Taking stock on my clock

I’m currently trying anything and everything to take my mind off my broken foot.  I have to.  Because if I can at least focus on other things, then I can get through another day and get one day closer to healing or surgery or repair or whatever.

So I’m trying to focus on other projects, other calculations, other mental manipulations.

I have to.

Distraction has to be the better part of my mind right now.

Shoreline at Hampton Beach, N.H.  Nikon D700 camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
Shoreline at Hampton Beach, N.H. Nikon D700 camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

For the past couple of days, I’ve gone through my photography archive and looked at images that I thought at the time were decent, but never really gave them much of a second thought.  Now that I have more advanced photography editing software on my computer, between Adobe Photoshop and the Nik Collection software filters, I can find something strong in these old photos.

Like the Marine Memorial at Hampton Beach, which you see above.  The statue is sillhouetted against a canopy of angry storm clouds, a wreath in her stony hands, a prayer for those at sea to all return home.

Sneakers in Schuyler Flatts. Nikon D700 camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Yeah, here’s a shot from the winter of 2012.  I remember seeing those sneakers, as they dangled on the snowy branches of a Watervliet park.  As I re-edited this photo, I thought about how I could improve on this shot.  I can wait until winter, toss a pair of my old, muddy, no-longer-fit-for-footwear sneakers on a tree branch like this, and maybe shoot with my 3D film camera and turn it into a lenticular print, what with the tree branches and dirty kicks and whatnot.

We Cut Keys.  Nikon D700 camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
We Cut Keys. Nikon D700 camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Oh yeah, and there’s this photo.

This little image was caught in February 2013, adjacent to an abandoned, condemned building on Clinton Avenue.  That little sign in the window – “WE CUT KEYS” – just below the abandoned satellite television dish – pretty much adds to the ultimate dichotomy, doesn’t it?

I wonder if the building’s still there.  I could go and see.  And maybe re-take the picture.  Or expand on this one.

I know.  I’m still trying to focus on breaking out of this malaise.  It’s almost as if 2016 has become a series of derailments, one after the other.  It’s not fair.  I know it’s not fair.

So I need to focus on other things.

Like my car, for instance.

In late June 2016, I purchased my fourth-ever car, a 2013 candy-red Chevrolet Cruze.  And I’ve slowly grown accustomed to my vehicle, which I’ve nicknamed “Dracourage,” a portmanteau of “Dragon” and “Courage.”

And as is my custom with buying cars, I don’t just pay the minimum car payment every month.  I pay extra.  I throw a few extra dollars on the car note when I can.  If a photo of mine sells, that’s on the car payment.  If I do some freelance work for a friend and they offer me some coin, it goes into the Dracourage car fund.

Yesterday, I did some calculations.  And I came up with $22.58.

$22.58 is the average per-day amount I could pay if I wanted Dracourage lien-free and loan-free on August 25, 2018 – my 55th birthday.  That would be three and a half years ahead of time, and yes it does entail a lot of will power and dedication.  Besides, what’s $22.58 a day right now?  Two tickets to a movie?  A decent sit-down white-tablecloth dinner?

Then, on my Facebook page, I received word that one of the boutique photo labs I once used – DR5, which was the only lab capable of producing images from AGFA Scala 200 B&W slide film – has relocated and is now in the testing stage of resurrecting that product and service.  Aces.

You see, I still have one sealed roll of fresh Scala (well, it expired in 2007, but B&W film can stay fresh for decades), and if I can get some stunning B&W shots of the wintery Adirondack Mountains this year… ooh those would look stellar in competition, yes they would.  Maybe a shot deep in the heart of the Adirondack Park – maybe a return to the Boreas Ponds, or possibly a recapture of the White Mountains of Vermont, or even breaking through and finding some lightly lurking, lilting luxury locked in my imagination, and setting it free by pressing a camera shutter button and whispering, “Say cheese.”

And if I keep focused on these goals … reviewing my old photos and making them better; reconsidering some of my original photo concepts and deciding how to improve on them; creating some dutiful, dynamic financial target and aiming for it like William Tell in an orchard – I can set things in motion.  I can stop focusing on my broken body and my fractured psyche.

I can do this.

I have to do this.

And if I slip and fall…

I have to get up and keep walking.

And after I walk…

Then I can run.

And when I run… I will reach those goals.

Not “if” I reach those goals.

When I reach those goals.

And I hope you’ll be there with me.

Let’s get there together.