Kind of Blue

Blue clouds.

I’ve been called an artist.

It’s been suggested that I paint. Believe me, I’ve tried. There are plenty of paints, brushes, canvases and paper in the closet. I’ve taken classes, courses, workshops. Trust me. I don’t have the necessary skills. And, that’s too bad. There are images in my head that I can never begin to capture with mechanical tools. I guess they’ll just have to stay there.

You see, I’m one of those who doesn’t believe that you can do anything. There are limits. There are talents. There is a special kind of drive that it takes to help talent grow. That’s how I became a photographer.


I can tinker with different kinds of software and create a unique picture. One that’s mine and does come out of my head. I’ve had people ask to tell them the “exact” steps I took to make something that I’ve published here. I can’t do that. I don’t keep written copies of all the moves that I make. Because I jump from software to software there is no continuous metadata trail. Besides, why would you want to copy my workflow when you could create your own?

The picture. The usual place. The telephone pole place. Since I’ve been laid up — thanks for your kind words, but this is a chronic problem that won’t go away with topical or over the counter remedies — I’ve been tinkering and teaching myself to “paint” with software that is designed to created water or oil or acrylic approximations. Those all look weird to my eye.




  1. Well I really like this. I am in the same predicament. I wanted to be a painter – parents thought finance better, so upto last year and 50 years old I was an accountant [don’t fall asleep on me just yet!], and now in France [new home ] I am determined to get back to painting and maybe via software as the white paper is terrifying. Sorry I haven’t read your post re your health, but I have a chronic back problem from last year – and yes its a good time to learn new skills – I think you should continue, most definitely. Get well soon, or as well as you can. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve made my living as a photographer or editor for my entire life but I’ve found that I literally have no painting skills. I’m not afraid of filling white space — or – not — it’s all technical. šŸ™‚

      My back problem is expanding osteoarthritis. About 8 years ago I had a hip replaced. It was all good. What they don’t tell you is that if the replacement isn’t driven by trauma, it’s usually some kind of chronic issue.

      May I ask, how and why you decided to move to France? I wanna move to France. šŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi,
        Sorry about the back. I have arthritis in mine, small now but popping painkillers to get sleep at night – so think it will only get worse. France – the short version is I couldn’t afford to stay in my home country England. Expensive, capitalist driven, no service, selfish attitudes and the lack of empathy for situations you find yourself in – in my case I ran out of money helping my husbands family and without financial help from mine, something had to give. I have travelled to France many times and love the country, feel at home here, and the euro was in my favour pre-brexit, so I thought – why not, I have nothing to loose.

        We live in Limousine, cow country, dead centre of France if you threw a dart at it, and I love it. Bought a derelict barn, and living rough in a little house next door to this. But it is home and I don’t have a mortgage, so I have some security now. And a chance to do all those on-hold projects I never could do back in England. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, still struggling a little with demons and stress, but loving connecting to the bloggers and getting back to being creative.

        France is slow paced, not that expensive compared to England, and the locals say good-morning. The cheese is wonderful, except they don’t have cheddar [so missing out ], and where we are great for biking. Its very clean, the roads good and the shops and towns old fashion values. Highly recommend. And best of all only 3 hours to Paris, which I adore.

        How I moved – checked the internet for properties, found one, it fell through, lack of money, and this one was advertised by private seller. We visited, shook hands and used the same solicitor of the seller to deal with the purchase, conveyancing. Paid the 10% deposit and that means your contracted to go ahead. Six months later we finalized, signed the contract and took the keys. French paperwork isn’t difficult, it is thorough and accurate – more than can be said for back in England.

        Make friends with the mayor, be nice to your neighbours, work hard on your home, buy local and smile.


        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks you for all of that. I guess the question in all of that is — I guess — what kind of visa do you have? Aside from being a landowner how do you qualify to stay in France? In theory, as residents of Louisiana we can qualify for some kind of French residency, but I don’t know anybody who has tested that. Oh, my back is a couple of steps beyond yours. I started with a hip replacement about 8 years ago. If the hip damage wasn’t caused by trauma what they don’t tell you is that eventually the osteoarthritis that caused the problem with the hip will just continue to spread.


      3. No Visa – being British and jumping ship before Brexit, I don’t have any problems living in EU France. Now maybe going forward if Mrs May messes up and annoys the French they could throw me out if I don’t earn enough, but unlikely. I am also married to a Romanian – EU citizen, so I can likely stay on due to that. There are lots of mutual agreements re the Brits and France, so as long as I can prove income, there should be no issues about staying. Many Brits live here for years, just under the radar so to speak, and no issues. The only long term ones might be pensions, inheritance etc.
        Worth looking at your Louisiana connection.
        Just had the night time set of pills so I can sleep. Havent worked out yet if Yoga helps my back..any ideas?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’ve never seen anybody test the LA connection. It first came to light when France offered former president Bill Clinton a citizenship based on his being born in the Louisiana Purchase region. We have a huge French consulate in New Orleans. Maybe I’ll chat with them.

        It’s going to take Mrs. May a long time to untangle all of that. The long term treaties and agreements are complex. Just because Brexit exists doesn’t mean it’ll happen overnight. Or, that it can be unwound easily once the process starts. I suspect that you’ll be fine.

        Yoga. I think it depends on where you are actually hurting. Sometimes yoga is the worse thing for back pain. I do stretches twice a day which do help. They were designed to strengthen my core. They work wonders in the morning when everything is way too tight and hurts. I would suggest gentle stretches and anything that can reduce inflammation. Arthritis or osteoarthritis doesn’t cause pain in and of itself. Pain is caused when when soft tissue degrades and leaves bone on bone. That rubbing causes inflammation. Probably, it’s not a good idea to be climbing around filing in stone. šŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Well I only go and have two days climbing ladders and then day before yesterday I end up in the local French hospital with terrible migraine and being sick on the hour every hour from 8am to 3pm. Kept me overnight and think it could be my thyroid..long term issues with that. But I am still beginning to think its the back problem triggering the headaches. Any headaches yourself? I am at a loss whats causing mine. Have about two a month. My back hurts at night. Not much during the day unless I have been sill, heavy garden work or something. But night..just terrible.
        French hospital very efficient though.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t really get headaches unless they are like sinus or allergy related. All of my back pain is in my lower back. My upper back is pretty well
    muscled so my spine is well protected. 40 years of carrying about 40 pounds of cameras will do that. I meant to ask what pain meds you are taking. Sometimes they can cause headaches as they wear off.


    1. I am currently on Tramadol for my back, Brexin for Anti-inflammatory, but told I should only take for 5 days if severe pain and a gastric protection pill – again only if taking Brexin. Metoclopramide has just been given to take with paracetamol and tramadol for next migraine if I get one. Codeine does work on the pain, but just makes me sick. I am off to London soon [where I was living and my family are], and thinking about seeing a migraine specialist whilst there. Its very debilitating and to be honest I would rather have the back pain than the head pain.

      Talking of cameras, I had my 400mm zoom out yesterday – heavy. I do find though with my shaky hands its a nightmare without a tripod and separate shutter release. Even the monopod hopeless as I just cant seem to get focus. Still learning and new to these professional cameras. I am photographing mainly countryside subjects including the local cattle as I live next to a farm. I know its sounds pathetic, but haven’t got my head round the use of fast shutter versus aperture yet – and I lost my manual somewhere in my moving box mountain in the barn. So that’s the steep learning curve for next year. I have Canon Mark III, Canon lenses except a Tamron zoom for just out and about photos [ the Canon was prohibitively costly and my budget maxed out with the camera body and other three lenses]. My main problem is focus and maybe its eyesight or I just have to use tripod all the time, not sure. I try and use Manual mode mostly, but well its early days.

      Rain here today, so in the office to catch up on paperwork, maybe do a blog post and account work [still an accountant to try and keep the pennies rolling in].


      1. Two different replies. First meds. I’m not a doctor but I do know a lot about my ailments. You are over medicating yourself. Brexin is an antihistamine, not an anti inflammatory. Side effects are headaches, dry throat, dizzyness and sleepless. Combined with that you are taking a medicine to protect your stomach from the Brexin.

        If it were me, I’d take Tramadol, Paracetamol and if need an OTC anti-inflammatory like Aleve.

        Cameras. Old rule of thumb. The shutter speed should at least be as fast as the lens length. For a 400 mm lense then a shutter speed of 1/500.

        Shutter speeds and f stops are simply fractions. So… 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 and so on. F stops govern aperture. They are fractions too. Think of them as 1/over the bottom number. So something like f 2.8 is really 1/f2.8.

        The stop sort of matches the shutter speed. For example, using your 400 mm lens, the slowest you’d shoot is 500 (if on a bright day) your f stop might be f 8. If you wanted to insure sharpness but not worry about depth of field you might shoot at 1,000th of a second at f 5.6. If you cared more about depth of field then 250th of a second at f11.

        Ray Laskowitz Laskowitzpictures 505.280.4686



      2. HI,
        That’s a relief, as yesterday the doctor did mention the Brexin is a short term med and I was taking daily!! So Tramadol and paracetamol only for now. Plus I also looked at diet and I was, being in France, enjoying too much dried preserved sausage, cheese, fruit juice and chocolate. All wonderful mood enhancing foods – but no good for migraines šŸ˜¦

        Re camera – think I understand. You half the shutter speed but alter the F stop up or down accordingly – but you decide on DOF or crispness of shot. I am out tomorrow to try again. So I decide ISO based on conditions – but minding graininess, choose my DOF and then set my shutter speed to compensate the light. If the subject moves, I increase shutter speed, but must balance with aperture change, which will affect DOF. At the moment I have been wiggling the exposure up and down regardless of shutter speed and without tripod – well only to be expected – darkish pictures and some blur.

        Thanks for all your help this week. And especially about the medication.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. See? Simpler than you thought. With light, it’s balance. As a test, you can also set the camera to auto everything and just figure out some base exposures.

    Dark chocolate is about like caffeine. It does open up the block of vessels. OTH, all
    Of the food that you mentioned does add histamine to your blood stream.

    With paracetamol, no more than 4 grams per day, or it could hurt your liver. Tramadol is mild enough that you would have take a huge amount to even make you woozy.


  4. So it looks like I will be eating lettuce most days!!! Thanks loads for this input and feel a lot happier now. Plus did another camera session – same subject as before but this time a lot more confident. Tomorrow trying again and hope to put results up on the blog shortly. Have a great rest of weekend, and catch up soon. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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