A full tank of gas, a Fujifilm GFX 50S, and a partner in crime make for a perfect day to remember what happiness is all about.
I came to the still image via the moving one. I was primarily a filmmaker, navigating sometimes successfully, more often than not unsuccessfully, the unpredictable waters of a life in Hollywood. I’d spend a couple months mulling over the next story idea. Then would come another three or four months of actually putting pen to paper. That would be followed by rewrites. I was never great at that. There’s a saying in Hollywood, that “writing is rewriting.” I’ve always been a measure twice, cut once kind of guy. And that's all the easy part before "little" things like actually getting your project funded come into the picture. Small detail.
I don’t lead with that to dwell in the past. Rather, I wanted to describe the world into which my love of photography was born. I came from a career where every piece of art is years in the making, where even the most straightforward projects require dozens of hands and a budget with a simply unreasonable number of zeros. I moved into a world where I could create a finished work of art in 1/2000th of a second by simply reaching for a magical combination of metal, plastic, and glass and just walking out the door. Sometimes I didn’t even have to walk outside. My dog, bless his heart, never seemed to lose patience at my tendency to point my lens his direction just when he was getting to sleep.
As the years have passed and photography has grown from a passion into a full time career, the sensors have gotten larger, the productions have grown far more complex, and with motion again becoming a larger and larger portion of my output, I have once again found myself in a world of long lead ups to make the dreams in my head into reality.
But still, that incredible perk, the ability to create art at any moment still provides me countless hours of joy and endless opportunities to explore the open road.
I was reminded of this as I headed up the 14 Freeway yesterday along with someone special. We are both photographers, so, of course, the car was decidedly back heavy as the trunk was loaded down with more gear than we would ever actually need for what would amount to as somewhat aimless road trip that encompassed a super bloom, a state prison, and a mysterious antiques shop which had seemingly succumbed to flames but had somehow grown more beautiful in it’s destruction.
She was carrying a Canon 5D Mark IV EOS. I was carrying the Fujifilm GFX 50S. I’m borrowing it in order to write a series of upcoming reviews. Only three days in and I’m realizing it’s going to be seriously hard to return this little gem to it’s rightful owner. I'll be writing more in depth reviews in the coming weeks. This little trip was just a way to get acquainted.
We knew roughly where we were going but were in no particular hurry to get there. The advantage of being with a fellow photographer is that you don’t have to explain why, when you were making perfectly good time, you decided to suddenly pull over to the side of the road, perched precariously within an overly narrow shoulder, simply because you saw a random street sign set against a beautiful backdrop and knew you had to capture it.
It only took a moment. You were able to hop back in the car and keep going before that gargantuan 16-wheeler could barrel down on you and flatten your friend’s Mini Cooper the way school children crush tin cans. The whole exposure was over in a split second. But the art you created could last a lifetime.
A photograph is but a moment in a life comprised of them. Being a photographer is being given the gift to cherish those moments and never waste a single one. It offers you freedom from any excuse not to utilize your creativity. Regardless of whatever gear you may or may not have, all you really need to do is look, see, and click.
Life is full of moments. Which one will you capture today?