They come in late spring.

This delicate little flower begins to arrive in late spring and last through summer. For me, it’s a symbol of summer.

This may be one of the cleanest captures that I’ve made of them since I’ve been photographing them.

I think that’s because the light was muted which kept the exposure simple. Often, I photograph them strongly backlighted.

The creates a whole host of problems.

Since I try not to move my subjects around and photograph them how I find them, I have to deal with their quirks after the fact.

It’s Sunday so I’ll give you a break from my commentary about the state of the world. You should always remember whatever I write about that is just my opinion.

Some call this an Iris. I cannot find it in my big book of flowers. So, I’ll go with Iris.

As I mentioned on the left side, the light was muted so the exposure was easy.

That made post production simple.

The biggest issue was making sure a flower so translucent as this held enough yellow so that you could view it accurately.

I’ll talk about accurately v creative intent in another post.


Sugar Magnolia.

The things that make us who we are. All of those things. How we were raised. What we did when we were young. The things we did later. All of our actions and deeds.

That’s who we are.

Although I did many things, music was my greatest influencer.

Deja Vu was re-released yesterday. That’s right, the 51 year old album by Crosby, Still, Nash and Young hit the streets again. This time it is one of those box sets that is usually just a ploy to put a few more dollars into the musicians bank accounts.

Not this time.

The main album is remastered to match modern sonics. The rest… whew.

The out takes, the songs that were left out, the demos remind me of what could have been.

But, that never happened. The band fractured and broke apart and came back together until it cracked for the last time just a few years ago when Neil Young started dating Darryl Hannah, who he eventually married. Crosby said what he shouldn’t have and that was it.

That’s all history. You can read about it.

What’s important, as I keep saying about pictures, is how it made us feel.

It was pure joy listening to the sings. A few tears fell thinking about the years in between. And, we were wondering just how the hell they hit those notes as we tried to sing along.

A few friends — the ones who don’t know what they are talking about — say that I should write a book. They are wrong. I don’t have anything to say. I don’t see how my life is any different from so many people who grew up during the era that I did.

But, that doesn’t mean no books.

My long postponed two book set of broken buildings and places in the New Orleans area is back on the front burner.

My publisher asked me if I also wanted to take part in a photographer’s series of books that are street photography based.

It’s a good thing that he’s based in Great Britain because I was about to say that I didn’t see how that was feasible. It takes a long time to produce a book’s of worth of street images.

It was his Friday night when I received his email. I didn’t reply because there was nobody to reply to.

That’s a good thing.

While I was writing this, it hit me. I’ve done this for over 40 years. This is my golden opportunity to publish in real book — not a custom book — most of my life’s work.

It’s going to take a long while to get this together. By the time I’m done, I really will be ready to retire and play with the vegetables in the garden.

Finally.

Technical? Ha! Just stick the lens in a tree and fire away.

That’s all there is to making this picture of a Magnolia in early morning light.

I told you, that dog gets me up too early.

Without her I wouldn’t have a golden Magnolia, I’d have a white one, the real color.

I think golden light is so much more interesting, don’t you?

Magnolias are mostly a southern thing. It occurred to me while I was ruminating on the other side, that I’ve spent the majority of my career somewhere in the south. I never intended it that way. But, time flies when you are having fun.

At least, I think I was having fun. Sometimes, I can’t remember.

But, I do remember how to make pictures. For me, that’s what matters.

Which brings me back to the other side.

This third book is gonna be hellish. While I review and produce all those years worth of pictures, everything is going to come back to me.

Pictures and smells, you know.

That reckoning that I was talking about a few months ago? That was nothing. That was a drill.

This is the real thing.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. I don’t care what the CDC says. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Be patient. Look after each other.


Smell the roses.

You’ve heard it before. Stop and smell the roses. I did that. I also made this photograph. It’s my version of art.

I made it soft, dark and velvety. This image makes me want to touch it. No worries. I didn’t. I like to make pictures, not touch things.

Which brings me to this. Somehow.

The CDC issued a new directive. No masks with few exceptions as long as you have been vaccinated. This confused me and just about everybody else including some very highly thought of doctors.

For some reason I’ve lost my faith in the CDC. This directive just doesn’t sound right. Until Orleans Parish relaxes the mask requirement, I won’t be walking around barefaced.

Ask The New York Yankees about this. They have seven staffers and on player isolated because of positive tests after being jabbed. They call it breakthrough contagion. Call it whatever you want. It means that there is no certainty of anything pandemic related.

It seems that everybody is rushing to open up far too quickly. I have a bad feeling about this.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, everybody is cheering.

The damn block system won’t let me edit to fix typos. Damn is not really the word I’m thinking of but this is a family blog.

If this keeps up, community or not, WordPress is going to drive me away.

Get close I always say. Fill the frame I always say.

I took my own advice and did that. I worked so closely that the purple background is really a bit of another rose.

After that I made sure to keep a little separation in processing.

There you have it. A rose.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty, Wear your mask, Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Ignore the CDC. They’ve become politics over science.


Something like art.

This little cloud drifted by. It was front lit by the sun. No matter what I did, I couldn’t quite help the image to be what I saw, so I did what you are seeing.

I tried a lot of attempts. Nothing looked right. I’ll, show you a couple in a few more lines. Sometimes, photograph goes this way. Sometimes, it’s even worse.

Anyway.

So, what did I do to these pictures? In a word, everything.

I tried all the tricks in my bag. Nothing looked very good to me.

Then, I tried pulling everything back.

See what I mean? The middle top picture of this group is about how the cloud and sky looked to my eye when I saw it. It felt weak to me.

Try as I might without going into a lot of layering, I could not bring out the colors in any way that I really liked.

So I just made it different.

To tell you the truth, the picture I like best is the really dark one on top. The big picture. It is so different that it became its own form of art.

I’m also interested inn the bottom left image. It almost looks 3-D.

What do you all think?

I made the very dark picture and thought that it had nothing to do with reality but it did look like a nice piece of art. So, I stopped before I turned the orange dark and the image would have been just a dark blob.

As I’ve written in the past sometimes I just go back and forth with certain sliders until I’ve gotten to the picture.

Obviously, I did that six times. More than six times, but these are the images that I’m showing.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Don’t be stupid. Be patient. Look after each other. Look at all the clouds in the sky.


Nature’s colorful light.

Have I ever told you how I make this kind of picture? It’s not quite as directed as you think. I usually do this kind of post production at night, usually while we are watching something like the local news.

Since I don’t need to see the video, which is usually boring, I work on a picture using my phone and Snapseed. So, I have about a half hour to finish my work.

Early on this was a push. Now that I’ve learned the software, I move a lot quicker. A half hour is usually enough time.

I’ll talk about how I created this picture over there on the right hand side.

The why of it is a discussion for right here.

I suppose that I see spring as a cacophony of color. I see nature working her magic with a color wheel. I realize this picture might look a little Christmasy to some of you, but I don’t plan the colors when I see them.

They just are.

I think it’s important to look closer at the image so that you can really see all the colors and how they drive the final work.

Promise me that you’ll do that. Won’t you?

Stay safe. That’s it. I read a lot this morning about the virus. The pandemic will morph into an endemic. That’s a viral condition of permanence. It’ll be like a common cold or seasonal flu… someday.

It’s likely that we will never reach herd immunity. Ever. In The United States that’s on us because some people are too concerned with their own freedom rather than doing something for the good of many.

In many parts of the world, like India, that’s also on us because although we have a glut of vaccine we won’t share with other countries. That matters. A safe world is a safe country.

Making a picture like this is always an experiment. Even though I usually create the work in about thirty minutes, I back in and out of looks and feelings.

Working quickly has its benefits. I don’t think too much about what I’m doing. I just do it.

There are three layers that make up the image. There are two layers of greens and blues and a third layer of reds.

The order in which they are layered matters. Red comes last because the second layer of cool toned colors will bury the red.

That completed, I work to fine tune it. I’m careful with the sliders called structure and sharpness. Too much of either in both directions and pieces of the image disappear.

I wish I could tell you when to stop, but this is one of those things that are, “You’ll know it when you see it.”

You’ll see it. I promise you.


Almost like summer.

The long way home, that’s what we took. Really, really, the long way home. I’m not sure we found what we were looking for, but we found other things. We found the peace that comes with sitting under big trees. We found quiet. We found comforting greens.

After the long year that we all had, I’m happier finding these things than I am for finding a favorite restaurant is open or knowing that live music is coming back.

Those things matter, but in order to enjoy them you’d better be fairly whole emotionally and physically. Luckily, throughout the lockdown we did walk the dogs. Granted, they were exactly speed walking but we were walking.

We also ate fairly well. There wasn’t much eating of junk, nor did we eat easily accessible fast food. We actually cooked at home. We do normally, but we made a point of it.

That point was driven home today, when I saw a photographer whom I don’t know all that well walking ahead of us. From behind, it looked like there were two and a half of him. I’m not being mean. It’s just what I saw.

So, now that hope is back and some people think we are turning the corner we probably should take care of what we didn’t do while we were sitting around.

More importantly, we shouldn’t be stupid. Now that the CDC finally said that six feet really wasn’t enough and that the virus lingers in the air inside or out, we probably should take a few precautions.

Yes. I know that most of us who have been vaccinated probably stand a very good chance of not catching the virus. And, if we do it will likely be a mild case. But, what about those who for some reason or another — about 70% of the population currently — come in contact with us? Was if we pass it to them and make them deathly ill?

How would you feel knowing you accidentally did that?

Give me the greens of summer sang Paul Simon. It’s still spring, but close enough.

I like the way greens look in spring or in early summer. Down in Southeastern Louisiana, by mid-August the greens look washed out. By September they are limp. That lasts until fall which starts late.

So, pictures like this delight me. They are magic, not taking away from someone in this house who thinks music is magic.

Making this picture was easy but…

You really need back lighting to make it work. See all those light green leaves in the background? Without them this picture would be dark and foreboding.

I’ll leave that for Halloween.

After making the picture, a little work was needed in post production and viola, I was done.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Use your brain. Look after each other. Enjoy all the peaceful greens.


Flower, my way.

Happy Mother’s Day.

For a long time I used to post a picture that I made in 1980 of my mother and grandmother. It’s called, “Two Before Me.” Make no mistake that may be one of the best pictures that I ever made. But, I feel like moving on.

My grandmother passed in 1982. My mom passed 25 years ago in 1996. I’m not going to forget them. It’s just time for other pictures. At least here, on Storyteller.

I was testing my new phone. I returned to an iPhone and wanted to see how the camera function had improved. I made this picture. I intentionally photographed a portion of the flower because capturing the whole flower seemed too boring.

The image was a little soft, but I thought that this was for Mother’s Day so I softened it some more. Then, I made it dreamy. There, all done.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Read the latest CDC advisory. Look after each other. Be patient. Give your mom a kiss from me.


Nature’s best.

Lately, I’ve been waking up way too early. That would be fine, but the all seeing dog is ready to go. I haven’t even had a coffee and she’s waiting by the door. Since she’s usually right, out we go.

Sometimes, but not always, pictures like this result from our early morning walks. This picture was made on our return route so the sun is a little higher in the sky than something like a dawn picture.

I would have preferred not to have the power pole in the picture. I’ve pretty much given up on that idea because in New Orleans power lines are above ground. Most of the city is built on elastic soil of the swamps below. That’s why we lost power seemingly forever after Hurricane Katrina. Above ground power lines.

Now do you see my problem?

My ground is elastic. Time is elastic. My clothes aren’t.

No matter, only the ground’s flexibility matters to this picture.

Morning light. Normally, I mostly work with late afternoon light. That’s because I’m lazy and don’t want to get up early.

For some reason, that’s changed. Of course, because I haven’t gotten enough sleep I take a nap… at 9am.

Who does that?

There really is no secret technique to making a picture like this. See it, click the shutter, do it a couple more times to be sure and you’re done.

Studio time is minimal too. Finish your picture and live your life.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient. Don’t be stupid. Enjoy all the early morning light.


Seeing is believing.

Luck. Photographer’s luck. I got lucky. I saw some new arrivals in the world of nature yesterday. I was able to take my time and really work the scene.

As you know, while walking a dog or two that rarely happens. But, the all seeing dog walked herself into a tired puddle. Whenever I stopped to explore a potential picture she just sat down and waited. When we returned home she laid down and slept for about three hours.

Then, she wanted to go for another walk. For a dog approaching thirteen years old she still has a lot of energy. I doubt that I’ll have that much energy as I approach 91 years old, which is about her equivalent age.

No worries. The day was coolish and dry so I let her go, but normally I wouldn’t let her get that far out because it is hard on her to return home. Trust me. I look after her very well.

These are blooms that you are looking at. They will eventually turn into purple flowers. If you’ve been here for a few years, you’ve seen them. I’ll try to do something different as I did with this picture.

It really comes down to light. And, with that it’s time to jump to the right hand column.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient. Enjoy all the nature.

Any photograph is about light. For that matter, so are paintings.

If I always had my way, I wouldn’t work until the light was right. That’s not always possible.

But, yesterday morning I awoke fairly early. So did the all seeing dog. She barely let me suck down a cup of coffee before we were off.

I made this picture at about 8 am. The light wasn’t just breaking through the sky, but it was low and very illuminating.

The dog of the hour waited and I made this picture. We were inbound so she was tired. It’s mostly backlighted with a little shadow in the foreground.

I did pump it up a bit because I wanted the glow to pull you into the center of the image.

I think it works as intended.