Say ‘Cheese’ — Oct. 19, 2021

What’s Below 👇
On being self-taught 📷
The Bee Battle 🐝
Ahhh, Ben Platt 🎶

I set up a little makeshift portrait studio today in a training room at my office. Lights, a backdrop — the color of which matches our new brand hue — and a tripod with my Nikon Z6. It all looked very fancy-shmancy.

Here’s the thing: I know nothing about portrait photography.

Well, to be more specific, I knew nothing about portrait photography. Candid photos? Action shots? Sports photography? All that stuff I can do. But then again, there was a time I didn’t know a dang thing about doing those well either.

When I fled the newspaper industry in 2009 and landed in the safe harbors of marketing and communications, I was a one-trick pony with a few associated side skills. I could write like no one else. But take great photos? Make movies? Design ads? Build websites? Run social media ad campaigns? Come up with marketing campaigns? Nope.

So I taught myself.

Before there were handy-dandy YouTube videos that could teach you everything from the ins-and-outs of Adobe Premiere Pro to how to replace your toilet, there was my method of “try different things until it works.” That’s a good method for, say, photography, though probably not so much for the toilet thing.

When I started my new job with The Allen Brake Team in August, I took some headshots of a few employees. They sucked. The lighting source was the fluorescents overhead, and the backdrop was a wall. Everyone looked like they’d just woken up in the morning after an all-night bender, which is a hard thing to do with some of the Beautiful People I work with.

So I googled that shit and learned about studio lighting. I asked Boss Lady to order me some stuff. I took it home, turned my home office into a JCPenney portrait studio and made Boy The Younger sit still long enough for me to move a managerie of lights around until I got the look I wanted. Voila! I did it.

Employee photos started yesterday and run through Thursday.

I Blame Elon Musk

There are many benefits to the work-from-home revolution. Tops on my list today is “You don’t have to deal as much with idiot drivers in traffic.” To whoever was driving the Tesla while I was trying to get on I-270 from Manchester at about 5:15 p.m. today, it’s probably not a good idea to dart across two lanes of traffic with no signal light at relatively high speeds without checking to see if any other vehicles are occupying the space you’re cutting across. Just a thought.

In Other Writing …

The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day

‘You say I’m your hero, but you are the one who saved me.’

Ben Platt, ‘Imagine’

Dead Wasps

Yesterday’s observations of Wasps Behaving Oddly turned into today’s plan to Murder The Wasps. Wifey Poo brought me home not one but two ample cans of wasp and hornet killer. I took one of those cans — thinking two would just be showing off — and went out to the deck before dinner. I pointed it at the amassed blob of stinging bastards that sat where porch post met roof and sprayed.

For a second, I had an image of a million pissed-off wasps emerging through the slats from a hive the size over which news crews would marvel after my million-times-stung body was removed from the scene, but alas, no such thing happened. Most of the clump fell to the deck floor quickly. A few others struggled to hang on to life for a few seconds before giving it up. One who fell even valiantly tried to climb back up to his perch in the rafters until he was overcome by poison.

I feel kinda bad. I mean, the wasps were just being wasps. They can be no other thing. And because their waspyness doesn’t jive with my humanness, I killed them. Seems like a bad-karma thing to do.

Today’s Reasons to Keep Living

  1. Boy The Elder comes home from college this weekend, as my parents travel from their North Carolina home for their first visit since that one guy coming from China brought that thing that was just going to disappear.
  2. High temps starting Thursday are supposed to be only in the low 60s. Fall!!!!
  3. My favorite coffee mug.

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