I honestly can't tell you how long it's been since I had an actual vacation and not a "well it's a work trip but we'll call it a vacation even though you're still working 8-10 hour days with your friends" trip. That's what my weekend in Nashville was supposed to be, but thankfully because of some paintball drama, I was able to say "fuck paintball" and just enjoy myself, the city, and the people. You never realize just how taxed you are mentally and for me it felt like I was trying to get a car to go just a little bit further with the gas light on and somehow there's still just enough left to keep going that extra mile. Even now as I type this I'm finding it difficult because it's like a switch has been flipped that I'm back in the real world, grinding away at all the various projects I'm working on. Nashville was exactly what I needed.
Two things were very evident to me during my time there: People there like to smoke and people there like to party. I got a concussion playing hockey back in November and haven't really drank any alcohol because I still feel symptoms here and there (mainly headaches) but 3 full days in Nashville made up for the 6 months of non drinking. I had to call it a night early on Saturday as my concussion crept up on me and finally won, but Friday alone was probably enough to last me the weekend truth be told. I can't sing enough praises about Nashville because the people are friendly, the weather was fantastic during my time, and overall it's just a ton of fun. It's easy to see why there's so many transplants living there. If I ever get the opportunity to go there again, my answer will never be "Nah" because I enjoyed it there so much. I have to give major thanks to my friend Janeta who showed me around because she took me to awesome places around the city, giving me tons of information and interesting tidbits, and also introduced me to some fantastic people that I wish I lived closer to because of how much I laughed while hanging out with them. Lauren, if you're reading this, I have about a million more hats that I can bring with me next time so we can keep swapping.
I'll keep this part short and just interject if there's anything interesting to say. Friday I explored the downtown area and didn't really stick out too much as it was full of tourists the deeper I went into the concrete jungle.
So I ended up hanging out here for a little bit, perfect spot to get some sun and it seemed like a really popular place for the locals to hang out during lunch time to do the same thing
They're not joking around when they call themselves the Music City
Saturday after some lunch we met up with Janeta's friends and did some more day drinking, this time I actually did bring my camera with me since it was light out and a gorgeous day.
Sunday Janeta and I went to Centennial Park which also has the Parthenon there, which was pretty neat to see. I'm not much of a portrait photographer but I had a new lens with me that I bought and wanted to test out some of its capabilities so Janeta (begrudgingly) accepted her role as my model.
Technical bits: I tried to frame this shot so that the trees in the background didn't cut through her head, although you can tell that I missed by a little bit at the very top. I also really like the background on this one since it's difficult to tell that this was taken at a pond that was located in the park. I shot this at f/3.5 because I noticed at f/2.8 the lens tends to have a ton of depth of field fall off, so I stopped down a bit to get Janeta's whole face in focus rather than one side of it. Overall even shooting at 3.5 I'm really satisfied with the separation of the subject to background. The photo below you can see that I was able to keep the trees from cutting through her head.
One thing I learned from my friend Jimmy is that to be a really good portrait photographer it's important that your subject be comfortable with you and more importantly, with the camera. I remember getting my senior portraits done when I was in high school, it can be a little intimidating with a camera in your face. Even when I'm with friends that know me well, when I bust out the camera to try to capture a candid moment they'll notice it immediately and do something that I was hoping they wouldn't do. It makes things difficult for me, but I enjoy the challenge. Jimmy advocated that to help people get comfortable with the camera would be to have it out, but don't snap any photos just so that they know it's there and it's nothing to really be intimidated by. One way to accomplish that is to make them laugh. Naturally I'm hilarious, so that's what I did with Janeta. Maybe one day I'll get the hang of this photography thing.
Last thing before I'm done: I bought a roll of Kodak T-Max 400 and burned through it while I was down there, however I need to pick up some more supplies before I can get it developed but I'm excited to see what I got. One of the reasons why I like shooting film so much is because it forces me to think, especially shooting with black and white film, you have to think in black and white so you have a tendency to notice the minute details. Or maybe people already do and I'm just glazing it over half the time. Regardless, once those are developed and everything, as long as they aren't ruined by user error I'll get them scanned and uploaded. It's been a long time since I've done developing but it's incredibly rewarding when you see everything after you've finished.
I've mentioned it a few times, but I'll be in Joliet, IL for Living Legends 8 where I'll be taking photos and doing videos for PbNation so be sure to keep an eye on YouTube for that when it's released, I have about 3-4 different things I'm in the process of filming or planning on filming. Adios!
Canon 1D Mark IV