May 6 2010

30 Days Begins

Just to set up the story a little bit:  I moved out of my house near San Francisco’s “famous” Haight-Ashbury district at the end of March, and recently put my deposit down on a new and amazing live-work spot in the Mission district which I’ll be using as a photo studio.  Problem is, I don’t move into my new place until the beginning of June.  So, I spent the month of April driving my lovely girlfriend Liz totally nuts by living at her place out in the east bay, so I bought some train tickets:

For $580, I can take twelve trains all over the country for a month.  There is a little bit more to it than that…  the restrictions come from the way Amtrak schedules trains and not from any fine print, but I’m sure I’ll talk about that in another post.

Starting from Oakland, I’m taking a train down the coast (the Coast Starlight) to Los Angeles, stick around for a couple of days, and then board a train to San Antonio, Texas.  I’m bumming a ride to Austin with my friend Nicole, where I’ll spend the weekend, and then hopping on a train from Austin back to San Antonio on Monday evening, where I’ll meet a train to New Orleans.  I’ll be in New Orleans for almost a week, and then I’m off to Washington, DC.  From DC, it’s New York City, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, back to Chicago, then all the way across the top of the country to Seattle, down to Portland, and finally, a leg back to Jack London Square in Oakland.

Hard time visualizing? I drew on one of Amtrak’s rail maps with the brush tool in Photoshop:

The colors roughly represent what week I’ll be where, but I don’t have seats booked after I get to New York City.

What’s the goal of this project?  I wish I had a deeper meaning thought out, but for the most part, it’s because I can.  I don’t have to pay rent for the month, so I can afford to do this.  I’m a full-time professional photographer, so I can justify it.  Half the pins in that map I’ve never been to, and I’d like to fix that.  I’m also preserving Liz’s sanity so she can fervently watch the hockey playoffs without my constantly asking her what’s happening.

At the end of the trip, I’ll have a glut of images that I’ll do a few things with.  The more commercial images I’ll submit to my stock agency, Getty Images, or Getty’s microstock subsidiary, iStockPhoto, because ultimately they pay my rent and my bills.  (Those links go to my portfolios on the respective sites for those curious)  The more artistic and documentary images I’ll save for a likely art show and/or book.

Everything else I’ll figure out as I go along!