The fog wins!
DISCLAIMER - there was a tv show when i was a kid called, "Lost in space," that was a prototype of sorts to star trek where you had a strange cast of character and this tin can type robot that would flail its arms saying "warning! danger!" when it detected something strange or unusual. well, i have no clue what i am about to write about, so i will stick "warning, danger!" to you! read at your own peril.
I guess hope springs eternal that days of radiant sunshine and warm weather will hit Switzerland this summer! Wait. It is October; there was no summer here, just a sense of time travel where the seeming perpetual fog, cool temperatures and loads of dampness covered up summer.
One of the better applications with modern mobile phones is the ability to track weather. I was all excited watching today be the “sunny” day. I am doing this photo shoot for my brother in law in a space that has some of the most beautiful, warm, golden, bright light on the planet. Simply stunning light.
Well, aside from improvising I have had to do with equipment, props and stuff (I have to laugh about all the workarounds I have done to get something near what I wanted) it should come as no surprise that the sun didn’t shine till about 4 pm, of which the light is in the complete opposite direction of what I wanted.
I am typing watching a herd of cows all meander up a farmer’s road that I look out upon. I really would have even improved the idea of the photo I had wanted. But all you see is fog, and then brown blobs slowly coming into focus as they go off to be milked.
It just makes perfect sense why the last three mornings; I basically get up 30 minutes before sunrise and ride a bike 30 minutes up a hill. They call the place a berg, meaning “mountain” but I still think it is a hill, even though when I get in to set up and adjust for the photo shoot, I am sweating like a pig.
I have to wait a few hours before the fog might clear and I get another chance to setup what I call version#3 backup for this shot. I guess I am ok, as I knew walking in that the official back up design was really nice, so there is nothing to loose, but my time in going for something I hoped would be great.
Notice, I said “great.” Achieving this with minimal equipment, no lights, and no reflectors, softbox's and good lenses…is a bit difficult. But I am brain damaged and/or really like the challenges of creation. I am not sure which one and/or both?
What it did get me to think about as I cursed a digital camera that has two 12 gigabytes of storage, but allowed me only 25 images…yeah, I am b*tching right now. I have a digital camera, yet it is like shooting film, you only get 25 images at a time, then delete them. (I understand it is a nice way to back up holiday memories, but shit – it is like the tripod I borrowed – the idea is no parts wobble and warble around…it is used to keep a camera still so you can get creative and work better)
I digress; I will strip the tripod and fix it for my other brother in law. While it is rare you need them these days, when you have no light, and are covered with a thick layer of fog, you really NEED one.
Ok…this will get me to the idea of skunk works environments and why I love working in them over the traditional corporate design methodology.
As I sat here whining, complaining and b*tching a bit about the seeming insanity of using the tools I had and trying to get them to do perhaps more than they seem to have life within them to do, the love of the skunk works and the lab spaces we build and will build in Colorado became even more focused.
It is like the issue today. The sun didn’t come out – well, the sun is out, but in this part of the planet, the creator of the universe said, “let there be fog, so that mark can innovate, learn patience and not complain! I shall smite his pride!”
You win god! You win!
But back to that lab space. When you design your space to minimize and cut out the vast majority of normal corporate time that seems to be spent with a juggling act to be productive, yet, really coordinate and help with teams and groups of people – you can find yourself running into a lot of people that like to suck and waste your time.
In a skunkworks or on the road units with shows, I don’t really remember this happening much. People simply didn’t last very long if they didn’t produce. With the skunkworks, you assemble small teams of people that like to work and solve problems that tend to be more than non-linear progressions. Each person should have a few talents they are good at, and you put them in a room where you give them problems, quality tools, resources, time – then get out of the way.
That is the beauty of the lab. You are not hindered or tethered by “normal” ways of working and thinking, waiting for three weeks for someone to approve a part or tool that you would have to justify (some of the horror stories I have heard within corporations for getting simple office supplies – or when I was on the road with Feld Entertainment, we bought our own computers because it saved us so much time versus using what the company thought was good.)
The reason I am rambling is that if you have standardization with tools, that is great. You don’t really need that in a skunkworks, as you never are working on standardized solutions. So the tool box you create for yourself, is much like a mechanic – since you don’t go sit and only design and drop off the papers to a fabrication shop, where they have to schedule the time, resources and people to make it. You take the sketch or idea and walk over to the tools and make a crude prototype yourself to test it and see if the idea works. It just saved a tremendous amount of time and money that normal corporate structure simply doesn’t have the ability to operate with, as many employees are there to get a wage, not think they are doing something as part of the company.
it is like practicing working and learning new tools, or new techniques on one you are good with. it takes time, repetition and practice to get to the point where you seem to have an entire lab strapped on to you, as if some exoskeleton. that is when the beauty of a skunkworks lab really takes off. your lab is a big tool kit you strap on and go to work with. you don't write up nice plans, submit proposals to "try" and wait for approval to do what is common sense.
Being a great designer is a gift, being a great fabricator is another gift. But being able to take and idea and build it, is a hybrid type of gift.
I guess that is why I love small teams and skunkwork lab spaces so much. You really can get a whole lot done and transfer the skills into the normal world, which tends to operate in a linear type of thinking. Doing more than one thing is thought of as abnormal.
The fog is not lifting. It is 11 am. I think instead of hoping for that great light, I go do my best to work with digital light.
Plan E, or is it J? here we come!
Yes, i consider this fun…..i do have up to plan M in my head if needed. If anyone has a 50mm f 1.4 nikon lense, how fast can you get it here?
*thus concludes my morning coffee ramble. I drank the cold prop coffee while my fingers typed only god knows what. Hopefully it made sense and you got a good laugh or two. The funny part is that i am not very funny or a comedian.