1.04.2015

A New Year at the Graffiti Wall. Austin, Texas. My continuing adventures with manual focus lenses on modern cameras.


Clark. ©2015 Kirk Tuck

It was a nice day to go walking in Austin. The temperatures got up into the high 50's (f) and the skies were either clear or tinged with tiny, thin clouds. It didn't seem like a "downtown" day to me so I headed over to the Graffiti Wall to see what was new. I took one camera and one lens. The ones I chose today were the Nikon D610 and the (new to me) Rokinon 85mm f1.4. I just hung out and soaked up the vibe. That's where I met Clark (above). He was working on some very nice stuff and took a few moments to chat. 

I set the camera for aperture priority, set the f-stop at f4.0 and set the auto-ISO to start at 100 and go up from there where necessary. That left my brain free to help with focusing the lens. You probably know that manual focusing (at least doing it well) takes some practice. I got better and better at it as the day went on. I think it's probably cheating to use a fast, slightly long lens because you can see pretty quickly when you've hit your focus. Sometimes my eyes got fooled but most of the time my average was pretty good.

I was happy to see the place crawling with artists. Some of the work isn't my cup of tea but there were little flashes of humor and genius tucked all around. I'm just happy to see people out doing the process. Happy to see people enthusiastic about making art, and coming to see art in progress. After reading too often on the dreaded photography forums about people still "researching" and "getting the right gear" and all the other procrastination that goes on amongst people with too many resources and too many choices it's nice to be around a bunch of people who did pull the trigger and get started. Mediocre artists may learn with practice to become okay by imitation, and some good artists may become better by being around the people who have already stepped up their game. It's kind of fun though to understand that this is a public art venue and the people spraying paint on the walls are doing it out where their work, their output, can be compared and judged. 

The feedback loop here can be brutal. If someone's work isn't working chances are someone else will bring a roller and paint right over whatever got thrown up and then they'll use the new white space as a fresh canvas as soon as the primer paint dries. It's like having freeform critiques from total strangers.

But it does speak to the idea that almost all art is ephemeral and fleeting. Art that is here today and gone tomorrow always reminds me of the English poet, Sir Andrew Marvell, whose carpe diem poem, Ode to His Coy Mistress, is one of my favorites.  "Had we but world enough, and time, this coyness, Lady, were no crime.......  But at my back I always here Time's winged chariot hurrying near."

Art and love. Both blessed and cursed with the boundaries of time. 

Box. ©2015 Kirk Tuck

Tools. ©2015 Kirk Tuck

Appraisal. ©2015 Kirk Tuck

Fence Art. ©2015 Kirk Tuck

Reckless Geometry. ©2015 Kirk Tuck