A little painting. Or not.

Any major dude will tell you.

I wanted make a picture that was a little different. I set out to make a painting. Instead, I made something like an etching. It’s all one experiment.

Here’s what happened. We had a little rain to go along with our newly cold weather. And, that’s all I’m going to say about that. I had some errands to run. I did what I always do. I let the rain water accumulate on my car’s windshield. I photographed through that. No worries. As many of you know, I drive. I don’t really look at what’s on the monitor. Mostly, it’s just plain dumb luck if I’m successful.

I made a couple of nice rain shots that way. Was I satisfied? You already know the answer to that. If you’ve forgotten, NO!

I layered an older picture with the rain streaks. I made one image that is way too bright and colorful. It wasn’t that kind of day. So, I made this picture and intentionally toned it down. Now I had a picture that feels like yesterday.

That’s it.

Anyway. I’m a little amazed at the news from Washington D.C. . Well, not really the news, but some reactions to it. The guy who shall not be named ranted and rave on Twitter and in real life. His son said that it was boring. Most of the media, even the folks I like, picked up on that theme.

What the hell?

It’s Congressional testimony. It’s words. It’s dry. It’s content rich. The people in the room are not going to attack each other physically, like they do in Italy.

That got me thinking.

We live in an on demand world. There is a constant stream of news and commentary on Twitter, the worst place in the world. Most big box office earnings are cartoon-like movies. Movies about comic books that I read when I was child. Unless there is a lot of sizzle, there is no steak.

I hate to say it, but this is where the digital age has lead us. Make no mistake. I’m not against technology. How much of it do I use myself? I’m mostly worried about how most of the world’s population use it. I once read something about online flame wars. The line that caught my eye was this, we have the equivalent of a $25,000 computer in our hands. We use it to argue with people that we don’t know.

Think about that.

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Flower explosion.

This idea came to me in a dream.

I’m not sure what it means. The dream, or the work. Rather than just stuff it all back inside me head I thought it would be a good idea to explore it.

I made layers. You’ve seen both pictures in the past. Bright yellow flower and red leaves. My exploration involves basic arithmetic. You know. 1 + 1 = 2. I’ve long believed that 1+1 can equal all sorts of numbers if they are the right 1+1. This is especially true in the art world.

By layering pictures, I think I made at least a three. Maybe more.

I’ve tagged this picture, “Boom.” It looks like a firework display to me. It may look like something else to you. Likely, a mess. Never-the-less, all opinions are valid.

Somebody once asked me when I have time to do all this, especially since experiments can end in failure. It’s more or less when I feel inspired. Or, when we are watching something very light on television. Often, I’ll just listen and work on pictures. I’m great with podcasts. And, the radio.

The picture. You can do this too, especially if you use “Snapseed,” which tends to make editing very easy. The key is to find two pictures that work together. I usually work on both independently. I try to build equal light and color values.

When I layer them, I experiment with different ways of layering. After I’ve completed the layers, I adjust them together. I also make sure to trim — not crop — the final picture. Unless you have two pictures with the same shape, there may be bits of one or the other picture hanging out. I crop mostly for shape. On WordPress-based blogs, deeper is better.

That’s it. My first lesson in a long, long time. Sorry about that.


Gleaming behind the sun.

Morning. Low Sun.

This. You get this. If you look at the light as it falls behind new blooms and old leaves. This is what you get.

I’d like to say this was an accident. It wasn’t. Even though I let the all-seeing dog lead me, I gently directed her to where I hoped to find light like this.

The first place in which I looked, I found that the sun was too low in the sky. But, the next place bore fruit. Or, flowers. I carefully exposed the picture as best I could. And snapped away. Post production work was mostly about darkening the image and making sure the background was obscured.

That’s it. I cropped it as usual, to give it shape.

A word about the weather. When I awoke the temperature dropped from a high of 79 degrees yesterday to just about 40 degrees. That’s nothing. On Wednesday, we are predicted to have low temperatures in the mid 20s.

Whaaaat…?

It’ll be windy on both days so the “feels like” temperature will be 8 to 10 degrees less than the predicted temperatures.

First, it’s too hot. Now, it’s too cold. When is this porridge going to be just right?

Er, something like that.


A lot of color.

The picture had a hole in it.

I fixed it.

The hole was just a big portion of the picture that was right in the middle. There was also this great stuff going on around the edges. The center had no subject, just an open space. Like a donut.

It reminded me of so many pictures posted on social media with great leading lines… to nowhere. I had options. I think the leading line pictures that I’ve seen could have presented the photographers who made them with options. But, noooooo.

I chose an easy option. I layered another image right into the middle of the original picture. I adjusted it as needed and it was ready for you.

I made the picture about two days ago. I made the layer about four days ago.

The interesting thing about our autumn season is that it is also a second growing season. The weather normally turns cool, not cold. You can start planting veggies for spring. The weather is turning colder and colder so I’m not sure about that for this year. But, native outdoor plants have already started blooming. That’s why I could make this picture.

Isn’t that great?

Unfortunately, we pay for this with brutally hot and humid summers. They last for at lest six months. I read something about this in a climate change story I found. Apparently, as the weather turns weirder and weirder, we won’t have an extreme change to our already hot weather, but New Jersey and that region will.

New Jersey?

Yep. The weather up there will become more like our summers. Lucky New Jersey.

On the other hand, as that happens we will continue to subside and the water will rise. That means as we sink, we will sink into higher water. At first, New Orleans will be an island. Then, we will be underwater.

I likely won’t be here by then, unless I survive to be about 115 years old. But, the Mardi Gras Indians will have to learn to swim.

Don’t you think we out to really start doing something about this?


More like fall.

It’s about time.

The rain poured out of the sky. The cold weather arrived. The leaves turned yellow. They began to fall. We finally had golden leaves in the swamp.

I made this picture yesterday afternoon at about 4pm.

There were a lot of leaves already on the ground. Looking up however, was a little marvel. The leaves of fall.

And, I didn’t have to travel to Vermont to find them. I didn’t have to go to New Mexico, either. Nor, did I travel to Virginia. Or, to the Upee — the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s not that I don’t want to travel. But, I travel enough.

There are a few more little trips coming and then it’s 2020. The whole thing starts again. Another trip around the globe.

Anyway.

This is a great Sunday picture. I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I tinkered and made it more like an etching than a photograph. That’s not to say that the very purest picture, almost right out of the camera wasn’t pretty good. After all, how hard can it be to make a picture when nature does all the work?


Cold weather days.

Finally.

Autumn looks like it is suppose to look. Leaves falling. Bushes turning. Flowers dying.

After months of complaining about the heat, cool and cold weather finally arrived. How cool? How cold? The last cold front brought us into the 40s and highs in the 50s. We will warm up a little into the high 60s over the weekend. Cold front number two blows in. This time the lows are predicted tp be in the 30s and the highs in the mid-40s.

For some of you that’s nothing. But, I can’t remember weather this cold in November since I’ve lived in this state. I don’t know what that means for the real winter months, but there’s an old southern saying that is along the lines of “when it’s cold in November, winter remembers in December.” I heard that for the first time today.

That’s a chilling thought.


So much color.

All the color.

Normally, I do my best to isolate the subject in my work. When, I saw this scene I was wowed. After fiddling around, I knew the best way to capture what I saw was to stand back and take in as much as I could. There was only so far back I could stand before I might fall in some water, so I was a little limited. I also went as wide as I could in my lens selection. I think it worked.

I think it could also work as some very busy wallpaper, probably in your house. Heh!

On another matter near and dear to me, I went to the doctor today for my pain management session. This is mandated by the federal government so that I don’t become addicted to Tramadol which greatly reduces my pain. It is really intended for much stronger drugs, but this is a mild opiate so testing and tracking in this way doesn’t really make sense.

There is no medical personnel from my doctor, to my pharmacist and, the lab technician who tests me, that thinks this is worth doing. They agree that it is well intentioned, but that this approach fails on all counts.

Anyway.

This is the long way of saying that after complaining a little about my knee hurting, I was x-rayed. Yep. Osteoarthritis in my right knee. Sheesh. I once heard a joke about getting old. It is your body’s way of saying, “If you thought that was bad, just wait until…”

I can see my future.

Eighty year old Ray using a powered scooter. Except mine will have a 496 big block engine in it that will propel me along any highway faster than the cars I’m passing.

Take that.

Seriously, it’s not something that is always painful. It just hurts on my bad days. It is something to understand. We are going to try a more holistic approach for this. Imagine that. A medical doctor who thinks outside of the box.

Stay tuned.

 


Glowing red leaves.

Seeing red.

Usually that means being very angry. Not this time. I just happened to see a lot of red on a morning walk. The light was lower in the sky so it illuminated things that might not be so easily seen. It was a kind of photographer’s luck. I made other pictures on the walk. You’ll see them later. But, these three just sort of came together naturally. I try not to fight that.

Backlighted red leaves in the morning.

Meanwhile, the dog who sees things wanted to go out three times. We walked close to five miles. Of course, yesterday was a bad day for pain. I took the limits of my pain medication and that barely took the edge off. But, she doesn’t understand that so we walked.

This morning, I felt just fine. There is no explanation for this. But, I don’t question great days. This time, we walked about 150-200 yards and she headed for home.

Both of us have to get our timing down.

Fallen leaves in dust bin.

That’s the story for today. I usually try to publish by noon my time. I’ve been late the last few days. Really, there is no reason except a lack of motivation. I sit down to work on Storyteller and just sit there. It’s taking me two or three tries to actually want to work. Maybe it’s the season. Maybe I need a new toy. Who knows?

 


Out of the blue and into the black.

A calming effect.

Looking at the moon on a night like this one is sublime. For me, it’s calming. It’s peaceful. It’s quiet. It’s certainly early enough in the night sky that even the witches aren’t around since witching hour is nearer to midnight.

Technically speaking, this is an interesting picture. I made it with my smart phone. The phone’s sensor over exposed the scene, so the only real work that I did in post production was to darken it. That bought out the color and  gave shape to the moon. One point to note, the moon wasn’t full. It’s moving just enough to make it look that way.

The more that I look at it, the more I think we have come to a point were “computational photography” is catching up to the DSLR, Mirrorless and Rangefinder cameras. For sure, it isn’t as technically perfect as it could be, but the technology is moving in leaps and bounds. My phone is last year’s model. I wonder what improvements have been made to the latest version. Of course, I won’t know that unless I borrow a phone. We try to keep our phones for at least three years.

In case you’re wondering, my semi-rant of yesterday did bring about some interesting reactions, both here and on various social media. Some were worried that we are further fracturing. I agree. Most were favorable to my point of view. One person wrote that she’d read that millennials lack of serious work ethic comes from knowing that they have a big pay day when we pass. I’ve never read that, but it’s worth investigating.

Me? I’m taking my cash with me. I’ll need it to pay the Devil to turn on the air conditioning. Heh!

For my part, I probably shouldn’t have verbally slapped those kids around so much. On the other hand, as long as a Boomer said it, they didn’t want to listen to reason. Hopefully, they’ll learn. We need each other.