Was in Paso Robles last week, teaching a workshop launched by my buddy Syl Arena, he of the Pixsylated blog spot and the homemade wood frame box with 12 Canon flashes attached to radio poppers operating at high speed sync, otherwise known as the Hi Speed Square of Death. I think he did some self portraits with it, and that’s how his hair got that way.
Syl’s doing a cool thing, opening the Paso Robles Workshops, which promises to be an interesting, eclectic series of offerings in an interesting, eclectic setting. He knows everybody from the mayor to the police chief to the winery gang, and all have welcomed the workshop as another creative turn for the town. Everyone was gracious and easygoing, but then again, this is the heart of sun drenched, mellow, wine country, where conversations are dominated by words like “nose,” “big fruit,” “hint of licorice and elderberry,” and the like. You’d be mellow, too, if you drank that much wine. At times the entire town seemed to be a large day room at a high end psychiatric facility, with lots of pleasant people making a sort of disconnected wander through their day. It was really quite lovely and easygoing. Syl also fixed us up with a couple of cool locations that were right out of The Shining. (See above–two SB-900 units out the window, one inside, lighting the model’s face, with a 1/8″ Honl grid.)
Speaking of distracted, I left with the apartment keys, which meant that David Hobby, who is teaching there this week, had to jimmy several windows to gain access. Sorry, man. I tried to think of something devious prank to do, like take several of the diet Mountain Dews in David’s refridge and attach them to pocket wizards connected to a heating element, so I could trigger them remotely and they would explode at all hours of the night. But I realized to work out a flash engineering marvel like that I would have to call, uh, David Hobby. Oh, well.
The workshop signaled a return to working with MD Welch, who just launched a blog as bent as MD himself. He’s a good shooter who, given the fact he hails from idyllic Reno, Nevada has a wild portfolio. Any collection of pictures of Roller Derby gals with names like “Priscilla the Killa” bears looking at, I tell ya. And, between the two of us, we have most of the dialogue to virtually every bad movie out there memorized.
Headed to LA, and had a great weekend with Annie, who is also traveling, and then got up at 3am Sunday and hit LAX, bound for NY. Dubious about this Delta/Northwest merger thing. Delta’s a decent airline merging with a bad one, and the resulting economy of size probably spells more passenger pain.
Fast forward to NY, where I am in a hotel just by Madison Square Garden, which is relatively quiet right now, given the fact that it is playoff time so the Knicks aren’t playing. This room has all the charm of a holding cell for recidivist offenders. Well, I guess it’s not so bad. It has the basics–bed, roof, bowl, spoon, latrine. Last night I swear I heard something that distinctly sounded like a police baton being dragged across bars and a harsh, world weary voice shouting “Lockdown!”
My view when I woke up….complete with an individual promoting his series of books that evidently coach people to riches by becoming real estate predators. Nice.
Oh well, I calmed myself by gazing serenely out at the bucolic view from my window. I love the smell of rotting garbage and diesel fumes. Combine that with the racket of a broken air conditioner, the wail of police sirens and insistent blaring of taxi horns mixed with bellowed Russian curses from the drivers of those taxis, and well, my joy is complete. There’s a set of office windows not 20 feet from mine. If those folks come in soon, I swear I’m gonna moon ’em.
The ironical fact of being a shooter. You’re told to charge, gotta be there, we need ya man, you’re essential, a star, a go to guy! We’re such insecure sons of bitches that we still listen to all that crap like a googly eyed schoolgirl, and even believe it, right up to the moment we check into hotel reality.
Photographers. We’re often like brightly colored wind up toys placed in front of a brick wall.
Life on the road…..more tk.