Monday, May 17, 2010

Rituals, Riding, and Sunday Mornings

One ritual starts and ends each day -- a walk with the dog (and often a portrait -- this one another iPhone Hipstamatic shot). Depending on the quality of my mental state Junior can bring me to the brink of nirvana or the edge of a dark abyss. Mostly the former. I looked at definitions for ritual and realized I may not be using the term accurately to describe actions related to the dog, riding, or photography. I'm not sure I would ascribe religious rite to this but at times it reaches the spiritual. Much depends on my arm though the the distance of tennis ball throwing.

In the end, walking the dog is, well, walking the dog. Necessary, pleasant, often rewarding, and opens doors to ideas beyond the walk. So maybe it is a ritual.

Riding has similar qualities to the dog walk with perhaps even more opportunity for thought and reflection. Even the little rides, the commutes, the errands. I would never be writing this about driving my Ford Ranger.

Sunday mornings are part of an ongoing ritual of riding, photography, and fellowship. The Vespa and I make our way into town to meet my friend Gordon and share work and thoughts on photography. And do some collaborative defusing of our respective self-destructing thinking about our abilities as photographers. Another fine ritual.

And I feel pretty lucky that I get fine free parking in a lovely setting.

Saint's Cafe on a Sunday morning. A good place to meet. And lots of light for pictures. As a ritual destination it is one comfortable place.

That's the look of no prints. I've assumed the same posture only I'm holding a camera taking this picture as Gordon muses over procrastination and indolence. Even as I type this I'm thinking about how to jump start my darkroom time. I have four rolls of film sitting in a development tank in the darkroom. All I have to do is mix a fresh batch of D-76 film developer. Another ritual.

After returning home shortly before noon Junior and I went for another walk to visit another ritual. The annual commemoration of the 28th Division of the United States Army and their contributions to our country since their establishment by General Washington a long time ago.

I wanted to see how Junior would fare with the rumble and chaos of a helicopter landing and he was a champ. Sitting under a tree as the fierce rotor wash hit us he just sat there and squinted as this big bird set down. He was equally comfortable with the Apache gunship but was not as comfortable with one of the Strykers.

There were a few hundred soldiers on hand for the ceremony and Junior took time to share his family's military history with the French Army in World War I. I assume you all know that Belgian Shepherds worked as messenger dogs, guard dogs, and even pulled machine guns.

Junior has no plans to enlist.

These things make a racket. And it is amazing they can fly. A pilot friend says they don't fly. They just beat the air into submission.

Anyways, it's time to go to work. Another ritual.


D. Brent Miller said...

Steve, for me, shooting digital and film creates a little disorder in workflow. I always liked getting into the darkroom to make prints. It's something about the creative process. But, here at the new house, I do not have a darkroom space. For me, the best of both worlds is to shoot film and develop it. Then I digitize it in my scanner. There are programs that try to make digital images look like film, but nothing looks like film but film itself. It's finding a happy medium that allows me to be creative.

Good luck with your prints.

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irondad said...

Interesting. Just this morning I was thinking about how I'm starting to treasure my little rituals more as I get older. Like sitting down with the first cup of coffee and looking out the window while I drink it. Those kind of things.

Maybe it's because people like us still have so many things going on otherwise. Photography, riding, writing, family, and so on. Even Apache gunships touch the ground regularly!

Chuck Pefley said...

Love your description of the dog and fire hydrant ritual ... truly a religious experience for the k-9 -:)

If it's the rangefinder experience that draws you to the Leica, perhaps you might consider an M9? Then again, I guess it might be the cathartic nature of the darkroom ... or not?

Buon viaggio ...

Bob Olcott said...

Thanx for the great photos and tributes. I love the comment about the Chinook helicopter not flying, just beating the air into sumission.

Mike said...

Nice post & photos again, Steve! I really like the one of your parking spot at Saints Cafe. I think it's appropriate to go to a cafe called Saints on Sunday mornings.

You and Junior do some cool stuff together! Even just hangin' out is fun.

Thank you for adding me to your blogroll. I'm humbled and honored.

justdoodleit said...

Chinook on a lawn never looked so cool. Nice blog and nicer stories :)