MAN VS. ELEMENTS - WOMAN VS. CAMERA and the sting of mediocrity
Three years in ... learning how to use this camera... and I still feel like I know nothing.
Firefighter up on top of the ladder looking down into the chimney
Responding with a camera in the middle of the night, or in the middle of dinner, or first thing in the morning, or while you are on the way to the restroom...keeping up with firefighters or any other moving target and being prepared with the right settings at the right time with this camera in manual mode for any given situation has been my goal for the last year, and a frustrating goal it is. There are so many times when I have missed an amazing photo opportunity because of a wrong setting on this darn image box, but yet, I am keeping at it with the fierce passion of 1000 angry horses because every time I screw up, it is then gifting me with that much more determination to get it right the next time. In the spirit of transparency, why not share my mediocrity via blog instead of waiting until I find what I perceive as a triumphant win, after all, being an artist is 95% failure to the 5% of wins, and if I wait to share work I am 100% in love with....I would never share anything.
the view from the street - A pretty shitty photo of flames coming out of a chimney
This week, I responded with my Nikon D90 to a call for a chimney fire. (yes, chimneys catch on fire, I see the irony there too, you are not alone.) I arrived on the street to see a heavy flow of flames shooting out of the chimney, and the Berwick ladder truck backing up to take care of business...through the lens, I saw magical images that told the story of man vs. elements, preserving our neighbors safety and property and it felt amazing and brilliant to shoot...even as I ran with the wrong shoes through twelve inches of heavy snow and froze my toes to get "the perfect shot"....upon arriving at home to edit my catch, I found that I had rolled the wrong setting on the camera.... instead of increasing my ISO for the dark of night, I adjusted the knob to knock my settings down to lowest possible resolution with no RAW files to be found or stored. ....ARRRRGGGGG!!! Well, I'll get it next time. Of course, I still captured a few interesting images, gained just a little more knowledge about photography, and vowed to be much more aware and much less of a spaz the next time around, so it was definately not a waste of my time....but still....ARGGGGG!!! and THIS on the heels of a recent moment where I was first on scene for a large structure fire with a failed SD card and brand new freelancer credentials in my pocket. I'm hitting that frustration wall after some recent successes. I am told by a few photographers my senior, that this is a good thing, that it means i'm moving up into the next levels of photography purgatory.
After my disappointment about the low res mishap wained, I found a few photos in the set that I really rather like (but not like-like)
And I found quite a few that I really hate...
the wrong manual setting made for an interesting abstract, but not exactly a storytelling shot.
Somewhere between blurry abstract ridiculousness and an auto set basic shot...is the art. It takes awhile to uncover the bridge between the two, it's hidden in a snowblind mess of knowledge, mistakes, instincts and luck...or maybe it's like the ever elusive bigfoot...and I will find out on my death bed, that it never existed and it's the journey that mattered.
This is my favorite shot from the set:
Firefighter guiding a Ladder Truck into a driveway to take care of a chimney fire
The most laughable part of this whole week is that I caught myself saying out loud: "Maybe I should just stick to painting" Until I remembered the painting I threw in the driveway because it just "wasn't working" (I've been painting for nearly 20 years) Alright then, it's the journey that matters, because media mastery does not have an end, nor does an existential existance.
- Erin Thomas January 3 2017 “Time is the moving image of eternity immobile”