I made a few good images. Not this one, the one you see above. Nope, that’s just filler. Something I do to keep the instinct and reactions going. Something to keep the eyes moving and the finger pointing and pressing. Training, if you will. Photo-fitness is what I call it. Just in case something interesting breaks out. I’ll be ready. Will you?
This is a place I’ve trodden for over twenty-five years. Believe it or not, it looks basically the same as it did when I first saw it, all those years ago. Today is the 4th of July and the rain is coming down with meaning. In fact, the last two days have been soggy to say the least, biblical rain for someone from New Mexico where we measure rains like this in years not days. But I love these days because it makes it easy to stay inside and get done what I need to get done.
There was little effort on my part. A friend put me in position, I stepped from the car with the right kit and got it done. Boom, boom, boom. I knew when I made the images they would most likely end up in whatever publication I produce at the end of this birding adventure. And let me say this, these images were good for me but probably not for someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to feathered subject matter.
My FIRST thought upon lowering the camera from my eye? Get these online as fast as possible? Share, share, share? Nope. Just the opposite. My first thought was “These go in the vault.” “These need to be studied, edited and placed in the right order at the right time. Maximum impact. These images are one piece of an enormous puzzle that is only beginning to take shape.
Why? Because I know you. I know you and I know your friends and your family and your lifestyle. I may not know all the details, and I’m lumping all of you together, which I know isn’t fair, but just for the sake of this post I’m going to do it anyway. You will get bored. You will look for the next best thing, or heck, the next thing regardless of whether or not it’s good. That’s the pattern of modern culture. What’s next? Oh, good birding images, great, now what? Like a seal honking for another mullet. More, more, more. Sorry, no me gusta. (Photos: Remler)
There is a guy on Twitter, a birding guy. He’s creating some of the most striking images and motion clips of birds I’ve ever seen. His work is astoundingly good. Seems like a cool guy too. When I found him I must have spent a good ten minutes looking at clips and stills. On one hand, this dude was fuel to the fire. “You have much work to do Mr. Milnor.” And then I left. I did go back, not on purpose, but there he was again. I was on a Blurb Twitter mission of sorts, but there he was, and once again, I abandoned my mission and took in some top notch bird work.
And then I went back again, but this time it didn’t stick. Remember, this work is some of the most astounding work I’ve seen but my brain just said “Seen it.” Done, gone, only to be forgotten and replaced by Supreme Court lunacy, political rants, weather reports, NEW CAMERA PARTS, family crisis, dinner menus, the Tour de France, Wimbledon, my Peru workshop, a potential Blurb trip to France, my Lebanon workshop, replacing the ink in my fountain pen, mapping today’s thirty-mile ride on the Salsa, dreaming about fried clams, scratching my leg, sending horrible texts to my sister, jumping out and scaring my wife, practicing my hook kick, wondering why I can’t dance, and wondering if I should grow my hair out. I have a lot of important shit going on people.
This is why you don’t share in real-time. Think about it this way. Let’s say YOU made these images, and then you went home and made prints on your Fuji Instax printer, something I think you SHOULD be doing. Then you drove over to the local river. Very carefully you walked to the water line and sat down on your favorite, flat stone. Then you tossed those Instax prints as far up river as your weak, little arm would allow. (I’m assuming most of you don’t train to throw Instax prints.) And then you watched as the current took your beloved images and swept them downstream in a matter of seconds. GONE baby gone. That is sharing in real-time, and by the way, that real, digital river is so wide you can’t seen the opposite shoreline, and the current is running about 150mph.
If you have work of intent and greater purpose then don’t even think about sharing in real time. You are destroying your own castle. Just try something. Wait. Just wait. Wait for a day, a full day. My guess, you might forget about the entire thing, especially if you are a shoot and share type. There will be endless fodder in the pipeline. You can’t keep up. Nobody can. Want a chicken fajita? Ya, I’ll bet you do. See, there you go, forgot all about your masterpiece right? Cheese, lettuce, cilantro, peppers, onion, hmmmmm, so good. What were we talking about?
Now, think about this. You buy my book, or I buy yours, not knowing entirely what lives inside. The entire inside is a mystery, a surprise. The book arrives and after putting your pants on you rush to the door. You PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN and you unwrap the beast. Most likely, being right-handed, means you open the book from THE BACK. Yes, true story. You open from the back but I’ve taken this into consideration by designing the back matter to match the front matter. All is well. You are MINE. I have you because with each turn of the page you are seeing something you have never seen before. Not once. And the images are just one aspect of the newness. How the copy balances with the imagery. The typeface sings. The design takes you on a story arc and now the rest of the world fades away. Your spouse yells from the other room, “Does my ass look fat in these pants?” but you don’t even hear it because you are MINE.
All you have to do is wait. Don’t pull that content trigger. Click on that safety and remain calm. The pipeline will be there when you return. Until then, just chillax and determine how you can make your work count, really count. There is the now and there is the lasting. Be in that second camp my friends.