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.