It's a three hour drive to the trout streams above the city of Madison. I sit in the parking lot of the shopping center waiting for Brad and wondering why Starbucks doesn't open at five. Brad's headlights stop me from thinking of the best way to break in and make a venti latte.
"What's up bud?"
I growled, "Coffee?"
He handed me his thermos mug. I took a swig.
"Tea, this is f'n tea or the worst f'n coffee in town. Gimme a crowbar, I'm breaking into Starbucks."
The door locks went off.
"It's coffee you old fart."
"Really? Made with coffee beans or some strange organic good for you crap?"
"Behave old man, till we get to the oasis and I'll buy you coffee." Now let's load the truck, knowing you, you brought more gear than six guys need."
We are a strange pair, he's the same age as my oldest son and one of the nicest guys on the planet, I'd cut your heart out if you cut in front of me at Starbucks.
Brad has a passion for photography and fly fishing. He is an aspiring writer. I've been writing professionally longer than he's been alive, from scripts and speeches, twenty plus years as a tech writer and published a number of articles for numerous fishing magazine. And I've collected a paycheck from all of that and sent two kids to college. Brad doesn't have any kids, yet. And along the way I learned to shoot an animation camera, worked on films, built a photo studio and started a multimedia company that did well until that industry died. I don't think Brad has ten thousand 35mm slides in his basement, a pair of Hollywood rewinds or 25,000 feet of negative stock still frozen in his freezer. But he is becoming, that is on the path to greatness.
"Starbucks coming up...don't kill any one to get to the front of the line."
I shoot him the bird.
"Smell this Brad? This is coffee."
"Hey look, you want to do something together."
"No, jeez, you ever get serious? You want to do a website, blog, you know, a place to share our fishing adventures."
"No, I'm crotchety with high standards. No."
We drive on, talking streams, fishing, flies, about picking up Kyle.
I grab more coffee when we stop at the Quickee Mart and we load Kyle and gear into the truck.
We fish, it's slow, Brad carries his 7D in a sling backpack. I watch as he sets and shoots, moving slowly, composing his shot, checking the light while the shutter happily clicks away. Passion at work. A desire to capture the best image, the story of the day, of few fish, a long walk, bugs, bugs and more bugs.
We drop Kyle off.
"Let's talk about this website blog thing..."
A few months, a few beers, some fishing and discussions.
Welcome to Tippets and Tales.
Stuart Van Dorn