Smoke Break

Hanging. Supposed to be writing a piece for NatGeo on what goes on beyond this porch in OBX.  Yet this is about as far as I can get into the world of writing. Posting on Burn, which I doubt is considered writing. Chris Bickford and Jennifer Kolb take a smoke break after our pizza and beer. The sun flies through the sky down here. No sooner do I get up, than it is so quickly afternoon. That is just the way it is.

187 Responses to “Smoke Break”

  • Someone funnier than I once wrote, “the sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.”

    Writing has always been a tough job for me as well. I always en up procrastinating until the last moment, and I am so tired, that the creative juices flow due to lack of sleep, meets up with the realization that I probably don’t have time to get my writing done on time. Probably why my posts on Burn are always so damned short.

  • It seems that you’re writing your piece in these snippets. Put them all together, and you have your piece – much like E.B. White’s One Man’s Meat. His descriptions of place were connected vignettes – much like a photo essay really.

  • Simple and beautiful.
    I’m almost at 1000 days but I still want one, esp when I see scenes like this:)

  • And I agree with Mr Frank. I’m wondering if once the pressure hits if there will be a flurry of pages. Wondering if it’s all on the the laptop? I still like pen to paper.

  • GORDON LAFLEUR. Have you seen this yet?

    It seems to answer all the questions that the x100 asked and I know you have an x100

  • a civilian-mass audience

    I wanna a break too…

    THOMAS HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!! I will give you your present in person:)!!!
    and be afraid…cause I am Greek …
    and you know …:)))))))))))))))

    Smoke break…oime,…I wish I was there…hmmm…or maybe,I am…


    P.S I am not gonna ask …what are they smoking?:)

  • John, yea, Gordon’s been all over that. Me too. I love the x100. I’m planning on selling all the humongous canon crap to get the new Fuji. Problem will most likely be wait time and price. I started watching B&H for the x-100 in July and it was not available until December. Fortunately, was able to pounce on a used one that came available. Point is, Fuji will be able to name their price for that camera.

  • What is OBX?

    But.. what I’d like to read, when I will have the June edition of NatGeo in my hands, would be not as much about OBX the place, but David in OBX.. but that’s just me..


    very astute observation….i will go back and collect…thanks

  • Eva, this will be David’s first non-roadtrip essay in decades…maybe since he was a child. That’s the angle that will drive my curiosity in June.

  • Ok. In my opinion writing especially yours comes from way down deep with lots of fibers takes time to surface sometimes those strays have lots to say it’s kind of coming up for air then diving down and bringing up the prize


    is this THE one? i am still happily married to the GF1, but cannot help but notice new cameras in the room….

  • David, I am starting to really enjoy the GF3 with the Summilux 25mm. It has a touch screen function on the back that works very well. You compose and touch where you want to focus and it focuses and takes the image. The focus is amazingly fast much faster than my D700 was.


    this essay is only personal…it is definitely not a compendium of OBX…simply a personal vignette…Jeff you are right…but it is funny i always shoot at home…and always have projects going at home , based on home…American Family for one..but nothing published from home for a long time….RIO is my last away from home essay i think…Family Drive will be the final at home….then? i join the circus or something….

  • ANNE…

    yes, you are right…and you would know..come back down when you can…your house has moved…four blocks south..yes, they saved it by moving it before the ocean moved it…

  • David. More likely to be an attempt at an M9 Killer..and since you have one of those but still seem to favour the GF then maybe not in your case…Although; you can compose and shoot using the lcd screen which, apparently, is a boon for you older folks :)))) and not something, I believe, that the M allows.

  • John, David

    Yes, I’ve been checking out the new Fuji, from the specs and the buzz it seems spectacular. Will wait and see. They seem to have listened to the criticisms of the x100 issues. The deal breakers for me would be auto-focus speed, turn on time.

    I probably won’t be buying one in any case, partly because the camera is about the same size as an M9..which is too big for a personal carry along camera for me.

  • Stir that OBX red sky which is are hundred times redder than red and love. Tell us about that continuous full moon and all the outlaws and misfits who dance under it’s mojo.

    Anyway I’m sure the lightning of inspiration will strike when you stop searching…

    I’m off! Got to keep working on my two essays I want to show you.

  • John
    Your are right about the lcd viewfinder, I actually bought the x100 because of the optical viewfinder, but find I use the electronic viewfinder most of the time.

    Curious why you don’t seem to get along with the M9?

  • Yeah..

    “… or something” is my bet.. :)

  • writing sucks…
    hmmm..especially if you’re good at it

  • its ok if you’re not, coz nobody will notice anyways..but if u have Akaky’s reputation then yeah it sucks coz u always have to keep up with the standards HE (Akaky) himself already set for the rest of us:)

  • I really like the GF’s for size and focusing speed, but when I was researching the purchase I saw that the x100 was much, much better for noise, pretty much across the iso range but especially at higher settings. It’s quite comparable to the 5D mkII. The x100 is a bit slow and clunky for focusing, but it’s better than most cameras were throughout most of the history of photography and I find I can muddle by. If the new one is anywhere near as good as the GF’s on focusing, it will be an SLR killer.

  • a civilian-mass audience

    AKAKYYYYYYYYYYYYY…you are home…u…yeah,babe…!!! 100 will be mine though:)
    and whatever PANOS said

    ANNIE…welcome home…!!!

    THOMAS where are you?…I want my birthday cake…

    EVA…you forgot to tell me…rain is here:(…BUT I know MYEVA…you are in the darkroom
    and I love you…

    GORDON…say hi to MARTHA and family

    PAUL…Viva Barcelona !!!…

    oime…you are so many…I’ll be back…chickens need me…

  • John, I think you are right about the Fuji targeting the M9. A thread on the Rangefinder Forum mentions that Fuji will be releasing an M-mount adapter for the X-Pro-1.

  • I think amelie’s observation/idea about vignettes a la (did I just really say that??) E.B White is an awesome idea for a narrative about OBX. Just seems….right, somehow.

    Spontaneous, fluid, multi-threaded.

  • like the surf…a pattern with no pattern….

  • andrew..

    agree.. and fit’s the Comic Book style where we’ve spent some time in OBX..

  • Civi.. no rain here, just freezing cold.. love ya too :)

  • “is this THE one? i am still happily married to the GF1, but cannot help but notice new cameras in the room”

    Seems to be a guy thing. Same goes for cars, technology, women…sigh.

  • Civi

    Martha and my mom both say hi. They are looking for a rhubarb relish recipe, yum.

  • If I had enough wonga I would treat myself to an M9. It would be the end of all my woes and camera gear faggot lust, although I don’t suffer too much from that affliction. I have no need for anything higher than 800 ISO, just nice and small enough to hang on my shoulder under a jacket.

  • Civi, btw, mom will be 82 on Sunday

  • Silence in music is easily overlooked. Is it the notes that you’re hearing, or is it the silence in between those notes that makes us fall in love with a tune? Of course I was wondering if this could be similar in photography? An ex girlfriend of mine is a highly talented painter and she once explained to me how if she was drawing a chair she never really saw or recognized the chair. All she could see was the spaces between the chair and her imaginary frame made by the sheet of paper or canvas.

  • PAUL,

    I agree… space is highly underrated. It seems that the older I get, the more I wish to simplify.

  • In the spirit of today’s tech-talk, and honouring the new girl on the block…

    Steve invited me to one of the newspapers he freelances for in order to get my cameras cleaned by the Nikon Professional Service technicians during one of their regular visits. I KNOW how to clean a sensor, but wanted to get my shutter speeds checked on a couple of old film cameras. There were four photographers present, with the same number of representatives from Nikon. It turned out they couldn’t assess my shutters as they didn’t bring the needed analyzer.

    No problem for me; it was a treat just to see how the pros clean a sensor. Using a sharp-pointed hemostat – simply a surgical set of pliers – they grabbed a piece of lens cleaning paper in the hemostat’s grip and then wound it slightly askew to build it up at the end. This stub, which looks a little like a spliff, was dipped in methyl hydrate and then swabbed on the sensor.

    Anyway, it turned out the main reason for the gathering was to give us a first-glance at the new flagship Nikon D4. Fantastic! We had two of the three in Canada in our midst; roll-out is set for mid-February. Quite an amazing body. I forget all of the bells and whistles (I don’t know much about the Nikons to begin with) but this shoots at 10 fps, with a buffer for about 200 RAW images. A new memory card has been designed. There is built-in wireless which allows for computer-directed focusing and shooting; automatic internet transfer. A Nikon manufactured microphone has in-body controls, including stereo volume adjustment. Dx lenses can be used, and new ergonomics allow focus points to shift as the body is moved from landscape to portrait position.

    There is one other thing: the reps claim the dynamic range has been improved, but surprisingly they think it still doesn’t match the DR of film. I thought digital had surpassed that fence-post awhile ago. The D4 has a +/- 3EV built-in HDR function, but that is separate from the processor’s DR capability.

    There was plenty more, but I forget much of it, and I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to get the numbers straight. After two hours the presentation was finished, and I asked Steve to take a grabshot of my M3 alongside the D4. As we were setting up, all four of the reps fairly well ran over to our side of the boardroom table, and I’m not overstating it in any way when I tell you they began to fondle the M3. Out came their V1’s and they began shooting macros. My M3 is early early vintage and they recorded all that differentiates it from the later versions. “See? No frameline indicator lever” Click, click. “Notice the old European shutter speeds?” Click, click. “It’s older than me.” Click, click.

    They even took photos of one another holding the M. You should realize that even though the reps were quite young, one of them was instrumental in the design/development of the D4; one of the pros of the Pros. Seeing him getting so excited over over a vintage body was a thrill. As Gordon says, maybe it’s a guy thing. Men do like “strange” for sure, but it doesn’t always have to be the new girl that grabs our interest; the ones with a little mileage can be just as much fun to chase, thank-you very much!

  • Jeff…

    Rest assured an old hen always makes the best chicken soup :)!

  • Paul..

    Yes.. the silence between notes.. and the dissonance solving itself into consonance.. or the opposite, building up.. I wonder if OBX baby has been born in the meantime..

  • a civilian-mass audience

    THOMAS…thanks for the B-cake…!!!…I am sending FB message;)


    GORDON…oh,GORDON,your LADIES are glowing…thank you for sharing!

    PAUL…yes,you got it chicken soup…!

    JEFF… “the ones with a little mileage can be just as much fun to chase”…how much mileage are we talking about?:))))))))))

    BURNIANS…Good morning from FROSTY Greece…FROSTFROG keep rolling!!!


  • David – You know I write and write – but believe it or not, I go through what you are going through now. One of the best writing experiences I ever had was my piece in NG. My editor made me rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until I got it right. He never changed one word. He pointed out where I needed to make changes and then let me do it.

    Civi – I am rolling – just posted the first of what will be the outtake series from my Times Square shoot. After I get up tomorrow, I will start posting and then I will keep it up until the day is over and that will finish up the outtake series. It will be rough as hell, but its a blog, so one cannot expect perfection.

  • Justin, Eva and Jeff…

    Space, silence and simplicity seem to me to be pretty equal. I also wish simplicity and actually I have always searched, reminds me of peace. Yes and dissonance and consonance the climax as one reaches the other is sublime and we all somehow yearn that feeling. Mr Nikon guys stop complicating things your biggest fans the ones who have always been round your yard yearn for simplicity. Ease of use, so please remember Jeff’s M3 next time you sit designing a new camera. Simplicity, easy, small nothing too hard to create or perhaps it is? Make it even easier just pull out an Fm3a and chuck in a digital sensor and I’m sure Fuji, Canon and Leica may begin to worry just a little.

  • Talkng of opinions (other thread)
    another underated american

  • Michael webster
    You might start at Erich lessing, travelling there via Jerome Liebling. You would certainly want to stop off at jean gaumy for a cup of tea and a slice of cake before continuing up cartier-bresson avenue, avoiding the verticals if you can. A little visit to mccullens bradford work and PJG’s welsh studies should set you up nicely for a little smith or strand. And round of with a little b roads jaunt around to J streit j polleross or heimo aga.
    These are all worthy benchmarks.

  • John, benchmarks for what? Dynamic composition? You know I don’t play that game. Although I agree it’s necessary to be aware of what others have done, I think sometimes people go too far down that road. I’m just looking at the photographs in front of me. The composition of any one of them is either dynamic or banal or it’s not. Doesn’t matter what someone else did in the past. Derivative (and I’m not saying these are derivative) is not the same as uninteresting or banal.

    Not talking about the subject, but the composition, do you really find #12 to be uninteresting or banal? Or #16? If so, why?

  • “Anyway, I’m curious about what you consider to be interesting composition?” Make your mind up michael.
    what game do you play??

  • Why the hostility, John? I’m not attacking you. Just thought you were open to conversation about composition since you’re the one who brought it up.

    But about the games, were we talking about, say, literature, I wouldn’t consider an answer like, “well, to know what I’m talking about you need to read Ulysses, War and Peace, Gravity’s Rainbow, and the collected works of Proust” to be a serious answer. I would consider that a game to avoid giving a serious answer. And I wouldn’t play that game by coming back with something like “well, I’ve read all of those but you need to read the Bible in the original Hebrew or Greek, the encyclopedia Britannica, and Shakespeare in it’s entirety to understand my point.” See what I mean?

    So talk about it or don’t. I would like to hear and consider your opinions on this subject, but I have plenty of other things to do if you’re not interested in sharing. And I’m certainly not looking for a fight. Maybe it’s the phase of the moon or something, but it seems everywhere I look on the internets these past few days, people with similar outlooks are viciously attacking each other over miniscule differences.

  • Hostile?? where??
    You asked for examples..I supplied some. Then you say you didnt want them
    This work is straight up bw docu. no contemporary spin or artistic bias. ‘Here is a story and here are the pictures to support it.’…cool. Nothing wrong with that. I just find them comparatively dull.

    All those people I mentioned have done work in the same vein. View them and then re-view this and tell me you do not see the difference. If not then this conversation is even more pointless than it already was.

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