certainly be a different celebration this year. No opportunity to go out and buy B. a diamond tiara. Likewise, I'm not expecting to see a Porsche with a bow on it in the drive way. We won't be going out to our favorite, fancy restaurant to celebrate either. Seems like it's one of those celebrations that will veer more toward drinking some Champagne on the couch and watching "Casablanca" for the XXth time. That's fine by me. That works just as well. 



Where am I sheltering in place? A few pix.

This little building sits just in front of our house and is
my studio, office, photo cave and storage area.
When we bought the house some 23 years ago this structure was a two car carport,
the only distinguishing feature of which was a high ceiling.
We got right to work making it into a photo production facility. 
We've literally done millions of dollars of photography and video 
production with this small space as H.Q. 

I thought it would be interesting to see where people are when they have to shelter in place. Since I can't hop on a plane and go around visiting each person's home turf I thought I'd put mine up and show you where I spend about 22 hours a day. At least from a business point of view. I'll photograph the house interior when I clean up all the stacks of books, etc. 

We are fortunate to live and work on the same plot of land. It's in the rolling hills just south of the Colorado River and a few miles west of downtown Austin. We're close to everything but we have the joy of living in a quiet and established neighborhood filled with trees and broad, quiet streets. 

The studio door sits about 16 feet from the front door to the house. 
Makes it easy to work on files up to the last possible moment before dinner...
It's always a mess because I'm always trying out a new piece of gear, 
shooting something to illustrate a blog post, or actually doing 
business for my clients. 

This is the reverse angle from the image above.
There's about 600 square feet (and it is square...) in the main room 
and then a closet with solid core doors that runs along the south side of the room (on the right) for gear and archive storage. 
The ceiling is 14 feet at the peak.

This is a wide angle view of one part of the backyard. 
It's where I used to sit on our bench at sunset with Studio Dog.
We'd smell the air together and eat treats. On the other side of the 
trees are more trees, and then more trees and, about 150 feet away....a neighbor.

A different angle of the same back yard with part of the house in the background.

Here is the overly landscaped stone walkway leading up to the front of the house.
Go right for the house door and go left for the studio door. 
Love the Japanese Maple in the center...

This is the south side yard. 
With a 150+ foot long fence built to keep Tulip and (when younger) Ben safe from skunks, 
marauding deers and the few raccoons who were 
too lazy to climb over or under. 

The screened in back porch and my favorite bench for eating yogurt with fresh blackberries
 and watching storms blow infrom the west. Quiet and peaceful. 

By mutual agreement this was Tulip's side of the yard.
She could roam anywhere but she liked this side because she could roll in the sun, lay in the grass and still keep an eye on us in the kitchen and dining room through glass double French doors. 
And we could keep an eye on her...

Early this morning, just before full sunrise, there was a nice little herd of deer out in our front yard. I suspect they were there to admire my fabulous Subaru Forester but Belinda assures me they were there to nibble on the landscape. A rock wall separates our front yard from the street so the deer feel a bit protected, I guess. 

I could tell by some of the divets in the front yard that an armadillo had been by in the night, digging for grubs, and as we set off for our first walk of the day a fox ran out of the foliage in the side yard and careened so gracefully into the neighbor's yard, and disappeared. 

Having your office at home is pretty wonderful. I'd been paying $1800 a month for warehouse studio space in downtown Austin back in 1996. We also owned and lived in a condo in Tarrytown which was not cheap. When we had Ben we wanted to move into the best school district in the state and when we found this place we had been looking for nearly two years for the right property. Being able to fold both uses into one location meant cutting our outlay for real estate by nearly half.

Now that the house is paid for it's like getting office and studio space for free. The location is super; it's about a mile to the swimming pool (I hope it will open again someday...) and we are less than a mile away from all three schools Ben attended. Being in the middle of a beautiful neighborhood I'm able to work on stuff in the studio; maybe a portrait or product shot, or some post production, then put on a pair of running shoes and head out the front door to run, with giant trees providing shade nearly every step of the way. 

Our street is a long dead end so there's no cut through traffic. We only see neighbors, people working on new houses and remodels, and delivery services. No manic speeders or lost souls...

When I finish a run I can head right into the house for a shower and a cold drink of water and then head right back out to work. 

The studio is big enough for most still life projects and all kinds of individual portraits. If we need more space for a bigger production we can move the furniture out of the living room in the house and then we have a 24 by 48 foot shooting space with 18 foot ceilings. When we're not using it for a shoot it's a comfortable place to sit around and watch movies. Or, before the crisis, to entertain friends...

This where we're hunkered down for the current crisis. I find it quite adequate. Comfortable.