Photography

Pokédemic?

It had been eight days since Patient Zero.

Eight days since Pokémon Go was unleashed upon the world and some sort of social transformation happened nearly overnight....

I find myself on the way to Folky Fridays in Old Ellicott City, looking to relax with some friends and perhaps have a bit of adventure.  Having been released from the somewhat insular world of the Nine-to-Five, I am taken aback by the sudden change in my surroundings.  As I drive up Main Street, I see groups of two or three or six, mostly high school and college age, all glued to their phones.  Some with backpacks wield extra battery packs, wires spewing forth.  Never have I seen the sidewalks as crowded on any other given Friday evening.

Finally caught my Zubat.

Finally caught my Zubat.

I snag a parking space near the central stoplight and start off to Tonge Row.  More people are milling about here, index fingers swiping furiously on touch screens.  I run into Dan, a summer theatre friend.  We chat a while as he captures a Zubat on the thirtieth try.  "I've used all my Pokéballs," he moans.  Middle schoolers ask us which team we are on - I learn that there are three teams and opponents can battle one another at local gyms, which might be a church or some random building.  All around us, on grassy hills and any available seating, are phone-wielding Pokémon trainers.  Two port-a-johns are set up in the parking lot so these crowds might find some relief.

Stephanie arrives, followed shortly by Justin and Nathan.  We move to a nearby table, straddling two distinct worlds of Americana music lovers on one side and pocket monster collectors on the other.  We talk, observing the crowd of nearly forty people staring at their phones.  A group of young men attempt to sell water from their tailgate cooler.  A dating couple sits nearby, independently catching Pokémon together.

We are joined by Rachel, just finishing her shift at work.  She is intrigued by the fact that we are having a real conversation amongst ourselves, phones securely out of sight.  So she joins us and becomes a friend.

Emotions are Running High.

Emotions are Running High.

I have my camera out, as does Justin.  Nikki notices and steps away from her cadre of Pokémaniacs and comes to ask us about them before pitching a videographer job at the Otakon Animé convention.  Justin, intrigued, gives her his contact info.  She joins us awhile, and then her posse drifts on to the next Pokéstop.

Nighttime falls.  We are surrounded by the orange glow of street lamps and the blue glow of mobile devices.

It's like Fourth of July Fireworks without the explosions or cheering!

It's like Fourth of July Fireworks without the explosions or cheering!

It's time for second dinner at Cacao Lane, so we begin the walk down the hill.  On the sidewalk are messages in chalk:

10% for Pokémon Go players!
Look up! Real Artwork Right Here!

I spy another summer theatre friend, hunched over his phone while seated on a storefront stoop, and call him by name as I pass him by.  He hears nothing.  Our group of five surrounds him.  "Situational Awareness, man!" we say, laughing.  After a brief catch-up, we continue on our way.

Dinner at Cacao Lane is an enjoyable experience, but now it's time to head on home.  We enter again the mysterious world of Pokémon Go.  Larger groups now wander, five or seven clustered together searching for prey.  Two girls wander into the middle of the street, intent on capture, automobiles be scorned.

The Teeming Hordes bring blessings upon local businesses

The Teeming Hordes bring blessings upon local businesses

I remain astounded at this sudden change to the local economy and the average per capita level of exercise our town is now seeing.  A new medium of interaction with our surroundings and with each other.  What shall come of it?

We place bets as to the date of the first #PokémonGoWedding, say our goodbyes, and head home.

#Pokémarriage ?

#Pokémarriage ?

Three Recent Discoveries

I've recently left Hobbiton, you might say.  So I thought, from time to time, I'd share some things I've been learning on this little journey of mine.  Come join the ride!

Highway guard rails are different now.  Perhaps they learned something and made it better.

  • Constant Feedback is Essential. In a recent episode of The Portfolio Life, Jeff Goins and Pat Flynn discussed the need to "validate an idea before you leap." Deciding to own a franchise of a restaurant no one likes and building it in a county with only 85 residents is not a well-thought-out plan.  In order to validate an idea, you have to pitch it: talk to friends, launch a beta release, pepper various strangers with questions. It's possible your idea is good, but seeking ruthless feedback and criticism can make your idea great. I didn't ask for much feedback when I designed this website. The more I learn, the more I realize I need to go talk to more people and seriously overhaul this thing.  What's good about this website?  What's garbage?  Is the word 'curiousitive' cool at all or actually completely stupid (I'm starting to think it's the latter!)?
  • Good Storytelling is Good Marketing. Don Miller and the Story Brand team basically take the essential plot of Star Wars (Hero with a problem meets a guide who sends him/her on a quest where failure brings disastrous consequences and success yields amazing results), and teach a businessperson to frame their service or product through this lens, in which the businessperson is the guide and their client is the hero. If I can tell you the story of what I do - the problem of yours that I can solve - in a compelling and understandable way, it's much easier for you to know what I have to offer and whether it truly does solve your problem.  When you need photographs, what are they for?  How do you choose a photographer?  Does this website clearly identify how I can meet those needs?
  • I Do My Best Writing In The Morning. I tried to write this post late on Saturday evening after a busy week. After a half hour of fogged frustration I gave up and watched an episode of Agent Carter. On Monday evening, I tried again, scrapping the original manuscript and going with this 'what-I've-learned' format. After choosing two topics and stalling on the third, I thought, ugh, I can't write at night! With a laugh, I realized I discovered my third topic. I am much better at writing in the morning when I am fresh and my mind is full of possibility, rather than exhausted by the events of the day. Therefore, if I am to consistently write quality content, I need to schedule time in the mornings to sit down and just do it. When are you at your highest levels of productivity and creativity?

Keep learning!  And I'd love to read your comments below.