I Feel Lucky


Autumn air.

I started tinkering last night. I made this artwork. It was accidental, like so many things in life.

Even the title of today’s Storyteller is an accident. I asked Alexa to make a playlist of Mary Chapin Carpenter songs. I think she liked doing that. When I asked, her response was “Hmmm.”

“I Feel Lucky” was playing when I wrote the title. Accidental.

That’s a thing that I know about. Accidents. Happy or other wise. They happen the minute you put your well thought out plan into action.

As retired boxer Mike Tyson says, “Your plan changes the minute that you get punched in the face.”

The same thing happens in photography especially if you work with people. The minute that you show up with a camera everything changes. You don’t even have to point it at anyone. They just know that you are there.

That leads to another question. Can any picture really be spontaneous?

Sure.

That’s why NGS photographers have 16 week assignments. It’s why I suggest photographing your world when you start out. The people in your life will ignore you, mostly because they always do.

No. I’m not being snarky,

They are used to you. That’s why I try to stay around for a long time. I hope people will get used to me.

But, they never do.

It’s the camera.

Sometimes working with a phone is a better idea. First, they produce pretty technically good pictures. Second, everybody is taking pictures of everything. Nobody notices.

That’s the goal.

About this MCC thing. Somehow I managed to miss 30 years of her music. When I first saw her play her songs from home. I was enchanted by the peaceful feeling that she brought to me, just like listening to James Taylor does.

I watched some more and thought where have I been all your life?

I know now what happened. I relocated to Hong Kong in 1993. Until Virgin records came along, we were lucky to find western music, especially country.

So, now I’m a little obsessed. I just wish that Alexa would have made a playlist that had some of her new music on it.

It’s always something.

Trees. I like trees. They are symbolic of a lot of things. One of my favorites, rebirth, is among them.

As I said, I was tinkering last night. Even though you can barely see it, this image is made from two layered pictures.

I worked to create the color palette that I though suit the picture.

That took some doing. Balancing the lights and darks was a project in itself.

For those of you who are wondering, I started Snapseed and finished in OnOne. I have other editing software, but why confuse myself?

Stay safe. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy every sandwich.

Time Passages


Like another world.

Finally. It hit me this morning. I am in mourning. Not for the life we all once had. Although, that’s part of it. I’m in mourning for the passing of time. Not, the time that I’ve been discussing. That time has no meaning, no concept these days.

Another kind of time passing. The kind that catches us all in the end. The time of aging. Not so much for me, although that matters. But, for my loved ones. Even the dogs. Especially one dog.

Sophie Rose, the all seeing cocker spaniel is aging right before my eyes. She came to us when she was eight, so she was already a senior dog. She fit right in. She became my walking companion since the other dogs were very happy with one walk a day, in a pack.

She wanted two or three walks a day, just me and her.

That was fine, if not painful. At least until a senior doctor diagnosed the real issue as bursitis.

Lately, instead of going for a morning walk, she goes outside and does what she needs to do and goes back to bed. Mostly, we go for a short walk once a day.

It crept up on me. I looked but I did not see. I got nervous today so I called her vet. For basic things that seems to be what all medical professionals prefer in the pandemic age.

We talked for a good while. He asked me the usual things. She eats her normal amount of food. She drinks her normal amount of water. She seems happy. She doesn’t express any pain. Her droppings are normal.

Everything is good.

He said very simply that she is getting old. If you use the correct way of measuring dog’s age. Twelve years for the first year. Nine for the second. And, seven for the rest. She is about 93.

I don’t imagine that I’ll even be on the planet at 93. So, at that age she is doing fine.

Never the less, I don’t like it. Cockers live from 11 to about 16 years. At 16 they don’t do much but sleep, eat, pee and poop. If she lasts that long of course I’ll love and take care of her. The other dogs will stay near her as a way to protect her.

Now, I’ve made myself sad. I don’t like getting older for me. I don’t like it for those I care for.

There is nothing to be done. It’s nature.

The picture. This should be short and sweet. That dog, the one I discussed in theft hand column, and I started on her walk. We got to my go to place and I looked up.

What a nice peaceful sky. A popsicle sky.

I did what I always do and we walked on.

I did a little post production and posted it here.

Happy popsicle sky to you all.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Don’t travel this week. Enjoy every sandwich.

I Tried Going West


It came out of the sky.

Running on empty. I don’t know if it is the pandemic, the political situation or just 2020 — where anything where happens — or something else.

I usually take some time to think about my last year. Some of it, in 2019, was pretty good. The rest not so much.

I could have done better.

Yeah, sure. Nine months of my year was impacted by the pandemic. There were shutdowns, lockdowns, no touring and no traveling.

I could have done a lot more with my time. I had grand plans of really cleaning up my archive. That didn’t get done. I started in the wrong place. My earliest black and white work is not a good starting point even though it seems logical to do so.

Ha!

I store my black and white negatives in strips of five. What do I do with the rest of a strip if only one picture is relevant? I should have started backwards with my latest work. Digital images do not need to be stored that way. Keep the best picture and toss the rest.

Or, something like that. Often when I re-cull my work I come to an image that clearly espouses the “what was I thinking” theory.

I was going to move from here to my website. I haven’t yet.

I never documented New Orleans during the pandemic. For many of you that means The French Quarter. I haven’t been there since last Mardi Gras in February. Since there was nobody there that wouldn’t have been an illness spreading job.

Unfortunately, we have moved into stage red — a new way of classifying virus spread in Louisiana. I may get my chance.

I better get moving.

On all of those projects. Don’t you think?

I cropped this deep vertical picture out of a horizontal image. I did that because horizontal pictures are tiny on this new template. A free template. I told you that I was moving on. I have until December 18th to renew the paid version of Storyteller. I’m not doing it. It isn’t worth it. Luckily, I already removed my payment method so there will be no surprises.

Look at the picture. There ain’t much to it. It’s a crop of a picture I might not publish. But, I needed something. It’s not to say that I haven’t been making pictures on my walks. I have. They all look the same to me. There isn’t much that I like. I am a harsh critic of my own work, but not now. Anything’ll do.

That’s my life these days.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Look after others. Enjoy every sandwich.

This Day


All the junk that fits.

On a day like this one. Back in 1953. At 10pm. I made my appearance. Here I am in 2020, one of the worst years in at least a century, still going.

I’ve pretty much lost any sense of time. The calendar means very little. Clocks keep turning. The only sense of time that I seem to have is what occurs in nature.

Nature never slips up. She knows what she is doing. Even during the worst catastrophes, she knows. Fires, floods, hurricanes, and now a pandemic. She knows. She’s telling us. Mend your ways. Don’t make me come up there and destroy your home.

She will. Just to get rid of whatever annoys her. She doesn’t care. She seeks stasis.

Into the beginning of this current world I was born. In 1953. On today’s date. I guess that I have some sense of time. Or, Facebook told me. I could have sworn that I removed my birthday from my personal information. But, Facebook knows. So does Google. Ans, Amazon.

Anyway.

We could have a discussion of privacy. But, I don’t feel like it.

You know why.

Broken stuff city. I could be talking about New Orleans in general. But, I’m not. I’m not working that broadly.

I’m just talking about a truck that I saw loaded with broken bikes and parts.

It’s in my nature. I’m drawn to these things.

I let my inner self make this picture. Then, I tinkered with it.

WordPress helped by compressing it to the point where it has no highlights. I really wish all these digital companies would turn off the AI. You’d be amazed at some of the words I don’t type. That I fix when I edit the stories.

Anyway.

Enjoy the junk

Stay safe. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy all the cake.

It’s All Light


The color of the season.

Fall. This is supposed to what it looks like. Bright orange, yellow and red. Leaves on the ground. That’s autumn. That’s fall. A change of seasons between summer and winter. The air cools. It dries out. I’m not dripping wet from humidity. I feel like being out a lot more.

That’s what this picture is about. The wonder of fall.

The wonder of change. The hope of the new year with the changing of the guard. With the first administration of drugs that may keep us from getting sick. Maybe the slowing down the the pandemic which seems to be racing faster.

Maybe the end of a man’s reign of terror that he is trying every way to subvert. I humbly suggest that what he really needs is a granny with a broom. Not only will he get swept out of office, but he’ll get his butt kicked. Thoroughly. That loser.

Not to end on a bad note, so let’s talk about the wonderful colors of this picture. What I mentioned at the top of this little missive. Bold color. Bright color. Happy color.

The picture. I saw it on the ground. So down I went to get close enough to the leaf and far enough away to show some of the background. Click, click, click…

Post production was a little fun. Especially when I applied a border. For some reason, the border function added another slightly askew layer. The picture became even more interesting with that so I didn’t fight it.

On the other hand, the column function is a mess. I like it well enough, but this not what the page is supposed to look like.

One day in the far distant future maybe WordPress will stop screwing around with stuff and leave us the hell alone. No problem for me. I disconnected the payment function. Now they are asking me for money.

Good luck with that.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy every sandwich.

The Blues


The start of something.

The idea started yesterday. But, between then and now I fell asleep three times. I don’t know why. I’m not tired. I’m not sick. I don’t feel stressed. At least not any more so than any other day this year.

The idea was flowers for friend. A friend who was there at the start of my career and who passed yesterday. He was a few years older than me. I have no idea what took him. I believe he lived in Tucson. In Arizona. In normal times, I’d go to his funeral.

While there are a lot of deaths this year, there aren’t many funerals that anyone other than close family can attend. Sometimes the rules get broken slightly, like when there was a second line for a former Zulu king. In that case, you pays your money and you takes your chances.

You know, the old risk v reward thing.

All I know, in New Orleans at least, is that if we ever make it through the pandemic and when the vaccine works at a very high rate, there will be God’s own second line/jazz funeral. Too many people have passed without any kind of commemoration. We need to do it. It’ll be good for them. Good for their family and close friends. And, good for us.

What I did. To the picture. I saw these little blooms. The all seeing dog paused during her walk and I framed what I saw and pushed the button. I let the file sit and marinate. When I learned that my colleague passed, I knew what to do.

Blue.

The picture needed to be blue with some colorful highlights. I did the work, first using Snapseed and finishing it using OnOne. You are looking at the result. What do you think?

Is it good enough? Is it tribute enough?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Look after others. Enjoy every sandwich.

Souls Dirge


The power of purple.

How it began. I talked to a friend of mine who suggested that I make some changes in how I look at my world. His thinking is solid. I fear that I’ve already worked through the process, at least as far as Storyteller goes.

He did offer me another idea. In order to do that I guess that I’m going to have to leave my compound and start looking around. A lot of people seem to be moving about in order to make pictures. Or, do anything. Like travel.

I’m not sure what my fear of doing that is about because I really don’t need to be close to very many people. That should keep me safe. After all, we run errands, go grocery shopping and the like.

We mask up. We use sanitizer and wash our hands when we return to our home.

And, yet.

I suppose it comes from one underlying condition. CLL. It’s a kind of Leukemia that doesn’t do much. It won’t kill me. It might not even make me ill. But, I produce too many white blood cells and not enough red platelets.

It’s the later that could kill me if I caught the virus. Bottom line, my body can’t defend itself from something like CoVid-19. Or, if it could it would be a big fight.

So. I sit. I want to go out and make pictures away from my neighborhood but I have some fears.

Even though there is some logic too them, they also seem to be a little irrational, especially if I’m 50 feet away from the next person.

What do y’all think?

Magenta. As I’ve said about 100 times, we don’t have a very cold autumn or winter. We do have a few days when the temperature might dip into the teens, but for the most part the weather is pleasant this time of year.

Right now, the temperature is in the low 60s. The windows are open. Cool fresh air is cooling the house.

That’s the long way of saying that flowers are still blooming.

And, that’s what I saw. New blooms. New Camellia blooms.

I haven’t made a detailed, macro picture in a long while so that’s what I did. I set out with intent.

Working in that way allowed me to not have to work much in post production. I developed and fine tuned the file and away I went. It is how you see it right this very minute.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after others. Be kind. Don’t follow leaders. Pay your parking meters. Enjoy every bowl of gumbo.

He Thinks So


Some assembly required. That’s what was needed on this artistic experiment. In an effort to tie some life lesson to this picture, I think that most of our lives require some assembly.

I’m not just ruminating about the times when the cracks appear, but when the light shines in as well.

In fact, if you alternate light and shadow making their way through our cracks you could say that we are always in some stage of assembly.

That’s a good thing.

Without that constant work, I for one, would be bored.

Often, I marvel at folks with whom that I attended high school. They graduated from high school, they attended a local college, they married their high school sweetheart, worked for 40 years and are now retired.

I really have no idea what challenges they were presented in what amounts to 50 years, but they really seem settled. Or, did they settle?

I, on the other hand, never stayed in one place with the exception of now. I couldn’t stay with one women. I had a lot of adventures.

Which is the better life? For me it depends on which day you ask that question.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Enjoy every sandwich.

Experiments. A friend of mine seems to think that I have a collection of these. If I do it wasn’t intentional. I do them so infrequently that I’d have to search to really know.

They are time consuming to make and their really is no pattern.

This is a combination of two pictures. One, is obviously a stand of trees that has shed its leaves for winter.

The other is undetermined in this picture. It’s really a Camellia that I photographed very tightly. You may see that picture this week.

I layered and adjusted them. You see the result.

I’d ask you like it and if you like to see more, but I never do it until the pictures are ready.

All A Dream


Magical

There’s a little magic in this photograph. I thought today would be a good day to publish it because we all could use a little magic. That’s what the late Jerry Garcia said. We need music and magic and art.

Who am I to disagree?

You know the kind of world we are living in these days. I don’t have to drone on and on about that.

I’ve come to believe that my job for right now. For today, is to make people smile. Not everyone. I don’t know everyone and I have what I consider to be a small following.

So.

Just for today look a this little photograph that I call “Magical.”

Maybe it will help.

The only thing that I know for sure will help is the all seeing dog. Sophie Rose makes everyones day better.

Sheesh.

If people see me without her they don’t recognize me. No dog. No fun.

In the wildflowers. I made yesterday’s atomic picture a few minutes before I made this one.

While that one was created in the studio, today’s picture was made in the field where I saw it.

The only post production was a little glow and contrast to help you feel what I did.

It shimmers and glows now, just like I saw it outdoors.

Stay safe. Stay mighty, Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Enjoy every sandwich.

I forgot to do this yesterday. The headline is borrowed from Norah Jones. Stay mighty comes from MCC.