Spring’s rebirth brings a little hope.

Seeing the flowers of spring gives me a sense of hope.

In order to fulfill hope, we must work hard. All of us. Especially now. What are you doing? What will I do?

In New Orleans, the mayor has put out a call for volunteer help. I may do that. A lot of it involves food prep and delivery. The food is destined for first responders, front line medical staff and anybody who is hungry.

The only thing that is holding me back is my own compromised immune system. Before I join in, I’d better call my doctor to see what he thinks.

Now that most of my back and hip pain have left me, I may be a senior citizen but I don’t feel old. And, now that the all seeing dog is starting to feel better we are taking walks without stopping except to do her “business” and for me to make pictures. We went on a pretty long walk yesterday.

More drugs. More drugs. That’s what the doctors gave me. I had Bursitis that should have been treated two years ago. Don’t get me started. I’m humble and happy to have the pain removed. I’m a little angry that I was misdiagnosed for so long.

That mini-rant over, I cannot stress the importance of helping out your community in some way. If you are unable to do that, keep doing what you do. Only, do it more. After all, in these terrible times we are all we have.

The picture. I saw the flowers, I made the picture. I worked very hard to soften it in post production, but that’s about all. I posted another version on Facebook. I added a lot more. It went from being a picture of a flower to something else.

Yesterday, I found a huge amount of these swamp flowers. There were dozens and dozens of them. You’ll see some of them soon, but not tomorrow. I try very hard to vary my pictures. I think of my collections as music on a stage. If you play five down tempo songs, you’ll lose the audience because they’ll be asleep.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


It began this way.

It began with a sunny, pleasant day. The kind we, in the swamp, have in mid-April. We are a little lucky. Normally by this time summer appears, which means six months of heat, humidity and rain.

The all seeing dog seems to be feeling better. We took two longish walks and a shorter one. She tried to take a fourth walk at around midnight, but I gently nudged her back home. Apparently, all that exercise after a week of almost none has made it okay for her to sleep until noon. That’s okay. We all need our sleep.

It was because of her that I found this pretty Japanese Maple. It seems to be confused. Normally, these colors come out in fall. Unless I slept through summer, it’s still spring. Nature is still in a rebellous mood.

Another way of looking at it.

On the CoVid19 front things seem to be stabilizing. However, we in Louisiana are not in a hurry. In fact, the governor just extended the stay at home rules until May 15. He said that he wasn’t going to be driven by emotion. He is being driven by science and data. While some parishes like mine are seeing the virus slow down, other more northern parishes are just now seeing a surge.

In any case, we should not view this as a time to let our guard down. It is the other way around. After six weeks you cab get kind of lazy. Don’t be. We must be religious in keeping discipled about social distancing, wearing masks and gloves in public spaces.

Even when non-essential business do start reopening, there will be three phases that are governed by strict guidelines.

I’ve been reading about other southern governors who seem to be placing earning over living. Georgia is one of those states. They opened everything up including very face to face intensive businesses. Hair salons, barber shops, tatoo parlors were opened first. Huh?

Luckly, most businesspeople in the state are watching the numbers, studying the data and listening to the scientists. Despite their governor’s recommendation, they are not risking their lives and the lives of their customers.

I’d write finally, but it’s never finally, is it?

I don’t know about this particular drop cap. It looks like some strange futurist writing from another planet. It is supposed to be, “I’d.”

I’m starting to think that I’ll build here. I’m looking itno companies that make templates that fit over the ones Wordpree Provides. Many of them require no coding skills, which I don’t have. And, at this late date, likely will never have. That could be a game changer.

Not writing code is one of those things that I wish I could have taken care of many years ago. But, I didn’t. I could have made it hobby like I did learning Photoshop. I decided that acquiring Abode skills was a better use of my time than playing various games. Photoshop has a very steep learning curve. I’m not sure that I could have learned some kind of basic coding at the same time. And, run a photography business.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


A special place.

That’s what I’d hoped for when I returned from the desert, like a prophet, back to the swamp. Well, I’m no prophet. And, this isn’t that place. I don’t know about the rest of you, but during this period of down time I’ve had a lot of time to think. After all, there is only so much time that I can work. So much time that I can read. So much time that I can watch Netflix.

That stuff.

Try as I might to stay out of my head during this time, sometimes like a bad neighborhood, I can’t avoid it. You just have to pass through it.

That can be illuminating.

I’ve done some good things. I’ve lived through some wondrous times. I’ve been to a some amazing places.

And, yet.

I cringe at the thought of some of the things that I’ve done. The choices that I’ve made. The moves that I’ve made. They are in the past. I can’t do anything about them. That doesn’t stop me from doing a face palm and thinking, “Oh my God, what was I thinking?”

And, the time. All that time.

I’ve made lot a career moves. Career often drove my destinations. Some of this thinking came from thinking about the start of my newspaper career. I lived in Radford, Virginia. I still have friends there. They are good storytellers and share on Facebook a lot. I have this ongoing fantasy of taking the world’s longest road trip and visiting my spaces, places and people.

So.

I started using Google Maps and Globe. I could not find the street where the newspaper used to be located. I thought I just look up the history of the paper. Still no address. I thought I’d just open the maps as big as I could and just find it. I’m good at dead reckoning. No joy. In fact, I couldn’t find anything.

That little town has grown. It’s very different now. It may not seem it to the people who have lived there all this time, but it is much bigger than when I left. I have no clue where to look for anything on the streets on which I drove daily, looking for pictures.

Then it hit me. Like a thunderclap. I left there in 1980. I came back on and off for a couple of years, then I moved west. Home. To California. It’s been forty years. What I think? That the town was set in cement?

Where did that time go?

It left me feeling a new sense of urgency. If I never left the house, I have enough work to keep me busy for years. And, there is so much that I want to accomplish in the world. Still.

A lot of it involves traveling. I could be frustrated by CoVid19. I’m not. The river flows in its own time.

The picture. I suppose you are wondering about it. It’s a multi-layered piece of art. Within it is a bit of every season. My seasons. If all my time was passing by, my life was just a season. So said the Byrds. And, Bob Dylan.

How’d I do it? Oh, the usual way. I stacked layer upon layer until I reached a starting point. I worked on it from there. It took some time even though I had a pretty clear vision. You have no idea how those pictures wanted to be free, out on their own. But, I tamed them. For now.

I am coming to my first crossroads. And, I need your help. Or, at least, your thoughts. I have another website. Supposedly, it’s my more commercial site. It isn’t. A lot of the work you’ve seen here is there.

It’s a fairly clean site. It needs reconstruction. I probably could make it all art. No New Orleans culture. No really old career spanning work. Simple. Clean. To the point. Oh, and it has a blog component. I think that I’ve said this in the past. I cannot import you from here. WordPress with let me take my work, but not you.

Many of my followers are ghosts. I have no idea why, but during some times of the year I get a lot of new followers. I suspect many of them are students fulfilling a class assignment. I never hear from them. But, I have you. A lot of you.

There is a modern business theory that says in order to succeed you don’t need the whole world to follow you. To buy your product. To help you keep paying for kibbles. Instead, you should build a community. As long as you have that, you have the freedom to do whatever you’d like within bounds. I have that here. No. I’m not going to do a hard sell to get you to buy my work. But, I do need an audience. People to whom I write. People to whom I post photographs.

My question. Given my choices. What would you do? Move on? Or, keep building here? I have my thoughts. They change every day.

One more thing. This is long enough.

I’m experimenting with Storyteller, mostly from a design standpoint. Today, it’s a drop cap. These are a little to leggy for me, but it’s a start. The trick in editorial design is to create conventions and use them.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


Normal.

Everybody can hardly wait to get back to normal. Everybody can hardly wait until some government official declares everything is open.

Ain’t happening.

At least not until we can distribute some solid testing, and create a vaccine. I’d add herd imunity to this, but that means a lot of people have to die.

Normal. I’ll be very disappointed if we went throught this nightmare only to return to the way things were a couple of months ago. We very clearly saw the cracks and the fissures in every leavel of society. Physical creations have been severly tested too. I’m sounding like a broken record, but lets try to make things better.

Wait. Forget the word try. There is only do or not do. Yoda said that.

Everything is open. Yeah, right.

Let’s use Las Vegas as an example. The mayor has been screaming for an open city. She’s an idiot. Luckly, the Nevada governor said no. Think about it. The city thrives on the tourist trade. Do you think a bunch of people who are pretty broke are going to want to fly in an aluminum can so that they can stand in a crowded casino risking their lives?

The same goes for my fair city.

We have no real industry to speak of except for tourism. The same risk factors that apply to Las Vegas apply here. We even have casinos. Many people come here to eat, and with good reason. If a restaurant can afford to reopen, the owners will have to cut back service, maybe by half. How much fun will it be to eat and drink through a mask? The culture? Same crowding issue as Las Vegas casinos.

Bottom line.

This is gonna take a while.

Forget the big gatherings. If we don’t have viral surges as business does reopen, we will be lucky to hold huge events. Mardi Gras 2021? French Quarter Fest 2021? Jazzfest 2021? I’m not a betting man, but I do know that unless a little magic happens and we get very lucky, musical tours will not start until October 2021. Draw your own conclusions about festivals. And, Mardi Gras.

I know, I know, I know. We need music. We need art. We need culture. But, we are dealing with a virus who tells us what to do, not the other way round. I can’t speak for you, but I think I am positioned to deal with the issue of patience. After all, don’t I say, “don’t take the picture, let the picture take you?’

An old boss of mine used to say that the river flows in its own time. Embrace that. Live with it.

I saw some goodness today. I had to run an errand at Home Depot. The heroes who work there let people into the store a few at a time. Nobody pushed. Nobody ran from the parking lot to get in front of somebody moving slowly. Everybody kept their distance.

That’s the way you do it.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


A Sunday picture.

A picture to express my feelings and those around me about what happened and what’s to come. A feeling that only art can capture, A feeling that is coming close to grief. Grief for a way of life that has come to an end. A way of life that will be something else in the future. That would be okay, but everything is still hazy. There a lot of unknown knowns.

I was looking at some new David Hockney art which was produced solely on an iPad. Welcome to the digital world. I thought why not? For the bulk of my work, 95% of it is digital. The remaining 5% my be film, but I still scan it to be able to work on it.

So.

I found some new editing apps for my phone. I started playing and testing. Most of my work was done in some kind of etheral black and white filtering. I wanted to see what it would so with color work. I made the original base layer and added more and more. Somewhere in the middle of this work I had an idea. A concept to work toward. For me, this picture is about the hard work and sorrow that goes on in a hospital in the era of Covid-19. And, grief.

It might be something different to you. That’s okay.

I’d tell you what app and what I did. I have no idea what I did. I use to write this stuff down. I found that stopping to write gets in the way of the flow of the work. And, the app? heh, heh, heh.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


The road.
Dazzling lights.
This is why I can’t see.

It’s that time again in Southeastern Louisiana.

It would have been Jazzfest time if CoVid-19 didn’t come roaring in like a hellound from the grave. It’s also a time when there is a very clear dividing point between the coolish, dry air of spring and the heat of summer. The first week of Jazzfest is spring. The second week is summer.

From now until almost November a lot of rain hits the ground. In June, hurricane season starts. It ends on the last day of November. We are supposed to have an active storm season.

That’s just what we need.

The virus may last through storm season, or make it’s return toward the end. Normally, we evacuate if it’s a big head on strike. Like Hurricane Katrina. If the virus is still slithering around there’s no place to go. We’d have to shelter in place, which is more-or-less what we are doing now.

I have no idea what kind of damage, pain and death a head on hurricane could bring. I know what the summer of Katrina did. And, most of us had some place to go. I don’t ever want to see that again.

On the other hand.

There’s money to be made even if — God willing — that scenario does not present itself. If I could write, how about a limited series for somebody like Netflix, Amazon or Hulu? Four 90 minute segments. Pick your favorite actors. If it were me, I’d cast actors who normally wouldn’t play in a thriller. I’d want to make a litle more down played.

Nice fantasy.

Myths.

Aside from drinking bleach which will kill rather than cure there is another persistant myth. Heat and humid kills the virus. I asked a friend of mine who lives in Singapore. She replied in an email, “We are getting hammered here, and as you know it’s always hot and humid here.”

I know two things about Singapore after working there twice a year for nine years, their weather makes ours feel cool by comparison. And, even in early January the temperature was around 90, but the humidity dropped by maybe 10% so conditions weren’t as bad.

Oh yeah.

The pictures. You know me. I make a bunch of drive by pictures when I can, changing the meaning of a drive by shooting. That’s what I did here. I also used a real camera. A Leica. The resolution is so good that when subjects are sharp, they can cut through your eyeballs.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


Friday.

All day long I thought yesterday was Friday. See what I mean about time melting? I think that I’m posting this for Saturday. That I’m getting out ahead of my work. I’m not. I’m posting this for Friday. Time has no meaning.

Today.

First.

The picture. Wait for the light. Press the button. Clean it up a little. Publish it. Easy? Right?

No. It’s not so easy.

WordPress kept nagging me to try their new block system. I ignored them for awhile. Then, I thought what the hell? Why not?

Bad move.

I don’t understand the sytem. I don’t understand how the system is supposed to increase design flexibilty. Sure, for do-dads like drop caps and that nonsense, it adds a little. But, to design a clean, reader friendly page it’s worse.

Aside from having to find the page that allows you to add a new post, you have to figure out how to use it. This is more time consuming then the so-called classic method. I still am trying to figure out something that will help me to design a modern editorial page. There may be a way, but I can’t find it.

You know what’s worse?

Once you test it, you cannot back out of it. At least I’m not smart it enough to find it.

Before my usual sign off, if you think you’ve caught the virus, I would encourage you not to follow the president’s recommendations. Do not pour bleach down your gullet. Do not drop a bright light down your throat. Even toddlers know better.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


No fools, no fun.

That’s what they say. At least some of “they” say it.

No virus news today. We all need a break from it, even though it may affect our lives for many years.

Instead.

Art.

And, this photograph turned into I don’t know what.

First, the picture. I started with a picture of a bush. Yes, a bush. That’s what you are looking at. I made the picture in low morning light. I did my usual devlopment and some minor post production.

But, me being me, I couldn’t leave well enough alone.

I did some major post production, so much so, that when I tried to finish it in OnOne, I couldn’t. Apparently, I made the first image that was so far gone that nothing could modify it.

So, I headed south and took the color out of it. Then i replaced a little color. Those little bits of color are from the OnOne bokah filter. I added these after I created the border. I wanted the image to look like a printer’s proof.

I’m still not sure about this image.

That’s thing about art. From the creators perspective there is always some doubt. From the viewers side you can see the image the way that makes sense to you. Often, a good art work should make you feel a little uncomfortable. I’m not saying this is a good piece if art. It may be a good piece of something else.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


I never thought.

I never thought that by the end of the first term of this presidency that we would be left in complete tatters. I knew it would be bad. I didn’t know when we finally emerged from our bunkers that country would be unrecognizable.

Broken. Torn apart. People fighting for toilet paper.

Even if and when we make our way though the virus, it’ll take a long time to rebuild this country.

There are a lot of “ifs” to work through. An election has to won. The current president has to leave quietly, without claiming that he was cheated. Without inciting riots among his base. I believe the election is winnable. I’m not sure about the other hurdles. Even if he gets trounced, he’ll be hate tweeting until he dies.

Somehow, some way, we must take control. That’s if we don’t want to return to normal. That’s if we want to create a positive new normal. A little growth…

What’s riled me up?

Banning immigration in total. That did it. That’s not going to help control the spread of the virus. Nor, is it going to protect US workers jobs. That incompetent man in The White House has been gunning for this since he first started running for president.

Why am I so adamant?

We’ve all taken to Zoom to conduct business, visit friends and family, hold parties, go to reunions and so on. In the last ten days, I’ve been to six online meetings of one kind or another. Many of you are using it every day.

Do you know who invented it?

A Chinese man called Eric Yuan. He came to the U.S. after he attempted to obtain a visa 8 times. On his 9th time he was granted one. He built an app that has become very important during this time of Isolation. Today, he doesn’t call himself Chinese-American. He calls himself an American who happens to be Chinese.

Although Apple’s Steve Jobs was born in the U.S., his family immigrated from Syria.

Of lesser importance, but still very important, my grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe.

See where I’m headed?

Sheesh.

Even after pretty much closing our southern border, the State Department has very quietly been granting work visas to field laborers in order to keep the food chain working.

Immigrants of all stripes are important to the success of this country. I’m sure our forefathers all came from someplace else.

The picture. I just photographed the middle of a plant the gives purple flowers. It’s one way of seeing. I liked doing it this way because it looks like a firework. I told you that I have a big imagination.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.