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Thread: Reboot

  1. #1
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico


    I'm 64 and feeling a bit of panic. I have just scratched the surface of what I want to do photographically and feel like I am running out of time. A part of this is that I feel like I am doing the best work of my career-I finally feel like I know what I am doing and why I am doing it. Damn....why did it take so long to get here? Its not like I haven't been trying, I started in the 6th grade and got really serious about it in my late 20's and have been making my living at it since then.

    Late last winter, I did a hike of maybe 6 miles with my full 4x5 kit and it was a wake up call. It wore me out. I can't really go any lighter with my gear and accomplish what I want artistically. First and foremost I decided I needed to lose some weight. My initial goal was to lose the equivalent weight of my pack-26 lbs which I have just now accomplished this week-now I need to do the weight of the tripod. I feel a lot better. My body is starting to feel like it is capable of keeping up with my mind. I wonder how far I can go with this and how much younger I will feel if I can get below 200? Its been decades since I was below 200.

    Just woke up this morning and turning this over in my mind. One life, even a long one, seems really short right now. I never was one to worry about longevity in the abstract. Who wants a long boring life? This is different. I just need more time-so much to do, so much to see a lot of living yet to do.

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  2. #2
    William Whitaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002
    North Carolina, for now...

    Re: Reboot

    At least you found what you want to do.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Re: Reboot

    Yup. I just got into 8x10. Fortunately, I'm mostly interested in studio portraits, but the thought of dragging the thing outside, or to someone's house . . . . well, 25 pounds (camera + legs) is a lot heavier than I remember it being 30 years ago. And then I see the for sale ads from people just five years or so older than I am, who are ditching what I'm buying because it's too heavy for them?

    But I definitely do NOT want to go back 30 years! That's the worst option ever.

    However, I'm urban, and looking into hardshell rolling luggage. I understand large-wheel baby carriers aren't too bad on trails.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format:
    Mostly 35mm:
    You want digital, color, etc?:

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Chapel Hill NC

    Re: Reboot

    I hear you man. I felt the same way when I turned 60 - had trouble hiking even small distances, and needed to lose weight, but couldn't. Then I got 6 cm of stents and everything changed. I recommend getting cath study if there is a history of CV disease in your family. I feel great now, and lost the weight very quickly. And feel fortunate that job circumstances led me to retire at an earlier age and pursue photography - and it helps to have a very understanding wife.

    Frankly, Ihope to be like Don and Joan Kirby who are going strong in their 70's. Don even had two knee replacements a few years back. They are amazing.

    Take care and keep moving.


  5. #5's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Winona, Minnesota

    Re: Reboot

    Kirk, if you have not already, please consider having your heart checked. I was 64 when I had a couple attacks.

    Weight? Forget the old-fashion height/weight ratio ideal. While it doesn't hurt to meet the specs, it can be a morale killer. I've a friend who is overweight, who works out and diets but remains heavy. (His nickname is Block Man) His doctor said, "It is all genetics. You are evolved to survive killer Siberian weather. Your heart is in great shape. Enjoy life."

    I admit thinner feels better, but not if its killing you to keep it.

    Good luck in your new direction.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    South Texas

    Re: Reboot

    The only advice I can offer is do it while you can. You never know when a severe health issue will strike you down. Hey... you might keep going for another two or three decades... you just never know.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Re: Reboot

    You're giving me hope that in another 15 years, I might have mastered the craft enough to be able to realize my vision. Next, I have to find the vision!

    Seriously, I've had severe arthritis since my mid-20s. I am now on my 3rd career because of this, and photographically I am slowly getting into the '100 yards or less from the car' club. Next, it will be backyard garden & indoors. You take what life gives you and you make the best of it. Photographically, if you have the passion, the rest will follow. Leave the long hikes with 40lb packs to the people who can't find anything interesting to photograph within 100 yards of the car.

  8. #8
    Dave Karp
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Los Angeles, CA

    Re: Reboot

    I try to take my cues from my Dad. He is about to turn 86 and although reality has to set in at times he has never acted as if age limited him. He has always kept in good shape, but when he retired he upped it a notch. He works out all of the time. Now he does activities to keep his mind sharp. He treats it all as if he is in training. He has a great sense of humor and a fantastic outlook. I hope that I can do the same.

    It sounds like you are doing the right things. Keep on moving, exercising, photographing, etc. Check in with the doc as others have mentioned. I recall that you had a tune up (!) on your knees a short while ago. You also upgraded your pack, so that will help.

    And eventually you might have to change your photographic subject matter. The interesting thing about that is that it will probably be good for your mind. From what I have read, the challenge of doing something new is really good for your brain. Portraiture, still life, finding things closer to home, etc. could be an interesting and fun challenge. Something to thing about for the years far ahead.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Orange, CA

    Re: Reboot

    Actually this sounds like a wonderful problem to have, I know a lot of guys who would envy you, they are retiring from "traditional" 9-to-5 corporate jobs and have no idea what to do with themselves. You can only travel, golf and walk the dog so much...Too much personal identity tied to the corporate gig...

    I think you are already on the right track with losing weight, maybe you should get a reading on your body fat percentage and set a more precise weight loss target for yourself...Get rid of any belly fat, belly fat equals heart attack...Replace carbs with walnuts, almonds, and other types of nuts in moderation can be a big help...I just look at a loaf of bread and I gain weight...

    To keep in shape, I use a treadmill and just purchased a new stepper machine to simulate climbing up hills and through soft sand...I wear my backpack for only part of time when exercising to save my knees...But once you reach a point with the stepper where you can keep going pretty much indefinitely (which typically happens after several months of training) it makes a HUGE difference out on the trail. Another cardio exercise option with less impact on the knees is swimming in a lap pool...Pavarotti lost a considerable amount of weight when he took up painting, he was so passionate about his art that he forgot to eat...

    Over the longer term, there is a lot of very exciting stuff going on in clinical trials right now. New generation statins to lower bad cholesterol further and prevent or even reverse cardiovascular disease, new cartilage regeneration techniques for knees, Mesoblast is starting their Phase 3 trial of their stem cell treatment for lumbar disc degeneration, etc. My sense is that if you keep yourself in decent shape for another ten years, they can then start replacing body parts en and other science news sites keep tabs on all this stuff.

    Another thing we all need to learn is how to be an older person. One of the tricks is don't worry about the future so much, enjoy the present. A lady at my mom's senior community, who is 102 years old and still in good health, is frequently asked whether she thinks about living another ten years. She says she doesn't even think about it. The oldest living U.S. World War 2 veteran (Richard Overton in Texas, 108 years old who still lives in his house and drives his own car) recently said the same thing. This attitude may have something to do with their longevity.

  10. #10

    Re: Reboot

    Keep up the exercise and diet, and also consider getting a helper--maybe a burro or a llama--to help on long hikes. I imagine with some help and discipline you can get another 20 years....


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