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A Pay Phone. Two Ways.

A little cinematic.

A little cinematic.

This is Netflix’ fault. Or, Amazon Prime’s. I forget which one.

I started out with a nice simple graphic image of an abandoned pay phone. It was cleaned up nicely by whoever owns the boarded up building. There is no actual phone and all the wires are removed. It looked sort of cool as a graphic image so I took it. I did my usual post production and let it sit. You know, marinate.

Then I was watching some weird movie. On Netflix. Or Amazon Prime. I liked the cinematics, so I thought “why not?” Why not, indeed. That’s why it’s one of those streaming services fault. They got me thinking. That’s always dangerous.

I started tinkering around. This is where I came to. Because of the way the colors were laid down, there is sort of a heart shape surrounding the phone. This could be some kind of weird Goth Valentine’s Day card. Or not.

Or, is the picture better in its most minimalistic form? Blue and Gold? Contrasting colors?

By the way, in either case, the biggest eye-catcher for me is all those lines. Horizontal and vertical. And, you know me. There really is no better or best. There is only just different.

As I saw it.

As I saw it.

A Little Yellow

Color and water.

Color and water.

A morning picture.

Low angle of light. Bright color. Water droplets from last night’s rain. No. The dog didn’t see this one. Well, she might have. But, I came back with a better camera. And, a different lens. It made a world of difference.

Despite what they tell you, better optics, better sensors, and better processors, do have a big impact. I could not have made this picture with a smart phone. The quality just wouldn’t be there. What I — and a lot of older photographers — call “creamy” wouldn’t exist using an itty bitty sensor. The extreme contrast would have blown out the highlights. The shadows would have been too deep.


Happy December. Pretty soon my Christmas pictures will start showing up. Maybe, I’ll even make some new ones. Or, something.


About these flowers. For some strange reason my neighbor planted them a couple of days ago. I realize our winter isn’t as cold some of your winters may be. Still, we do get cold around here. Below freezing. For a few days at a time. Even a few days will harm tender flowers.

What the Dog Saw… Again

The dog... again.

The dog… again.

What the dog saw. Again.

For those of you who are new to Storyteller, I publish an occasional series called “What the dog saw.” It is based on our walks during the week. We actually are owned by six dogs. But, this dog, in particular, thinks that I belong to her. Even though all of the dogs go for walks, she goes on one extra walk a day with me. Just the two of us. That’s also how I discovered there is indeed a 6am and a 6pm.

I always say that walking is the best way to photograph the subjects you see on Storyteller. Walking with a dog who absolutely must check out everything we come across lets me see the details. Even better than a fast walk about the city. In that way these are her pictures too. Its likely she found them before I did.

In the Morning

Morning glow.

Morning glow.

In the morning.

It wasn’t always my favorite time of day. I used to quote Bart Simpson who was really quoting Ricky Ricardo, who said, “There’s a 5 o’clock in the morning? When did they start that?”  For some reason, not the time change, I’m getting up earlier. Much earlier. I get to see skies like this. Especially when the dogs demand a walk.

Those dogs. Especially the one of who sees pictures for me, think they have to get up at the crack of dawn and walk. They like to go way down by the river and the railroad tracks. Meanwhile, I’m still half asleep. No coffee in me yet.


I believe my best pictures are made when I turn off my brain and don’t think. Early in the morning. No caffeine. Eyes half closed. Perfect for that. I don’t even have to do my routine. My ritual. I just get their leashes. Off we go. The dogs lead me. They know more than me. It seems. When I see something and start to point my camera at it, they stop. Camera down. They go. We’ve trained each other well.

Like Cotton Balls

Straight into the heavens.

Straight into the heavens.


Go outside. Take a look around. There’s no telling what you’ll see. Like these clouds. I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen clouds quite like these. They look like corn rows. Cotton Balls. Maybe there are some faces hiding in there. Or, some animals. That’s up to you.

The picture. Yes. It’s a little disorienting. That happens when you shoot straight up. No angles. Imagine being me while I was doing it. I felt like I wanted to fall over. Especially while I made a vertical image of what’s normally photographed horizontally. Oh. I made the horizontal picture too. But, I like this one. Much better.

Let the Games Begin

Condensation on the window.

Condensation on the window.

Experiment day.

For those of you who have been around here for a little bit, you know that Sunday is often the day I post experiments. Could be in shooting style. Or, in post production. Or, in content.

In this case it is everything.

A few days ago, one of the post production apps — On1 — that I use a lot, released their newest software. It is not an update. It is built new, entirely from the ground up. It does a lot of new things, but its biggest selling point is that is a RAW image processor. We won’t need anything but their software to develop, process and finish a picture.  Every photographer who uses On1 is excited about it.


The folks who develop the software have a history of releasing new versions well before their time. Half baked. Buggy. Needing a couple of upgrades before it is stable. They released what their marketing department calls “preview” software to all of us who pre-ordered it. That sounds fine.


It wasn’t. It’s not preview anything. It’s barely developmental software.  At best it is beta test in sheep’s clothing. I never do beta testing. After all, one really bad bug can cause problems within the architecture of your computer.

If I had known this, I would have never downloaded it. So far, it’s been super slow as a processor and it’s crashed my computer to the point that only a hard reset — unplugging the computer from the power source — could get my machine going again. This has been the general consensus on many user boards. To be fair, some people had no problems using it. But, they seem to be in the minority.

That said, I did manage to do one simple test.

This picture.

The one you are looking at. We are drifting back and forth between very cold air and slightly warmer air as we move closer to winter. Well, our version of winter. That creates a lot of condensation on just about everything. I made this picture through my studio window. I processed it entirely on the new On1 software. It took forever. Even when the bugs didn’t get in the way, it really slowed down my personal workflow.  I have to believe it will get faster once the final release is made in mid-December.


Most of this image, especially the background, is wholly created using the software. In fact, after reviewing it, I’m certain the only the water drops are original to the picture.  Of course, that opens a great debate. What is photographic art?

I’m not going there now. I will, if you’d like to talk about it.


The Neighborhood

A little bit of everything.

A little bit of everything.

The neighborhood.

Just a street in Mid City. Not far from the old laundry building. The buildings are sort of typical of some older houses that have been handed down from generation to generation. And, survived the storm. Survived bad weather. Hot weather. Humid weather.

So is each generation’s stuff. Typical. It survived. What were grandpa’s things was once papa’s. When he passed, it became his children’s. And, so on. It gets displayed. Proudly. On the street. In no particular order. It looks chaotic. But, it’s not. If you look closely, you’ll see that everything is in its place. Even if that place doesn’t make sense to you.

The pictures. They found me. I was leaving the laundry building and was just sort of looking around. This isn’t particularly hard. You just have to keep your opens open. You just have to see. Most importantly, you have to clear your mind. Turn your brain off. And, just photograph.

Easy? Right?

Classic neighborhood stoop, Mid City, New Orleans

Classic neighborhood stoop, Mid City, New Orleans