It’s all green to me.

It’s a funny thing.

We think of monochrome as being black and white, or something sepia or in some shades of gray. Nature taught me something different. Monochrome can be any color as long as there aren’t contrasting colors. This picture is green and faded shades of green which became yellow. It’s also a monochromatic image.

This picture is also about fall. Autumn. The changing of natural seasons. It’s true that the weather is still hot. According to the predictive charts that I read, we should start cooling off tomorrow. A little. That trend should continue through at least next week, when temperatures stay in the mid to high eighties. Then summer’s heat should slowly fade away. And, we can open our windows for the first time since late April.

We live in air conditioned world.

When I look at old pictures of New Orleans I have two thoughts.

There was no air conditioning back then. Not until sometime in the 1950s. How did people do it? For sure, many people built houses to account for the heat. Raised Caribbean styled houses let air pass underneath which does provide some relief. High roofs also helped.

People dressed well. Men wore suits. Wool suits, until lighter weight fabrics came to be. Sheesh, if I have to be dressed nicely, I wear a seersucker suit. Even that’s too hot for me in summer. And, women. Oh gosh. It must have been very uncomfortable for them at anytime of year in New Orleans.

Two more thoughts for this fine Friday morning.

Air conditioning. Most newer models don’t send weird chemicals into the atmosphere, but they do generate heat. This can’t be good for the planet.

In case you are wondering, my seersucker suit is purple and white, which makes it look lavender from a distance. It is a three piece suit. Trousers, jacket and — get this — shorts.

Don’t laugh.

Gentlemen need to stay cool in the summer.

 

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Like a painting.

A little experiment.

I was building my new and improved website and I was uploading a lot of pictures. That took some time. To help pass it, I started playing with older pictures. You might not recognize it, but you’ve seen this picture in the past, when it was bright magenta.

I started in one direction and realized I hadn’t used a couple of photo editing tools in some time, (time is a reoccurring theme today) so I started tinkering with them. Eventually, after many, many attempts, I arrived here. I added the frame and that’s how you see it.

Uploading and downloading large batches of RAW or Tiff imagery, does take a little time (There I go again) no matter how new and powerful your machine may happen to be. I like to fill it, (time) by doing something else. In this case, I was more-or-less practicing and experimenting with image modification software.

But, once upon a time…

I used to play a lot of computer games. I wouldn’t call myself a gamer, but I wasted a lot of time. One day the lightbulb went off. “Why not do something more meaningful,” I thought.

So, I did.

I started teaching myself Photoshop. It has a really steep learning curve. Some say it takes about five years to learn completely. Once I started I realized it wouldn’t take five years because there are some things that I’ll never do. It did take a while.

Doing that gave me the basics and a little more to understand what I was doing. Eventually, I started using a new software package called OnOne. It couldn’t develop RAW images back then, but that was one the company’s big goals.

Once OnOne became a potential RAW developer I left Photoshop and Lightroom behind. Who wants to pay $9.95 per month for the rest of your life?

Today, my workflow is simple. I download and cull in Photo Mechanic and finish in OnOne. You can use both of them forever unless you want to upgrade. Actually, Photo Mechanic upgrades are free.

Oh, Photo Mechanic is software that a lot of photojournalists use. It’s fast, easy to use and you can edit a big take in probably less than 30 minutes. I lot of my friends suggested that I try it. I kept putting it off, until one day…

I should listen to my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

Dusk in the fall.

Gently.

The night comes.

If you are lucky, you’ll be outside to see it as it drops down over the earth like a dark curtain. For me, it just depends. If I’m done with inside work and a dog wants to go out, I get to see nature’s magic. Magic and renewal. A 24 hour cycle. A kind of rebirth.

Sometimes, I’m trapped inside. I see dusk and nightfall through my studio windows. Sure, I can see the light. I can see day turn to night. But, it’s just not the same.

We — the dog and I — were walking along a little fence. When we turned the corner this is what I saw. I almost got too excited. I calmed down within a few seconds. I steadied myself. I made five frames. I knew I made a picture of what I saw.

That’s how it’s been for the last few  days. A lot of photographer’s luck, combined with timing and a little bit of knowledge. When the weather finally cools down, I’ll go looking for pictures in earnest. This is the time when we all got impatient because it seems like summer will never come to a close.

I saw a little meme of Facebook. Southerners say, “We made it through 20 weeks of summer. Only 32 weeks to go.” That feels about right. Right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Through the looking glass.

Such a weird little picture.

It looks fairly normal. Just wait until I tell you about it. You’ll understand.

I was walking by a fence. There was a hole in it. I looked through it. And, what did I see? The very scene before you. I thought it would make a cool picture. What to do? What to do? The hole is about the size of tennis ball, or a little smaller. I knew that if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t have a picture.

So.

I stuck the lens up to the hole and looked through the LCD to make sure I didn’t include the ragged edge of the hole. I continued to look at the LCD and waited for some kind of truck, which I knew would eventually come. I made four exposures, managed to get my hand in the fifth, and called it a picture.

I’ve made pictures in just about every way a person could. This was a new one for me. For my next trick I’ll take a picture behind my back while still looking forward. You never know… some days feel like that.


It feels like music.

I made a picture.

I made a musical picture. At least, that’s how I see it.

I don’t know why, but it does. It’s very likely that it will look like something else to you. That doesn’t matter. We all bring our life, our experience and our influences to all art. That’s why you like a piece of art or a bit of music, and somebody else doesn’t like it. It has nothing to do with being good or bad. It has everything to do with you.

To do with you. That little phrase is really a mouthful. That’s the key to making changes. Rather than blame outside influences, change yourself first.

We’ve all being complaining about social media, news media and what have you. It never stops. It’s ugly. People are nasty. The change is simpler then we realize.  Adjust your thinking. For instance, I had a lot of political commentary on my Twitter feed. That just was wearing me down. So, I changed things around. Now, I mostly have people discussing music, art and photographs. Much better. I even removed the White House. 24 hours of propaganda gone. Better yet.

I did the same thing on Facebook. I’m only there to share my work and to talk to old friends. I’ve silenced any political discussions for 30 days. I expect those discussions to be even more shrill as the 2020 general election approaches. I’ll just keep putting those threads on a 30 day silence.

I feel so much better today. Mondays are usually hard for me. I start out in a bad mood. Then, the usual stuff starts. Not today. I have a smile on my face.

You can do it too. Should you? That’s up to you.

Consider this, the general din, the hollering and the continual nonsense from our leaders isn’t going to change anytime soon. Who needs to keep hearing it?

Now, about this picture. It’s really three pictures layered over each other. The base was a Fourth of July wreath. I followed that with a dirt pathway. And, finally I added the pink flowers. You’ve seen the flowers. The other two images are new to you. But, not to me. For instance, the Fourth of July picture was made before the big celebration… in 2018. I just never had a use for it.

The rest of the process is mostly adjustment. The layers have to make some kind of sense to me, and, hopefully, you. There are color, brightness and contrast adjustments too. That little extra tinkering takes some time. There are a lot of false starts. There are some close, but no cigar, starts. Eventually, it all works out.

Sounds a little like life.

There you have it.

Art as life.


A little pink flower hidden on a bed of green.

A tiny little thing.

It was hidden in plain sight. So small that I had to look twice and break my cardinal rule of photography. I had to move some of the greenery around to photograph the flower. I try never to move or change anything when I make these kinds of semi-nature pictures. I had no choice. If I wanted to make the flower’s picture, I had to be able to see all of it.

There.

Honesty. Full disclosure.

It’s a very peaceful picture. After another week of political craziness, more lies and memorial sadness, I think we could all use a picture that’s a little quiet. Besides, it’s Sunday in the U.S. It’s a Sunday kind of picture.

Because it’s Sunday, I’m going to be quiet.

Have a great day.

 

 

 

 


Sun, diesel engine in the morning light.

Morning light.

That’s what caught my eye. A little too much. I couldn’t really open my eyes with such direct sunlight. So, I made this picture with my eyes closed. A true point and shoot. Then my fingers got in the picture. I thought I was trying to shield my eyes. I shielded the lens instead. That’s why I used a square crop. I wasn’t being creative. I was being pragmatic.

Aside from my practicality with this picture, I am also a creature of habit. I returned to the scene of a past crime, er, picture. Add practicality with being habitual and it could equal boring. Luckily, the backlighted train engine, plus just about every other thing in the picture wouldn’t allow that to happen.

Oh yeah. The tilt. I couldn’t see the subject so I didn’t exactly know where the lens was pointing. See? This picture is all mistakes.

The curious thing about the picture is all those power lines. As I worked in post production, I built an unintended consequence by creating light lines around them. I’ve done it in the past. The only way to avoid them is to not shoot into the sun. I know this. I don’t follow the rule. Or, I could have not done so much post work. What fun is that?

And, that’s the story.


Shining brightly.

Morning light.

So bright. So pretty. I don’t photograph enough of it. Lately, in an attempt to beat the heat I drag myself out of bed early. Early enough to see low light. Golden light.

In Southeastern Louisiana, and most of the south, the heat just won’t break. We are ten to fifteen degrees higher than normal. But, if I’m reading the weather reports correctly, most of the country is too hot.

Is climate change a thing?

Certainly. And, most of the people who could make a difference are ignoring, or are attacking the scientists who are telling us that time is at hand. Most of the climate deniers are grumpy old men. They don’t care. They’ll be dead before the most extreme changes occur. Don’t they care about their children? Their families? Their friends’ families?

We all gotta go sometime. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to leave something good behind. I’m not even going to get started on our current presidential administration except to ask, how the hell can they roll back clean water standards? The biggest wars of the rest of this century will be fought, not over oil, but over clean drinking water. And, they want to poison ours.

And, this was gonna be a happy Friday post.

Ha!

The picture. You know when I made it. You know why I made it. But, you don’t know what I did. I actually used the same post production settings that I used on yesterday’s picture. And, then I brought the color down in order to make my statement.

Happy weekend.


I told you. A swamp.

See?

A swamp. Where we live. Well, kinda. Sorta.

A real swamp would likely be very deep and wet this time of year. Most of the real swamps have been developed. Into concrete. But, here and there, you can find some little groves of what came before us. This one takes about ten minutes to walk through.

If I was really feeling my oats, I’d drive down to Barataria Preserve and walk along the wooden plank sidewalk through Jean Lafitte National Historical Park where alligators lurk underneath you, and snakes watch you from above. Jean Lafitte was a pirate. Not only did he serve with U.S. troops during the Battle of New Orleans, but he wasn’t afraid of alligators and snakes. Like I am.

You’d think getting to such a primitive place would take hours. Nah. Forty-five minutes to an hour and you are there. A lot of tourists visiting New Orleans take a tour of the swamp by boat, then drive upriver to plantation country. Between the two, it’s a nice day trip and not all that far from the “big” city. And, it’s really hard to get lost.

The picture. I didn’t have to do much to it. I made it in the early morning sun which gave it a nice yellow glow. But, not that early. In order for the light to penetrate the foliage, the sun had to get high enough to find the right angle to do its work for me. That’s it.

One more thing. If you take a swamp tour by boat, the guide usually has a couple of chickens that he or she bought at the local Wal-Mart. Cold. Not alive. The chickens are tossed into the water where gators are known to lurk. That creates a commotion so that pictures can be taken.