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Kind of Blue


Blue clouds.

I’ve been called an artist.

It’s been suggested that I paint. Believe me, I’ve tried. There are plenty of paints, brushes, canvases and paper in the closet. I’ve taken classes, courses, workshops. Trust me. I don’t have the necessary skills. And, that’s too bad. There are images in my head that I can never begin to capture with mechanical tools. I guess they’ll just have to stay there.

You see, I’m one of those who doesn’t believe that you can do anything. There are limits. There are talents. There is a special kind of drive that it takes to help talent grow. That’s how I became a photographer.

However.

I can tinker with different kinds of software and create a unique picture. One that’s mine and does come out of my head. I’ve had people ask to tell them the “exact” steps I took to make something that I’ve published here. I can’t do that. I don’t keep written copies of all the moves that I make. Because I jump from software to software there is no continuous metadata trail. Besides, why would you want to copy my workflow when you could create your own?

The picture. The usual place. The telephone pole place. Since I’ve been laid up — thanks for your kind words, but this is a chronic problem that won’t go away with topical or over the counter remedies — I’ve been tinkering and teaching myself to “paint” with software that is designed to created water or oil or acrylic approximations. Those all look weird to my eye.

Enjoy.

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On Sunday


A Sunday stumble.

I had big plans today.

Hahahahahaha! You know the old joke about that.

I was going to photograph a second line. I haven’t done that in a while. But, my back and legs hurt a little too much for that. So I took some pain meds which didn’t really work. I thought that I post this a little early. My Apple computers decided that all sorts of things should go wrong including not being able to “see” my mouse or trackpad. Rebooting a Mac takes a lot of time. It also means that any of the apps with which I work also must reboot.

Two hours passed by.

Here I am.

The cool thing about this picture is that I made it two and a half hours ago. You could have seen it 30 minutes after I made it. But, nooooo…

Since I am somewhat disabled today, I guess I’ll go watch my local American football team, The New Orleans Saints, lose their third consecutive game as their die-hard fans scream about firing everybody. That might help. The team has no talent. And, I’ll look to see how the players react to the man I refuse to call president last racist speech and tweets. Personally, I liked world-famous basketball player Lebron James’s twitter reply in which he called him a “bum.”

The picture. iPhone and be there. A little light post production.

The Flow


Over the rocks and through the woods.

A weekend picture.

Something quiet. Something natural. Something peaceful.

You know how there is “Wordless Wednesday?” Or, “Throw Away Thursday?” Oops, I meant ‘Throwback Thursday.” Well, today is “Silent Saturday.” I think I just made that up. Or not. Probably not.

The picture is something that I saw along the way. Something that speaks to the season. Of Autumn. Our Autumn. 90 degrees with 92% humidity. Bracing. Chilly. Sweater weather.

I didn’t do very much to this picture in post production. Mostly, I darkened the highlights so that you could see what’s going on in them.

Happy Saturday.

Who Knows Where The Time Goes


Nature never gives up.

Today is the first day of Autumn.

A change is in the air. Literally. But, not here. It’s a billion degrees again. With a million percent humidity. Oh well. We are used to it. It does get tiring about this time a year. Everybody would like a little cool air.

The picture. This is what you get when I listen to the new Stephen Stills and Judy Collins album called “Everybody Knows.” Their tale is a long one, and better left to music histories. For now, it is enough to say that they have a 50-year-old friendship. It started with a romantic relationship that ended after about two years. The breakup drove Stephen Still to write a couple of classic songs, among them “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” and “Helpless Hoping.” Both of them have had long and fairly distinguished careers.

Anyway.

The picture was made on one of my famous dog walks. No, the cocker spaniel didn’t see this. She was busy elsewhere doing something else. You can figure that out for yourselves. I looked down and just pressed the button. The original photograph is pretty good. But, I wanted something a little different so I pushed it and pushed it some more, until this appeared. It looks like a watercolor painting to my old eyes.

What do you think?

In case you are wondering why this picture is vertical rather than horizontal, it’s simple. I looked straight down on it. I framed it vertically. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about WordPress templates is that pictures do much better when they are vertical because you can see them much better.

And, the album? I’ve played it three times in a row. I never do that. It brings me back 50 years. To 1969. It brings me a large measure of peace. It makes me smile. Yet, it’s real. Still is 72 years old. He’s pretty much deaf which is not a good thing for a musician. He has severe carpal tunnel syndrome. Not a great thing for a guitar player. Yet, he rises to the occasion. Collins is 78 years old. Yes. Who knows where the time goes. He voice is still solid, if a little full. She is still the wonderful songbird that I remember.

Yes.

Photography and music is well intertwined.


After the storm.

I knew this would happen.

We had an afternoon storm that kept up until about 8pm. Unfortunately, I was spoken for so I could only go back to the scene of many crimes. This is what I saw. In my head. It’s what I felt. The original digital file is colorful, but fairly bland. It was what I saw with my eyes. My brain saw and felt something else. This picture.

I have a buddy in New Orleans. A photographer. He said something like sunsets never get old. Yes they do. Unless… you follow my line of thinking and turn around. Check out what the sunset is lighting up. That’s what never gets old because it’s unpredictable. The sun hits some highlight and blammo you have some wonderful reflection. Or, specular highlights. That’s what excites me.

There you have it.

Enjoy your day. Or night.

Falling


Dead flowers and changing seasons.

No. It’s not what you are thinking.

After the first two days of the week, I wouldn’t blame you.

This image celebrates the change of seasons, which in two days will bring Autumn weather and changing and falling leaves. Of course, all of this is relative. Yesterday, our nice crisp fall weather was like this… 92 degrees and about 85% humidity. A walking steam bath. Let me tell you, that ain’t changing in two days.

Sometime in October the temperatures and humidity will begin to drop. When that happens, it is probably our prettiest season of the entire year. Eventually a kind of winter will arrive and I’ll start wearing long pants. And, a hoodie. Or, something fleece. Hopefully, we’ll also have some really cold days. We need sub-freezing days to control the next summer’s insect population. We only need three days like that in a row. That didn’t happen last winter. Everything went crazy. My dogs were not amused.

The picture. Oh, you know. Lots and lots and lots of post production magic. I really want to be a painter. If only I had the talent and skills.

One More Time


Seeing the flag.

It happens in threes. That’s what they say.

I suppose that depends on which three you mean. For me, it was a friend, Bernie Jones, with whom I worked in my newspaper days. That was a couple of weeks ago. Then, Anacaleto. And, yesterday it was Pete Turner.

I knew them all. I didn’t know Pete well. I worked with him a little in my Image Bank days. But, along with three other photographers he was the driving force of what I do today. He was one of the fathers of modern color photography. Along with Ernst Haas and Jay Maisel, he taught the world’s photographers what color photography could and should be. The fourth photographer never used color film as far as I know. He was Gene Smith, the legendary Life and Magnum photographer.

We all age. Sometimes we get sick. Eventually we leave the planet. You know, all things must pass. George Harrison wrote a song about that. He left way too early at age 58. According to his wife, Olivia, his last words were, “Love one another.”

Think about that. For a while. A long while.

Me? This is the end of my triplets. For a while. I hope.

You never know.

The picture. I made it in The French Quarter. I did some stuff to it in post production. As Gene Smith used to say, “I want the damn picture to say what I want it to say.” As, Pete Turner used to say in the days of film and adding to the picture in the darkroom, “The picture isn’t finished until the dupe is done.”

One more thing.

For all the young photographers who read Storyteller, learn about all of these guys. Photography wasn’t invented when digital cameras came on the scene. It was invented in the 1800’s and has been improved upon since then. You can grow a lot if you learn about the art and craft of what you are trying to do.

One little thing. A dupe is a duplicate. In the film days, you made corrections or additions on one piece of film. You layered that on the original picture and took a picture of the two. It was time-consuming and painful. If you worked in a darkroom and wanted sharp images, your enlarger had to be set in cement. Literally. And, you better hope a large truck didn’t pass by your building.

RIP Pete Turner. And, thank you.

Plaster Angels


Angels in St. Louis Cathedral.

Some days you eat the bear. Some days the bear eats you.

Yesterday was one of those days when the bear won. After four years of battling colon cancer, an old friend of mine passed.

We went to college together. We worked in newspapers for many years. I left them. He did too. Everybody does. Printed newspapers are a dying breed. Worse, they’ve always eaten their young. To advance you have to move on and on. And, on. Eventually, you find a home. Either you move out, or you get moved out. In his later career he taught. I edited and published.

That’s only a small part of the story. All of our stories are individual. But, they are the same.

So is the final chapter. I suppose we all knew that his time was short. But, when it came, it seemed unexpected. It seemed sudden. Like bricks falling from a storm-blown building, they hit us in the head.

Our Facebook pages lit up with remembrances and expressions of sympathy. Your know that I’m not big on social media. Any of the platforms. I use them because I have to, not because I want to. I usually discuss my thoughts and emotions here. On Storyteller. Whatever drifts onto my social media pages is accidental, not intentional.

Anyway.

Anacleto or Michael, depending on what point of our lives intersected, was a helluva a photographer. In the past, he led Los Angeles Times photography teams on coverages of things like last night’s Emmy Awards. That’s probably not all that important.

This is what is important.

He was Yoda. Quiet. Positive. Gentle. A leader without trying to be. Even as the end drew near and his family came to see him, to say goodbye, he made the group portraits. He simply said, “‘Tis the season of reunions.” To a person, everyone who posted yesterday said that he made the world a better place. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years. You know. Life. Distance. But, there is giant hole right now. In the world.

Rest in Peace, Anacleto Rapping.

Out There in Blue


Out on the road.

This is fun.

I’m revisiting old work. I’m tinkering with it. And, showing it to you. There’s a secret to this picture. I made it during the day. The dusk-like quality came in post production. I wanted to see if I could do it.

Apparently, I can.

Now you know that the old saying, “a picture never lies, ” is — well — a lie. Even in the old darkroom days, you could burn (darken) and dodge (lighten)and do overlays. It was just a lot harder to do than it is on a computer. Don’t get me wrong. If this was some kind of photojournalism, the picture would be an accurate rendition of what I saw with my eyes. Since it’s not, I can make the picture I saw in my brain.

So There.

I made this picture in New Mexico. On another back stretch of the roads to the west of Albuquerque. I used to prowl around a lot when I lived there. For that matter, I used to prowl a lot in New Orleans. I don’t do it as much these days. I’m probably a little burnt out on this place. It happens.

I Lit Up From Reno…


Over the mountain.

“I lit up from Reno, I was trailed by twenty hounds, Didn’t get to sleep that night

Till the morning came around, I set out running but I’ll take my time

A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine, If I get home before daylight

I just might get some sleep tonight, I ran into the Devil, babe. He loaned me twenty bills

I spent that night in Utah, In a cave up in the hills, I set out running but I take my time

A friend of the devil is a friend of mine, If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight

I ran down to the levee, But the Devil caught me there, He took my twenty dollar bill

And he vanished in the air, I set out running but I take my time

A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine,  If I get home before daylight

I just might get some sleep tonight. ” — Jerry Garcia, John Dawson, Robert Hunter (Grateful Dead)

From a  song I like called, “The Friend of the Devil,” because it speaks to this place. I-80, just east of Reno, Nevada on one winter morning as I was headed toward Utah after stopping by the military cemetery at Fernley, NV.

The picture. I made it through the windshield as I was going about 80 mph. I dressed it some in post production. I even added a running frame to it.