It's like walking into a brick wall

Updated: Oct 16, 2018

With 38 or so seemingly outstanding photos of the flock of pigeons, it’s time to move on. The question of course, is, where to?


I have sat and pontificated in the past, brainstorming so to speak, and came up with several good plans – but they all were quite complex and contain many hoops to jump through. It’s not that I’m shy of a challenge, but I have learned through the pool hose series and now with the flock of pigeons, that good ideas are pretty much like a freight train that bears down on you so quickly that you have no recourse but to run or meet it head on.


While it took me nearly 10 years of watching the pool hose in the backyard before the train hit me, it did eventually overtake me, and the results were quite satisfying. I did observe the pigeons for several weeks before the light went off in the 10% of the brain we use, and I grabbed the camera and started clicking.


We used to say ‘What he needs is good wop upside the head with a 2 X 4 to get his attention’. And that’s probably what’s going to happen to me. It certainly won’t be the first time.


It was my third year of college (and my third college) when I entered the journalism school at Syracuse University in the fall of 1969. I was pretty smug and full of myself. After all, I had been a ‘photographer’ for two years now, had shot my first wedding (for just under $50), and possessed a portfolio of about 5 images.


I went into Mr. Demarest’s office (head of the photography department) to show him why I should skip all of the basic photography courses and jump right into the deep end with the big boys. He was unimpressed and sent me packing – I would start with photo 101 like everyone else.


At least, I surmised, I can skip the basic darkroom orientation, since I already was an expert in developing film and making prints. Mr. Richards agreed, and while the rest of the class stood around and waited for a grad student to walk them through the basics, I strolled up to the equipment window and requested all of the assorted sundry gear required to start printing.


I WAS the cock-of-the-walk as I strolled past the class and down the hall into the recesses of the darkroom. I walked straight into the wall at the end of the hallway, breaking my glasses in half, crushing my pride and dignity, and summarily ending my darkroom session to show everyone else how far I had come and how much catching up they all had to do.


That was my ‘wop upside the head’, and it certainly did get my attention and humble me (a bit) – and it taught me that when opportunity or inspiration comes knocking, it can do so quietly, or with the roar of an approaching train.


So I will just proceed cautiously, look both ways before crossing the street, and sooner or later, whatever is supposed to be next, will drop into my lap, or nail me squarely between the eyes. I’m ready, I think.

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