So I went out shooting Sunday morning with a friend; I had my 5x7, she had her d*g*t*l compact, so it really could hardly have been a more heterogeneous pairing. I was working on my ongoing slo-motion project: 5x7 transparencies of winter mornings in the many little creek bottoms that criss-cross my corner of California (excessive specificity? who, me? :-) ), and she's quite good at what might be called "partially found miniatures"---she arranges objects found in the field into small still-lifes and takes macros of them.

So we're out there in the early-morning mud and a light drizzle, by what seems to be a nameless seasonal tributary of Poway Creek, and I'm looking east up the creek, going in and out from under the darkcloth and fiddling with the composition and focus and movements, as one does; and after what seems like about a year of that process, I finally step back and put a film holder in, and as I'm making the exposure I realize that my friend, crouched with all-consuming intensity over a small stump, is still arranging rocks while she thinks out the composition of the whole thing.

I switch to a wider lens, have to move the tripod to get some uninteresting crud out of the foreground, re-compose and focus and all that. When I'm done, she's found a drowned bug and is adding it to the ensemble on the stump, camera still in her pocket.

By the time she made her first exposure, I think I had three or four sheets done of two completely different subjects, involving two lenses and three tripod positions. Granted, she caught up fairly quickly, but it was the only time I've ever seen large-format landscape photography move faster than d*g*t*l!

I have no particular excuse for posting this story, except that sometimes we all talk too much about gear and process, and not enough about getting out there and using all the technical stuff to, you know, *take* *pictures*. It turns out that part is kind of fun too.

-NT