Last light, Stone Steps © Robert Sommers 2023

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Misfire at the lake.

Was a frustrating afternoon yesterday. I was trying to clear up some delinquent business with the county tax collector on my commercial building. I called three times and got busy signals so figured I would drive to the San Marcos office and settle in person.

Unfortunately, due to Covid 19, the office was closed up tighter than a Vegas Shriner's convention. The guard at the door gave me a tip on how to get around the phone problems, the secret number. I called. Thirteen people in the cue, I stewed and waited, got gas on fifth in Escondido, phone pressed firmly to my ear and decided if I had to wait to talk to somebody I might as well do it at someplace pretty. On the phone for over forty five minutes waiting, after an interminable number of prompts and cues.

I drove out towards Lake Wohlford. I was a little worried about reception, had I made yet another stupid move? And just as the queue went to me the phone conked out. Shit. Not my day. The lake to my surprise was actually open. A few boats idled along peacefully on the water. Sort of perfect out. Hot but not too hot.

I decided to take a walk on the osprey trail. I stuck a water bottle in my back pocket, my wife's voice ringing in my ear.

It was lovely out. A red naped sapsucker flew into one of the beautiful old oaks. Tried to follow it to get a shot but failed to get anything decent.

I started slipping on the trail and realized that my Sketcher tennis shoes do not grip like the New Balance I customarily wear. I decided not to push things and hurt myself. In enough pain with the shingles, didn't need to fall on my ass too. Would have loved to have been out on a boat. Tom said he would pilot the boat again but actually getting him to do it might prove difficult... Loved my last photo session with him.

I had the lighter zoom with me. With the strong afternoon light it might be okay? It wasn't. The prime spoils you.

I took one hundred and ninety two shots, maybe one was good, if that. Botched another picture of a phainopepla. Hate taking crappy pictures.

I don't handle failure very well. One of the reasons I stopped painting, you are only good as your last canvas and my consistency was not optimal.

So you become an emotional wreck and walk around bummed out if you are unhappy with a painting and you care about the quality of your output.

Now it is true that many do not, amazing what you can get away with if you don't care, I admit my self punishment is entirely self imposed.

Which reminds me of the photos in the medical office down at Mercy with the large photographic murals that sport a chromatic aberration band about an inch wide. Dreadful.

You get three hits out of ten trips to the plate in major league baseball during your lifetime and chances are you are going to the Hall of Fame. Doesn't work that way in art. Maybe that is why so many artists are content to play it safe.

I am thankfully not nearly as neurotic with photography for some reason as I was with my painting, less emotionally invested, and I contented myself to have an excellent walk. Which I did.

Saw a mature bald eagle swoop down in the lake and settle in an old oak on the far side. Too far away to get an adequate shot with my set up.

Makes me want to go back there when I feel better and just kill it. Start early in the morning, bring the great lens, hit the reeds, hike the back side, give the place its due.

Felt slightly inadequate, stumbling around like a shitty lover. But hey, at least I was there to see the eagle, right? I'll be back.

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