I mentioned in the previous post that I spent yesterday bike-shopping (not today. Many stores in Wisconsin are closed on Sundays, in historical commemoration of the no longer in force blue laws). A few random notes, some of them photography-related:
How it hangs: A Leica M is the perfect weight and shape to hang from your shoulder while riding a bike. Unlike smaller and lighter cameras it doesn't flop or fly around, and unlike larger cameras with snoutier lenses it doesn't get in the way. It just hangs happily from its UpStrap staying in place ready to go when wanted.
The indication is: On the basis of an admittedly small sample, it appears that bike people are just as cra... um, "zealous" as camera people.
Unsaid line: A pretty young woman, talking to a friend about what they were going to do that night as she put on her bike helmet. "...I don't know if I've had enough rest. Pub-crawling takes stamina. It can go on for a while." And I think: right, from about the age of seventeen until you get married.
Sign o' the times: As I toodled down various residential streets and bike paths on the East Side of Milwaukee I naturally overheard bits and snippets of conversation from here and there as I passed people. An old man asking a passerby for a light; two college students yelling happy practiced insults at one another; two men in heavy conversation while walking on the footpath, when one of them reaches for a cellphone, saying, "Oh, excuse me, I've got to take this." Best one, in the Some Things Never Change Dept.: I was rolling on a tree-shaded sidewalk and heard a twentysomething woman say to her friend, "...Omigod did I tell you? You will not believe what I saw yesterday, but I just could not get my cellphone out in time to take a picture of it for you..!"
Bagel man: The guy at Bruegger's Bagels who sold me my lunch was interested in bikes, but more interested in my camera. He told me he still does a little medium-format black-and-white, still has a darkroom in his apartment, and had just accepted his first two paying (digital) jobs, a wedding and a baby portrait. Got a card? No. Got a website? No. My distilled advice: get yourself a business card and hand it out whenever the subject of photography comes up with anybody. Put some of your work online even if it's only on SmugMug or something and put the link on your card. And even if it's not all your best work, make sure it's all exactly the kind of work you want to do. Not the kind you have done, the kind you want to do.
At least his name, and maybe one of his pictures, would have appeared right here right now if he had already done one or both of those things.
Bike shopping resumes tomorrow. Knowing me, I will make a final decision just about when it snows.
Featured Comment by Kurt Shoens: "Today's lunchtime epiphany: Leicas are to cameras what fixies are to bicycles.
"I'm probably the millionth person to reach this conclusion."
[Note: A fixie is a fixed-gear bike, i.e., no derailleur and no brakes, used by very skilled and experienced cyclists such as bike messengers. And cloned by hipsters. —Ed.]
[And speaking of fixies, you really should check out Carla und Henriette Hochdorfer, suggested by Hugh Crawford...not really pertinent to anything, but...amazing. —Ed.]
Featured Comment by Sandy: "I love cameras and I love bikes and I've long made a camera/fixie analogy. To me, the 50mm ƒ/1.8 prime lens is the fixie of the camera world. Cheap and simple, no bells or whistles, and it brings you back to the very basics of what the activity is all about."
Featured Comment by Tina Manley: "Re 'Put some of your work online even if it's only on SmugMug or something.' Only on SmugMug!! SmugMug is the best—best service, best rates. If you're looking for a great deal and a place to post your photos, you can get unlimited storage with the pro account. I couldn't be happier. Check them out! Great advice to the bagel guy, by the way."
Featured [partial] Comment by Stan B.: "Do not, do not, do not carry your camera on a strap while riding! No matter how comfortable it felt during your test ride, things will get considerably hairier during real life conditions...." [Read Stan's full comment in the Comments section. —Ed.]
Featured Comment by James McDermott: "I ceased to combine photography and cycling due to trauma. In 1988, on my first day's holiday at Zakynthos, I blithely (dumb, dumb, dumbly) placed my Contax RTSII in a hire-cycle's front basket and almost immediately went into one of the island's trademark 'potholes' (read: mine-shaft opening). The Contax skips merrily down the road ahead of me, staying in one piece, amazingly (small dents in the pentaprism and the lens filter ring), but requiring major surgery before it worked once more. Twelve camera-less days followed in one of the more photogenic Mediterranean islands. Then we had an earthquake."
Featured [partial] Comment by Hugh Crawford:
Scan: M. Butkus