Is it too small?

I'm not talking about skirts or meal portions here. I'm talking about cameras.

And when it comes to my everyday picture takers, I think pint sized is perfect. Case in point: the camera that's always in my backpack is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II. I love it. And not once have I said to myself, "Gosh, I wish this thing was heavier"

I then scored a half-off deal on a Panasonic GM5 with 12-32mm zoom lens. Smaller yet. I was infatuated from the moment we first met. But I wasn't financially ready to take the next step, since the introductory price was double what I just paid. Deep discounts can do wonders for a relationship.

Some photographers think that cameras like the OM-D and GM5 are too small. They must have big meats. I wear XL gloves, and I don't have a problem with them. Maybe they don't want to invest in a new scaled-down shoulder bag. Could it be that a bulky DSLR with a long zoom lens is a confidence builder?


And then it dawned on me: nimble photographers don't need luxury liners when they sail into port. We might motor in on a dinghy, but we do so stylishly, and without concern about rocking the boat.

"My camera might be compact, but I take big pictures."

Size does matter. And small is beautiful.



Move Along

"Thank you for your quick replay."

I get that a lot. Business folks are often shocked when they receive a response the same day. I guess it doesn't happen that often.

(Although I know some of them are dismayed too, because they just got rid of whatever it was, and now it's back. Sorry about that.)

For me, it's another aspect of nimbleosity. An unread letter sitting on the counter adds weight to my day. It's unfinished business. And it gets heavier as time goes on.

Same goes for email. Unopened correspondence is a tax on productivity. My approach is to reply as fast as possible sharing as much information as I have. I used to think that I needed all of the answers first. I was wrong. Most people are fine with my top of mind.

I tackle the mail three times a day. The rest of the time I'm working. But it's often enough to keep the piles to a minimum.

There's more to being nimble than carrying a light shoulder bag. A clean office makes for a fertile mind. When I go to the mailbox, I read each piece of mail, then either discard it or assign an action (such as a bill to be paid at the end of the month). Then back to work I go.

My second goal is to tackle mid-level queries by the end of the week. I don't need to start my Monday behind a pile of unanswered emails and letters.

Just move along.

I want to pedal through life fast enough to feel the wind on my face. And at the end of the day, rest my stocking feet on the couch while spending time with the family, 

possibly discussing a few of the items that used to be on my desk.


Junk Box

There's a lot of Macgyvering that goes on at my studio. A large percentage of the clever solutions that I write about involve some type of recycled item.

This is a paradox of sorts because I hate clutter. I don't like things stacked up or piled in the corner. If any item is going to survive at my place, it needs to find its place where it can be retrieved when needed, but otherwise out of the way.

Often that location is the junk box. The joke is that the stuff inside isn't junk at all. They're useful items that are in-between jobs. (You can't protest too loudly about this or people will think you to be a packrat in denial.) I know that these odds and ends will have their moment when they are the perfect solution to a problem.

This reminds me of a favorite George Carlin quip: If you have a pile of odds and ends on a table, and they are all swept off except for one, what do you have left? An odd or an end?

Here's an example: for today's TDS article titled, LED Panels - Great, but Diffuse Them, I found the perfect square of diffusion material in a junk box. It was part of an old soft box setup that had an inner panel as well as one on the outside. I didn't need the inner panel back then, but I kept it. And now it's part of my LCD rig.

It's funny how often readers will ask me where I got a mentioned tripod head, clamp, grip, or other item that in reality came from the box. I feel kind of bad not being able to point them to an item in the B&H catalog. But the honest answer is, if I had to wait for a delivery every time I had a brainstorm, very few of my inventions would ever see the light of day. 

That's why the junk has to be somewhat organized. Not being able to find an item that you know you have is maddening.  It kills the moment, and all the Macgyverness fades away.

I know some people have junk drawers. But honestly, that's just not enough real estate. Because truth be told... I actually have more than one junk box.

But you already knew that.


The Weight of the World

There are so many things of which we have no control.

Decisions made in the workplace often feel capricious, especially when they directly affect our livelihood. The actions of family members, whom we're inextricably connected to, often fall outside of our influence. And don't even get me started on geopolitical events.

To combat this, I've learned the difference between control and action. And it's the latter of the two where our power lies. 

Here's a mundane example. I have no control over traffic. Where I live, it's somewhat predictable at best. And instead of stewing in my car over things that I cannot change, I do something. I get off the freeway and find a coffee shop where I can work and be productive. I take an alternate route that may be longer, but at least I'm moving. And because I travel light, I always have the tools I need to implement the change of course that's required.

I can't control the other cars, but I can certainly take charge of my sanity.

This is another facet of nimbleosity: the ability to pivot. It matters not that you knock me down if I know how to fall. I'm just going to get up and move again (and most likely in the opposite direction).

We should not carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. Choose a light messenger bag instead.

And let your burden be measured in ounces, not pounds.


There's More to Work than Business

Everybody has bills to pay. We all know that.

But how we go about fulfilling those obligations leaves room for choice. I've noticed that some folks have a broader view of their job than others. And as a result, conduct themselves differently.

For example, here in the Bay Area, we have a young man playing basketball for the Golden State Warriors named Stephen Curry. Among his many accomplishments, he's a two-time all star, NBA MVP, world champion, husband, and father of two daughters. I visit him at his office as much as possible. In fact, I'm a season ticket holder. 

Professional basketball is an expensive pastime. I signed up when the Warriors were a losing team. That story is interesting in itself, but I'll save it for another time. My motivation was to spend quality evenings with my teenage boys. Mission accomplished. I have many great memories with them at Oracle Arena.

In order to support my visits to Mr. Curry's office, I have to sell he bulk of my tickets each season. This arrangement has had its own benefits, chief among them is meeting other dads with young ones who have the same intentions as mine.

Last night, one of those dads, Joe, took his son to see the Warriors for his birthday.  I advised Joe to go early while the players were warming up, and to show his son where to position himself to get autographs. My boys loved doing this.

"But don't get you hopes up," I cautioned. Most players don't sign, and you never know what, if anything, you'll get. I crossed my fingers for them and waited to hear back the next day.

Stephen Curry signing autographs at Oracle Arena. Photo by Joe Ghio.

Joe wrote me and said they had a great time. He thanked me for the tip and said his son was very happy. Attached to the email was this photo of Stephen Curry signing. The stars were shining for them last night.

Some people are better at their jobs than others. We pay Stephen to help us win basketball games. He does that very well. But he takes it upon himself to go beyond that. 

On these nights, while he's preparing to battle men much larger than himself, he looks up and sees a line of young fans standing along the edge of the tunnel, clutching Sharpies in hand. And on many of those nights, he stops for a moment to create as many memories as possible.

Is it because he's a father too? I don't know. But I believe what makes some people special goes beyond the definition of their job. It's what I call court vision. Seeing that there's more to work than just business.