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There was a time when I was obsessed with golf. These clubs were magical to me, the wand that I would use to create art. They offered hope. The chance for improvement. They stood for freedom and if nothing else they symbolized a beautiful walk and hanging out with friends. Each new driver design promised to add 10 yards, or more loft, or a straighter flight, and maybe in some sense that was true. Like anything else, the measurable strides came as a result of hard work, perseverance, and talent. Nothing else. The tools were the tools, but the artist had to use those tools to create magic. Sometimes they make the job easier, but the hands holding them was the most crucial aspect.
I can remember receiving permission to go ahead and buy the clubs. My game had progressed to the point where it made sense to have improved tools. I was so anxious to get them I neglected to have them fitted, but I didn't care. It may have made a slight difference, who knows? I just knew that I no longer had to carry a set of clubs from Sam's club. I now had, in theory, the tools that the pros use. I used them a lot and got even better (for an amateur). But something changed, the obsession faded, and I set them down for long periods of time.
As I walked through my garage the other day to search for something, I glanced over at the clubs and it occurred to me that I hadn't used them in over a year, despite the fact that I can see the 13th fairway from my house. I used to walk through the December Northern California downpour, by myself, so I could play. I couldn't get it out of my mind in those days. Now as I looked at them, all I could think about was how they would reflect light and how they might look against a blue background. The obsession had changed.
I became obsessed with photography about 3 years ago when I got my first DSLR. I suppose that coincides with the decline of the golf obsession. I had never made the link before yesterday until I realized the tools of my old obsession were merely props for the tools of my new obsession.
I couldn't fight the urge, I never can, regardless of the obsession. I quickly pulled out the background and all the required tools and began shooting the clubs. The end result fit what I saw in my mind and I was happy. The perseverance and the hard work has paid off in this pursuit as well. I can typically create the end result from what I see in my head, but it's taken a lot of time and patience to get to that point, and I still have tons to learn. When I first picked up the camera I never realized that development was the result of the same process as it is with sports. I always thought the really good photographers just picked up a camera, were instantaneously good, and never took a bad shot. Now I know the truth, and I hope this obsession lasts.
I hope I don't go in the garage in a year and see my camera bag propped up on my drums, next to the motorcycle that is leaking oil onto the golf bag....