Long Road


When the weather...
When the weather…

When the weather turns bad, the pictures get good. An old quote by NGS’ Sam Abell. It’s good to know and good to follow. I’ve written it here in the past.

Also, its good to understand the long road. The long road to learning.

These comments are driven by somebody who commented here and followed up with an email in sort of a demanding tone. She offered me another blogger’s site to show me just how I should teach what I do.

Yeah. That’s a good start.

I won’t comment on the other blogger except to say that pictures of flowers and nature will earn you exactly nothing in the stock photography world. Mostly that industry is broken. But, those who do earn any serious money in the stock industry make pictures of people doing stuff. They do fairly high-end productions and make large collections of images. Not, the occasional nature picture or two. If you want to see their work, ask me. I’ll post some links. They make good money. But, they invest good money. Oh, and did I mention? They are seriously talented.

If you look around in the comments section of the past week, you’ll see my response. I teach enough on Storyteller. I teach you about how I think, and how it might be applicable to what you do. I do think that I quietly encourage some of you, just based on what I see of your own blogs.

That’s my intent.

If you have a specific question, by all means ask it. I’ll answer it if I can. But, don’t expect to me outline everything that I do in a step by step manner so you can copy it.

For one thing, you can’t copy it. No two people think alike. No two people see alike. And, no two people have the same intent and vision. When I say tinker, I mean it. I don’t write down each step. I move around in an organic manner. To do my work any differently would alter the outcome. Maybe it would be better. Likely not. It would be worse.

If you read my reply and you really want me to do that, make me an offer. I reckon that since I started with the proto-Photoshop, that was then owned by Aldus, and bought by Adobe, my knowledge really should be worth something. I’ve been managing color since 1983 in one way or another. I’ve been tinkering with color since 1991.

Let me be clear. My intent was never to create a revenue stream from other photographers or people who want to be photographers. Many of my professional brothers do that. They teach online. They offer one on one training. They offer workshops. They offer photo tours. These days there must be 50 guys I know going to Cuba to teach other photographers to take pictures in Cuba. Many of the teachers have never been to Cuba. There is nothing wrong with this. It’s a way to make ends meet when assignments are dry. Or, when you start to age and don’t feel like beating yourself up. In fact, maybe I should do it.


I could teach you how to photograph well beyond the touristy stuff in New Orleans and not get shot, robbed or stabbed. Or, something like that. And, I know where the really local and good places to eat are located.

By the way, unlike my rant at WordPress, this is not a rant. That commenter really got me thinking that I should maybe do something like teach here or there or somewhere for a fee. I’m just afraid somebody will offer me a chicken in payment…

Anyway, the picture.

It’s very cold in New Orleans today. It will be for the next few days. The weather people are calling for a wintry mix. Certainly rain. Maybe some sleet. The possibility of snow. The first Carnival parade of the year was postponed from tonight until tomorrow night when it will be cold but nothing will be falling from the sky. Except for some confetti and Mardi Gras throws. I don’t know about the other event yet. But, they ride around in a streetcar, so they may keep going. However, they are very community-oriented and the community will be inside roasting logs and burning marsh mellows.

So. I published a cold weather picture from my New Mexico days. Just so you know, most of my post production on this picture is darkening everything and making the picture so contrasty that the streets shined. Well, the ice helped too. Then I added a frame.


  1. Ray, Thanks for another awesome pic. You are truly gifted and talented. From your rant, I get that I somehow offended you, and for that, I humbly and deeply apologize. No, I didn’t think your work and Maranto’s was similar in any respect. I was merely pointing out her short hints for how she got to the finished product–little nuggets of gold for us new photographers and Photoshoppers. Which you do, too, but I guess I was hoping for a little more, like you gave here. So, mission accomplished, I guess. Hey, you’re kinda like WordPress–just give a suggestion and–presto, chango! (kidding)

    Anyway, I am humble enough to say that I could probably never come close to the awesome work you do (and I’m not interested in professional photography) so you don’t have to worry that types like me want to “steal” your work or your knowledge. What really intrigues me and has me asking questions (at least in my mind) is how you can look at an ordinary photo and “see” the finished product, and then be able to use Photoshop to take you from before to after. I think that is probably a lot of inherent “photographic eye” that I just don’t have.

    But I understand how frustrating you and other professionals may find it when us clueless fans ask you to reveal your secrets. I guess I’ve been in college long enough that I have that student mentality where I want to just ask how and have the professor tell me the steps. No, they didn’t give me the gold either — like you, they pointed me in the right direction and said “carry on.” Hmm! I think those kids I’ve been hanging out with at college the last few years have been rubbing off on me.

    Adieu, Master visualizer. Have a blessed day.


    1. Did you fix your about page?

      A couple of things. I doubt many working photographers worry about “secrets” theft. Since you took “A” social media class you know that you can find anything online. Everything is transparent now. You can probably learn what you did at EMU by watching YouTube.

      I find it interesting and amusing that you want detailed knowledge of photoshop techniques when you really have very little interest in photography. I do find it troubling that while you presumably paid for your second college degree in Michigan, and your professors were paid by the school that you think it’s okay for a professional to spend billable time to teach you at the granular level, and not be paid.

      One more detail. This is important so read it closely. Even though I started with Aldus/Adobe, I haven’t used it in a few years. It’s bloated software. And, it doesn’t process files the way that I like them. I use PhaseOne for processing and On1 for finishing. For iPhonography I use Snapseed.


      1. Ray, I did change my About page since I’m in the process of creating a website and wanted it to be consistent, but I’m not sure what you mean by “Fixed”. Since I didn’t have it proofed by anyone before posting it, there could very easily be something I’m staring at that needs changing and I’m just not seeing it. If you care to share that with me, I’ll give you what I get for proofreading (.35 for 28 lines) — just tell me where to send the payment.
        You are right that people can learn anything online these days. The great part of taking the classes was having masters at the task there for consult and direction. I have books at home to teach myself but never seem to get to them. Of course, that’s because I have been busy doing homework for the last few years. Maybe now I’ll have a chance to do more self-study. I have found that in many cases, there are errors in the books that an instructor could help explain.
        One of the things I found in the process of earning my degree was that there was so much more there for me to learn than I thought there was. I am going to post about that soon so stay tuned.
        I know the experts say that video is the future, as evidenced by the popularity of YouTube, but I don’t really like educational videos that much. I know that isn’t the norm, but there it is. I do consult them if I can’t find what I want in writing first, but I guess I’ve just been a reader so long that I feel like I can follow the text to learn better. Not in all cases, but usually.
        I understand about not using Adobe these days. One of the things I studied was different tools out there for photo editing and I tried several, some of which were created by or for professionals who weren’t happy with Adobe, like you. My goal was in getting a job when I was done and when I look at the job postings, Photoshop/Adobe is the one I am always seeing companies require so learning the adobe products fulfilled my needs.
        Anyway, I’m back to working on my website. Peace


      2. 1. Always let somebody else read your work.

        2. You posted the same content twice. I realize you used bullets the second time, but the words were the same. Using bullet points usually means that you’ve edited edited the original copy down to about one line. Besides, it’s a blog. No need to build it resume style.

        3. When you read want ads that want photoshop experience that usually means the ability to design print work as well as web pages and so on. When I started, the software wasn’t as complex as it is today. I grew as they grew. If I were starting today, I’d estimate 3 to 5 years learning because it is a very steep learning curve. Especially for those want ads. As you rightly say, it takes longer as we age. The kids in your classes were raised with coding and computers. I hate to say this because it sounds ageist — I’m older than you so I can — but, that’s who most of those jobs are for. Highly tech skilled, high energy so they can work long hours and unless they are developers or engineers, low pay.

        4. Since you already wrote for a living… I know court reporting is different, I’d go with my strengths and work from there.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One more thing, I’m not unhappy with Photoshop, I just don’t need it to do what I do. I still keep it around to do one thing — text — because it is more efficient than anything else currently.


  2. Love your road. Looks like bumpy concrete! Don’t let anyone nag you about your ways! They are called artist’s license! You do a fantastic job and give out great information to those of us still learning. Those who have stopped learning are dead already! Dwight


    1. I think that was and old fashioned tar road. Once it was far out in the desert. Today, it’s in the city. Oh, she just wanted specifics. Even with those, as I said in the comments, no two people think alike. What I try to do is tell you how I think. Maybe it can be applicable to your work. Maybe not.

      Liked by 1 person

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