Confessions, Also Known As Whining

Confession #1: I AM IRRATIONALLY PARANOID ABOUT STUFF (particularly orchestra gigs). I am a freelance musician. Last year I made a living from gigs and teaching, and that’s about it. The fact of the matter is that this is life, and I realized pretty quickly after finishing school and trying to find a “normal” type job that…shit. It’s tough out there right now, and if the gigs and the students come my way, I’m taking them. And I got lucky! Because it turns out people needed cello subs for EVERYTHING, so I was busy practically every weekend playing with an orchestra. Whoopee.

The thing I realized at the end of this past gigging season is that I was just a sub, and even if I was hired for every concert during a season, there is no guarantee they will always hire me in such a way, especially if I never auditioned for a position and there odd political happenings within the orchestra at the time. I can accept this part pretty easily because it’s FAIR. I didn’t take an audition? Okay, I’m not technically a member of the orchestra and they are not obligated to hire me. FINE. But unfortunately it leaves me in a position of EXTREME PARANOIA when I stop getting calls, because, to quote Roman from Party Down, shit’s random. And now that I’m thinking about it, I shouldn’t even call this irrational paranpoia. Because stupid shit happens in musical circles like this all the time. It’s happened to me, to others, what’s to stop it from happening some more? What am I talking about? Getting put on a SHIT-LIST. Seriously.

And yes, I know. I am good. I am responsible. I am always on time. I learn my music. I’m friendly and approachable and do my best to be upbeat and positive. These are all standards I feel are very important to uphold not only with orchestra gigs, but in LIFE, and I feel I’ve done well at upholding these standards. Unfortunately that’s not always enough. And this is where I get paranoid about very specific things, because people can get on shit-lists for WEIRD THINGS. Things like, use of words (YOU ARE ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR WORDS as much as your actions). Minor inter-orchestra misunderstandings. Taking over 24 hours to respond to an email (TRUE STORY). A facial expression interpreted as sneering when was actually more a look of confusion (TRUE STORY: HAPPENED TO A FRIEND). And without a contract, in this arbitrary universe, who is to say that something I’ve done hasn’t been interpreted negatively by another person who then says “off with her head?” WHO IS TO SAY? NOBODY?

So there you go, folks. There is a look into my paranoia-addled brain. Because it’s likely this is all for nothing and I’m just insane. The scary part is I WORRY ABOUT THIS KIND OF THING ALL THE TIME, and not just in the gigging community. So, yes. Justifiable paranoia? A little bit. Totally irrational paranoia? Also a little bit. Dammit.

Confession #2: I MISS MY NIKON D40.

I realize that it’s slightly crazy to complain about this, because I have a totally kick-ass D7000 which does all those things that my old camera didn’t do that 7 months ago I felt were really important to have in a camera at this particular point in my photo-taking life. Things like: crazy-advanced 38-point auto focus; compatibility with certain lenses like the 50mm f1.8 lens that didn’t autofocus on my D40; lots of other crap it would take years to mention.

But the fact of the matter is that I knew and understood my D40. Sure, it took 3 years to get to that point. Sure, it didn’t do everything. But shit, I knew how to get good photos out of it, which just proves that old adage of: A MORE EXPENSIVE CAMERA DOES NOT A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER MAKE! Uh, or something like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I have NO REGRETS about my fancy-camera acquisition, or the selling of the D40 to Mark, who it would appear is taking some pretty kick-ass photos of his own on the thing. Maybe what I’m trying to say is that I overestimated my ability to jump to a new camera and start at the level that I’d left off on the D40. Even knowing what I know about finding the right exposure (probably my biggest manual-camera hurdle with the D40), the D7000 is foreign to me. I suspect it takes practice and diligence, the same level of practice and diligence that were applied throughout my 3 years of D40 use.

And obviously, I’m not starting from Square One of manual camera knowledge. I know some things now! And I think my D7000 knows some things, too. This thing keeps happening where I’m shooting, and I feel all awkward about how cumbersome and foreign the camera still feels to me and grumbling to myself and in general feeling a little like an infant. And then I look at the photos I’ve shot and BY GOD, HOW DID THAT GOOD PHOTO OR THREE HAPPEN (actually, maybe I should just attribute that to the D7000’s kick-ass focusing system. I mean. Whatever)? I suspect that sooner or later, there will be this huge and dangerous collision of knowing things, and the D7000 and I will be of ONE SYSTEM AND ONE MIND (or something).

Until then, though, I’d better keep shooting (which by the way, is more difficult than with the D40 because the D7000 is VERY LARGE).

Confession #3: There is no third confession. Move along.