New Hampshire: Day 2

Thumbnail: Training

The train­ing is light and relaxed. I avoid wear­ing my name tag, but not the awk­ward round of intro­duc­tions every­one has to make around the class. We fin­ish ear­ly for the day, and I won­der if there’ll be a test at the end as part of my cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

I vague­ly remem­ber that Dave Seah, my online men­tor and per­son­al coach, lives in New Hampshire. We met four years ago when I joined 9rules, and imme­di­ate­ly devel­oped a con­nec­tion. His writ­ing, ideas, and achieve­ments have always inspired me, and he’s been the only per­son to make a guest post on my blog.

I call him, and as fate would have it, he lives 10 min­utes from my hotel. For years, I’ve won­dered if he had a New Hampshire accent, and I final­ly find out he speaks just like me.

Thumbnail: Factory 99

Thumbnail: Photo studio

Thumbnail: No parking
Thumbnail: Mailboxes
Thumbnail: Climbing stairs
Thumbnail: Metal star
Thumbnail: Creepy aloe

Thumbnail: Photo studio

Dave picks me up and whisks me away to Factory 99, an open artist stu­dio con­vert­ed from an old fac­to­ry, to meet Sid. Sid is a pho­tog­ra­ph­er try­ing to turn his pas­sion into his liv­ing. I see his pho­tos, and pick his brain about off-cam­era flash­es, expo­sure, post-pro­cess­ing, back­drops, and light­ing for much longer than I should have. I can’t even explain how many ques­tions he’s answered. I feel like I’ve been through a work­shop, and leave with an urgency to try every­thing I’ve learned. It’s easy to see why Dave is such good friends with him, and the syn­er­gy con­tin­ues.

Thumbnail: Dave on brick
Thumbnail: Creep statue
Thumbnail: Factory
Thumbnail: Fence
Thumbnail: Triangle manhole

From there we take a stroll to down­town and onto Main Street. It’s only sun­set, and many stores are closed, a sign of the eco­nom­ic down­turn. It’s a small city we’re in1, and there’s almost noth­ing of note, save for the tri­an­gle man­hole cov­ers.

Thumbnail: Dave's house
Thumbnail: Basement studio
Thumbnail: Daves drawing
Thumbnail: Jeff with cat
Thumbnail: Fortune

We make a quick stop at his house, nes­tled among ever­greens and a cosy part of town, to check on a turkey he’s been slow cook­ing. I final­ly get a chance to see his stu­dio in real life. I rec­og­nize the lap­top he pur­chased for his project. I see his hand­writ­ing. His gun vault. His OLPC lap­top. His cats. All the lit­tle details I’ve glimpsed from his pho­tos are in front of me now.

Thumbnail: Korean appetizers
Thumbnail: Unagi
Thumbnail: Bibimbap
Thumbnail: Kalbi
Thumbnail: Dave approves

We look for a place to have din­ner, and decide on some Asian food. He takes us to a Korean/Japanese restau­rant. I let him order every­thing for the both of us. Just from hear­ing him describe the una­gi, I can tell he’s one of the few peo­ple who ana­lyze and study and appre­ci­ate food the way I do.

Over our steam­ing bowls of rice and tea, we talk as if we’ve known each oth­er our entire lives. I real­ize just how sim­i­lar we are, how we’re at the same stage in life, both self-aware, emo­tion­al­ly intel­li­gent, won­der­ing the same things, fig­ur­ing out the mys­ter­ies of life, and try­ing to sus­tain our­selves on what we love doing.

I don’t feel so alone any­more.

  1. Compared to Ottawa, at least, at only one tenth the pop­u­la­tion []


  1. Jeff,
    Absolute plea­sure hang­ing with you yes­ter­day and for din­ner this evening.

    Please let me know when you plan on being in our area again and lets get your flash off cam­era and do some shoot­ing!


    • It was great to meet you too, Sid. I’m going to be try­ing out what you showed me as soon as I get back (and I have the mon­ey to pur­chase the equip­ment!)

  2. You’re almost there. You’ve got the flash­es. You just need some trig­gers.

    Best bang-for-the-buck-most-reli­able are these:

    These things are fan­tas­tic. Get a CST trans­mit­ter and a CSRB bat­tery pow­ered receiv­er. You can also find cheap­er stuff, but reli­a­bil­i­ty will be an issue:

    Let me know when you get set up. Lets find a way to advise you over the ‘net :)

    Have a safe trip back home.

    Talk soon.

    • I’m won­der­ing if I should wait until I can get that huge light­box too, or pur­chase things piece­meal. At first, I did­n’t think I would need sand­bags, but now that I think about how big the light­box is and how well it would catch the wind, I’d prob­a­bly need to pick up one of those too.

      • Start cheap — you can get a nice 44″ or 60″ con­vert­ible umbrel­la for around 30 bucks. Just remem­ber that umbrel­las are basi­cal­ly sails, so shoot­ing on windy days might not be the best. For sand­bags, I have a tri­pod case that I’ve filled with plas­tic bags of rocks, and it works fine. is a good place for cheap light mod­i­fiers. Not the best qual­i­ty, but good for on a start.


  3. Hey Jeff! Thanks for the love­ly write­up! I’m real­ly glad to have final­ly met you, and yep…it’s good to feel less alone. We share, as my friend Colleen would say, many sig­nif­i­cant over­lap­ping areas.

    Come vis­it us again some­time!

    • We were def­i­nite­ly meant to be friends. :)

  4. Beautiful pic­tures of The Neighborhood™, Jeff!


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