Knowing and Unknowing

The funny thing about any hobby for me is that once I start, I have a hard time stopping.  The reverse is equally true.  As a result, I practice my hobby in “fits and starts” as some of my relatives would say.  This leads to slow progress–I practice a lot and start to get better and then I stop for a long time and have to start over when my interest cycles back around again.  So, while I’ve been “seriously” interested in photography for a good 8 years now, I have the skill of someone whose spent 6 months doing it regularly.  It’s a little frustrating–I’m a quick learner in many aspects of life, but not when it comes to physical activity.  For some reason, photography is more like a sport to my brain than an intellectual exercise.

But today, I am on a roll.  After spending the day shooting at the Tennessee Aquarium workshop, I’ve suddenly remembered a bunch of stuff I’d forgotten and now I’m excited to try to shoot some of the things I haven’t gotten around to shooting yet.  I’ve already shot over 700 pictures today, but I manage to talk Pat into going out with me to shoot the fall colors in Coolidge park at sunset from Walnut St bridge.  I’m hoping to get some really interesting shots of Market St bridge with the sun going down in the background.

Pat agrees to go with me, but only if we go eat something first.  We decide to give the sushi place a try–it’s right at Coolidge Park, so it would make the most sense to take my gear with us, eat, and then go shoot.  However, Pat doesn’t want to carry my gear into the restaurant.  We end up walking there to eat without my gear, which I guess would be OK given that it’s not a long walk and we can always use more exercise, but the reality is that we’re running out of time as the sun sets earlier every day and I’m worried we’re going to miss the light.

We manage to enjoy our dinner in spite of my anxiety about the light.  The sushi is decent.  They don’t seem to have real crab meat in most of the rolls that have crab, but we avoid the fake crab and what we have instead is tasty.  I also take the waiter’s recommendation on a glass of unfiltered saki and it’s quite tasty, too.  Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I can eat slowly and I pop most of a bowl of edamame into my mouth in a matter of minutes.  Pat laughs–he says I get a rhythm going when I eat edamame that looks like a machine.

After finishing up, we walk back to the apartment as quickly as I can drag Pat back on his still-healing pulled hamstring.  I keep looking at the sky and hoping we aren’t going to miss the sunset.  We get my stuff and head back over literally to where we just came from.  There is a band playing in the far corner of the park, apparently there is a big halloween celebration there tonight with a live band, trick-or-treats for kids, and some stands set up that we are too far away to see clearly.  It’s a nice idea to have a big public party in the park, especially with the weather as amazing as it is.  I cannot get over the fact that I’m comfortable running around in a T-shirt most days and we’ve had nothing but sunshine for all but a couple of days in the past month.  In fact, we haven’t turned on the heat yet at home and the temperature hasn’t gotten below 68 yet.  We often have to open the windows during the day because the passive-solar effect of the windows heats up our place too much.

In any case, here we are in Coolidge park with our backs to the party in one corner, and trying to capture the brilliant trees in the fading light in the other corner.  Unfortunately, the sunset is not very dramatic tonight.  With no clouds in the sky, there’s not a whole lot going on there.  And the angle of the sun is bad for shooting into it–I have to look away and try to compose at the same time.  I manage to shoot the Walnut St Bridge from a variety of angles at least 100 times.  I wonder how many pictures of this bridge I will end up with by the time we next move?

After Pat gets too annoyed by the band doing a bad job playing sappy cover tunes, I manage to talk him into going up top on the Walnut St Bridge so I can try to shoot the sun setting behind Market.  But, I have more troubles with the angle of the sun.  I am generally disappointed with what I see in my LCD.  I hope that the shots will look better on a big screen when I get home knowing full well they won’t.

As Pat gets itchy to get going, I wrap up and we head out after the sun drops below the mountain in the distance.  I’m not sure if I’m getting senile or if I just haven’t been paying attention my whole life, but I completely missed the best light!  After stressing about getting to the park before sunset, I packed up and went home about 20 minutes too early.  As I sit at my desk processing disappointing shots, I look out the window, see the glow cast over the scenery below and say out loud, “Crap!”

Intent on not missing the best light all together, I set up my tripod and camera once more and fire off some shots from our balcony.  Once again, I am reminded that I do not make good progress learning a new skill when I de-prioritize it and then pick it up with a vengeance again.  It’s not only that I forget a large portion of what I learned, but I also seem to fail to realize that I’ve forgotten it.  I behave as if I know what I’m doing instead of looking things up that I really need to look up.  Not knowing what you don’t know is almost always the most difficult place to be when you’re trying to accomplish something.  I seem to be stuck in this place of not knowing.

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