With feet come eyes

I made an appointment to get some work done on my car and that got me thinking. Not about the car as I have an amazing mechanic in Boulder – Hoshi Motors (shameless plug). No I got thinking about what to do with the time that my car was in the shop. I didn’t schedule any assignments so I pretty much had the day to muh-self. I figured that I’d put some gear into my small backpack and take a walk about until the car was done. This came from a recollection of my week in NYC where I walked or took the bus everywhere that I went.

When I was in NYC I made plans to meet up with a buddy of mine who lives in the area. My phone rings and it’s a local number and thus I get hopeful that it was an editor who wanted to meet me. I answer and it’s my friend Doug and he asks me “What are you doing?” I tell him that I’m on a bus headed to an appointment with an editor. “Bus? What the heck are you doing on a bus? Take a cab man!” Well I had to explain that I had plenty of time and taking the bus was to me preferable to a cab because I get to be next to other people and I might learn something. That didn’t seem to make much sense but the fact that I actually wanted to walk everywhere really went past him. I did walk most of the time in NYC, at least six miles a day, as it enabled me to learn the city and be inspired by it rather than to sit in a padded seat in air conditioning and maybe watch things through the window. No, I want to stop and linger if the moment strikes me.

That’s when it dawned on me: you drive everywhere here in Denver. Partly because the mass transit is pretty much a joke compared to all the major cities in the US and partly because things are soooo far away. We spend a fair amount of time at highway speeds here so walking isn’t going to happen unless you are headed to the end of the block. Also when I am going to an assignment I often have way too much gear to just walk around with it. Yeah I’ve a small camera bag but also a case with lights and a case with stands and modifiers. Not the kind of load you want to walk around with for more than a few feet. Thus I rarely just walk around. A pity.

So with a few things in my little backpack incase I could use them for a project that I’m starting – that’s for a post to come – I dropped of my car an took it on the hoof. The idea was to just walk around a city that I’ve been connected to for over a dozen years. I know Boulder quite well but there is a difference between knowing a place by driving around it and by walking its’ streets.


When walking you know it intimately and you get the chance to stop and look. I recommend that everyone take a walk even around their home town and really get to see it. It changes your perspective; you see things either you didn’t notice before or new subtleties you overlooked or would never see from a vehicle. If it is a new place walking is the gateway to what is actually there.

Along the way which ended up being about a five mile hike I found:

3 restaurants that I intend to take the wife

A park that I never realized existed

4 locations that would work great for impromptu portraits

2 ideas for photo projects

Lots of pretty things

I didn’t ever take the “serious” gear out of my backpack but I did use the Cam-o-Phone to take little sketches as I like to do. The slow pace of walking even on routes that I often drive made those places seem very new and as a result I saw things differently. I would often stop and just look at the weathering on a wall, the pattern of leaves on the sidewalk or the light falling on the rocks of the creek. No real pictures but lovely little moments.


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