In my endless quest to find a form of exercise I can tolerate, I recently decided to try yard work. Overall, it’s going pretty well. Had I known that dealing with weeds would provide a universally approved outlet for my violent impulses, I would have taken up gardening years ago.
Yesterday I spent the morning digging out areas of the yard where flood mud settled in 1998 and 2005, and then I hauled that beautiful dirt to a couple of raised beds I built last week. By hour five, the dirt didn’t seem so beautiful anymore. I called it a day when I had one half-filled box (6′x4′x1.5′, lest you think I’m a slacker) and a sneaking suspicion that my grading work was actually making our drainage problems worse. No matter, I knew I’d get at it again tomorrow. In the meantime, my spirits lifted because I had a photo assignment.
The Ojai Art Center Theater Holiday Show needed publicity photos, so off to the theater I went.
But, to paraphrase Old Lodge Skins, “sometimes the magic doesn’t work.”
The show has a very big cast, and it turns out that instead of rehearsal candids, they needed static group shots. Regular readers know that group shots are my second least favorite photographic task. I say second least favorite because I am an optimist – I’m sure there’s something worse out there.
I just had one of those nights. I couldn’t get the lights right, I couldn’t find an interesting angle, the subjects couldn’t hear me because there were never less than eight people talking. The results are okay, but I’ve reached a stage where “okay” just depresses me. When I haul my lights and camera gear to a location, I want to make something special. But of course, sometimes I’m lucky to come up with something usable. And it’s still more fun than hauling dirt.