4.20.2021

My weeks start on Tuesdays. It's a swim thing. I've made Monday the recurring "day off." I hope my boss is okay with that...

A Portrait of Suzy W.

It's the start of the week for me. It's Tuesday. We normally swim Tuesday through Sunday each week and then the pool is closed on Mondays to "rest" the water and chemicals, and so the staff can do maintenance without interference from pesky and demanding swimmers. Since I'm up pretty early (for me) most mornings, in order to hit the 8 a.m. swim practice, Monday is the only day of the week I can sleep in, eat a leisurely breakfast and sit in the backyard reading novels. I guess everyone needs a day of leisure and rest.

The 7 a.m. practice was packed today and the 8 a.m. practice was near capacity. If you count me then there were four people in my lane today but all of us in lane four have swum together for at least the last ten years so we fell right into a good order and circle swam without a glitch. Up on the right, back on the other right. Yeah. Okay, just imagine the lane as a circle and imagine us swimming it counter-clockwise and five seconds apart (which translates into a little more than a body length between swimmers). 

Our lane "leader" was Matt and he's the kind of swimmer that never slows down, always chooses the tightest intervals, and keeps the pedal down throughout the hour. That's why we like to swim with him. There's no chit-chat, we just get to work and follow the leader. It's a maximal workout.

This morning was beautiful in Austin. It was 55° when I rolled into the pool and the sky was crystal clear and untinged blue. We cheated and stayed in the pool at the end of workout to get in a few extra yards and to finish up the workout the coach had written up on the pool side white board. If you did the whole workout you made it through 3400 yards; that's about two miles. Not a bad way to start the day.

According to my Apple Watch health app my maximum heart rate during the swim was 154 bpm and my minimum heart rate during the workout was 88. Ten minutes after the workout, sitting in my car checking messages, my heart rate dropped back to 68. My VO-2 max was 38. I'm pretty sure I burned up some calories on this one...

After a quick shower at home (the showers at the pool are off limits during the pandemic) to rinse off the chlorine or bromine or whatever with a product called, ThinkSport Body Wash and Shampoo (which is supposedly formulated to remove chlorine and other chemicals that make skin itch) I put on some decent shoes and walked up to the end of the street to Trianon Coffee where Emil made me a cup of Kenya coffee and I bought an enormous apple danish from the pastry case. 

The weather was perfect so I pulled a couple of chairs into a shady spot to drink coffee, eat a pastry and read articles on my phone. It was a great way to savor 45 minutes of happy down time. 

I'm waiting for Jason from the Subaru dealer to deliver my new car to my house around lunch time. He'll also pick up the loaner car I've been using and take it back to the dealership. Once I've accepted delivery I plan to drive downtown and head over to Whole Foods for a slice of pizza and then I'll take a walk through downtown with one of the Fuji X100Vs. Of the cameras I've mentioned in the blog lately it's the model that most people have requested I write more about. I thought I'd shoot it some additional frames just to stay fresh.

Once I get all the fun stuff out of the way I'll start packing for tomorrow's shoot down at the Esther's Follies Stage on East Six Street. Yeah, the seedy part. 

We've done rehearsal shoots there for years and I have a really good idea of what to pack as far as lighting goes. Unlike the giant organization of Zach Theatre, with its $24 million main theater and acres of computer controlled lights, Esther's Follies is pretty bare bones. And the lights they have are a jumble. I usually default to setting up electronic flash and trying to freeze as much action as I can while letting some of the stage lighting bleed through. 

Tomorrow I'm going to drag in four 300 W/S Godox flashes, put small soft boxes on them, arrange a couple as side lights and a couple as a main and fill light. We're not trying to be fancy here and I generally need to shoot groupings of at least two actors and sometimes up to ten people on the stage at a time so I try to get f8.0 if I can make it work. I'm trying to keep everyone in focus. Much as I'd like to use one of the Leicas to shoot with I haven't really mastered my flash techniques with either the SL or the SL2 and I'm not even sure if I have a flash trigger that will work for them so I'll choose the Panasonic S1 (with the newest firmware update) instead. It hardly matters since the lenses would be the same. 

When I'm making images on the Esther's Follies stage I usually like to work with the 24-105mm lens. At f8.0 I'm pretty sure I wouldn't see that much of a benefit trying to use a bunch of prime lenses and we tend to go through the skits and routines at a pretty fast clip so using the zoom helps keep the flow running smoothly. Since I'm a bit rusty (we haven't done one of these in more than a year!!!) I'll shoot raw+jpeg just in case I trip over my own two feet (metaphorically). 

Once I get everything packed and ready I'll take some downtime to walk over the the neighborhood Ace Hardware to look for lawn sprinklers. They seem to die off every year, no matter which ones I buy. Cheap or dear.  They just stop doing whatever it is they are  supposed to do. 

And that should be enough to get my week started. 

Apropos yesterday's post about the Mac OS...

My first experience with computing was in a calculus class in high school back in 1972. We had a small office on our campus dedicated to telephony and some students were allowed to use a modem connection to a mainframe computer at Trinity University. It was punch card days. And the padded cradle for a telephone hand set was always a strange part of the set up. I don't remember the baud rate but I'm guessing it wasn't very impressive. We all got assignments to do some simple programming that would require main frame access. It wasn't until I got to the University of Texas, College of Electrical Engineering that we really had to start a serious engagement with computers. 

Now, where did I put my circular slide rule?

Ah, to channel my inner nerd.