It was cold today. There's a winter storm warning. We're going to get freezing rain. I dressed wrong for the walk today...

If people were out today it's because of their dogs.
My hypothesis? Dogs think their owners can't handle 
rough weather alone. They go along to assist...

Over the weekend the weather forecasters on TV were dismissive about our chances for rough weather. As the day dragged on today they kept revising the forecasts. I told B. yesterday that I thought we were in for at least three days of freezing weather so we might want to prepare. You know, bring the most vulnerable potted plants into the house, put the faucet covers back on the four or five outdoor faucets, stock in some decent Bordeaux, replace that organic Columbian coffee that Ben took off my hands after dinner yesterday. General prep work. 

As the day progressed reports of the school closings started to come in. And then workplace closures for tomorrow. A text from a swimmer friend said the crowds at a local grocery store were plentiful and shopping was proceeding as if in preparation for a siege. Ya think central Texans have some weather PTSD after the big storm in February 2021??? 

Then it got personal. The pool manager sent out a text and an email to all masters swimmers to let them know that the pool would be closed until Thursday morning. They didn't want coaches or lifeguards to have to drive on ice to get to the facility. I can only imagine that some swimmers, desperate for their dose of endorphins, are already planning to jump the fence and swim surreptitiously. Count on it. 

Looks like we're going to get another three days of Winter. Some freezing rain. Up to half an inch of ice on the roadways. Many hours below 32°. So, after I digested all the weather news --- and my lunch --- I decided I'd better get out for a long walk while it was still possible. 

I've been playing around with the Leica CLs lately so I decided to take one of those along with that wacky 50mm f 0.95 TTArtisan lens. Since it was cold outside I shoved a couple extra batteries in my pocket. I took along gloves, two hats (a skull cap and a wide brim, wool hat) and my best water resistant jacket. 

When I got downtown it was dark and gloomy. I imagined what it must be like to be British. To live through stuff like this for months at a time. The wind picked up and hit me in the face....continuously. I dangled my camera against my chest on the "comes with the camera in the box" strap and took off walking. 

The only equipment failure I had was with my gloves. They were too thin. Too amateur. Too much in need of some over gloving. My fingers were getting cold. I remembered there is a Patagonia shop on Congress Ave. so I angle my amble in that direction. Glory be. The Patagonia people were holding an "after the holidays" sale (40% off) on most of their inventory so I picked up a thick pair of down-enhanced mittens with which to complete my walking adventure. I'm sure you northerners already know this but thick down filled mittens are really warm. Nicely warm. Voluptuously warm. Satisfying. The rest of the walk was comfortable. A piece of cake. Which I did not have...nor coffee of any kind.

About halfway through the walk it started to kick down icy droplets. Some solid and some liquid. The hat with the brim was a masterpiece of forethought. My Pennsylvania raised father would have been so proud. 

My waterproof Columbia, insulated boots kept my feet nice and warm. 

So, now here's the problem with going out to shoot at the outset of a big winter storm... Everyone else has headed inside. Into the bars, into the coffee shops and restaurants, into their cars and, if they are smart, into their homes. There were scant few people to see out on the streets but I did my best to get a few shots. 

Now we're settling into the weather and night is falling. Burgers are grilling away. The nice bottle of wine is breathing. What the heck am I doing sitting here instead writing another blog? Time for me to embrace the depths of the seasons. Can someone come by and sand my driveway after the freezing rain hits? No? We don't do that here in Austin? I guess we'll just hunker down until the pool opens on Thursday. 

Now this is inconvenient.

Who says you can't go out of focus with a smaller than full frame format cameras?
Well, they are wrong.

Were I to take an afternoon coffee break, al fresco, I would not have had 
to tussle over a table. All available for anyone who would like to 
quaff coffee during an ice storm....

Rain drop art. A VSL specialty. 

Send in the clowns. Send in the psychotic clowns....

When the weather turns nasty every building managers' thoughts turn 
to plastic plant condoms. Trying to save their investment in shrubbery. 

The shop on 2nd St. taunting the homeless by showcasing a collection of warm 
winter coats, bespoke great coats and other outerwear. Now were did I drop that thousand dollar bill?

I am back home in the office. It's warm enough.
I'm heading in the house were it's always just perfectly warm 
(except when it's just cool enough) and seeing if we 
really are having hamburgers and tater tots for dinner...

Seems like fun cold weather cuisine. 

Stay warm. Stay dry. Keep walking. Keep photographing.

Quiet photography. Steering clear of negative emotions.


"These fallen leaves envy those still on trees. But eventually all
 will fall to the ground and disappear into time's passage." 

When I was younger, hungrier for success, filled with anxiety, I was often jealous of other photographers' successes. It's a bad thought process. As time went by I realized that our work isn't bound by a limited collection of opportunities. There was no balance or real order to failure and success. One person's success doesn't doom another person to irrelevance. The universe is not, I think, keeping score --- even though we might be...

Now, with hindsight, I can see more clearly that individual successes in the business, or just in the personal advancement of one's art, can lift and enhance the playing fields for many who follow them in making good work. A person who is brave enough to push for higher fees or sales prices, who then is successful in getting them, sets a new, higher ceiling for everyone else. If they are wise enough to pay attention and take advantage of the altered landscape. A new gallery needs many artists not just the one on display for the next six weeks.

Often I hear from the old guard that a new person has quickly or unfairly gained popularity on Instagram or TikTok because they are female, or young, or beautiful. But when I look at the work that the "instant" Instagram success has put out into the world and compare it with the work proffered by the critic I can sometimes clearly see why the former has excelled and the latter is mired in frustration. Or fear. One is currently in step with current culture while the other wishes culture would protect tenure. It's a mean road to go down. 

It's part of a syndrome I've covered here before. Established artists sometimes find a "comfortable" style that brings them success in the moment. They get praise in the moment. And they find themselves repeating the same basic work for decades and decades either fearful or uncomfortable of stepping outside what was once a safe path for them. They seem unaware that they are stumbling down a dead end street. The work has been done and absorbed. Their real impetus going forward should be re-invention and an embrace of their vision of now.  Today. No one of any generation listens well when a conversation starts with, "Back in the golden age of......"  or "That's not the way we did....x"

Some practitioners keep making the same images but dress them up with new stylist touches. A new format. A new color palette. An unusual angle. But the core of the original vision stays the same. And they want to be commended for dressing up old ideas or constructs in a new wardrobe. But art doesn't really work that way for the vast majority of artists. 

Sure, If you are already famous you can make $$$ by churning out endless iterations of the work you became famous for. As long as collectors are anxious to buy proximity to fame you'll be in good shape. But the rest of us either need to work without the expectation that some audience will give us the stamp of approval or; even better, we need to work with ongoing curiosity and passion to produce art that resonates with the time in which we live. We need to interpret our vision in the context of our culture. Especially if we're leveraging the new tools of culture to reach an audience. 

To compare one's self to "the competition" or the newbie who has an "unfair advantage" is to miss the mark entirely. It may be that you don't really like the "new arrivals" work. That's fair. But some audience out there does and it's obviously not your audience. Since it's not your audience you have nothing to lose by the other person's success. 

Finally, if you truly believe that your work is the superior currency you might want to rethink your overall competitive strategy. Better to work on finding your own audience; people who appreciate your vision, than to tear down another artist who has no culpability in keeping you from your own success. 

Jealousy is a waste of time. A waste of energy and in the long run it chips away at whatever sector you work in. It's a better strategy to lift all boats than to try and drag everyone down to a lower level of existence.

I entitled this, "Quiet Photography" because I believe that your first and most important audience is yourself. If you keep making work in which you aren't really invested in order to achieve "likes" you are really just following someone else's dreams. And that's a dead end street. 


Deep focus. Black and white.


busting away from shallow depth of field and trying to get more detail in the frame.

It's something I thought I'd try. 

It was raining earlier this morning but when I got out for a walk with an SL and a 35mm lens the sun had burst through the clouds and the high temperature for the day was around 72° 

Too hot for the light jacket I brought with me. 

I worked mostly at f8 - f11 today. Manual exposure. Riding the shutter speed dial.
ISO set at 400. I found myself liking the lens but wishing it had a non-focus-by-wire manual focus capability because at f11 it could certainly be a candidate for hyperfocal focusing.
Or guess focusing. Or, as has become common use: "zone focusing." 

Then I realized that the SL will show you exactly the point of focus numerically in the window on the top panel of the camera, as well as the minimum distance and maximum distances that will be in acceptable focus. I tried it at ten feet and it worked!!! You put a slight pressure on the shutter 
release while you manually focus the lens. You can see a digital read out right in
front of your eyes. And it works.

Now...back to the studio for more work on two upcoming portraits. Gotta get dialed back in.

This is a Jpeg right out of the camera. I darkened it a bit. This is how my SL sees daylight
monochrome. I like it.

Dear God, I hate pick-up trucks. Will you please destroy them all in the upcoming
apocalypse? That would be nice. Anything you can do sooner, specifically to 
pick-up trucks, would be welcome....

A funny sign on a bench out in front of a tattoo studio. 

Really? Maybe not...

When an ADA ramp is the most interesting thing to photograph on a given 
day it might be time to take a break from downtown and find a new 
extension to my photographic hobby....

Last night I met Tom. He owns Bergen Camera in New Jersey. 
His store is a huge Leica dealer. Their showroom is a stone's 
throw from Leica's North American H.Q. 

He was really interesting because his first passion isn't Leica
cameras it's collecting fine art photography. And shooting

My Austin friend, David, showed up at the same party. 
He was sporting a Leica Q2 "Ghost" edition camera 
and had a small flash on the top. I looked at his "party pix."
Flash and camera worked flawlessly together. 

Imagine that. Using what most consider a "collector's item" Leica as 
a daily carry camera and banging away at a party with it. 

Not all Leica Ghost owners are collectors or dentists....

David is quite an accomplished film maker but since 
I'm not his agent I won't bother mentioning anything else...

Studio reset. Moving backwards in time. Re-embracing bigger flash again...

 I've spent the last few years photographing portraits predominately with LED lighting. It's a nice way to work because you can see exactly what you are getting as you progress through a shoot. Lately I've been going through older portraits that I really like and noting how they were shot (helps as a commercial photographer to keep little notebooks with quick sketches and descriptions of your lighting set-ups).  

It seems that most of my favorites were actually done with electronic flash. That was a revelation to me. But everything is a trade off, right?

What I found I was missing is exactly what flash used to provide; the ability to know that you've frozen subject and camera movement and the ability to use both smaller apertures and lower ISOs. It's a different look. Sharper in the details because of getting closer to the sweet spot of a lens, and a different tonality caused by the lower ISOs and a different noise profile in the images. 

In the run-up to my big Abbott (medical products+poeple) shoot in the Fall I was torn between using LEDs (which had become second nature to me...) and falling back to using flash. 

I'd sold most of my bigger flashes in favor of a small and lightweight flash system I could more easily travel with. That travel kit includes three of the Godox AD200 Pro lights and a bunch of their different heads and modifiers. It's a great system for on the road. But I felt like I needed more power to punch into a big 47 inch octabox with added diffusion on the front of it. For a big, soft and inefficient box I wanted something twice as powerful in one light. I also wanted a real modeling light instead of the small LED that the AD200s use. It's one of the trade-offs of the AD200s battery power supply; the need to conserve power.

I had one bigger electronic flash fixture in the studio. It's the Godox DP400mk3. That fixture puts out 400 watt seconds of flash, has a 150 watt tungsten modeling light and is solidly built with a metal body and an in-built cooling fan. They are pretty inexpensive. You can buy them new from B&H for about $200. The light has a full complement of controls and a full power recycle time of one second. 

Since I was on the fence in my pre-production and was nearing a coin toss to decide between flash and continuous lighting I thought it prudent to buy a second DP400iii since my imagined lighting design pretty much demanded two big flashes to the front of the set and then lower powered direct flashes to illuminate the white background. I ordered the second light from B&H but ended up taking the other path and using Nanlite LED fixtures for the project. The shoot was very successful but I'm reasonable certain we would have been able to pull it off just fine whichever lighting method we went with. 

So, now I have this body of work that I've re-discovered that I really like and want to extend. The portraits I shot in the film days and pre-continuous light days of digital. It seems based on the use of a single, big main light of electronic flash, with a big modifier, augmented by a second light to bring up the backgrounds. And now I just happen to have several almost unused flash instruments to play with. 

I've spent part of this weekend back in the studio setting up the flashes and experimenting with the light in order to get back to a style I did almost non-stop back in the 1990s. I didn't realized it at the time but each type of lighting is a style in itself even if you use exactly the same modifiers, in the same placements, to shoot with. I say I didn't realize it but really I was just letting my impulsive desire for constant change over ride my logical sensibilities. That, and trying to find one type of light that would work equally well with photography and video...

None of this is "all or nothing." I'm not suddenly going to try something like a new approach to street photograph by adding flash to the mix (not yet, at any rate). But I am gearing up to go backwards in the studio and reconnect with all the things I liked about shooting in the studio with flash. 

Now that the numbers for Covid have dropped into the low category in Austin, and there is a general decline in community transmission in the county, I am more comfortable inviting people back into the studio. Here we go again. 

Addendum: Many of the images I've looked through come from the days when I shot with four different cameras that all had one thing in common. I worked, serially, with the Bronica SQ-Ai, the various Hasselblads, the Mamiya 6 cameras and the Rollei 6008i systems. The one feature all of them had in common was the square, 1:1, 6x6cm aspect ratio and image size. And it's a geometric format I love to photograph with for portraits. 

To that end I'm currently working with the Leica SL2 and shooting it in the square format. If the portrait project stays with me and I with it I'll almost certainly start looking at which 100 megapixel medium format system might work well for this kind of work. Cropped to squares, of course. The cost of a Fuji GFX100S body is less than that of the SL2 so it's not a tremendous reach. And the lenses are even more of a bargain. I'd like to print large but I'll see what I can get out of the SL2 while banging away with flash and ISO 100. Might be all I need....

Hope your Sunday is going well. 


Late afternoon documentation of an iron works facility that's just west of downtown proper. Still working. Can't believe it will be there in five years....or less.

Yeah. That's downtown in the background.

A photographer got in touch with me yesterday afternoon and wondered if I'd be up for a coffee. Sure. We met at a place called the Better Half. The conversation was desultory. Covered ground covered in previous coffees. But the silver lining was that the café was adjacent to what I had always assumed was a mothballed iron works facility. A series of old brick warehouses and corrugated metal work buildings. Mostly in disrepair and covered with graffiti. But in reality the place is still a functioning business it's just that their new and more presentable offices are hidden down a one way street and through a lane that leads to a gate. 

The light was dropping and my ears were ringing from the loud conversations all around me at coffee. The  Better Half is a wildly popular place for coffee and alcohol on a late Friday afternoon. I walked over to the factory and trespassed onto the property to see just what it was all about. No one came out to greet or threaten me and I walked around unencumbered for the better part of half an hour. Just snapping photographs of what would make a wonderful dystopian film set for a movie either about the aftermath of an alien invasion or the collapse of civilization. 

I used the camera I had with me. A Leica SL and the 50mm f1.4 Zeiss ZFv2 lens. By time I called it quits the light was gone and only after coming back to the office and doing some post processing could I clearly see the detail in the shadows.

It's my intention to go back to the iron works on Monday, meet the owners (or at least the managers) and get permission and buy-in to document this place as my own art project. It's on prime property just west of a downtown that's been on a hyper growth trajectory for the last 20 years. I can't believe this place will be there much longer. It's unsettling and bizarre to see the contrast between this location and the shiny office towers and residence towers just a few blocks away. Can't believe I've never looked beyond the smallish façade that fronts a street I frequently walk down. 

The fast 50mm was hardly the lens for this documentation but it's always interesting and pleasant. Next time I'll bring a wider angle lens as well. Might be a perfect project for the Q2. But it's the subject and not the cameras that are interesting with this one...

Burn marks from space lasers? 

Just South of the iron works is the Amtrak station. Another urban fossil.

Last light on the South wall. 

Does boarding up windows imbue a place with "character"?

I believe the building on the right is the actual managing office for the facility.
I conjecture that the bigger buildings are adequate for working on large steel girders, big metal structures, etc. and that welding and such creates enough heat that regular building heating 
in the industrial spaces is not needed. At least not often.

I darkened the sky a bit.

this is basically the view from the parking lot of the Better Half. 
Can't put my finger on why I thought it was compelling but it 
still is. To me. 

I was reminded recently that to succeed and be happy in this life you need to surround yourself with optimistic, well-adjusted and supportive people. The same whether it's family, friends or clients. I have less and less patience with the pessimists and ego-centric people I come across. Just a note to myself.

If it's "always someone else's fault" then it's probably your fault.



If catch and release works for sports fishermen then why not street photographers?

 When I walked with my friends this week, ostensibly to take photographs, I found myself looking forward not so much to finished images but to the different parts and pieces of the walks themselves. The job of selecting the right camera and lens for an adventure can be lots of fun. Having someone else set the formalist boundaries of the walk is a great change from a route becoming a hobby. Getting out on a cool but sunny day and tasting the fresh air feels right. Conversations that run far afield from photography can be eye opening, entertaining or just plain fun. Chancing upon a new place for lunch is always an interesting and, if the food is great, it's a discovery for future good meals. 

On the two days I was out walking with a photographer friend this week I was less enamored with the actual process of taking photographs than I was discussing life. Now that's not to say that we didn't discuss social issues, favorite photographers and a bit about color science, it's just that those topics weren't constant, front and center, or even very important. We did talk a lot about travel and food and other friends. Catching up, expanding horizons.

All of which got me thinking about the practice of random street photography and how it fits into my existence. Or my life style.

So much of what I photograph when I am out walking, with or without company, is more like note taking. Or at an even more basic level it's me saying to myself, "Hey, Kirk, did you see that? That would make an interesting image. Let's see how you'd frame it. Let's see how you would approach that person. Let's see what it looks like once you've tossed some adjustments on it in post. Let's share this with people who might enjoy it." It's not even that I think the photographs have "long legs" or need to be archived. I've come to realize that the vast majority of the images I take are analogous to Garry Winogrand's repository of thousands and thousands of undeveloped rolls of film. Filled with shots he wanted to capture but shots that he had less interest in using again past the process of actually just looking and shooting. The feel of the camera in his hand. His mastery of instant composition, etc. 

Were each of those frames vital and precious to Winogrand he would have had ample resources with which to have them developed and contact printed while he was still alive. Heck, when he was a guest instructor at UT Austin he could have tapped any number of grad students in the College of Fine Arts Photography courses to work on processing his work. They would have appreciated the chance to do so. But he didn't. And he didn't because the act of shooting continuously was more important to him than cataloging every shot frame and preserving them all for some future posterity that most of us mortals never see. 

To me Winogrand lived in the process of "catch and release." He was nurtured by the flow of his work. The actual, physical work. Everything else was moved along by the need to finance and underwrite his experiential photo existence. I always had the impression, when talking with Winogrand at UT (or at one of our favorite haunts, a local hi-fi store) that he derived the most pleasure from being outdoors engaging in the pursuit of beautiful co-eds to capture on film with a deft click of his Leica. The rest of the business of being an artist seemed much, much less appealing to him.

After all, he left behind 6,000+ rolls of undeveloped film. If he was concerned the way most amateurs exhibit "concern" about their "work" he would have been rushing back to the dark room at the end of each shooting day to "see what he got."  To start the process towards making prints to share. Instead...he pressed on with what he enjoyed: the search, the moment, the capture of the image. The latent image. The mastery of divining when to shoot and what to include. For him that was the resolution. Not the print or the book or the show. Those things were done, I think, to primarily keep his career as an artist on track and financially supportive. It's almost as if his actual practice was more like conceptual art with the operation of the camera and the constant loading of film being the actual art itself. Performance art.

In the past four or five years I've filled up a number of multi-Terabyte hard drives with raw files and Jpegs of the images I shoot nearly every day out in the streets. I find I photograph differently than my friends who are in my local orbit. When we shoot together I'm happy to use up many frames to get something just right. Each frame building on the last one. My friends are careful, almost parsimonious about shooting. They'll maneuver and jockey about, searching through the camera for just the right angle and just the right juxtapositions before they engage the shutter. And they generally walk away with one or two shots of a scene instead of my ten or twenty. 

My time as a photography student and then instructor gave me a window into the many different approaches to making photographs existing out in the wild. Local influencers like Russell Lee and Reagan Bradshaw worked with view cameras and were, by nature, frugal with film. After all, each frame was much more difficult to work with than the smaller film cameras of the day. On the other hand, Tomas Pantin, for whom I was a teaching assistant early on, was a commercial photographer who often worked with Kodachrome slide film in a bunch of Nikon SLRs and was famous (infamous?) for banging through 50 or so rolls of film to bracket exposures for a single scene or set up. And then there was Winogrand who felt constrained if he came back from an afternoon walk down the drag with fewer than five or so exposed rolls of film. 

I fall into the Garry Winogrand, Tomas Pantin camps. I shoot like I have an endless roll of film in my digital cameras. It's my belief that my brain builds up a scene a frame at a time, constantly making small or large adjustments to my shots of a subject until the frame "feels" right. On a typical afternoon walk by myself, which might span two hours, I can, on a good, high energy day, come back home with 200 or 300 good exposures. If there are a lot of people out and about, like in the pre-Covid days, I could come home with double that numbers. 

A very, very small percentage of them turn out to be interesting to me but of course I don't edit or delete stuff in the field. You have to scan through and make sure of what you got. But lately I've come to the conclusion that it's the chase or the enjoyment of the process that's foremost in my priority list. The final image is a souvenir, not a product. It's a culmination of looking at a thing that drew my attention but that's all there is to it. The actualization of my thought pattern that existed while photographing. An image need not have any more value than that. 

In getting over my acceptance of the film era idea that all the images are sacred and worthy of hard core archiving I've begun to feel free to edit, delete, trash, unburden the hard drives, and otherwise toss all the images I know I'll never need or want to see again. If they were at all good (and that would be only my subjective appraisal) then you've probably already seen the images on my blog, or on my Instagram feed, or my website. 

I've been editing ruthlessly when I get home from a personal photography adventure. Out of 250 shots taken sometimes none of them are worth keeping. On lucky days maybe five or ten make me happy and get saved into a folder. Everything else goes away permanently.

The last time I checked I had nearly 500,000 images uploaded to Smugmug. I've put over 14,000 images up on the blog since its inception. I have 491,568 images in my Lightroom Catalog. And more on local hard drives. Some is client work but the vast majority are the residue, the fallout, the bounty from walks, trips, explorations and adventures taken just for my own artistic pleasure. I've seen most of the images once or twice and the vast majority I never need to see again. 

Lately, when I get back from a walk I'll take a quick look through all of the images and I may just sigh and re-format the SD card instead of bothering to upload the shots or even search through for well disquised "winners".  If they are so well hidden that I don't see them on the first pass they are probably not good enough to sustain anyone's interest going forward. The ones that stick stick because they stand out; or stand above.

So now I've started to think of my experiences out walking around as walks augmented by a camera instead of adventures driven by the hunt for photographs. It's a calmer way of approaching this particular process. And now I have little to no compunction about deleting a whole afternoon's take solid in the knowledge (and decades of experience) that there's little of value to anyone nested in that day's collection of "captures." 

How does this help? Well, not having a backlog of material I feel compelled to "own" and care for and keep safe frees me to continue shooting tomorrow and next week and next month, etc. Not having an obligation to hunt for gold keeps me out of a lot of cold streams. But in the long run it prevents my feelings of guilt and loss for not having the bandwidth to engage meaningfully with this ever growing mountain of content. The vast majority of which were just adjuncts to the pleasant reality of being alive and free to do whatever I want with my time. Having to act on the ownership of an ever growing archive is a form of self imprisonment. A way of chaining oneself to a desk to forever catalog and massage the work that's already in the rear view mirror. 

Statistically, based on parents, genetics, lifestyle, etc. the actuaries predict I could make it to my late 90s. That only leaves me, at best, about 30 years. If I'm realistic I'll probably only be independent and mobile for twenty of those years. That's not a lot of time. Will I spend it chained to my desk captioning, cataloging and continually archiving what I've already taken, already used and already shared right up until the day I die or will I chuck responsibility for as much of it as I can to continue on with the very pleasurable process of walking around, seeing new things (and old things change) and making photographs which please me in the moment? Oh. Believe me. The actually photographing will win every time. 

There are billions of us on the earth right now with cameras. It's not like the 1930s when the process itself took amazing skill and dedication. And only a handful of people did it well... Now photographing is almost automatic. The images we make might please a half generation beyond us but the reality of what photography is now has changed. We no longer make rare, precious objects. We are more like poets. They recite their poems to an audience and move on. Once the sound clears the performance is over. Once the images have been seen and enjoyed (or hated) that event is over as well. We move on. We make new work. We follow the momentum of our own universe. 

Nice photo? Sure. Caption it and save it for all eternity? Nope. Most of them now are "catch and release." 

Collectors? They'll all be dead some time in the near future as well. The work. The work will survive or die on its merit. But I'm the one who gets to judge if any of, or which of, my work has any merit beyond my own enjoyment. 


I'm trying to be more social. I read that "older" people tend to get isolated. I went out for a long walk through an old Austin neighborhood with a friend today. I learned about looking at things from an architect's perspective...

this elementary school in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin 
was re-named after the famous FSA era photographer, Russell Lee. 
He was an Austinite for many years!

It's odd to try and straddle the gap between working as a photographer and trying to be more focused on photographing for myself instead of clients. When I got an invitation to go out to walk and make images with a friend I knew best from the advertising days I jumped at the chance. I've always known Herman as an architect who was also an ad agency principle but lately he's jumped into photography with both feet. In fact, he just returned from Verona, Italy where he was press checking his first book of his photographic art. ( And, impressive to me, published by Goss Books in London --- not self-published!). File this under: interesting things to do when you retire.

He wanted to walk around and look at student housing in the old neighborhood that's just north of the UT Law School and he thought it would be fun if I tagged along. We met at my house around 11:00 and Herman drove us over to his intended photo area. I decided to take the Leica Q2 with me as I didn't know how far my fellow photographer wanted to walk. I wanted a light package that packed a punch and the Q2 fit the bill perfectly. Added to the nice low size and weight of the camera was the wide angle lens. Kind of important when photographing various pieces of architecture.

My friend was using a Leica M10R and a 35mm Summicron. He used to shoot with a Q but fell in love with the rangefinder. But "perfectionist" that he might be he is also getting up to speed with a 4x5 inch view camera and real film. But not today.

It was fun to walk with someone whose perspective on photographing buildings is all about....perspective. And buildings. He liked to shoot "flat" with the buildings head on while I would approach the same subject matter looking for diagonals and leading lines and not really paying attention to keystoning and other perspective "errors." I'm betting, if we compared images from mostly the same scenes the results would be radically different. Not better or worse but different. 

We seemed a good match. We stopped for lunch at a new, little Mexican food restaurant on Guadalupe, north of campus, walked some more and wrapped up our adventure around 3:15. We covered a lot of ground and covered a lot of topics while walking and catching up. 

Every day and every walk I take with another photograph is so different. The experience can be eye opening. Or familiar. All depends.

Here's my take from today, in no particular order:

I got lucky. A cat was transiting the door the moment I pushed the shutter.

I find the Q2 perfect for this kind of photography. It's quick, easy and potent. And I love the colors. More walking to come.