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Jakester as Superhero….

Jan 19

In In The Field at 8:37am

So I was with the DLWS gang in the Marin Headlands, looking at the Golden Gate Bridge, which, I can reliably report, does not move. See below.


No stranger to photog paranoia and insecurity, which rages in the hearts and minds of shooters everywhere, I continued to prove that salient fact over and over again, as if my right index finger had developed a kind of idiot savant twitch, in that it knew how to do one thing well, that is, push the damn shutter button over and over again. I’ve always been good at simple, repetitive tasks, so I went to town and produced a grid of remarkably similar looking photographs. My early career wire service editors, those members of the “One or Two Frames, Shoot It Clean” tribe are spinning in their graves.

I never met a landscape I couldn’t put a person in front of and thus make interesting,  so I importuned Moose’s redoubtable son Jake to be between me and the bridge, and thus save me from myself. Pretty nice portrait actually, as Jake got his mother’s looks and not Moose’s:-) (He did get his dad’s knack behind the camera, though. He’s a damn good shooter.)


And then, of course, I stopped, no doubt worn out from the all the clicking. I was sitting there, enjoying the breeze, looking at the sky, and just generally refreshed by not being inside a building. (I do honestly believe that sometimes, forget the photography, just look and enjoy.) I was sitting, watching the sun go down, and and the sky deepen, and the car headlights come on, and just letting lethargy and laziness take over. I mean, I was sitting on a Moose pack that contained a good chunk of the Adorama equipment catalog, and I wasn’t doing shit with it. Other folks were racing with the light, being photogs, looking and shooting, and I sat there, keeping my fingers warm by placing them under my ass.

Sun’s goin’ down in a big ball. Nice. Good clean throw to the western sky, lotta leeway to the east to get below it and look back. Nice. Got a D3X on a tripod, and a 200-400mm in my bag. Coupla flashes. Nice. I sat there with all this stuff, and my brain disconnected. Remember in T2 when the Arnold cyborg, just about crushed and dead, switches to a backup battery and his noodle flickers back to life? That’s pretty much what happened. I looked around and in one of those coulda hadda V-8 moments put the setting sun, the wall I was sitting on, the long glass and Jake together in my head.

Some mindlessly frenetic scrambling and shouting produced the camera and lens combo, Drew with a flash on a paint pole, and Jakester in position. See below, shot by fellow photog Rob Aramayo.


Got this, with Jake looking like one of the Watchmen.


Of course the sun’s just about gone. Every frame I got prior to this was either a test or a flat out bad shot with people wandering about the background. If I had started even 10 minutes earlier, woulda had several good frames and a ball of sun. But I didn’t. I didn’t see it ’cause I wasn’t looking. I’m pretty hard working, generally speaking, but I tell ya, sometimes I get so damn lazy out there it makes me wanna upchuck. Anybody else out there ever pass up a good frame ’cause you were too much of a lollygagger to pull out the camera? Or worse, there’s a camera in your hands and you just can’t muster the energy to change to the right lens? Guilty as charged, your honor. I’ve passed up good pictures just ’cause I didn’t want to put down my coffee.

Shot at f18 at 1/50th of a second, 200mm on the zoom. Plus one on the flash. Minus 2/3 on the camera EV. Wish I had more of ‘em. Maybe I will next time, when I remind myself to shoot and move, instead of sit and watch. More tk….

71 Responses to “Jakester as Superhero….”

Bart says:

on January 20, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Not long ago we had hoar frost develop in the early morning…beautiful thin strands and pointing sideways from the metal arbor to which it was attached. The air currents had it pointing in this unusual horizontal position, and it was as delicate as anything I’ve ever seen. As I tried to describe it later in the day to my granddaughter, I pulled up some google photos to show her. I couldn’t find one that really showed what I saw, and then I slapped myself in the head. It was the true V8 moment.

Instead of going outside in the cold and leaving my coffee behind for a few minutes, I missed an opportunity of a lifetime. I’m still kicking myself.

SJlarue says:

on January 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm

I do it every day Joe. It’s called enjoying the creation instead of worshiping it. If it was meant to be taken, you would have taken it.

You’d make a great fisherman…whining about the one(s) that got a way! :-D

Minse Blom says:

on January 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm

How cool is this? http://www.pdnonline.com/pdn/content_display/features/pdn-online/e3ifcfd4b7c2c59dd1c47f79a436700f630

Joe named as one of The 30 Most Influential Photographers of The Decade! Congrats.

Jim White says:

on January 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

If I recall from a recent post Joe, you were on the road for 200 plus days last year . . If “anyone” needed a break for a bit, it would be you. Also, I’d give everything I own to have your knowledge for exposing and composing images . . Don’t beat yourself up, you da man!

David de Groot says:

on January 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Oh yes! Definitely “guilty as charged” on that last point. Usually it occurs at the end of a long trek, just too tired to pull out the camera to shoot the amazing scene in front of me.

Jonathan Fleming says:

on January 20, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I can relate on the laziness, but what an image you came up with! Always a pleasure reading your blog, Joe.

Gary Scaife says:

on January 20, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses. There are plenty of times when I was out fishing or out shooting when I just sit down and enjoy being out in the fresh air. Sometimes fishing or shooting is just an excuse to get out in the woods.

Kevin Williams says:

on January 21, 2010 at 9:39 am

Wow, wow, wow. I love the lesson in patience here, Joe. I actually like the shot of the GG Bridge with Jake in it the best, but then I do usually prefer photographing things that don’t move. :)

Miranda Eubanks says:

on January 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

Your posts are unendingly enjoyable and inspiring. I thank you!

Jason says:

on January 21, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I’d say that I’ve done the same as you did here Joe, but only if I had a reputation of producing fantastic photos to fall back on. As it stands, I am not going to admit my “numnuts” predilections publicly!

Oh wait…I just did! :)

Gavin Jowitt says:

on January 22, 2010 at 2:06 am

I think it’s good to occasionally leave the camera in the bag and enjoy the moment. I’ve just returned from shooting in Malaysia where I forced myself on several occasions to enjoy the surroundings through my own two eyes instead of a Nikon viewfinder. It’s ok for somethings to preserved in memory rather than pixels… unless of course there’s a client paying ;-)

mike murrow says:

on January 22, 2010 at 2:30 am

hmm. i was on the bridge that day on a walk with my girl. if you zoom in on (one of) the images at 1000x you can see me spitting over the edge to my girls horror.

Nicole says:

on January 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm

I can understand the need to just sit back, relax and enjoy the moment. Sometimes with the camera up to your eye all the time, you miss being a part of the actual moments that are happening. Considering your incredible legacy, Joe, I don’t think you have anything to feel bad about!

I was so incredibly lucky to attend the DWLS in Bozeman, Nov 08. Your energy was amazing and the shots you took, always fantastic. I so enjoyed the workshop that I had planned to attend the San Fran one. Unfortunately cancer has me sidetracked for now. It’s teaching me many life lessons about enjoying each moment of every day. But I am planning on attending another DWLS as soon as I am back on track! Hopefully next year.

Love your blog and stories, always insightful!


T. C. Knight says:

on January 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Sadly enough, I have missed THE shot because it was too much trouble to load all the equipment before making a trip. But sometimes it has nothing to do with laziness…more with wanting to be “normal” for a few minutes. No shooting, no composing, no light checking…just watching.

chris says:

on January 25, 2010 at 11:04 am

Is it me or is there dirt on your lens joe ,tut tut

Ben Fullerton says:

on January 25, 2010 at 2:01 pm

Hey Joe.

I think those are the shots that really fire us up and keep us going. I never am filled with more fire to create images than when I see beautiful opportunity and don’t jump on it. Sort of like, ‘You win this round, universe. But I’ll be back, and I’m going to capture you good!’

Love you blog, keep it up!


Sanford says:

on January 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Happens to all of us. I shoot a lot of NHL hockey and I am a hockey fan. Every once in a while I will find myself watching the game instead of shooting, big NO NO for sports shooters, and I’ll see a nice open ice hit and just shake my head and say, that would have been a nice shot dumb ass!

Thanks for what you do Joe

Ellen L. Adams says:

on January 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Yes, I’ve gotten lazy. I was just in my neighborhood, on my way to the grocery store. I usually take my camera but this time I didn’t. Boy was I sorry. Squirrels scamper in and out of the trees all the time. Well, this time, the squirrel had a chicken wing (no kidding) and was chompin’ away. I swear I reached for my cell phone and the photo was worth diddly. To make matters worse, this little “dude” looked right at me, made a face, and then kept on chomping on that chicken wing. AND, I COULD HEAR HIS TEETH CLICKING AWAY WHILE HE GNAWED ON THIS THING!!! Lord, talk about a missed opportunity.

Despite the fact that you had a “V-8 moment,” you still got some great stuff. I guess that the lesson is, always have a camera, because you never know what you might see.

Renie Haiduk says:

on February 5, 2010 at 9:21 am

Joe – becoming more disciplined regarding blogs; yours is one I totally love and this posting in particular. Being honest about being lazy (I know we all have those moments, some of us too often) is presented in a way that is refreshing, and motivating. A moment of when the Superhero says “yeah, I’m human too…” Really enjoy your postings!
Look forward to seeing you here soon!

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