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I was asked to accompany my friend, a very talented photographer, Eric Meutterties. He was selected to be one of twenty four photographers to contribute to a book on the winter solstice. Their objective is to inject one hour of the reality they see at the area in San Francisco they are assigned for their allotted hour.

So I pulled up into studio 52, Eric waiting at the curb, ready to plot the night.

Eric was selected for his work and the organizer wanted to ensure Eric’s vision would be followed. So most of our talk was of gear selection for the night. Travelling light seemed to be the order of the day, so after stowing what gear would go into our bags, we waited for Zach’s arrival.

Eric’s son, Zach, met us at the studio and we piled into Eric’s GTO ready to assault China Town (Eric’s drawn location). You could feel the excitement in the car as we drove out. Kind of like we were on clandestine mission.

Eric and Zach

After arriving on site, we kinda visually scoped out the perimeters Eric was confined to. Zach was the navigator and wanted to maintain the integrity or the shooting quadrant.

After a brisk walk to the top of one of the streets (Did I mention there are hills in San Francisco), we surveyed the area Eric was going to start with and then waited. He had exactly one hour to shoot and we were to start at 8:30 and end promptly at 9:30.

While we were waiting I told them if, at some point, I fell over holding my legs, to proceed without me. Evidently they installed mountains in San Francisco then proceeded to cover them with streets.

The height advantage meant, even if I became distracted, Eric was easy to find.

The physical differences were apparent among this trio. Eric and his son striding effortlessly to the tops of the hills, me chugging along repeating the mantra “I think I can, I think I can”.

Let’s get visual. Imagine two Great Danes and a Dachshund out for stroll.

The appointed time came and we were off. I followed Eric diligently, not wanting to inject suggestions or endless banter. This was his moment and he needed his faculties focused to the business at hand. He had to see things as he saw them without outside influence.

Zoning in on location

The shooting went smoothly with one minor glitch getting one of the film canisters loaded into his Nikon F5. At exactly 9:29 Eric exposed his final frame of 4 rolls of B&W film. We were done.

After Eric placed a brief call to the organizer, we started our stroll back to the car, reflecting on how things played out. I was able to shoot some frames of whatever caught my interest walking back.

We went to a burger place (Burgermeister) and decompressed. After getting back to Studio 52, we were able to switch over gear. I took the opportunity to grab a quick portrait of Eric in his digs, something I’ve been promising Eric and myself to do for a while.

Then we said our good byes and parted ways.

What a great evening to spend with a friend and his son (Really neat kid), doing something so personal yet something you share with everyone else.

*ahem* You’re free to erase the Great Dane/ Dachshund visual now.