Shapes in the garden.

I saw the line. Then I saw the rest of the picture.

It took the right light to illuminate the scene. I’ve probably walked past this place 100 times and I never saw it this way. The light fell on all of the highlights and that’s what caught my eye. The rest is pretty normal. Finally see it. Photograph it. Process it.

A quick little discussion.

I made this picture with my iPhone. Really, just about the only pictures I make with it are the dog walking pictures or something that just sort of happened. No matter what the sales and marketing pitch happens to be, that little, bitty, teeny, tiny sensor just cannot hold up to the sensors in DSLRS or mirrorless cameras.

Oh sure. If you make a smart phone picture in just the right light you can enlarge it. Some. I have a 16 x 16 inch print hanging on the wall. But, it’s made in my more painterly post production. It looks fine. Maybe, even good. That’s about its limit. Of course, if all you are doing is posting pictures on something like Instagram, it’s just fine because the pictures are small.

There was a big discussion this week about a Time Magazine cover that was taken by a photographer who works exclusively with a smart phone. The Time editor hired her because she has 40,000 followers on instagram. And, her work is consistent.

Oh goody.

I wanted to see the cover for myself. The real thing. Not the online version. The paper magazine. I went to the last news stand in the area. To be honest, the cover looks like hell. First, the picture just ain’t that good. I can pretty much assure you that a few years ago it would have never seen the light of day. It’s an out take at best.

As image quality decreases, so does the talent. Younger creatives have no frame of reference. I was stunned when I was watching a video in which one of the better newspaper photographers working today said that he never shot on slide film and didn’t even know the correct way to view a Kodachrome slide. What?

This isn’t a rant, but it seems to me that all this disruption doesn’t make things better. It makes them cheaper (different from inexpensive) and the practitioners don’t seem to know anything about the history of art with which they are working. History matters. Craft matters.


This discussion came out of my smart phone comments. So let’s return.

While I’m not big on using mine as a main camera, I just about live the rest of my life on it. It’s a very useful tool to me. Apple just released iPhoneX (Roman numeral 10) and two slightly lesser models. The starting cost for the “X” is $1,000.00. That’s a lot of money for a phone. By the time, I add more storage, my phone would cost around $1,300.00.

Whew. For that money, I could buy an iPad Pro or a bottom line Macbook Air. For a little more money, I could buy a lens that I’ve been coveting.

I’m not sure what to do. I normally upgrade every two years, so I’m due for a new phone. Apple will buy my old phone for about $250.00. Of course, you pay for your new phone as part of a monthly payment plan. It’s not that painful.

But, still… $1,300 for a phone.

Pretty soon, I’ll be charged $6.00 for a coffee. Oh, wait…

It takes a long time.

Hurricane recovery.

It takes a long time. I have friends in Florida. In a number of cities. One, who is located near Fort Lauderdale started posting in Facebook, about an hour after Hurricane Irma cleared out. No Power. An hour later. No power. A couple of hours later. Still no power. This morning. The lights are on a “XZY” center, no power here.

He keeps charging his phone somewhere. Maybe in his car.

There are two news stories today. One in The New York Times. One in The Washington Post. Both of them are about electric power restoration after a severe hurricane, and how it is “triaged.” It is likely that my friend won’t have power restored for five or six weeks. Could happen sooner. But, almost the entire state of Florida is having power issues. Electric companies are coming from all over the country to help out. Even ours sent a convoy of trucks. Still, it takes time. And, patience.

That said, a Katrina story.

My neighborhood was flooded and lost all electrical power on August 29. Power was finally restored on the day that I moved to New Mexico. November 20. I used one of those big moving companies. Something like Allied. They put together a package that wasn’t expensive because they picked up five resident’s furnishings in New Orleans and everything went to New Mexico where they broke it down by city. They made a lot more money, even though it was less expensive for us. That’s sort of normal procedure if you can’t fill a truck, but this time they narrowed the local areas.


November 20, 2005. Down the street comes a huge truck and trailer. Electrical power had just been restored to my neighborhood. But, it was hanging by a thread. One power line which crossed the street. Of course that big truck and trailer snagged it, ripping it down. Power gone again after finally being restored after almost three months.

Three months.

Luckily, for me — the neighbors probably wanted to kill me — Entergy, our electric company — was still working on the street. The workers laughed at the look on my face. And, the crowd carrying hand tools, axes and machetes advancing on me. That’s not quite true, but the neighbors were all working so they did have tools in their hands. Entergy reattached the power cable in about 15 minutes. They probably saved my life and the lives of the driver and loader. I’m kidding. But, just barely.

The picture.

Sometimes things are never the same. This picture was made on a block in Hollygrove. All these years after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city. Whoever lived here left. They never came back. Electricity was restored to the neighborhood, just not on this one block.

Yes, there a lot of post production and color management going on. To my eye, these remaining leftovers of the storm are always bleak. I want them to look that way. I made this picture near dusk, during the transition from golden to blue hour. The original image was just too pretty for the scene.

I couldn’t have that.