Prep Work.

I picked up an assignment, many years ago, to take pictures of Magic Johnson right after he gave a speech at a luxury Phoenix resort. I knew his time would be limited, so I arrived early, scouted a good location, and my assistant and I set up four high-powered strobe lights to properly expose him and wonderful Arizona sunset that would happen just as the shot was scheduled to happen.

But what DID happen was that the resort’s circuits weren’t up to the task of handling my strobes and their outdoor lighting at the same time, so my first test shoot blew a breaker and everything went dark.

I had to take a picture of Magic Johnson, and I had to take it NOW, no matter if my primary light source just went into the crapper.

Fortunately for me, I knew that resort pretty well and I knew the outside breezeways looked pretty good and went east-west so there was still light in them even as the sun was going down. I grabbed my assistant, my tripod and a flex fill, and away we all went for an impromptu available light shoot as the light slowly faded in the west.

And the chromes turned out pretty good. Good enough that I picked up two more assignments from the agency who assigned me.

Now think about it… if I hadn’t been familiar with the environment around me and I didn’t have that reflector and/or assistant with me and was inexperienced at slow shutter speed photography, I’d be completely out of luck and would have p!ssed off a basketball legend and not gotten paid by my client for the job.

Familiarity with your surroundings… having a backup plan and backup gear… recognizing what the issue is and working around it on the spot… why does that all seem so familiar? 😉

Oh, and if you get a chance to take photos of Mr. Johnson, do so. He was, BY FAR, the most approachable and laid-back celebrity I’ve ever photographed. It’s not an act with him.

Gallows Humor

All full!

Something about facing imminent danger brings out the comedian in us.

You may have heard about the Facebook event to “Shoot Guns at Hurricane Irma,” but did you hear of
Gathering All Hispanic Moms To Help Get Irma In Her Place, “Destroy Hurricane Irma By Cooling The Atlantic With Ice Cubes,” “Talking reasonably to Hurricane Irma to convince her to stop this cycle” and my favorite, “Buy Hurricane Irma flowers and chocolate and tell her she is important“?

As Monty Python once said, always look on the bright side of life.

Still Don’t Go To Shows

I wrote this almost six years ago, and it’s still true today.

I am just not into gun shows. Don’t know if I ever will be. I’m not really into guns as objects, I’m into guns as tools, and ever since I got my eight guns, I’ve been buying stuff either as backup to what I already own or to compete in specific competitions.

But buying guns because they’re guns? Nah, not really.

This is not really a surprise. I never collected cameras when I was a shooter, and I never bought the latest, greatest gear either. My medium format was a 25 year old ‘Blad, and my 35mm’s were FM2’s and a FG’s, not an F4.

If it works, use it.

Marko posted this on Facebook awhile back, and it reminds me just how long it’s been since I read “The Book Of Five Rings“.

“You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.”

― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

The Short, Happy Life Of Tactical Timmy*.

Maybe one of the things that makes the SpecOps lifestyle so attractive to we in Gun Culture 2.0 is because they tell really, really good stories, and that’s important to us.

We need heroes. We need to aspire to be something that’s more than we are right now, and let’s face it, there are very few really extraordinary armed civilians out there. Most of them are schlubs like me, and that’s totally cool. I’m not all that extraordinary, and quite honestly, neither or most of my friends.

But Green Berets, MARSOC, Navy SEALS? Them’s extraordinary people who tell extraordinary stories.

Gun Culture 1.0 had extraordinary hunters who went to far-off strange places and turned out some great hunting stories from their exploits.

Is it any wonder, then, that we in Gun Culture 2.0 idolize the men of today who go off to far-off strange places and do extraordinary things in order to keep us safe at home?


* Bonus points if you got the literary reference in the title…

Nothing Is Over Until WE Decide It Is!!!!

It’s interesting that the reaction to this post assumed that I was talking about giving up the fight for gun rights.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The fight MUST go on, but the tactics must change to fit the times.

We are winning. 42% of Americans say they own guns, and over half of the people who don’t own guns say they could see themselves owning a gun in the future.

That’s two-thirds of America who either own guns or want to own guns.

That’s winning.

Fear is not a motivator for the majority. Fear is what the minority uses to close ranks and hold ground.

We’re not losing ground anymore. We are the majority now. Let’s act like it.