ap pur te nance |ə-ˈpərt-nən(t)s| noun (usu. appurtenances)
An accessory or other item associated with a particular activity; accessories, trappings, equipment, paraphernalia.
With memories of February’s “snowmageddon” starting to fade, the promise of springtime, warmer weather, and sunny roads gets alot of us dreaming of appurtenances … OK, bike stuff. New bike stuff. Maybe a new set of tires, new rims, a new pair of shoes, a new helmet, or even a complete new beautiful bicycle. (You guys know who you are … finish the thesis & you get the Salsa! 😉
To be clear, I don’t exclude myself from this Spring Fever. Thinking that my favorite bike shorts have seen better days, my brake cable should be replaced, a colorful new jersey would be nice … Anyone who steps into the colorful wonderland of a bike shop in the grey days of late winter knows the feeling.
Lately, I have also added camera “stuff” to my appurtenance cravings. Deciding to participate in a 365 photo project (a photo each day for a full calendar year) with ShutterCal, was big impetus to get a bit more serious. In the somewhat futile attempt(s) to improve my photography skills, I have spent a lot of time – and yes, admittedly, money – in recent months taking classes, reading books, attempting to master new post-processing software – as well as buying a few pieces of equipment I “really needed”.
I have to admit that I struggle with that inner voice that keeps whispering, “it’s not about the equipment…”. I believe this: it’s not. I know there is not a bike on the planet that will magically make me a super-human cyclist, yet I also know how pleasurable it is to ride beautifully equipped bike – whether an ultra-light road bike, an Xtracycle, or some stylish balloon-tired cruiser. The bike does not make the rider – but good equipment can make the ride divine.
And just as with the bicycle, the camera does not make the photographer. I’ve seen spectacular photos shot with a camera phone, or a cheap point-and-shoot. An artful and skilled eye will always more-than-compensate for lack of technical equipment; yet good equipment (and the knowledge to use it) can enhance the results for those of us who are considerably less talented, and make the process much more enjoyable and productive. Just like riding a beautifully equipped bicycle, shooting pictures with a good camera and lens can be an inspiring experience.
I’m not sure where that leaves me in the end? There is so much I want to learn, and improve upon – both in cycling and photography. It will likely require appurtenances. I don’t need to win races, ride around the globe, win awards or exhibit my photos – I just want to reach some personal level of accomplishment. I’m trying to find the right balance; I don’t want the desire for appurtenances to get in the way of the actual work. I need to climb more hills, I need to take millions of photos. Yet I also know that sometimes, appurtenances can help pave the path to getting there…
Spring is almost here…. dream on! 🙂