Dusk look.

Sunday.

I spent most of yesterday thinking it was Friday. It was not. Since I wrote the word, “Sunday ,” I’m hopeful that it will stick in my head.

Time is elastic.

For some reason I spent all of yesterday sleeping.

I managed to get Sophie Rose her meds, which was my crowning achievement. That is a big deal. She hates pills. She hates the pain med that she needs. At least the pain med is liquid. I pull down her lip and squirt a little bit along her gum. It works very quickly. In about ten minutes she is asleep. Makes sense because it is a kind of morphine.

We’ve got ten days of this. Wish me luck.

The other dogs are looking after her. There is always one somewhere near her. They seem to be taking shifts. I’d be amazed if I hadn’t spent some time observing them. They all have different personalities. They all like different treats. They like to eat at different times. Luckily, they all like the same food which we put down at the same time. And, they are sweet and agreeable.

For sure, they have disagreements but they are limited to growls and don’t last long. They don’t take them seriously. There’s a lesson in that.

Some news.

Actually, it’s really a thought and comment since I haven’t been awake long enough to read much news. That’s probably a good thing.

President tweety said that he would make this country great again. During his inauguration day speech, described “the carnage of America.”

He got one of those things right. Except he did it.

Since he dithered as the pandemic arrived to our shores, many more people died than need be. One way to control its growth was to close everything down except for essential businesses and those companies whose employees could work from home.

This, in turn, created problems for the locked down citizens. The work force is destroyed. Finances are in tatters. We are wearing masks and keeping our distance, excpt for those who don’t.

That would be 30%. The same percentage as tweety’s base.

His violent words created an environment in which Black people are dying at the hands of local police departments. Protests turned violent. Parts of cities are burning. The National Guard were called out in Minneapolis. They were overwhelmed.

So let’s recap. We are sick, many are dead. Most of us are out of work and broke, cities are burning and just about everybody is unhappy, angry or just sad.

Is this what you meant by MAGA, Mr. President?

Great for who?

It’s Sunday.

I should just be posting pretty pictures. I did sorta. I shared a nice cloud and tree picture. It was made at the right time of day. It shines, glimmers and gleems. Of course, I worked a little magic.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


Breaking the bonds of earth.

Have you seen me lately?

The light at the end of the tunnel is about to come. Not for the United States, which is shredded beyond recognition. Today that isn’t at top of mind.

The all seeing dog, Sophie Rose, is in my head. She had her dental appointment today. Oh boy. The right side of her jaw has a very bad infection. She had four teeth pulled, kinda. When the vet started to pull them, they just sort of popped out. The bone was infected and some was a little crumbly.

Sounds terrible, yes?

It isn’t. The holes where the teeth were are already healing, because the teeth were so loose. She’s going to be in a lot of pain for the next couple of days. She is getting a high end narcotic, that I apply with a syringe, without a needle. She’s getting an injection and more antibiotics. She’ll be hurting for a day or two. She should be looking pretty good in about ten days when she returns to her vet.

There’s one more thing. Jaw infections can be indicative of something worse. Cancer. Her vet says he 80% sure that it isn’t going to be cancer. .

I just hate this. Not that Sophie is sick. That happens to all of us. But, the pain. I can’t stand it. You know the pain that I had been suffering through. Forget that. If I could carry her pain I would. She’s such a sweet, loyal and happy dog, that she doesn’t deserve this.

You know my next request.

Have a good thought for her. Pray to whoever your higher power happens to be. Oh, yeah. You might think about us too.

In case you are wondering, she comes home tonight.

The picture.

Storyteller is supposed to be about photography. About art. Throw in a little design, and you’ve got it.

So.

The picture. It was a normal end of the day thing. It wasn’t very special. I started playing with it. First, I made the perfect picture. Meh. It met all the so called technical standards. Meh. I tweaked it a lot. Meh.

Then.

I was using one group of settings. I accidently pulled the slider too far. Ah Ha! Something interesting. I worked on it from there. This is what I made. Something a little different. Some dark and brooding. Something that is almost evil.

It’s not.

It may be about my day. It’ll get better. I am sure of that.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


Late afternoon glow.

Light.

There would be no photography without it. After all, we know that photography means painting or writing with light. In many ways, this picture is the essence of it. The bushes are wet, the sunlight found the water droplets and this is what we have. I’m sorry to say that even though I compressed the image my own way, WordPress did a number on it.

That’s just part and parcel of the way WordPress treats photographers and our work. If you are a writer WordPress suggests free sources of pictures. They have also created their own library. It’s free too. Why can’t they suggest as a way of community building that writers develop friendships with photographers and do special projects together?

Oh. I know that’ll take time. It’s easy to go to some free stock collection and find a picture that is good enough. It also inhibits learning the necessary skills to collaborate on high end projects. Sure, it’ll work in today’s bottom end print and digital projects. But, who wants pictures or words that are just good enough?

I may be an old dinosaur, but just good enough isn’t good enough. These days everything seems transient. Art, writing, muic, video projects. One day that will change. Mark my words. Covid 19 is the driver.

Eventually, even though new ways of working at everything will open up more time, many people will think, “I just don’t have the time to waste on this junk.” If I’m going to invest two hours or so on a film it had better be worth that. Same with music.

Same with photo books. Very few publishers are printing photo books these days. So, photographers are publishing books that are the visual equivalent of naval gazing. There is a guy online who’s got a little power. I followed him among about 30,000 other photographers.

I finally gave up.

The work he champions are out takes for guys like me. I finally washed my hands of it all when he saw pictures from an old friend of mine. He said somewhat incredulously that “this guy can really shoot.” Gee. Ya think? He’s only been doing it for 50 years. He’s been National Geographic’s golden boy for 25 years.

Even one of my mentors has gotten in the act. He did a short video on Instagram. He discussed another photographer’s book. He asked us to buy it. He suggests we should all buy each others’ books. Huh? Talk about navel gazing.

When I went to the other photographer’s website, the books were for sale. $400. Right. Let’s see. Say there were ten of us. I’m going to invest $3,600 to make $3,600? Now, you understand why so many photographers are broke.

Anyway.

This is not a rant. This is my way of heading back to photo discussions.

I want us all to think about quality and what it means to us. I want us all to understand that unless we have some other source of income, photography was a business.

Was?

Yes, was. I’m not sure how most photographers can sustain themselves during the pandemic era. OTH, you might as well keep going. 40,000,000 people are without jobs. Many of those jose aren’t coming back. Quite a problem, eh?

I can’t stay angry at everything, so…

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


Give me the greens of summer.

Changes. Many changes.

I really messed up some folks today. Here’s what happened. I decided to make some major changes to Storyteller. You can’t see them. The changes are made in the architecture of the site. The WordPress technician and I worked very well together. We knew that he had to fix a bug and that it would take a little time for my archives to port to what amounts to another website.

In the middle of all of that my scheduled post, posted. Some friends on Facebook saw it and tried to open it up. One received a 404 error. The other could read the text but saw no picture. They let me know. I explained the problem. I also told them when the site was really working.

No harm. no foul.

It seems that I can’t get away from the technology of Storyteller. That’s okay. For now.

George Floyd.

Say his name. Remember it.

Around here, after watching the most disgusting video in the world, we are up in arms. I don’t understand how a human being can do that to another human being. How do you plant a knee on another man’s neck and kill him?

You can’t even claim self defense. George Floyd wasn’t armed. He was begging for his life and that policemen murdered him. We know the cop’s name. I won’t give him the dignity of naming him. None. Zero. Ziltch.

I’m sad. I’m sad that my country is in tatters. I’m sad that killing Black people for no reason continues to this day. I’m sad that I even have to comment.

You know, I speak about opportunity. I talk about not returning to normal. Who the hell wants to return to this? Instead, I want to make things better. But, I don’t think we can. We can’t until we fix this level of stupidity.

People’s lives matter. Right now, it’s Black people who are in the hot seat. For now, Black lives matter. Maybe they’ve always been there. We have to atone for my country’s original sin. You know, 1619. I don’t know how to do that. Some say reparations. Some have other ideas. I don’t know. Just do something. Take a first step. We’ll adapt as we go.

I have a friend from high school who posts a lot on Facebook. He thinks that it might by time for another Black Panther group to arise. He doesn’t really want the violence, but he thinks that they could protect their brothers and sisters.

In case you are wondering, he’s a white guy.

Meanwhile musical miss is up in arms. Her sister, who is usually calm, raised hell on Instagram. I’ve never heard her curse. She did today. F-bomb deluxe. Even the dogs are angry. Cocker spaniels really reflect their people’s feelings.

I really don’t know what to do. I do know that we have to do it now. I do know that the man in the hightower has created this environment. How? There is a picture of the killer cop floating around on social media. In it he’s wearing a red MAGA hat.

When did this happen? When I was a young photojournalist we couldn’t even place a campaign poster on our lawns. Same thing about cops. Believe what you want. But, be professional.

How is killing a man by forcing a knee on his neck professional?

The picture.

I made this picture yesterday. I am sharing it today because green is supposed to make you feel peaceful. It’s not working. At least, on me, it isn’t. I hope that it works for you. It’s really an easy picture to make. I just needed the right light. When I got it, I did it. There is pretty much no processing of any kind.

Say his name. George Floyd. Remember it.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


Along came the clouds.

Driving.

Out on Highway 61. That’s where Abraham and God a conversation. That’s what Bob Dylan said. Apparently, God wasn’t messing around. So Abraham did what he was told. Sometimes there are little miracles when you least expect them.

On Saturday, Sophie Rose wasn’t doing so good. I was afraid I might lose her. It was later than the vet’s office was open so I considered taking her to an emergency vet.

Before I did, I had a word with God. I don’t really pray. I just talk. I said that I didn’t matter. I said that Sophie is a sweet, gentle loving dog. She didn’t deserve to cross the rainbow bridge just yet. She fell into a deep sleep. When she woke up on Sunday, she wanted to go for a walk. I thought she just need to go out for a minute. Oh no, we went for a very good longish walk. She came in and drank a lot of water.

She also annoyed the other dogs, she kept me from working. She acted like her normal self. When it was dinner time she ate three cups of food. That’s all of the dogs limits. Usually, they are happy with 2 1/2 cups. For the past week or two she was barely eating about a half a cup. She lost a lot of weight. My goal is to add weight to her.

I’m not very religious. I have a spiritual side to me. My prayers are discussions. I have no idea if God, or whoever your higher power is, even works this way. But, something happened.

For sure, she still has a dental appointment. I’m fairly confident that I managed to kill the gum infection. I’m pretty sure her bladder stone has fallen apart.

For now, that’s enough.

That’s Highway 61 that you are looking at. We live pretty much at the southern terminus. When you get to the Crossroads up in Mississippi, that’s where Robert Johnson supposedly made his deal with the devil. We also live fairly near to the cemetery where Gram Parsons, founder of THe Flying Burrito Brothers and who also brought country rock to Los Angeles, is laid to rest. We live in a weird place. All sorts of pirates and assorted characters roamed these parts.

Some still do. They just don’t have the class of their forefathers.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


What we leave behind.

Junkyards.

I don’t know what got me thinking about this. Maybe it’s because I often watch documentaries on various streaming services. I’ve internalized the broken, the abandoned and the left behind. If truth be told, I’ve poking around abandoned stuff long before the dawn of Netflix. It’s always interested me. It could be because when I was very young we travelled by train. As a train approaches the train station, it passes through the backside of cities and towns. Those neighborhoods are run down at best. Abandoned at worst.

They made an impression.

Photography philosophy

After all, art is autobiographical. I make pictures of me. Not portraits. Pictures of what’s inside me. The subject matter may be less important than the feel of the photograph. I like working close to the subject because I’m trying to get inside. Of the subject. Of me.

I follow a woman on Instagram who offers online workshops. The one I checked out was about the process of making pictures. It included a little Zen meditation. And, a little bit about breaking mental blocks. It’s an interesting workshop. I won’t take it because all it would do for me is support what I already know and do.

I’m a big believer in always carrying a camera. Any kind of camera. You never know when a picture might break out. In my newspaper days, we always carried our gear with us. We used to joke that we saved a lot of lives. If we carried our gear nothing would happen. But, sure enough, if we didn’t there would be massive breaking news.

I’m also a believer of letting the picture take you, rather than you taking the picture. When you are really drawn to something you’ll make a hard u-turn in heavy traffic just to get back to the scene. You’ll miss dinner. You’ll get up way too early. You’ll travel to places you never thought would interest you.

That’s obession.

And, speaking of obession.

A little news of the day

There was a woman walking her dog in the Ramble of Central Park in New York City. A man, who happened to be black, was doing a little birding. She confronted him and started yelling. He started videoing her. While she was screaming at the police she was dragging her dog in a way that could have killed her. A little scared cocker spaniel.

Eventually, the internet did its job. She was identified via LinkedIn. Her dog was taken away to keep her safe. I don’t know what will happen to the woman. I was disgusted. When she called 911 the very first thing she said was that there was a violent Black man threatening her. She’s white. She knew exactly what she was doing. Exactly.

The comments on Twitter were almost just as disgusting. People defended the woman by saying they couldn’t see the cause. The man started his videotaping well before the start of the incident because he was birding. They said he should have just walked away despite her coming to him. They worried about the dog over a human being. WTH?

You know how I feel about dogs. They are better than people. You know how I feel about cockers. They are better than most other dogs. But, I would never choose a dog over another human being.

Stay tuned.

I could speculate about the causes, but I won’t. All I know is that we live in interesting times. “May you live in interesting times,” is the worst possible Chinese curse.

The picture

I went to a new doctor. An orthopedic doctor. No worries. I’m finishing old business. His office is in a sort of weird place. A large group of doctors own a place that could have been a school or old military quarters. There is a lot of stuff left behind. You know. The American way.

The subject turns out to be an old, abandoned air conditioning system. I knew this because right next to it was a more modern one, the kind we are used to seeing. Also, there is a descriptive metal plate with instructions about how to diagnose air conditioning problems.

I had two cameras with me. i chose the lesser one. I have no idea why. I framed the subject and pressed the button. I walked around looking for different or better views. Eventually, I chose the first version. Sometimes, it’s your instinct over technique.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


A summer look and feel.

Summer.

The calendar may say that we’ve got almost a month to summer, but the heat, humidity and rain have given us a summer-like feel for the past couple of days. I’m not really ready for it, especially since we planned on not being here for a couple of months, but a virus took that from us.

Speaking of that virus, I spent some time consoling a friend of mine who managed to keep busy for a good part of lockdown number one. Today is a quiet day for her. She realized what was lost and really started feeling blue.

I listened for a long time because I’ve learned a while back that when somebody reaches out and asks for help they really don’t want help. They want a friendly ear. They want something who will just listen.

That’s what I did.

When she was done, she asked what I thought. Her world is upended and may never come back. I said some of the things that I write here. That the “new normal” should not be a return to the old normal. Instead, we were all given a task. Make our lives better. Make our city better. Make our world better.

Those are quite some tasks.

It will take us a long time to even come close to getting the stuff done in those three simple sentences. Sometimes simpler is harder.

Photography, design and stuff

I’ve been talking way too much about the block system and design. I haven’t been talking about the theory of photography enough. Or, the concept of artistic thinking.

So.

I’ll let this new block stuff simmer on the backburner where I can play with it and not worry about what you actually see. I learned today that my picture captions may not be where they should be. I learned it depends on how you are looking at them and what OS and browser you use. I also learned that some things just don’t scale. Remember that music video? There is a place for it on my phone. No video.

I’ll work on that in the deep background. Instead, I’ll talk about the emotional and personally historical issues that come into play when you are trying to make and view art. What resonates? What doesn’t? What do you do or not do with either feeling?

You know. The important stuff.

I won’t take about cameras, lenses, or f stops or shutter speeds. You can find all of that on YouTube, which is why I laugh when somebody wants to sell me a workshop about that technical stuff. On the other hand, it’s also why I cry when I see good information on YouTube. Somebody just gave it away. That’s nice. It’s kind. But, we’ve learned in the past three months that we have to do something to earn a living.

You know the rest. I know that you know.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


New Orleans

This is a test. I’m trying to learn how to do combined multiple picture designs.

Combined, because I’ve crashed two templates. I’ve also used some older pictures that those of you who are new to Storyteller may never have seen. They highlight a couple of tourist areas. Places that some of you might go if you came to my fair town.

While I was writing, I learned something very new. It appears that the block in which I am working expands to contain the new text. That’s great, but I have to watch the depth if I want some air between the text and the images.

The Pictures

I suppose that you’d like to know a little bit about them because this is, after all, a photography blog.

The top image is Canal Street at dusk.

The bridge is the Crescent City Connection, which crosses The Mississippi River to the Westbank.

Next to it is Bayou St. John.

Below that is a French Quarter scene,

Far left is Magazine Street.

Canal Street. Streetcar.

I hope you’ve me followed this deep. I’d love some feedback. Positive — of course. Negative — because it’s needed.

All About learning

Learn from me if you’d like. You are going to be right behind me. I like challenges, but many of you won’t. There is an old school template that I believe predates me. That means it’s at least ten years ten years old. That’s the option if you hate the block system.

One design note. I’ve thrown just about every design tool that I’ve used to date into this page. Drop caps. Headings. Multiple pictures. Offset text. I could do other things that I’m not so sure about when it comes to contemporary design. I could change the color of the pages. I could do that in one go, or block by block. I could change the color of the type, again in one go or block by clock. I’m more minimal than all of that.

Stay Safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


Everything starts with an experiment.

This new way of design is a great example of that. According to the revision counter I’ve made 29 changes. Most of them center around type sizes.

Arrrrgh.

I still don’t really have an understanding of them. Nor, do I know how to do a copy wrap around the picture.

Enjoy my journey. Soon, you will be on your own.

Stafe safe. Enjoy every sandwich.

Big yellow flower.