It’s shortly after 12 o’clock noon here in Seattle. The weather is dismal, as usual. But at least I finally have my coffee. I waited 3 hours to finally get it. But it’s here, and it’s mine. Why did I wait 3 hours? I’ll tell you.
As some may know, I got a new job for Union Pacific railroad out in Denver, CO. My first day of work is January 15th, and there is much to do between now and then. I’ve been working for Comcast for the past 5 years as your local neighborhood, cable guy. Almost two weeks ago I put in my notice with them. Since I already had a new job lined up, I decided to open the flood gates and tell them what I really thought of them, respectfully and professionally I should add. They heard me, took notes, and responded that they’d like to send me home immediately with pay for the rest of my two weeks. This was the greatest thing anyone has ever said to me. They were going to pay me to NOT come to work. I immediately thought back to the happiest days of my life: my wedding day, the time one of my music idols growing up found me on Instagram and liked my photos AND started following me (the only person that could have made that moment for significant is if it was Batman himself), and of course, the very first punk rock show I ever went to and got beat up in the mosh pit. But this, getting paid to not work? This is officially in my top 3. I’ll figure out the order later.
So, obviously I’ve been home a lot more. We ran out of coffee 3 days ago and haven’t bothered to drive the .3 miles to the nearest grocery store to replenish our supply. My wife & I can truly be very, very lazy sometimes. I woke up at 9am, and quickly remembered that there was no coffee. It’s not the greatest way to wake up. What’s worse is, we only have one car and my wife is still hard at work to bring home the bacon. So that means, I’m going to have to walk to get my coffee. Ugh! I mentioned I was lazy, right? I would like to thank the good Lord that I live in Seattle during such troubled times of no coffee where you never need to walk more than a few blocks to get coffee. Still though… It was going to be close to a ten minute walk. And with no energy from the coffee I should have already drank this morning, this was going to be hard. I think the worst part of this story is about to happen. I know, my laziness is really quite terrible, but this is going to be worse. So instead of getting dressed and walking to get my coffee, I turned on the TV and the channel had been left on the E! Network. The first image to come across the screen is Kourtney & Kim Kardashian taking part in some naked Yoga party apparently. The bottom right hand corner reveals the awful truth of what’s transpiring, it states in bold letters that you, you poor sucker have just started watching, “Kourtney & Kim Take New York.” A normal person would change the channel. Somehow, like a train wreck, I couldn’t peel my eyes away. I was stuck in a trance, I watched it for over two hours. I won’t go into detail as to why I continued watching their drama unfold, I won’t tell you how I started recording the third episode just before I finally left, and I certainly won’t’ tell you how I’ve now decided that I need to dress in classy suits much, much more often.
The Train Wreck
If you’re still with me, and you haven’t lost too much respect for me, I’ll tell you where I’m going with this. I stood up from my couch, turned off the TV (after setting the DVR recording of course), grabbed my laptop and my headphones and headed out the door. I popped my headphones into my iPhone and started my journey. The first musical notes to grace me with their presence seemed to snap me out of my trance. There I was, in the most familiar place I could be. Music has played such a large part in my life, it’s weird how I forget how much I need it. I began walking with a bounce in my step and a smile on my face. Suddenly, inspiration began to flood my mind. Here it was, the soundtrack to my day. It was on shuffle, so whether Bruce Springsteen was to croon, or Phil Anselmo was to scream at me with brutal honesty, the day was already on a much better path than it had been with The Kardashians.
During the train wreck
As I began my journey, I remembered how this is how I relax. When I take photos, I bring my earbuds. I need music in my photos. It allows me to combine art with life. Having music playing, allows the whole world to disappear. And you need that when taking pictures. You need to not be worried about what others are thinking when they see you snapping away. You have to allow yourself to squat down and get more perspectives of your subject without worrying if your crack is showing. When it’s quiet in your mind, you’ll just fill your mind with the days worries and what you need to do. With those distractions, you’ll never get the shot you truly wanted. If you want to catch me in a good mood, find me on photowalk with my earbuds in. You’ll be guaranteed to see a smile on my face.
You have to make an effort to take pictures. Sometimes you get lucky, and you see something worth taking a picture of while on your daily walk in life. But these times are few and far between. Take a trip, become a tourist in your own town. Who knows your town better than you do? Intentionally go out just to take pictures. Spend a few hours doing it too. I’ve always tried my best to go out every weekend. Spend some time with your city. Get to know the ins and outs. Share with people why you live there. Is it the architecture you love? Then spend a day downtown shooting. Is it the people of your city? Then shoot some portraits. You see where I’m going with this. My point is, you have to be intentional and you have to allow yourself to get lost. Get lost in your town. Get lost in the beauty that surrounds us. Get lost in the moment. And if you can’t get lost, allow someone else to lose you. Go out on photowalks with other photographers. Meet new people in your city that enjoy photography like you do. I’ve met a good handful of fellow Seattle Instagramers, and they’re good people. The best part is, you already have something pretty major in common upon meeting them. You already have common ground. It’s not that hard to find these people. If you’re on Instagram, there are plenty of ways to find people that live in your hometown. You can search hashtags, or even do location searches like using the iPhone app, InstaRadar.
Soundtracks come in many forms. Whether it be the music in your ears, a friendly voice next to you, or just the peaceful sounds of nature. However you can lose yourself, find it and embrace it. Because it’s in that place that I believe your photography will start to take on new life.
After my headphones were in, I began to see my little world differently.