China Rose

A while back I had an interesting discussion on Instagram. It was probably my only one. It wasn’t about photographs. Instead it was about flowers.

The photographer that I was talking with misidentified a flower that he called a China Rose. I knew that it was something else because I grew up with them.

We both started Googling and found out what a real China Rose looked like. We learned that it isn’t the color, but the smallness and the shape.

These are China Roses produced my way.

Artfully.

I have more traditional pictures, but today we are still headed towards confusion and mixed up imagery. That’s just fine. It’s what I feel like producing.

If anything, this image gets me closer to how I saw it in bright and contrasty sunlight. It was a little dream-like at the time. If I went out today, it would also be the same. I’m having trouble waking up.

That’s after finishing packaging homemade dog food, and having a coffee and a donut. Don’t judge me. I know that you’ve eaten worse. Gummy Bears for breakfast just shouldn’t be a thing.

Which brings me to one of the lamest things I’ve heard in years. Some Republican know-nothing is claiming that President Biden won’t let us have meat in our beer.

Imagine that. Meat Beer.

And, the world turns.

Whatever did I do to this picture?

For one thing, nothing is in sharp focus but by tinkering with it there appears to be sharpness. Trust me, there isn’t any real sharpness.

The next thing I did was remove all of the mid-tones. That caused overly bright contrasty color which I added more color. I give that saturation slider a good, hard pull.

The result is what you see. I don’t know about you, but it’s art to me. Sorta.

We’ve been through that before. I don’t need to repeat it just to make a point or fill space.

So. I won’t.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask inside. Keep your distance everywhere. Wash your hands. Get your jabs, especially your second one. Look after each other. Be patient because we are getting close.


All the reds and oranges.

Tomorrow is Earth Day. Normally, I’d post something on the day of the event. This time, I thought I’d give you a little time to plan.

What are you going to do to make the planet a little healthier?

Me? I’m going to pick up trash.

It’s locals and tourists.

Once, I heard a tourist in The Marigny say that all this trash on the ground was just terrible as she proceeded to throw her trash on the ground.

Huh?

Once, after watching a guy throw trash on the street in front of our house, I asked him to pick it up. When he refused I said, “Pick that up. This isn’t your mama’s living room.”

He did.

It doesn’t matter what you do, but do something.

On another note, justice was served yesterday. Derek Chauvin was convicted on all three charges: second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter.

At the time that George Floyd was killed, the Minneapolis police department claimed that he died in transit. Their lie was exposed by a courageous 17 year old teenager named Darnella Frazier. I think I read that the city honored with a medal.

I agree with Stephen Colbert. I find it hard to celebrate when a man is still dead. I think, like many people do, that this is just a start.

Of course, just as the verdict was being announced, another teenage girl was killed by a cop in Columbus, Ohio. The police department immediately released the body camera footage and it looks like the shooting was clean.

I have some thoughts about that.

When I was a young man — a teenager — cops were not so heavily armed. They didn’t carry tasers and their weapons were a revolver and baton.

Back in the day, they would have tried to talk her down. If they couldn’t do that and she threatened them, they’d hit the arm holding the knife with their baton. Likely, they would have broken her arm.

A broken arm isn’t dead.

Maybe that’s how you reform police departments. Go back to the basics. Most departments are way too up armored. They often look like soldiers going into combat. They are on the street to protect and serve, not kill people.

Now is the time for technical comments.

But first, a rant.

This damn block system has got to go. Once again, it put a box around my writing. Click anywhere near the box and everything is gone.

I’ve been having what the Brits call a spirited conversation with a “happiness engineer.”

The picture. It’s really two layered horizontal pictures. I twisted them up in a program that is designed to help you correct compositional problems like a tilted horizon line.

Then, I turned the horizontal picture to the vertical. I corrected whatever I thought was a problem and pushed the contrast and sharpening until it looked like an illustration.

That’s it.

If you want to learn about actual settings I’ll tell you, but first make sure that your phone is equipped with Snapseed, which is a free product.

Then, ask me questions. I’ll guide you through the process.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. (Don’t turn red state on me) Look after each other. Be patient.


Long ago.

Long ago and far away. Ten years. 1,000 miles.

New Mexico is in my head. I was able to put it away for a while. OnOne archived all the work it could find on my computer’s hard drive and on one of my portables.

It found images that were “lost.”

They were not necessarily lost in my archives so much as being lost in my brain. Once I started seeing them again I looked at many of them in amazement.

It was like looking at them in a dream. I can’t remember the circumstance of making them although I do remember the pictures. Clearly.

And, speaking of dreams, this morning’s dream was very cool.

I was walking in a long tunnel like the kind that are made for mines. Everything was dark. I arrived at an open place. Everything was glowing. I got in line with the rest of the workers. We were handed five gallon buckets and sent to a dark fountain.

We dipped our buckets in the fountain until they were filled with multi-color fluid. It was stunningly beautiful. The colors were bright, they jumped in and out of the bucket, they sparkled.

What a show.

Then I woke up.

Pictures at an exhibition. April is going to be all over the place.

Some photographs will be old. Some will be my kind of art. Some will be from the project. Some will be from a survey of other ideas.

This picture from the mountains of New Mexico kicks off the month.

I decided to tone it down and make it look like a dream.

All of the work was done in Snapseed. I could have done a little more in OnOne, but I was satisfied with my work as it stood.

So, this is spring.


Sometimes just the sky.

It’s a great day for experiments. Rainy. Kind of cold. We’ve had a lot of rain since yesterday. Supposedly, there are three or four more inches on the way.

So, I used a new app. I’ve used it once in the past. I’ll get into the technical aspects of that on the right hand column.

With all the rain, I needed something to counteract that on Storyteller. This picture just about does that. It’s bright. It’s gauzy. And, there’s a lot of yellow. The photograph, if that’s what this is, moves from darkness to light, at least for peoples who read from left to right.

Even thought there’s been a lot of stupidity as the pandemic seems to be getting managed, that’s what this picture might mean. We are headed into the light.

Or, if you are if you are cynical like me, moving into the light could mean the end. You know what people say when they have died and came back because it wasn’t their time yet.

I think I’ll choose the first option, mostly because I’m not ready to go just yet. There’s a lot of work to be done. And, I want to help.

I know that you want to help too.

Amiright?

So. The app. It turns the image into all sorts of colors. The original photograph was monochromatic, even with the golden arches in the background.

If that wasn’t enough, I added a setting from OnOne that made those globes, which are supposed to be bokeh.

It’s really not bokeh. Bokeh, an often misused Japanese word that Japanese people don’t use, refers to the quality of the out of focus parts of an image.

Usually, that’s found in the background. You want something that’s soft and creamy with some shape.

Once I completed that, added a border. I had something mid-way between a photograph and something else.


All the color you can see.

My kind of photograph. Lots of big, bold, bright color. I didn’t actually see quite as much color when I stopped to press the button, but I did see the tree reflection. That’s what caught my attention.

You know me. I’m of the opinion that anything can be a picture. Not in all light. Or, at all times of day. You have to be patient. Or, have an all seeing dog. She knows all. Even though she see monochromatically, she can see how the light and shadows fall.

In fact, she stood right in front of this car. Well, SUV. She moved when she saw what I was doing.

I should be somewhere in the picture, but I can’t find myself. Maybe you can.

The big news of the day is that I get my CoVid-19 vaccination today. The hospital scheduled me for my second injection as well.

I don’t think much is going to change for me in how I address the virus. I’ll still social distance. I’ll still mask. I’ll still growl at the person who stands too close to me in the grocery. Or, has his mask way down over his nose.

If I don’t speak for me, who will?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. You know exactly what to do. Enjoying all the seeing.

Seeing and looking are two different items in sort of a continuum. You can look and see nothing. I know a lot of people like that, including me sometimes.

Or, you can look and see. That’s a very different thing. It’s what enables me to see this car and the tree reflections. It enables me to feel the picture.

I think making a photograph is mostly by feel, rather than intellectual or mechanical.

For sure, you have to understand your gear and you have to understand who and what you are as a photographer. But, that’s not directly involved when you actually make the picture. It hovers in the background.

Of course, you have to have another kind of vision when you are developing and editing the picture.

If you do, you might make something with which you are happy.


Everything you need to know is in this picture.

Thoughts that cross my mind. Not everyday, but more often than not during our pandemic times. There’s another random thought that crossed my mind. “Pandemic Times.” A good name for a newspaper in these non-newspaper days.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Lately, my thoughts have been roaming and random. Like the one above, but it doesn’t count.

I think about how to fix the streets after the mayor made a big deal out of starting a big project in the area of the city in which I probably venture to twice a year. Meanwhile, my street has potholes in potholes. Some people grow crops in them. Some people decorate them.

I fix some of them the same way that my neighbors do. Fill the base up to about two inches from street level with unneeded Mardi Gras beads. Then, a layer of quick set concrete and finally a layer of a compound that looks like asphalt that you buy at Home Depot.

This is all illegal, but when the NOPD beat cops come by in their cars, they pull over blocking us from the street and turn on their red and blue lights. They are protecting us, so in return they get coffee, tea, water and some kind of snack.

This is one of the reasons we like our street level cops. They use their heads. They don’t over react. Besides, if they hit potholes near my house, their teeth rattle in their heads.

If you are wondering why they just can’t avoid the pothole, well, when you do that you just hit another pothole, probably worse than the one you’re avoiding.

The subject in the picture reminded me of all that. I’ll tell you about that in the right column.

The right hand column. It’s mostly used for technical issues. Because I’m not a huge technician there isn’t much of that.

I saw a car that was reflecting the foreground scene almost perfectly so I stood back and made a few frames.

I stood back because I didn’t want to be in the picture. That succeeded but I managed to capture a few letters. I have no idea where they came from.

I also had to use a border to hold in the bottom which looks like a mistake. It’s not. It’s just a part of the car’s hood.

The rest looks pretty cool, I think. It really needs those bright leaves to make the picture pop.

All of this was done in camera with just a bit of tuning up in editing.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Enjoy all the weather.


Art is where you find it. Sometimes what you find may not look like art until you open your mind and let your imagination out.

Seeing and using your talents and mind isn’t always that easy. Sometimes you have to throw a little science in there too. And, luck. Luck always plays a big part if you work like I do.

That brings me to, er, luck. They say that you make your own luck. I believe that to be true. Chance favors a prepared mine, or something like that.

Here’s how luck works.

You learn. You study. You always read. You practice. You make pictures, both good and bad. After about 10,000 pictures you are almost ready.

In order to be ready you must walk outside whether you want to or not and look around.

You’ll make photographs. Probably some pretty good ones. All that you did to prepare will bring you to this place. You’ll see. Really see. You’ll see pictures in the most banal of scenes. You’ll understand how to make them into something else. Your imagination will grow into your vision.

You’ll see.

Parking lots. You wouldn’t think there would be pictures on concrete or asphalt.

There are.

You just have to let your imagination loose and be prepared.

Being prepared brings you luck. That’s how I found the scene.

I framed it snd pressed the button.

I worked on it in development and editing. Once again, this is more about what I took out than what I added. If you remove some of the haze, the colors pop.

That’s what I did.

Stay safe. Be strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Use your imagination.


Not spring. Still winter.

Yesterday. After the riot and the final certification of Joe Biden as president, you would have thought that the day would have been calmer. For sure, it wasn’t dramatic as Wednesday but the stupidity kept going. The far right senators like Ted Cruz tried to blame the riot on Antifa. They said the rioters are Antifa members pretending to be Trump supporters.

I realize that he lives in Texas where things are slower, but surely he most know that cameras are a thing. And, that cameras were able to pin the tail on the elephants.

Even the woman who was killed was well known in San Diego. She was a Qanon leader. She was an Air Force veteran who apparently forget the oath she took when she joined the military. She certainly wasn’t defending the Constitution when she was shot.

I’m sorry that she was killed. I don’t want anybody to die like she did.

I read enough to know that the whole world was watching. Our allies were sad and concerned. Our enemies just laughed.

I hope and pray that Biden can heal my country. He has the full congress behind him and turtle face no longer runs the senate. I fear the country is so divided that the hatred will last.

That’s some of the news that is not fit to line your birdcage. I promise that I’ll be back to art and other happier stuff.

Flowers in her hair. Flowers everywhere. A line from an old song from the happier days of hippiedom.

I keep saying that our winters are mild. This picture proves that.

Just as I write those words, the fine folks at weather central are predicting the possibility of snow this weekend. The temperature has certainly dropped enough for that to happen.

The last time that occurred was when we were exiled to New Mexico. But, during the winter prior to Hurricane Katrina’s arrival, we had so much snow that I slipped and slid my way to The French Quarter to make pictures.

I can drive in snow, but most New Orleanians can’t drive in good conditions. If it wasn’t dangerous, I would have enjoyed the show.

It’s true. I made this photograph a few days ago. I wonder how they’ll look with snow on them.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Enjoy all the winter flowers.


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.