Near and Fargo(ing)

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND. THE BIKE POST!

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There is still a small amount of dirt here in Newport. Not much, but there if you look hard enough. Nature is being voted out here in favor of more concrete, wood, fake grass and stucco, so I’m not long for these parts, but until that day I will continue to dig. This little ride went from pavement to single track, to dirt bike path to pavement and back again. Thirty miles of feeding the monkey. A burned and barren landscape reeking of a campfire gone wrong. Punching out the miles, mind drifting, enjoying what life on two wheels is all about. You also have to understand, after six months off the bike due to Lyme, ANY riding is like climbing your local 20,000 footer. This bike garners attention. People riding by with their mouth open, staring at “what IS that?” The frame bag gets a lot of questions. Is that a motor? Yes. Is that a sail(my personal favorite.) Yes, yes it is. I tell people I have a baby in there.
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It Was All So Easy

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It was all so easy. I didn’t know it at the time. There was no reason to know. There was only reason to want, to get and to experience. “Who was your greatest rival?” the driver was asked. “Well, if you go far back there was a guy, a pure driver, a complete driver, but this was before politics and money, this was pure racing.” It was the same for me. I just knew I wanted to be someone who made pictures. I had little. Two cameras, two lenses and a bag of 35mm, black and white film. I was “freelance,” which according to my father was “mostly free,” “little lance.” It didn’t matter. There was a simplicity, or purity of the drive. Not once did I think of fame, or fortune. They were fools gold, but further these things felt like poison. A slow drip of someone else’s idea of me, of who I should be. Who I should want to be. I never once thought, “What would so and so want from me?” I just did what came naturally, what felt natural and that was more than enough.
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Find story. Get to story. Shoot story. Compile. Repeat. That was the game. The hunt was and is what I am about. I knew it then and I know it more than ever today when once again I find myself free and easy. The early days were the way they were, perfect in their form. With success comes outside influence. A reluctance to put my work out, even from day one, because I just wanted to be in those places, meet those people and make those photographs. Lying in bed at night, staring a cracked fresco on the ceiling above while my parter breaths deeply, next to me but a world away. My exposed film lined up on the floor below the bed. Consuming my night. Reliving those fractured seconds where nothing else in the world mattered but becoming one with my surroundings. Feeling what it meant to really do this. This was never a hobby. It was part of the DNA. Born somewhere far back in history. A newspaper reporter, a school teacher, a searcher, a pioneer, all passing down threads they could never imagine.
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My energy then was all directed outward. Endlessly. I projected. I never wanted anything in return, other than acceptance and opportunity. I knew what I was doing wasn’t going to change the world, but I still felt the need. My world was so peaceful compared to today, to now, when peace is something our culture is slowly exterminating. Click and wind.
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“I don’t get you,” she said. “You shoot these things, you edit and make stories and then you put them in a drawer and never show them to anyone.” “Yes, that’s true.” That’s just the way it is, and no explanation will change it. It was never meant to be, me and this, at least as anything official. It’s not that I don’t care, because I do, but not in the traditional sense. Walking into a house I stare at images on the wall, mine, forgotten that I had made a transaction years ago. Walking into a hotel, staring at images on the wall and realizing they too were mine, forgotten as part of a past trangression. Erased from the front range, placed in the back row and dismissed. Embarrassed even. “Those aren’t really mine.” “You are confusing me with someone else.” I can’t go back, only ahead, but I can strip down, leave behind and reengage. When these memories come they come with an overwhelming force. They are reminders, indicator arrows where my past controls my future. Call this what you will, but I appreciate these little subtleties. Followed by smiles. Acceptance again. Strip down. Fall away and walk on.
Remember? Remember when? When it was all so easy.

Ebooks

I just got a brand new laptop. Yep, a screaming fast 13-inch maxed out on RAM. It had been a long while since I had a new machine. I got used to all the tricks I had to employ to get my old laptop to actually do the things I needed to do. No two Creative Suite programs open at the same time. If converting RAW files I had to leave the machine alone and prop it up on books to keep it from overheating, etc. etc. Not any more.

One of the things I never think about when I get a new machine is the work required to get it up to speed. I need software, programs, attachments, etc. In the process of upgrading I realized I now I have an operating system that views Ebooks. Hadn’t really thought about adding mine, but suddenly I was staring at the iBooks interface as it appeared on my desktop. I thought, “What the Hell.”
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I stopped adding my books at ten, but I do indeed have a few more. I had no idea. Over the past year it has become second order for me to just make one from any project I’m doing. Oddly enough, I have three iPads, all of which are broken, but the one I have that still retails a faint heartbeat only has ONE program that works….iBooks. But, even stranger is that most of the time when I show my work this way it’s on my phone. Now that I have the new operating system I’m curious to see if this will become a part of my routine. I’m not actually trying to show people my work, but from time to time I need examples, so this works out well.
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If you are prone to showing your work and want options you should at least give one of these a go. I do enjoy stills and audio. Video is okay, but for me three elements are one too many. I’m in the minority here I think, as usual. Have a look for yourself.
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I’m going to blow my own horn here. This last image….I love. So simple, such beautiful light. And one small audio file to give you the SOUND of that place and that moment. What could be better? Free frozen yogurt? Ya, okay, that, but not much else.

Because I Can: The Postcard Book

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Hey Folks,

This is the latest post in the “Because I Can” series about making Blurb books in an edition of ONE. Yes, you heard and read correctly. I’m making books with the intention of capping the print run at ONE book. Why? BECAUSE I CAN. We have really only had this option since about 2006, yet photographers ALREADY seem to take this for granted. I know, there is so much change on a daily basis that we are perpetually thirsty for the new, always wanting the latest and greatest. I get it. However, I for one cannot overlook the power in having the ability to make a single book. I wrote about this in a previous post, so if you want the background then go back and have a look. I pulled a selection from that prior post to set the table for this one. This is a series people. I’ve made at least a dozen books already and have eighteen more in the pipeline.

This book was created after overhearing a conversation between two young girls in a Japanese stationary store. They came across postcard material and said “Remember these? I really miss getting these in the mail.” Then they spoke about “giving up” and going with email. I asked myself “Why?” Why do we do this to ourselves. We give in, give up, cave to what is happening these days, as if we don’t have a choice. This book was crafted from found post cards, scanned front and back. Postcards were then sleeved and inserted into airmail envelopes.

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Salsa Fargo Update

Don’t worry everyone, I won’t go as long between Fargo posts in the future. (I hear the photo geeks moaning, grinding teeth and searching for the unsubscribe.)

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I’ve finally gotten out for a few short rides. Still fighting Lyme, so I’m not breaking any records, nor will I be for the foreseeable future, but I’m doing what I can. I managed to find some dirt here in good old Newport Beach, an unfinished side of the Santa Ana River Trail. The busy side is paved, but the not-so-busy side is still dirt. Not even really sure how far it runs, but I will attempt to find out. To the left of my bike is the “river.” Just play along people, it’s a concrete river, filled with things like lost luggage, shopping carts, coyotes and even a fish or two believe it or not. Nature is a stubborn thing regardless of advancing in paving technology.

And behind me you ask?

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Yep, if you are going to pave everything in sight you need some concrete dammit. Why not put the plant at the epicenter? This is actually a nice ride for these parts. You ALWAYS have wind at your back on the way inland and in your face all the way back to the water. You have an assortment of other riders, walkers and homeless encampments to keep you company. When you dip under the overpasses you get a nice whiff of pee, and you get to practice dodging the glass from broken bottles. And there’s no charge!

The bike. Well, it’s great. So easy to ride. Geared for the uphill world, no surprise, but enough there for nice, sustained relatively high speed pavement action. Climbs really well both in and out of the saddle and feels stable on fast descents. I’m toying with the idea of adding brakes to the top bars because I will be on some serious downhill, singletrack over the next few months and long descents on the drops tend to waste my arms, but again I’ve got Lyme, so picking up the TV remote requires an extra hour of sleep.

This bike calls to me at night. I can hear it because I keep it inside, in my library actually, which drives my wife crazy.(Reason enough to do it right there.) “But honey, it’s lonely in the garage.” This bike calls to me because it doesn’t want to be in Newport. This bike leaves maps on my living room floor. Maps of the Southwest, or New Mexico. This bike tells me to add a rear rack and aim for Miami via the US/Mexico border. This bike left an advertisement for a waterproof backpack that would easily hold two Nikon F6′s and two lenses and a huge stock of TRI-X. This bike is evil.