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Tomato


Something like spring.

Tomato.

You know. You say “toe-may-toe.” I say, “tom-mah-toe.”

I made this picture yesterday. During our fall season. Looks about like spring anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s that second growing season of ours. Stuff blooms. There are new buds.  Spring fruits and veggies start emerging from the earth.

It’s just like that.

As I said, this is a very new image. I did a little magic, a twist and a spin to make it look a little more like painted art, which is how I saw it. But, the original really didn’t need help. It looked pretty good right out of the camera, er, smart phone. You know how that goes with me.

I might show you one more version tomorrow when it’s all hands on deck to cook stuff. I’ll take the easy way out on Storyteller.  Heh!

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One of Those Days


Reworked ornamental cabbage.

It’s one of those things. It was inspired by the local newspaper, which I rarely read. And, by their website, which I read daily. There was a piece about “seeing food differently” in their food section. It was about a photographer who takes close up pictures of fresh food. He is, apparently, making a splash in New Orleans. It’s big time art.

Oh boy. Wow.

I did the same thing about a decade ago when I lived in New Mexico. I stuck some lights on the end of a macro lens and made close up pictures of fresh food for a stock photography request. They weren’t licensed for much money per picture, but they did sell in volume. You can find pictures similar to them in every stock photography library around the world. Just Google them. You’ll find thousands of them.

Either those of us who took them were well ahead of our time. Or, the young millennial reporters don’t know very much. And, these kinds of pictures are art to them. I’ll go with the later since I’m pretty sure they haven’t studied enough about the history of anything to realize that there is very little new under the sun.

One would think that this would give artists of my era a head start. You’d think that. But, no. Many millennials are also ageist as hell. It’s like the work we did years ago never even existed.

Oh well.

Speaking of age. I’ve just gotten older. Today. On November 21st. Yep. My birthday. For a while, birthdays didn’t matter. This is not one of those big years. But, for some reason this one seems to matter. I have an idea why…

The pictures. The bottom one is very close to the original take. It didn’t need much help because I lit it properly in my studio/kitchen. The top picture is one of my current experimental approaches to making photographs worse. It’s more-or-less how I see things now.

Oh yeah. In case you are wondering. You can’t eat this cabbage. It’s called an ornamental cabbage. No matter what you do, it is as bitter as can be. But, it is very pretty. After I photographed it, I planted it in the ground. It looked great. It probably still does.

As it really was.

Where Fall Goes


Falling in the water.

This is where Fall goes. Into a little stream-like thing, which eventually takes it to a pipe and either into the lake or into the river. No worries. It’s the nature of things.

But.

When I started processing this picture, I realized what I had. A map. Of someplace unknown. Look at it. A river sort of works its way through two land masses. Maybe, the plains and the forest. That’s how my mind works. You may see something entirely different. Some of you see images of people or recognizable things other than what’s in the picture.

That’s the magic of photography. Often, you see what you want to see.

This picture was made very simply. I saw it and I pressed the button. Funny thing about it. When I started to download it in order to finish it, I took a look at the total image size. 12 mega pixels. That’s something because the picture came from an iPhone. Do you realize that when I first transitioned to digital cameras, I owned the 3 mega pixel DSLR followed by a 6 mega pixel camera. True enough. The pixels were larger, which meant they could capture more light. But, with all the digital stuff buried in a smart phone I’m pretty sure that the quality — when measured apples to apples — like an 8 x 10 print, looks about the same.

Does that mean that I’ll switch to all iPhone work?

Ooooooh. Noooooo. My current cameras make 24 and 36 megapixel files. I’m thinking about a camera that produces 48 megapixel files, which may be overkill for what I do.

Anyway, that’s Monday morning thinking. Could change by lunch.

One more thing. Once again WordPress came through to mess with me. See my copyright notice? See what’s missing? This… ©. The way to make that symbol on a phone or pad is to use an emoji. WordPress disallows that now. Thanks for your help.

Walking


Lost in the leaves.

Another day. Another walk.

Truth be told, these pictures are a couple of weeks old. I processed them. I tinkered with them. And, immediately forgot about them.

I don’t know why.

Sometimes, I get lucky. I make three or four pictures on one walk. I choose the one or two that I liked best at the time and move on. The key phrase is “at the time.” Often, after a suitable period of marination, I wonder what I was thinking during my culling and editing process.

I found these shoes where the trees meet the road. They aren’t Crocs. They are fairly inexpensive chef’s clogs. There is something curious about them. There is a pretty good reason why they were tossed out into the street.

Yes. They are worn. But, that’s not it.

Can you see it?

I’ll tell you what I see below the bottom picture.

The mate to the other one.

I have no idea why. I didn’t move them. I never flip pictures. These two pictures are as I found the shoes.  One in the street. One near the street. Two shoes. Two different shoes.

But…

They are both right foot shoes. Wearing a shoe on the wrong foot had to have been very uncomfortable. Especially if the person wearing them was standing on his or her feet all day.

Your guess is as good as mine.

The Dog


Curly headed Cocker Spaniel.

Yes. This is the dog.

The dog who sees things. The dog who leads me to pictures. The dog who demands walks.

The picture was made from above. Here’s the story. If the weather is just right. Not too hot. Not too cold. Bright. Sunny. A slight breeze.  She will walk to a certain point and just stand there with her nose in turned up in the air. Then, she sits. Enjoying the nice day.

That’s great if she is in the yard with the rest of the dogs. They all do about the same thing. Sometimes in one area. Sometimes, about as far away as they can get from each other. Dogs need a break too.

But.

If we are walking, as sweet-tempered as she is, she can get stubborn. You can’t move her from enjoying the day until she’s ready to move.

So.

What to do? What to do?

I just take pictures. Usually, I look at my surroundings. But, the morning light was so pretty that I decided to take a few pictures of her. Not normal portraits. Pictures of body parts. At least the ones that I could see while she was sitting.

I really like this view. The top of her head. As winter comes on, we don’t trim the dogs as much as we do for summer. Right now, she looks a little poodley even though she is a cocker spaniel.  Once I started dragging the picture around in post production all the little hidden colors started to emerge. Oddly, she’s not gray. She’s buff with a little white trim. I know that light and shadow have different basic hues so, one side of her head looks golden. The other, sort of blue.

Happy weekend.

A Little Urban


Fire hydrant and words.

A little change.

Something a little more grungy. A little more urban. A little more made by hand.

Some people think graffiti is some kind of blemish. A kind of destruction. An attack on civilized society. Others think it is a kind of street art. I fall into the latter category. Sometimes. Some of this is just tagging for tagging’s sake. Leaving a mark.

It gets controversial when an artist like Banksy came to town a few years after Hurricane Katrina. He tagged 18 buildings. Almost immediately, 17 of his works was painted over in gray, by a guy who took it upon himself to cover all graffiti with gray paint. The remaining one was removed along with the wall on which it was painted. The owner of the building did that. He also had it restored a bit, and it is now on display as part of another show.  I think it just opened.

I made these four pictures in The Bywater. I also turned the graffiti into my own art by cropping in camera and then bringing out the color in post production. On the other hand, if I actually knew who did the original tagging, I would love to credit them too. Unfortunately, unless you know the taggers’ work by name, secrecy is kind of the whole point.

My Fall… a Version


A little faded.

Most of the leaves have fallen.

In Southeast Louisiana we are getting ready to head into winter. Well, as much winter as we get. True, the weather can get cold. But, it nothing like our friends get in the north. And when the temperatures do take a real dip, it’s only for a few days.

We need those couple of frozen days. The dogs need them too. A couple of days of sub-32 degree weather kills a lot of insect eggs. Fleas. Mosquitoes. Like that. As it is, our dogs get shots to keep fleas at bay. That’s life in the swamp.

Anyway.

The picture. Lately, I’ve been using my iPhone a lot. It’s not because I think it replaces larger “real” cameras as many casual users do. It’s because it’s what I carry when I walk the dogs. These days, I’m mostly just making pictures around my neighborhood for Storyteller. With a little careful interpolation (uprezing) I can make prints up to around 16×20 inches. But, most of this work is intended for online media.

I also use Snapseed and Stackables which are apps that I downloaded to my phone. Between both of them, I can pretty much explore my evolving artistic vision. When I want to do a lot more, I make pictures with a mirrorless camera and use a variety of post production tools. I can see a huge difference between the two approaches. That’s just me. Once images are posted here, they all sort of look the same because of WordPress’ and other social media data compression.

Technically… hmmm.


In all its glory.

Fall. In all its glory.

This is one of those just-as-the-sun-is-starting-to-go-down in late fall pictures. It looks pretty good to my eye. But, I do have a huge technical concern. I’m pretty sure this picture as it appears here could not be reproduced on paper.  I rarely look at histograms, while I am in the field or in the studio. I mostly want the picture to look how I want it to look. After all, I was raised in the 18% gray card era. Exposing exactly for that guaranteed a fairly flat picture, lacking either highlights or shadows. I think the same thing about a perfect bell-shaped histogram.

But.

I glanced at the histogram  as I was adding my watermark. It was so far skewed to the left that it was all shadow and very little highlight. I could never print this picture on paper which is always the goal. After all, you are looking at a collection of ones and zeros. Nothing you can hold in your hand. If I printed this image as it is, all that shadow area would be hidden under a blog of black ink.

I’ll rework it if I want to print it.

That’s the picture. The rest is easy. See it. Photograph it. Rinse and repeat.

Fire on the Mountain


Fire in the sky.

Another night.

Another amazing sky. I’m lucky to see them. That’s what you get when the dogs demand their last long walk of the day at around that time. You get to see some cool stuff.

Which reminds me.

I have friends, and colleagues, who think the only time you can take a picture is when you travel or are at some event. I keep trying to tell them that pictures are all around. Just open your eyes. Especially if you are used to photographing events. For those guys, my work lately would be like the empty space between a couple of notes in a song. By doing this, you let your main work breath. For those of you who only make pictures occasionally, you don’t have to go to Paris or Greece to take a picture. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Photograph what you see. Talk to your neighbors. Let your dog pee on a new piece of dirt. Just sayin.’

That’s it. My lesson for the day. I’m not really talking to you. Well, I am. But, I’m reminding myself. For when I get a little grumpy. But, that’s another story.

The picture. Oh yeah. That. Outside and be there. Let the camera do most of the work. Do a little more in post production. On Snapseed. Oh, did I tell you? Snapseed’s (well — Google’s) last upgrade added something called tools.  You can do some things with one click. More importantly, it saves your last setting. Ooooooohie. Now, I didn’t even have to think. Which is the whole point of art. Or, baseball.

Falling Windows


Falling through the skylights.

A kind of little picture. That grew bigger.

This one is all on me. I have no idea why I didn’t see this before. I guess that I should look up more often. When you walk with dogs, you look down a lot. You don’t want them accidentally tripping you up. Especially on our streets which often looks like Berlin 1946. Even the sidewalk in front of the house is a mess. Up. Down. Cracked. Broken. Roots pushing through. Grass peeking through.

Should I repair it or not? I would. But, I can’t. It’s a funny thing. If we had a sidewalk with a strip of grass growing on the street side, the grass would be mine. The sidewalk is the city’s. If I repair it on my own, I’m guilty of something. Likely, working without a permit since I wouldn’t be issued one anyway.

It’s so much fun living in an ancient city that is built on a swamp. Okay, okay. My neighborhood wasn’t so swampy. It’s on high ground. It’s six feet above sea level, which makes it high ground compared to 80% of the city. But, the soil still shifts and sinks. It’s sort of like quick sand. Oh well. Now that New Orleans is rapidly gentrifying, our house is worth a lot more than we paid for it only four years ago. If we move, we win. Or, lose. Something like that.

Anyway.

I made this picture in the shop/storage space/junk drop/tool shed/refuge. It’s also a sort of pass through between one out building and the next. When the dogs and I finish our walks we generally walk through this room. I looked up. Yes. I did have to do some work in post production. The contrast between extreme highlights and deep shadows was just too much. So, I messed with it some and darkened the shadows to emphasize the highlights.

Have fun.

Oh, funny thing. When I ran this through spell check it wanted to turn gentrifying into petrifying. That’s about that same thing. Heh!