The tree with the business model

I’m looking back at who has had a real impact on how I see the world. Thomas Hawk is near the top of that list. He got me enthusiastic about photography again. Now I carry my Canon 5D most days and when I don’t I hear his voice in my head “take pictures every day.”

Today on the way home I heard his voice in my head again and, so, on my commute home I stopped several times just to see the world.

The golden oak tree

First, I’ve passed by this oak tree hundreds of times (I used to work across the street from it) but I never really noticed it — how many common, everyday things do we take for granted and drive right by? One thing about photography is that it gets you to slow down a little bit and enjoy the beauty we have all around us. Something about the sunset got me to pull off of Sand Hill Road and think about the entrepreneurs that have passed by this tree. The Hewletts. The Packards. The Jobs. The Wozniaks. The Ellisons. The Gates’. And hundreds of thousands of others. It’s the tree at the top of Sand Hill Road overloading FWY 280 and Sand Hill Road. Off in the distance is the Stanford Linear Accelerator, the longest straight building in the world and home of the first Web site in the United States.

The tree with a business model

Sand Hill Road is where entrepreneurs come and pitch VCs in fancy offices and try to talk them out of funding. It’s a place for idealists. For dreamers. I was thinking that this tree has a business model better than most of the entrepreneurs who’ve driven past hoping to start a business. Heheh. Think about it. It’s lasted quite a few decades and probably has quite a few more left in its branches.

So, now, if you come and visit Sand Hill Road, you’ll look to your left as you get off of Freeway 280 and you’ll remember the tree with a business model that’s probably going to outlast yours. And if you get to Bank of America, go inside. It’s the nicest Bank of America I’ve ever been in. By the way, if you look closely at the bottom of the tree photo you’ll see a concrete pouring pumping machine. There’s a big new development going up on Sand Hill Road right across the street from the tree. Progress marches on.

Bank of America

One thing that Thomas taught me is to keep looking and keep shooting, even after you think you got the best photo. I laid down on the pavement to get another look at the tree. And then I looked down and saw this leaf. Something about it caught my eye because of the sunlight from the last few minutes of the sunset.

Oak leaf on Sand Hill Road

After leaving the tree and driving over route 92 I came across this sunset over Half Moon Bay and had to pull over again. Found some defiant weeds and realized I’ve got one of the nicest commutes in the world. Thank you to Thomas Hawk for putting that little voice in my head that says “pull over, make pictures.”

Sunset over Half Moon Bay

Also deserving credit is Marc Silber — we spent a couple of hours today at a Peets just brainstorming and talking about what we want to do in 2008. Hanging out with creative people does rub off and does make life richer. His lesson to me? Force yourself to use a 35mm lens. All the photos I took today were taken with my 35mm F2.0 lens. When I got home I discovered this lens is sharper than my others, which made me happy too.

Oh, and none of these photos have been retouched other than to apply a little unsharp mask. I see there’s a bit of dirt on my sensor. Gotta go clean that off. Someday I gotta get together again with Jan Kabili, who does Photoshop Online.tv and get some more workflow tips (I videoed her a year ago giving Thomas tips, time for another lesson!).

UPDATE: I forgot, all of my photography is public domain. You can steal it! Copy it! Use it in your mashups or in whatever you like (dart boards, etc).

Comments

  1. I agree — Thomas has changed my attitudes toward photography and I learn more just from looking at his images than even taking my own. These are lovely photos…looking forward to more.

  2. I agree — Thomas has changed my attitudes toward photography and I learn more just from looking at his images than even taking my own. These are lovely photos…looking forward to more.

  3. I agree — Thomas has changed my attitudes toward photography and I learn more just from looking at his images than even taking my own. These are lovely photos…looking forward to more.

  4. My only problem is with taking a decent camera everywhere. There are days I wish I didn’t buy a half decent pro camera and went with a compact, like attending a Crowded House concert where they ban cameras…but not mobile phone ones or ones stuffed in your pocket. Nice pics and nice sentiment.

  5. My only problem is with taking a decent camera everywhere. There are days I wish I didn’t buy a half decent pro camera and went with a compact, like attending a Crowded House concert where they ban cameras…but not mobile phone ones or ones stuffed in your pocket. Nice pics and nice sentiment.

  6. Thank you for sharing that Robert, those words are very inspirational to me as well. I’ve spent the last 8 years of my life trying to “stop and smell the roses” and to always keep the journey itself in the forefront of my mind as I travel this road I’m on. I too find it best to shoot more pictures than you think you need, the very next one may turn out to be the best/most inspirational of your life and what does it really cost, but a moment or two of one’s time? Keep taking the pictures, dreaming the dreams and writing the stories, as that is where the true beauty in your journey lies.

  7. Thank you for sharing that Robert, those words are very inspirational to me as well. I’ve spent the last 8 years of my life trying to “stop and smell the roses” and to always keep the journey itself in the forefront of my mind as I travel this road I’m on. I too find it best to shoot more pictures than you think you need, the very next one may turn out to be the best/most inspirational of your life and what does it really cost, but a moment or two of one’s time? Keep taking the pictures, dreaming the dreams and writing the stories, as that is where the true beauty in your journey lies.

  8. Thank you for sharing that Robert, those words are very inspirational to me as well. I’ve spent the last 8 years of my life trying to “stop and smell the roses” and to always keep the journey itself in the forefront of my mind as I travel this road I’m on. I too find it best to shoot more pictures than you think you need, the very next one may turn out to be the best/most inspirational of your life and what does it really cost, but a moment or two of one’s time? Keep taking the pictures, dreaming the dreams and writing the stories, as that is where the true beauty in your journey lies.

  9. My only problem is with taking a decent camera everywhere. There are days I wish I didn’t buy a half decent pro camera and went with a compact, like attending a Crowded House concert where they ban cameras…but not mobile phone ones or ones stuffed in your pocket. Nice pics and nice sentiment.

  10. Duncan: before getting my 5D I took a lot with a pocket camera and with my Nokia N95 cell phone (I still do use that to snap photos when I don’t have my big camera with me). Having good tools is nice, but having any camera with you all the time lets you capture fun images. Funny that Jeff Pulver got great video and photos of Led Zepplin that the band tried to buy because they made him leave his bigger gear in the car.

  11. Duncan: before getting my 5D I took a lot with a pocket camera and with my Nokia N95 cell phone (I still do use that to snap photos when I don’t have my big camera with me). Having good tools is nice, but having any camera with you all the time lets you capture fun images. Funny that Jeff Pulver got great video and photos of Led Zepplin that the band tried to buy because they made him leave his bigger gear in the car.

  12. Duncan: before getting my 5D I took a lot with a pocket camera and with my Nokia N95 cell phone (I still do use that to snap photos when I don’t have my big camera with me). Having good tools is nice, but having any camera with you all the time lets you capture fun images. Funny that Jeff Pulver got great video and photos of Led Zepplin that the band tried to buy because they made him leave his bigger gear in the car.

  13. WOW

    I’m still learning, must be because I’m still breathing ;-)

    Thanks for a lesson in strong lighting

    –Mike–

  14. WOW

    I’m still learning, must be because I’m still breathing ;-)

    Thanks for a lesson in strong lighting

    –Mike–

  15. Great shots here, Robert. I am doing a lot of thinking about lighting as well. Another lesson I like to tell people is to learn the “rules” of photography and then throw them out the window. Sometimes breaking the rules gets you a better picture, but only if you know how to break them appropriately.

    Keep up the good work!

  16. Great shots here, Robert. I am doing a lot of thinking about lighting as well. Another lesson I like to tell people is to learn the “rules” of photography and then throw them out the window. Sometimes breaking the rules gets you a better picture, but only if you know how to break them appropriately.

    Keep up the good work!

  17. Great shots here, Robert. I am doing a lot of thinking about lighting as well. Another lesson I like to tell people is to learn the “rules” of photography and then throw them out the window. Sometimes breaking the rules gets you a better picture, but only if you know how to break them appropriately.

    Keep up the good work!

  18. Nature is structured around a survival model, which until mass industrialization, the ability to feed and distribute to millions, humankind was too. And tons of trees were murdered in cold blood, to even bring that street to you, so while you wax on about that one tree, thousands have been butchered and offered for sale at the ‘merchant of death’ lumber houses. And you laugh it all off with a lame ‘biz model’ metaphor (for the terminally clueless, note sarcasm).

    PS – Progress may march on, but cell phone towers sure don’t. Sand Hill is sure a cell hell route.

  19. Nature is structured around a survival model, which until mass industrialization, the ability to feed and distribute to millions, humankind was too. And tons of trees were murdered in cold blood, to even bring that street to you, so while you wax on about that one tree, thousands have been butchered and offered for sale at the ‘merchant of death’ lumber houses. And you laugh it all off with a lame ‘biz model’ metaphor (for the terminally clueless, note sarcasm).

    PS – Progress may march on, but cell phone towers sure don’t. Sand Hill is sure a cell hell route.

  20. Nature is structured around a survival model, which until mass industrialization, the ability to feed and distribute to millions, humankind was too. And tons of trees were murdered in cold blood, to even bring that street to you, so while you wax on about that one tree, thousands have been butchered and offered for sale at the ‘merchant of death’ lumber houses. And you laugh it all off with a lame ‘biz model’ metaphor (for the terminally clueless, note sarcasm).

    PS – Progress may march on, but cell phone towers sure don’t. Sand Hill is sure a cell hell route.

  21. Beautiful imagery Robert. Photography, like music, is art that can truly reach the soul and I think that it’s a passion for life that makes any work of art special. The feeling you must have had when taking these images is what makes life so special.

    I have been actively photographing the world around me for many years, and much like the selection of photos you shared, my favorite images have come when I wasn’t really looking for them. They’ve come when traveling by plane or just walking to a meeting in New York City. Having the camera is probably the most important thing.

    I kick myself when I don’t have the camera and/or lens I want at a specific time (or if I run out of CF/sd cards or batteries at the end of a long day of shooting). That doesn’t happen much any more but it did when 1GB cards were about $200!

    Thomas Hawk has also shared so many wonderful images and I look forward to seeing more of yours!

    All the best,

    Andrew

    ——————–
    Andrew Darlow
    Editor, The Imaging Buffet
    http://www.imagingbuffet.com

  22. Beautiful imagery Robert. Photography, like music, is art that can truly reach the soul and I think that it’s a passion for life that makes any work of art special. The feeling you must have had when taking these images is what makes life so special.

    I have been actively photographing the world around me for many years, and much like the selection of photos you shared, my favorite images have come when I wasn’t really looking for them. They’ve come when traveling by plane or just walking to a meeting in New York City. Having the camera is probably the most important thing.

    I kick myself when I don’t have the camera and/or lens I want at a specific time (or if I run out of CF/sd cards or batteries at the end of a long day of shooting). That doesn’t happen much any more but it did when 1GB cards were about $200!

    Thomas Hawk has also shared so many wonderful images and I look forward to seeing more of yours!

    All the best,

    Andrew

    ——————–
    Andrew Darlow
    Editor, The Imaging Buffet
    http://www.imagingbuffet.com

  23. Beautiful imagery Robert. Photography, like music, is art that can truly reach the soul and I think that it’s a passion for life that makes any work of art special. The feeling you must have had when taking these images is what makes life so special.

    I have been actively photographing the world around me for many years, and much like the selection of photos you shared, my favorite images have come when I wasn’t really looking for them. They’ve come when traveling by plane or just walking to a meeting in New York City. Having the camera is probably the most important thing.

    I kick myself when I don’t have the camera and/or lens I want at a specific time (or if I run out of CF/sd cards or batteries at the end of a long day of shooting). That doesn’t happen much any more but it did when 1GB cards were about $200!

    Thomas Hawk has also shared so many wonderful images and I look forward to seeing more of yours!

    All the best,

    Andrew

    ——————–
    Andrew Darlow
    Editor, The Imaging Buffet
    http://www.imagingbuffet.com

  24. Great shots Robert. I often hear the voice of Thomas in my head as I head out on mundane errands. Because of this little voice I lugged my camera gear with me and got some of my best shots. When I take my camera I am always on the lookout for the next good picture. This forces me to look at things that would normally pass in a blur.

    I would love to go on a photowalk with you and Thomas, organized or not. I will be in SF for most of the week of MacWorld and imagine a few more folks like me from out of town that would be up for it as well.

  25. Great shots Robert. I often hear the voice of Thomas in my head as I head out on mundane errands. Because of this little voice I lugged my camera gear with me and got some of my best shots. When I take my camera I am always on the lookout for the next good picture. This forces me to look at things that would normally pass in a blur.

    I would love to go on a photowalk with you and Thomas, organized or not. I will be in SF for most of the week of MacWorld and imagine a few more folks like me from out of town that would be up for it as well.

  26. Great shots Robert. I often hear the voice of Thomas in my head as I head out on mundane errands. Because of this little voice I lugged my camera gear with me and got some of my best shots. When I take my camera I am always on the lookout for the next good picture. This forces me to look at things that would normally pass in a blur.

    I would love to go on a photowalk with you and Thomas, organized or not. I will be in SF for most of the week of MacWorld and imagine a few more folks like me from out of town that would be up for it as well.

  27. Wow! Fantastic shots Scoble. The tree silhouette is one of your best. And thanks much for the write up and mention of my photography. And for the great friendship over the years.

    Something fundamental shifted inside of me when I went from just photographing the world to living with my camera. Not a day goes by that I don’t shoot and it literally goes with me everywhere. And every time I even feel the small temptation to leave it behind I am always grateful that I didn’t because I come across some fantastic shot that I wouldn’t have been able to get had I not had the camera with me.

    A while back I read someone writing about how liberating it was to leave their camera behind and how that this helped them enjoy the event more. I’m the opposite. I can’t enjoy anything without my camera with me.

    Having my camera with me everywhere has changed the way that I see the world every day. I look up. I look down. I turn around and look behind me. I stop and stare at things. I really see the lines and patterns in architecture. I watch people when they walk by. My eyes glued to the expression of their faces. I watch buses appear and disappear into lines of horizon. Every store window display is scanned to try and compose something interesting. I find that I see so much more of the world through the eyes of ceaseless composition.

    Photowalking as a lifestyle opens the world up so much. It’s so much more alive. So much more vivid.

    Beauty is everywhere. All around us. Thanks for capturing more of it here and sharing it with the rest of us.

  28. Wow! Fantastic shots Scoble. The tree silhouette is one of your best. And thanks much for the write up and mention of my photography. And for the great friendship over the years.

    Something fundamental shifted inside of me when I went from just photographing the world to living with my camera. Not a day goes by that I don’t shoot and it literally goes with me everywhere. And every time I even feel the small temptation to leave it behind I am always grateful that I didn’t because I come across some fantastic shot that I wouldn’t have been able to get had I not had the camera with me.

    A while back I read someone writing about how liberating it was to leave their camera behind and how that this helped them enjoy the event more. I’m the opposite. I can’t enjoy anything without my camera with me.

    Having my camera with me everywhere has changed the way that I see the world every day. I look up. I look down. I turn around and look behind me. I stop and stare at things. I really see the lines and patterns in architecture. I watch people when they walk by. My eyes glued to the expression of their faces. I watch buses appear and disappear into lines of horizon. Every store window display is scanned to try and compose something interesting. I find that I see so much more of the world through the eyes of ceaseless composition.

    Photowalking as a lifestyle opens the world up so much. It’s so much more alive. So much more vivid.

    Beauty is everywhere. All around us. Thanks for capturing more of it here and sharing it with the rest of us.

  29. Wow! Fantastic shots Scoble. The tree silhouette is one of your best. And thanks much for the write up and mention of my photography. And for the great friendship over the years.

    Something fundamental shifted inside of me when I went from just photographing the world to living with my camera. Not a day goes by that I don’t shoot and it literally goes with me everywhere. And every time I even feel the small temptation to leave it behind I am always grateful that I didn’t because I come across some fantastic shot that I wouldn’t have been able to get had I not had the camera with me.

    A while back I read someone writing about how liberating it was to leave their camera behind and how that this helped them enjoy the event more. I’m the opposite. I can’t enjoy anything without my camera with me.

    Having my camera with me everywhere has changed the way that I see the world every day. I look up. I look down. I turn around and look behind me. I stop and stare at things. I really see the lines and patterns in architecture. I watch people when they walk by. My eyes glued to the expression of their faces. I watch buses appear and disappear into lines of horizon. Every store window display is scanned to try and compose something interesting. I find that I see so much more of the world through the eyes of ceaseless composition.

    Photowalking as a lifestyle opens the world up so much. It’s so much more alive. So much more vivid.

    Beauty is everywhere. All around us. Thanks for capturing more of it here and sharing it with the rest of us.

  30. Hi Robert:

    Sweet photos. Isn’t it amazing how a camera can open your eyes to light, color, and beauty. I discovered that years ago, and am so thankful I did. Everyone should give it a try.

    I’d love to get together and do some more Photoshop tips. Just tell me when and where — Boulder, HMB, or in-between?

    Jan

  31. Hi Robert:

    Sweet photos. Isn’t it amazing how a camera can open your eyes to light, color, and beauty. I discovered that years ago, and am so thankful I did. Everyone should give it a try.

    I’d love to get together and do some more Photoshop tips. Just tell me when and where — Boulder, HMB, or in-between?

    Jan

  32. Hi Robert:

    Sweet photos. Isn’t it amazing how a camera can open your eyes to light, color, and beauty. I discovered that years ago, and am so thankful I did. Everyone should give it a try.

    I’d love to get together and do some more Photoshop tips. Just tell me when and where — Boulder, HMB, or in-between?

    Jan

  33. [...] Robert Scoble posted an inspiring piece about the impact of photography on the way he sees the world. You can see that influence in the inspired photos that he’s been taking lately. Scoble is kind enough to suggest that he’d like me to help him with some more Photoshop tips. I had a great time giving Scoble and his Photowalking buddy Thomas Hawk some Photoshop lessons last year. You can check out the videos of the three of us working at Scoble’s house in Half Moon Bay here and here. I’d love to make that an annual event. Anybody else interested in getting together for some serious Photoshop for photographers? How about a group Photowalk and Photoshop session? [...]