Crazy times, a crazy week and a Crazy Race
Every day I'm chasing pictures. Its really something how many inquiries I field and respond to and crazy how I never hear back from most. Yet, I continue to chase and chase because thats the only way I know to make my business work. Given that I never send prices over email and rarely discuss them over a phone, preferring to talk money face to face, I would expect to hear from some folks asking about the price but most times, nothing. Weird. Crazy. Did they really need a photographer?
I'm sorting, packing, unpacking and repacking equipment for preparation of covering the annual Trans Iowa Gravel Race in Iowa this weekend. Its a 34 hour limit, 331 mile gravel and dirt route over Iowa's interior which is very rural and remote. I'm riding around in a pickup truck with four camera bodies, some flash units and a battery of lenses and its tough on me - imagine what its like for those nutty, adventurous souls pedaling against nature and time simply for the recognition of finishing and in some cases, winning the thing. This race is one of the best parts of my year. I get to cover it, take photos of friends old and new, and be a part of the magical experience it has morphed into. This is the real deal, no money just fun and bragging rights. Mixing with the kind of people that made this country great, not the sort bent on destroying it. Refreshing.
I made a new friend these past few weeks. John Bonk formerly owner and photographer at StudioAvalaon in Montgomery shut his business down. He is still somewhat active but issues of business and a personal sort just burnt him out and he decided to just chill out, have some fun and that meant not running a photography business. I know what he speaks of. It's very difficult running a full time photography business involving a studio. Finding business, battling cheapskates, promoting business...it can get to a person. I'm saddened that it took him closing and having a fire sale of studio equipment for me to get to know him. I tried the best I could to help him get rid of items, but my take was small - although he gave me a kick butt make-up station with wardrobe rack built in! Mine for the hauling. Super nice guy and I wish him well. He has my card, promises to stay in touch and I hope he does. Knowledgable guy and just fun to hang around with. He owns his building, along with several others so his business now is property management. He will do okay.
In other sideline news, I took a major step and got involved with Aurora's Chamber of Commerce. I talked to many small and medium business owners about it and they all agreed it's probably one of the better Chambers locally. They help promote business and my new friend, John Bonk, told me that his business over four years was developed solely through his work with his Chamber. So far its pretty cool. They communicate a lot and I'm already signed up for a couple networking events. It will take some effort to make it work, it will mean spending time with other community members and business owners and managers but I think its overall a good thing. I'll continue to post about as it develops.
I also signed up with the Aurora Downtown Arts Organization, and will host a First Friday on August 7th. This is a program focused on arts, music and food in Downtown Aurora. They help promote the events, provide some posters and include you in radio spots and that sort of thing. I think its actually a very cool concept and I'm glad I have super talented friends that jumped at the chance to help me out and at the same time provide something to the community. My friend, Jessica Martindale, a singer/songwriter from Nashville is going to come to town and play a few sets on the 7th. Do yourself a huge favor and listen in to her cover of "Seven Nation Army", then click on her take of the classic, "Crazy", on the same page. Wow. Yeah thats right she will be in my studio playing live. She was also featured in Jon Conover's music video for his single, "Keep Believing". It's going to be a fun night. I'll post more and promote the hell out of this in the coming months. I hope you pencil it in to your calendar. Good stuff.
Ok, thats it. I need to get rolling and focus (pun intended) on my shoot this weekend. Staying awake for 34 hours, lugging cameras all over dusty old Iowa, eating crap food from Casey's or wherever we can find it, and experiencing the wash of grief riders get when things break, the ecstasy of making it to the next checkpoint, and in the end the satisfaction of being part of the race. I get to record it all. Ain't that neat?