Friday, December 8, 2006


Isn't there a 1950's or '60s song titled, "Frustration"? If I had a voice, I'd be belting those tunes right now. That's been life behind the viewfinder of this camera.

No, I'm not about to give up. But I feel as though the world of change is coming pretty hard right now. Between learning (and remembering) all the settings of the HVX200 and trying to figure out how Final Cut Pro can be called "easy," I'm about to thrust my head through a brick wall. There they are, trying to show me how easy it is, and within 5 minutes, their words turn to mwah mwah mwah... reminding me of the teacher whose face you never see in the Charlie Brown TV specials (what was her name??)

It's frustrating. And it's also depressing. Shots that I've framed in the camera look good, but they just don't watch very well. You know, it's a bit like the viewfinder has the look of an Ansel Adams print. It's all right there. But when you look at what you've done, it looks so... amateur.

Dudley commented about my situation, today. "You're hitting a glass wall," he said. Right now, it's bullet-proof. Final Cut Pro looms ahead, as yet another thing I've got to master in short order, since I'll be shooting primarily video, some day. The HVX has 100 sub-menus, and I hate the way the camera doesn't keep its last-used settings. You turn it off, and you have to redo everything again. I've tried saving to an SD card, but I can't seem to figure the files' locations.

Somewhere online, I heard there was a website that has more information about the HVX menus, and I hope to some day create a section about that as well. Some parts of the menus are still out of my understanding, because work doesn't give enough time to let you learn new gear. It's just there and you've got to on-the-job it.

Another source of frustration is that so often, I've got to shoot stills of daily assignments. The HVX doesn't get used, which prevents me from getting a daily dose of training in the field. And with the daily jobs, I've been trying to shoot some movie footage. Yesterday, Bob revealed that he checked out some work I shot on a couple who help with a high school booster club.

"You didn't get enough to create a project," he said. That sounds like failure to me. I tried explaining that I had to shoot sports for deadline, and I didn't have time to work the boosters, which started 30 minutes before game time.

When things turn this way, my depression level balloons, and I feel as though it's gotten the size of a zeppelin. This is the first time in years that I've had self doubts. The frustration mounts. I'm not ready to hit the panic button, but I'm slowly running out of confidence.

Giving Them the Slip
Working on my small project didn't help my feelings that I've garnered some bad karma. In the field, capturing some footage of mass transit, I started wrapping up a shoot on North Av when a woman called to me across the tracks. "Sir, are you a Mass Transit employee?"

"No, I am not," I replied, and figured that was a good enough clue that perhaps I wasn't welcome there anymore. Knocking down the tripod, I packed the gear into my albino Honda and started to leave. Driving past the white SUV, there were MTA placards on the doors. And the woman, who was outside, ran back to get into the vehicle as I passed. "Do you want me to do a 'one-eighty'?" was the quote running through my silly head from Kevin Costner's "The Bodyguard," as I slowed to a stop at the traffic light, with the MTA employee right behind me. We turned right to head east and she followed my change to the left turn lane at Mt Royal Avenue, as I simply wanted to get out of there and hit the Jones Falls Expressway. With a traffic light making a long cycle, I sounded like a broken record: "Change, light. Change, light!"

West of the traffic light, rolling with lights and sirens, a police vehicle headed my way, blowing the light and breezing past me, turning left into the MTA stop. It was an MTA police! Just then, the light goes green, and I do a one-eighty, making a legal U-turn to take that highway ramp. The light turns from green to amber, and I've already made up my mind. Damn the red light cameras, full speed ahead! Fortunately, another SUV that had made a right on red at Mt Royal had gotten behind me, and created a classic basketball screen, stopping for the red light as my turtle bopped on the ramp. Of course, in my state of mind, rampant thoughts of fantastic possibilities ran through my head:

Is there an APB out for me?
Has Baltimore raised their terror level?
Will the MTA police come banging on my door as I sleep?
Have they sent my name to a federal watch list?
Will someone secure a warrant and use a ram to check my home while I'm away?

With all those wild scenarios floating through my head, I later returned (after downloading my clips), and saw an MTA employee sitting in his Explorer truck. Explaining what happened, I had hoped that he might call the police, to allay my fears. "I'm sorry, sir," he responded, "but we're forbidden to talk with the media."

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