See that little pin prick of light? That’s the moon. The band of black is the Sandias.
The sky. Well, it’s the sky. And, really the most dominant feature. It’s also a big deal. Red, turning to magenta, to purple to almost black is pretty cool. I had nothing to do with it. Except to take the picture.
“Moonrise Over The Sandias” is a common event in Albuquerque. But, people still care about it. You’ll tell somebody that you made a good picture of it and they’ll say something like, “oh, that’s nice.” Then, you’ll show it to them and it’s more like, “ooh, ahh, oooh.”
The picture. Accidents, again. I was working with a wide angle lens. Probably something in the range of 20mm. Despite its peacefulness, the moon was moving quickly. I had no time to change lenses. So, I just used what I had. Something like photographing the moon with a smart phone, which is said to have the view of a 28mm lens. As I wrote above, I did next to nothing in post production. How could I? As usual, nature did all the heavy lifting.
I thought if I can manipulate a photograph into a kind of painting-like and grim piece of art, than I could go the other way and make it prettier.
This is the result of that experiment. Often, necessity is the mother of invention. I made this picture with a camera that used a fairly small sensor and that really didn’t have a lot of resolution. The enlarged version of this picture didn’t look so great. It was noisy and a little soft. I did a little work around. Through the magic of digital post production I managed to turn a photograph into a sort of water-color looking image. Without using the funky painting software that makes the finished image look weird.
The picture. Moon over the Sandias. I made it in New Mexico. In a high school parking lot in Albuquerque. It’s an example of always keeping some kind of camera with you. Yes. The moon really did look that big against the rim of the mountain range. That’s why I stopped in the first place. In a parking lot. They say that photographs never lie. Yeah. Right. Even before the age of Photoshop, you could twist a picture around to make it look like something else.
Think about it. It’s all about intent and honesty. If didn’t want to tell you the truth, I could have said I just scanned a water-color painting that I in made in New Mexico
“Daylight again. Following me to bed. I think about a hundred years ago.
How my fathers bled. I think I see a valley. Covered with bones in blue.
All the brave soldiers that cannot get older. Been asking after you.
Hear the past a calling. From Armageddon’s side.
When everyone’s talking and no one is listening. How can we decide?
Do we find the cost of freedom. Buried in the ground?
Mother Earth will swallow you. Lay your body down. ” — (Daylight Again & Find the Cost of Freedom) Stephen Stills
The Picture. Morning at the National Cemetery at Marietta, Georgia. It was established in 1866. It is closed to new burials — unless one has been previously scheduled — because it is full. The owner of the land, Henry Cole donated the land for use by both the Union and Confederate forces. That was not to be. Both sides declined. Eventually a compromise was reached. There are remains of 10,312 Union officers and soldiers interred here. And, the ones who came later. The Confederate Cemetery is about a half mile away. It was established in 1863. The remains of some 3,000 Confederate troops from across the southern states are buried, there.
The songs. Stephen Stills wrote “Find the Cost of Freedom” first. It became the ultimate concert closer. When Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young), closed with this during their encore set, you knew the show was really at an end. They would sing the song and very softly say “goodnight.” Stills wrote “Daylight Again” well after “Find the Cost of Freedom” as sort of a prequel. The two songs eventually became one.
The Facebook posts are starting. Twitter is tweeting. And, the wheel turns. Folks are thanking everybody who ever served. There is day for this. Veterans Day. People are thanking their uncle, who was a policeman for 30 years. His work meant a lot. I’m sure there is a day for that in your community. Some folks are thanking firefighters. Reach out. The next time you see a fireman in uniform, thank him. Their work means a lot. Most are heroes in some way. After all, when a building is on fire what do we do? We run away from it. Fireman run into the fire. To save your pet.
This holiday is for one particular group. The soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who never came home. The ones who gave all of themselves. The ones who died in some forgotten battle. Or, in an unpopular war. Or, in a forgotten war. Monday is for them. Please don’t cheapen their sacrifice be spreading the meaning of the day. Smoothing it so that it is about everybody you ever knew. Pay your respects to them on their birthday. Or something.
One more thing. Here comes the rant. No. Not really. Just a little sadness.
I just saw reader comments in three different places. The writers were talking about how we are at peace. That there are no wars right now. Tell that to the families of the two marines who died in Afghanistan last week. Or, to the family of the soldier who died in Syria a couple of days ago. And, if you believe that the “War on Terrorism” is a war, tell that to the people of Manchester, England.
And, this picture. One Memorial Day in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I went there to pay my respects. I went there to work. A little. See that young man holding his son. Open this picture up. Read his t-shirt. He was there. I know that because he saw my reflection in the polished marble and he turned around. So, we talked. Since the picture is still enlarged, look at his neck. Strange marks there. Shrapnel wounds from that battle. He knows how lucky he is. He’s home. Holding his little son. Welcome home Marine.
Think about that.
One more thing. RIH Gregg Allman. You didn’t think that I’d forget that did you?
It’s a weekend sort of thing. It’s an especially Memorial weekend sort of thing. With baseball. Beer. Hot dogs. Peanuts. And, Cracker Jacks. Families come out. Dads bond with sons. Sons dream of playing the game.
I was born a New York Yankee fan. Supposedly I saw the great Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio, play during his last season. That’s family lore. You know how family lore goes. It’s mostly myth and legend. DiMaggio retired after the 1952 season. I came along in November of 1953. I wasn’t even a gleam in my parents’ eyes. Oh well. I did get to see Mickey Mantle play. I saw him hit one of the longest balls ever hit in the old, yet to be remodeled Yankee Stadium. In 1963. I was nine years old.
As much as I like major league baseball, I like the minors almost as well. The ballparks are smaller. The crowds are much less. And, you get to see the stars of the future as they hone their craft. You can also move around. The stands aren’t patrolled by ticket takers. You can see a game from a couple of different locations. And, you can make pictures.
Surprisingly, making pictures is not my first priority when I go to a game. The game is. I can be an awful baseball nerd. But, every now and then…
I don’t photograph the game itself. I’m way too under lensed for that. Instead I do the same thing that I do on the streets. I look for moments. Light. Contrast. Life.
These two pictures were made in Albuquerque. At an Isotopes game. They were the real thing, not just a cartoon fantasy on The Simpsons. They were a Los Angeles Dodgers farm team. The Dodgers farm team has moved to Oklahoma City. I forget who replaced them.
For those of you in other countries, where baseball isn’t your thing. Sorry. I hope that you enjoy the moments. For those of you who live in The United Kingdom, I just read that my team, the Yankees are coming to London next year to play a league game, not an exhibition.
A little Friday picture. For your long weekend. At least for those of you who live in the United States. And, for those of you who live in The U.S., remember what that’s for. Memorial Day. It’s for those who died in the service of their country. For those who never came back. For those who gave a full measure of themselves. That’s all. Full stop.
The picture. These trees. New birth. Rebirth. A symbol of all that we have gone through. And, all that we will go through. Let that sit for a while. And, think about it.
Technically speaking. The image is slightly overexposed to keep it lighter and brighter. I added some color. I added a fog-like filter. I softened the edges. I brought your eye to the center of the image. That’s it. That’s my bag of magic trickery.
I made this picture a few years ago in Hong Kong. On black and white film. Likely Kodak Tri-X, but I was also experimenting with Fuji Neopan.
Look at the picture. Look at the color. It’s pretty much in the right place. Celery is green. Peppers are red. Ginger is light yellow. And, so on.
I made this color from whole cloth. Simply by pulling all of the curves in all sorts of ways and positions. At first, I thought it was some weird digital miracle. Then I realized that black and white film “sees” color too. That’s how various shades of gray are made. Red shows up as a dark gray. Green as something much lighter. Like that. My twisting and turning simply pulled whatever the film saw to the forefront. Suddenly, it wasn’t so amazing.
I posted this picture on Instagram. Some of you may have seen it there. Sorry about that. But, for most of you, this is a new thing.
The picture. I told you how I made it. But, not where. When. Back in the day I spent a lot of time in Hong Kong. Six years to be exact. I managed big book projects on huge commercial presses. There is a lot of down time. Beyond a lot of down time. Rather than sit in some bar with all the rest of the expatriates, I wandered the city. Photographing. Always photographing.
I found stuff. I found places. At that time, there were like two coffee houses in the city. I found a third, tucked in a back alley. My then companion, after years of drinking tea, had her first cup of coffee there. She became an espresso addict. Sorry about that. It could be worse. I found places where stuff is really made. The old-fashioned way. By hand. With tools. Real tools. I found wet markets that weren’t quite as famous as the big one in Central. That’s how I made this picture.
I needed a break. From the never-ending news cycles.
I rooted around in my archives an found a picture that I made of an old brick warehouse. The original file was nice and clean. I left it that way. I made a copy and proceeded to tinker with it. I eventually got to this version.
I made the original picture a couple of years ago.
Unless, I’m mistaken the building has been renovated, gentrified and cleaned up. It might even be overpriced condos. A lot of industrial buildings along the river have been torn down or gentrified.
The good news about gentrification of these old places is two-fold. One, you have a building brought back to life. And two, allied businesses like grocery stores spring up around these neighborhoods in what was previously described as a food desert. On the other hand, downriver neighborhoods are gentrified to a point usually don’t have new business spring up around them. Something about a lack of population density. They say.
The picture. It’s a few years old. The new post work was completed this morning. It makes an old abandoned building look sort of magical.
For the City of Manchester, Ariana Grande, her band, crew and staff. And, of course her fans and their parents. For the first responders. For all of England. For the rest of the world. And, for you. And, me.
There will be millions of words written about the bombing at the arena in Manchester that took the lives of 22 people, and wounded just under 60. The world doesn’t need many more words from me.
I have no words.
Except for just these few. Don’t be denied. The work is the prayer. And, prayer without work is meaningless. Take all of that as you will.