About a month ago, I was in Ottawa for my second figure skating competition as one of the official event photographers. It's stressful, to say the least. When I cover events as part of the media, it's a different vibe. If I get too bogged down, I can skip skaters or certain events. There are usually breaks built into the day when I can sit down for a few minutes, download my photos, maybe even eat a donut. But at the EOS competitions I'm doing this season, it's nonstop. Floods usually don't last more than 15 minutes (less than 10 minutes at Minto!) and if there's a chance for a longer break, I do what I can to help out Rhonda at the sales table. It's exciting, but I think that four days is my limit.
A few weeks ago, I had a completely different sort of skating event to cover. CBC, one of the Canadian TV networks, has a new show this fall called Battle of the Blades. The easiest way to explain it? It's like Dancing with the Stars, but the girls are professional (or retired) figure skaters and the guys are retired hockey players learning how to figure skate. I took photos at the first taping, available for viewing on Ice-Dance.com. The lighting was a little low and they put me on the "wrong" side of the arena, since most of the choreography was done for the judges' side, but the experience was fantastic. It was such a cheerful atmosphere. It's not meant to be taken completely seriously, but the athletes all have a competitive streak, of course, so they're working hard and putting together some fun numbers. I wish I could go every week, but since it's taped in Toronto and I live 10 hours away in Chicago...it's a little difficult. I am planning on going back for the final week of taping, though.
So the photography aspect of my life is going well. I'm looking at upgrading to a Canon 50D (I currently shoot with a 20D) sometime this month, whenever my student loans finally come through. They're only like six weeks late, so it may still be a couple of weeks, if last semester was any indication. The writing aspect of my dual life, however, is another story. The pressure of being in a creative writing program has made me agonize about everything I put on the page. I don't feel very confident in my writing lately, and I'm not having much fun with it either. I'm constantly procrastinating my assignments, which only makes them more stressful, and I feel like I can never catch up. I admit that I'm starting to rethink this duality, but I don't think that changing my situation is a viable option right now. I tried to change my situation over the summer, but it didn't pan out, and now I feel fairly stuck.
But at least I'm keeping busy. No time to sit around and feel stuck for too long. This week, I have a nonfiction workshop piece to submit, an essay to select and prepare for Ecolit, and when the week is over, I get to enjoy a weekend in western Michigan with some new friends. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for some beautiful fall foliage.