I met a couple of friends yesterday for a catching up session. They happen to be photographers too, having used my studio when I had one and over the years we have worked together when we can. We try and get together over coffee as often as possible. Our discussions run some 2 to 2.5 hours and mostly center around photographic things. We see each others work on social media and as I found out, both read my FB page and my blog.

I was the butt of some comical (I think it was comical, right guys?) satire about me whining over my medium format woes and boy do I have problems, not being able to spend $10k on a camera. Seems my complaints over that were looked at in a completely different manor from what I was attempting to say. And my friend Matt lambasted me for my bird pictures, saying thats all I ever take anymore. It was all in jest (right?), at least I’m going with that thought. But it did set me to thinking later on my way home and while cooking dinner and settling up the evening tasks.

I know I take too many bird pictures Matt. And too many cat pictures. Probably too many deer photos as well. But its either that or never shoot or, shoot hardly at all. I’d love to snag a model or two and hit a studio and remember those days when I could, very fondly. Right now, thats a lot tougher to do though so I just need other outlets. The only thing I have to point a lens at currently are those birds, a cat and some 26 or so deer that show up in the yard and adjacent field. I feel my work is stale, although I get a great many good comments from others about my wildlife pictures. Even with the praise I still sometimes find it hard to uncap a lens and press the shutter button. I do see differences in the actions of birds on the feeder and deer in the yard and even in my cat. But I know these critters well so I know when they deviate from established patterns. Others don’t so when I capture something different a cardinal does, people still see it as just a cardinal. Again.

I have all the lighting I normally use packed in a Pelican case and it sits right outside my office door. Because the floor of my office is crammed with other stuff and there is no more room, so the lighting is overflow. But I see it everyday. I want to use it everyday too. I occasionally log into the Model Mayhem site and browse model info, jotting down pertinent candidates for that magical day I get to shoot with one. But those notes get filed in the trash when I next clean off my desk because I just find it hard to select a date for a shoot. I have to rent a studio to shoot now since I don’t own one anymore. I have to schedule the model’s time for that date and both of these require payment. Its not outlandish amounts of money but I know that my commitment level is only 50% at best. Meaning I run a huge risk of canceling and it means losing money because in the circle of models, studios, and photography its on you when you schedule a shoot. If you can’t make it, you need to follow through on payment because you took opportunity away from the studio and model when you booked the shoot. If you don’t, it will become very difficult to do business with models or studios because word does get around. Besides, its only fair. Another gnawing reason I don’t book is I feel less than honest unless I tell a model or a studio there is a 50% shot of me canceling. I can only imagine what goes through their heads when they hear that, and again word does get around.

At one point, I did have a reputation - a good one - and a bit of respect in the local photo scene. I may still have it but my activity level is so low, and I see so few folks connected with it anymore, I just don’t know. Truthfully that stuff really mattered more practically when I had a brick and mortar store and a business to run. I have neither now. I guess now I just whine about nothing cool to spend my money on, and about taking bird pictures. I’m really working on a date for a model shoot and I will try my damnedest to make it happen. For the first time ever I wish I had a shoot manager, someone who could arrange a shoot for me not because I’m lazy but because it just takes such a huge effort to arrange a date, models, a studio, MUA’s and then on the back end for me, someone to help with my responsibilities at home while I’m gone, concepts and ideas for the shoot and other logistics things that crop up. It overwhelms me, just thinking about it. I guess I’m whining again. But it would be so nice to just be told, “show up and shoot this”. I truly never thought I would say that or think that!

As for the rest of our “catch up” session at the coffee shop it was cool to just have a conversation about trends in the industry, and talk about what the hell is going on - everything from keyboard warriors, youtube jockeys with no experience, cameras, camera companies, and in general the state of things. We covered a lot of ground in two hours. I relished the time away to be able to talk about that stuff. Irene was having a good day and was totally behind me going and hanging out with my friends. When I got home, it was so like the old days, with her asking if I had fun, how are the guys doing, and I talked about a mile a minute rehashing points of discussion and about not being able to shoot how and what I want…while she dozed. She knows how to handle my whining and boring conversation. She has years of practice.

Next up on the blog…Capture One vs. Lightroom. I’m working on it….

Wally KilburgComment