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Published: September 2nd 2004
I don't like to fall more than a day behind in my blogging, but sometimes it's inevitable. I came up here to New York with my friend Tom, and by Tuesday evening the two of us barely even had the energy left to say, "Dude, I'm beat!" Every day feels like a marathon, and by Tuesday night I was dragging after four days on the streets.
I'm sure the cops and the protesters are just as beat, but for me there added burdens of carrying around a bag of cameras, keeping my eyes peeled, navigating the unknown streets of New York, interviewing people and, oh yeah, taking pictures. But being on the streets of New York is in itself physically demanding. For most of the week the temperature has been hovering around 90 degrees. If I hadn't spent the past 9 years living in the swamps of Virginia I wouldn't be as tolerant of such heat. As it is I've learned to wear fancy-schmancy hi-tech wicking fabrics that move the sweat away from my body. I wander around the city as a walking testimonial to synthetic fabrics, what with my wicking t-shirts, wicking pants, wicking bandana and wicking boots. Ah, but these are not just any boots, these are gore-tex, steel-toed, safety-soled boots that can only be bought through select tactical supply companies, and they come in one color: black. While lecturing the media on proper footwear, a police lieutanant with a bullhorn pointed to my boots and said, "Now there's a pair of boots that can take you over the Alps!" Darn right they can, and they can also take me fifteen miles on the streets of New York in relative comfort.
Above everything though, I wear my Tilley Hat http://www.tilley.com
. I will make an unabashed endorsement of the Tilley hat, because I firmly believe that it's the best darn hat ever made: it looks good and keeps you cool. I prefer the wide-brimmed LTM-7 edition with venting holes on the side. When the sun is beating down at noon in Central Park, it's nice to have some shade.
And just to make sure that all of my wicking clothes have the opportunity to do their job, I carry around a "Camelbak." You might have seen bicyclists and soldiers wearing thin, bulbuous backpacks that barely cover their shoulder blades and have a tube flopping out over their shoulders. Well, that's a Camelbak, and it holds a whole bunch of water, sometimes as much as a gallon, ready to drink at anytime. As I write this I've already placed my Camelbak reservoir in the freezer so that it will be almost frozen by the time I'm ready to hit the streets.
Of course, the whole point to walking around in hydrated comfort is to take pictures. Now I've seen alot of photographers this week who are slinging two, sometimes three camera bags, but I never see them travel more than a couple of blocks from a subway station, what with their ultra-heavy professional digital cameras, laptop computers and extra batteries for everything. Knowing that I would be spending my days walking the streets I stripped my camera gear down to the bare essentials. I packed up my 2 camera bodies, 3 lenses, battery pack and flash in a single little Crumpler camera bag. Crumpler makes a great line of camera bags that don't look like camera bags (and hence don't scream "Steal Me!"), but can be mistaken for one of the new bike messenger shoulder bags. With a big shoulder pad on the strap, it's all about comfort.
At night I head out with my Bogen monopod. Some phographers can't stand these extendable metal poles, but I swear by mine. It lets me steady my camera for shots that would otherwise be too shaky.
And of course, with all of this gear to lug around, my arthritic hip often acts up. So I sometimes head out on the street with my Leki Wanderfruend adjustable height, spring-loaded walking stick. As I say, a cane in the hand is worth two motrin in the mouth.
Well, this blog hasn't gotten me any closer to telling y'all about the chaos on Tuesday, but it might explain some of the preparations I've made to be on the streets for 12 or 14 hours a day. By the time I get back home at the end of the day I'm physically and mentally exhausted, and it's only in the morning after a cup of coffee that I can finally write down my impressions of the day before.
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