Sorting, sorting, sorting.

Just putting clean and pack on my list on Monday was bad enough. Worse was the fact that once on the list, I knew I had to do it. What I didn’t realize at the time, and was what actually worse, is the fact that before you can clean or pack anything, you have to sort your items.

And here begins the issue. I do not have a lot of things at this point, after several big moves. I had accumulated quite over the years, though moving from a 2200 sq ft home ending now a 864 sq ft home dictates some prioritizing of possessions. As I look around I ask myself – what if I never saw that item again? Would I miss it? Could I replace it? When was the last time I used it?

As I keep asking these questions, I realize how little I need to bring, and still have everything. No furniture obviously, TVs or desktop computers. Some things though.. books and tools certainly. I won’t describe task of sorting books for now, perhaps tools though: I have a lot of them and I may need to fix anything on the way. Hand tools, power tools, mechanic tools, power cords, solar panels, a sledge hammers and shovels, a ladder or two, hmm.. However, I also only have a Mustang that can and has fit all of those items inside of it, independently, though it would not easily fit in together – much less leave room for anything else.

Skydiving rigs/gear – need this as I completely do not recommend jumping out of planes without – three complete rigs, seven canopies and a two totes of accessories though? Maybe not. At least I already had my ground camera, a Nikon 3300 packed and prepared from its last journey; its lenses, clothes and accessories – ready to grab and go. It is even complete with a security option! As it’s last big trip was an 8 hour mission to explore New York City.

The moment I thought about this late last night, I realized that was a whole camera bag that I wouldn’t be able to carry along with my messenger bag. Which, on this journey is the primary kit. Luckily I have another camera, that at the time I had bought for its low weight as a helmet mounted skydiving still camera – my A6000. Though, its 10-18mm lens isn’t what I would need. In comparison, I have a bit of Nikon glass, a 35mm and 50mm fixed lenses as well as the kit lens 18-55mm and a 55-300mm – with that bag on my shoulder, I’m ready to shoot anything.

On this journey though, that is a lot of kit to carry. So with some quick shopping, I’m now patiently waiting for a new Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS lens for my A6000 from KEH. As a fixed lens, it should weigh much less and by the images is about half the length of the 10-18mm zoom. Also being able to remove the security frame to cut down on weight and size, I am hoping that my newly built ‘kit’ will be able to slip into my jacket pocket, or the messenger bag when I take it out. In any case, it is sure to be easier to bring along that the Nikon bag.

Although I’ve always wanted to do street photography (close up portrait work, hence the ‘nifty-fifty’ APS-C 35mm look-a-like,) it is not something that I had ever been comfortable with, until I began working videography at Skydive Tecumseh. The hardest part of it, for me at least, is just walking up and asking if I can take a their picture – and there, it was my job.

Even though the dropzone is located well inside of Jackson County, just outside of the City of Jackson, its clientele does not – at least 99.9% of it – come from the Jackson area. Our Napoleon neighbors know us well flying above, though most in the City are not even aware of the world class skydiving facility located just ten miles away. I suppose the point here is: I had a blank canvas of people to interview and photograph.

Rather – they had a blank canvas to express themselves onto. Having just backspaced this sentence too many times, I may try to explain that better at a later time. Suffice it to say, if you see the world through your own lens, you may also tell your stories through another similar lens of your own; one that some people can focus and shift to communicate with a wider range of others. Here in Jackson, most especially in the last five years, I have had so many opportunities to meet and talk with new people. I’ve been able to hear stories – to me, to share in a persons passions with them – that have always been directed at me.

Me, not just a guy from Jackson, rather my name, Jeromy Alexander. Those conversations have been with people expressing themselves to an elected leader and later, an appointed government official. And thousands of other conversations with family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, neighbors and all the other people I know in my life – all those conversations happen through the lens of what those think about me. About what they think I know, who I know, what conversations they’d rather have because of who I am, who I know, etc.. It’s only when I step outside of Jackson, that the conversations begin to change. In Jackson, I worry what someone would ask and where the conversation would go next if I walked up and asked to take their picture and asked for a story about their day or their life.

“Why?” they would ask and I would have nothing to say except that “I’m curious?” and leave them to wonder in what capacities I’m asking and me wondering in what capacities they know me – if I’d have to take out my notepad next, to document and investigate their battles with the local rental inspector. Three paragraphs just to say I’m too shy to walk up to people in Jackson and ask to take their picture? Yeah, maybe it’s just that. Though – it is just a bit more. I’m sure one of ten conversations might go way south, and in Jackson, that could have consequences that might effort to mend; on the road, if some one is offended by a simple question, I will be able to just keep walking.

I won’t tell the story again as now I have link; two final thoughts: 1) I made some official goals for the journey, see the top of the right sidebar, and 2) I was able to meet the third goal for the day, when I met Red this morning.