Photo of Lou taken in studio with a Sony A-77
equipped with an adapted Hasselblad lens.
Summer has finally arrived in Austin. I am currently re-discovering the charms of a camera that is not totally black. It's the chrome version of the Fuji X100V. With the temperatures expected to hit 98° Fahrenheit this afternoon, and the air still soggy with last month's continuous rain evaporating in the heat, it's going to be less than comfortable for anyone zany enough to want to walk around in the heat sink of downtown with a camera.
I carried a black, Leica SL with me as a friend and I was walked in downtown yesterday afternoon. With the camera on a strap over my shoulder and mostly exposed to direct sun it was actually hot to the touch when I reached for it. Not painful but noticeable.
The chrome finish Fuji has the benefit of being smaller, lighter and more reflective; it should be easier to walk around with and perhaps the files will be better if the electronics of the camera are not "pre-heated."
This morning I went to the late swim practice. The sun was already high in the sky and relentless. The aerators had been on at the pool all night long and the water was nearly chilly. Before I drove to the pool I slathered myself from head-to-toe with SPF 30, waterproof sunscreen. I reminded myself, as I felt the sun on my back while swimming, that this is why I usually show up for the 7 a.m. practice...much less UV exposure...
Now that I'm cooled off and limbered up from working out I'm organizing myself for a walk. Today will require a re-application of sunscreen, a good hat and a very cool shirt. Short pants are not suggested, they are essential.
Two events compel me to head downtown today, mostly out of curiosity. The first is that this weekend Austin "hosts" a big motorcycle rally. If history is any guide the bar district will be filled with unusual looking people and large, Harley Davidson motorcycles. Always interesting in a city that's a territory usually gorged with fleets of Teslas and Audis.
The second, continuing event is the change in the local laws dealing with homelessness and illegal camping. The police are going to begin today enforcing the laws against sleeping on the sidewalks, pitching tents on downtown walkways and other activities of people experiencing homelessness that Austinites voted to end in a May election. I don't expect much to happen, maybe a few citations issued, some grandstanding, and the usual frustrations on both sides of the issue. But it's history and sometimes I feel the need to visually witness social upheavals first hand instead of reading a reporter's opinion. Sometimes, I think, we lack the measured perspective of reality we'd gain from direct observation. It's different seeing someone defend the tent they pitched at the city council building while you are also standing close by in a hot, sticky, noisy and smelly environment than watching a fast clip on TV in your air conditioned living room...
I'm not a photojournalist and I'm not "covering" either event for any news outlet but I like to see things for myself. And come to conclusions based on multiple visits and multiple encounters.
And if nothing noteworthy or interesting happens I know a coffee shop that's open till 3 p.m. and serves really good coffee.
Now officially working on my yearly adaptation to Texas Summer. Think of it as training for the wine photography project happening, for me, in late June and the middle of July. Training. Hydration. Sunscreen.
The heat is here to stay for the next, oh.... four months. Can't change that. But I can prepare.