A study in moonochrome.

T

his picture. This very one. I wanted to publish it today even thought we aren’t quite to this point.

Why?

Because I could and felt like it. That’s reason enough even if it isn’t the best reason. I suppose I could tell you some story about my thinking, but there isn’t any. Stories or reasoning.

Maybe there is some thinking behind this picture because it looks so bleak. Bleak is where we are headed. Straight to hell.

As you probably know there was a big environmental meeting in Europe that concluded last Friday. Everything was watered down. Cut car emissions? Around some moving date. Cut methane gas? Only if China and India can continue to burn coal.

I realize meetings like this are about negotiations, but this is just stupid. And, the politicians just don’t get it. Most of them are a little too old to care. They’ll be dead and buried before the world turns really nasty. Sheesh. New Orleans will be under six feet of water before we take the first step to mitigate that.

Me? I’m tired of living through 100 storms every sixteen years.

These do nothing politicians should come down here after a hurricane blows through, not for the couple of air conditioned hours they spend when they make some kind of fact finding trip, but for a week in the heat without power, food or water.

Maybe, they’ll learn.

What am I thinking? They are politicians.


Moody, mysterious and modern.

S

leep. The missing link. I tell you. I’m on a rock ‘n roll schedule. Go to bed too late. Get up too late. Making up for it by taking a nap after breakfast. Then, I’m late to Storyteller.

This has gotta stop.

Don’t tell me to go to bed earlier. I just toss and turn. I don’t want to wake up the house. So, I work or do something less productive. I read. I watch a movie with headphones. Reading is tough. As night turns into dawn the words make little sense. Or, they don’t stick at all.

On the other hand, so many of these pictures get made in the night. Maybe not the original click of the button, but the experiments and post production work occurs then. In the almost dark.

So, that may be a fair trade. Sleep for art.

I dunno know. What do y’all think?

Oh. One more thing. You’ve seen a version of this picture. I was just playing when I made a version that I like better than the original.


What was left.

T

his was once good business. Along came Hurricane Katrina who changed everything with her floodwaters the poured through broken federal levees. A lot of businesses were destroyed or closed.

Smith Tire seemed to linger. Whenever I passed by, it seemed to be closed. Or, was it ever open? I have no idea. I’ve heard, but I haven’t seen it with my own two eyes, that it’s gone.

That’s too bad.

No. This little building wasn’t a landmark. But, it helped to make up the fabric of the community, at least in its neighborhood. If it’s gone, I know that it will likely just be a barren, empty space. In neighborhoods like this one, nobody demolishes a building to build something new and better. They just leave a gap, like the missing teeth of a jack ‘o lantern.

Sometimes that’s necessary especially if you have a building that is a drug den, or if too many people are sheltering in it because they might cause a fire and burn down half of a street’s worth for buildings. But, this building was on a main street. It was locked up tight. There was no sneaking in or out of it.

I have nothing to draw from this. I’m not making a statement about the society or the world in general. I just like old things.


For Friday.

I

started working on this picture so long ago that I forgot what picture I was going to use when it came to publishing this page.

I suppose it’s a leftover of lockdown fuzziness. Or maybe I’m just losing my ability to think and remember stuff.

I’d like to remember important things. Maybe photographs and Storyteller aren’t all the important. Or, maybe they are and should be.

Storyteller wasn’t always that important. I realized through the lockdown until the present that it kept me aware of the date (sometimes) but rarely the time.

I think that’s why many musicians played some version of songs from home. On one day they would check requests, figure out a small set list or song, rehearse and play the song on whatever day they picked.

Some did it live. Some didn’t.

That didn’t seem to matter. They needed to play for people. People were craving anything the approximated any live music.

That worked for a time.

Somehow we all came to the same place. We needed freedom. Eventually, some people gained some. Of course, I’m not one of them. That’s gonna change.

I made my career taking risks. Now I don’t. It’s time to weigh risk and reward and do the best that I can. No. I won’t take stupid risks, but I’ve got to get out and about.

I can’t take pictures if I don’t.

P

eaceful for Friday. I started working on this picture. I wasn’t getting anywhere. I realized that this image would look best in black and white. Better yet, it needed a very light monochromatic color.

I’m not sure how I started working in light yellow tones, but that seemed to be a good option. Besides, I liked what it did to the bare trees.

So, that’s the direction that I started to work. I added some stuff in OnOne, but not much. It was ready when it was done. That’s how it happens sometimes.


Time fades away.

W

hat remains.

This is one of our storm ravaged trees. Branches are broken, but new leaves are sprouting up like today was spring and not fall.

I’m not sure in what form the recovery will take, but at least nature is doing her work. All nature really wants is stasis. One way or another, this tree will be dealt with.

Okay. Enough of that.

Let’s talk about technological dependence. Let’s talk about Monday. Let’s talk about Facebook and all it’s secondary companies. They crashed. There was a DNS problem.

We think.

Facebook executives lie about everything. Here’s one now. They claimed service was down for five hours. Oh really?

I was looking for a post so I went directly to Facebook at 7:30am. It was down, at least for any new posting. You could still read whatever was posted before the system came down. You couldn’t reply.

I didn’t have service until around 5pm. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s 9 1/2 hours. Of course, that’s in New Orleans where time moves at a different pace. They say that we are 50 years behind. So, there’s that.

Anyway.

The New York Times published a story about what this really means. Facebook claims a membership of 2.6 billion users. Most just use it like many of us do. Mostly we talk amongst ourselves.

However, about half of that total use it to conduct business, to communicate within companies, to sell stuff, to publish newspapers and — in some countries — it is the prime method of communication.

That’s all great. But, in another story, the Times says that Facebook is weaker than we think and that it is already showing cracks.

There are those who talk about regulatory measures. That’s good. It’s a good idea. Let’s take it a few steps further.

What if Facebook is turned into a utility like electric companies and phone companies? What if the entire internet is declared a utility?

I know, I know. That could take the freedom of the internet away.

That’s been done about a decade ago.

There are only three — or four — big players; Amazon, Facebook, Google and some people say Apple.

There’s no privacy. I could post something on Instagram and see ads for something related on Google. That implies there is no freedom.

It seems simple enough to me. It could be done. It won’t be.

T

his picture needed something a little different. At least, I think it did.

I made it monochrome. It seemed a little bleaker that way.

It still wasn’t done. I tinkered. I added extra bokeh using OnOne.

I messed around with the basic color because I thought I made it too bleak.

So, this is the finished picture.

Let’s jump back to the other side for a minute. I realized I wasn’t done with it yet.

I concluded that any kind of regulation or reclassification of the internet and its most dominant sites wouldn’t happen.

It’s not because of a lack of political will. There may be. Or, not. I don’t know.

The real issue is that the people conducting hearings — mostly the Senate — have no clue what to ask or how to follow up because they don’t understand the digital world at all.

You’d think that after the last two decades of digital growth they’d take some time to get familiar with these things.

But, noooo.

They are busy doing something else; obstructing everything, trying to tear down the good things about government and taking money from certain rich players. You know, bribes. There I said it.

The very least they could do is ask their younger staffers to explain the questions they are about to ask on the floor or in committee so they wouldn’t look like idiots.

But — once again — noooo.


Weirdness.

M

y thinking changes a little bit every day depending what I read or see or do. I made this photograph a couple for days ago. I started playing with it last night. The picture lead me to the way it looks. Look at the next column for that.

I generally listen to music when I work, especially when I write. Today’s first selection is a new live album, from a very old band. Steely Dan. The album is called, “Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live”

For me, it is really about memories because most of the tunes are their signature songs.

In a way that’s too bad. I’m someone who really wants to hear new music. I don’t get fixated on the past music.

Today is a very good day, although it started late. For some reason even though we went to bed early, for us. I slept until 11:49 am. I had over ten hours of sleep. I rarely need that much. I guess I needed it.

Sleeping so long sure cleared my head of the accumulation of stress that had been building over the past month.

Maybe it’s going to be a much better ride over the next few months. I sure hope so because if it’s good for me, it might be better for a whole lot of people.

H

ere’s what happened.

A lot of trees have been left bare branched after the winds of Hurricane Ida blew through.

This is one of those trees.

Oddly, other trees that had their leaves blown off are starting to regrow them. They look like springtime.

How’s that? Spring and fall at the same time. In the same place.

Anyway.

I started tinkering with this picture and it lead me to this version. When I let the picture lead me I rarely go too far unlike the times I try to impose my will on it.

I wish I could tell you what I did, but I was on auto pilot. And, we were watching a movie. That may be the best way for me to work.


Darkness at the edge of town.

O

bviously, I made this picture a while ago, like in winter. I tucked it away and you’ve never seen it. I’m starting to work through that collection now.

Unfortunately for me, these pictures are scattered throughout the last few months which means that I have to find them. Hard to do when you’ve forgotten about them. That’s how the infamous lost files are found.

This is a prime example of me seeing a scene for what it could be and making that happen in post production. It’s very likely the sky was pale winter blue and the foreground in good light.

That’s fine.

But, it doesn’t always fulfill my photographic needs. In fact, the deeper my journey becomes the more I want to make pictures that express my vision.

Usually, that doesn’t mean making a documentary style photograph. Nor, does it mean just throwing a couple of filters on a picture and calling it done.

The best of my work is brought about by thinking about, and then working, on the picture.

That doesn’t always happen.

I get rushed. I don’t think clearly. Even worse, I don’t feel clearly. I believe that you, the viewer or reader, can tell that. You see right through me.

At least that’s what I think.

N

ow, here are some technical issues to overcome.

First, as I wrote on the other side, the picture was made in color.

As I also wrote, the image was made in pale winter light. It was pretty enough, but it wasn’t what I wanted.

So, I thought about it and decided it might look like winter feels. Brooding. Moody. Even scary.

I took out as much color as I could. But, if you notice, not all.

Then I softened the sky and enhanced the silhouetted subjects.

I blurred everything to soften the feel.

That’s it. That’s enough.

How about those of you who are photographers? How do you achieve your vision?


T

here haven’t been very many new pictures made this week. I haven’t been inspired or pushed out the door, which is the usual fix.

I was working in my so-called digital studio when I saw the afternoon light playing on the walls. I just photographed what I saw. You are seeing some of it now.

An espresso cup, mini blind, Alexa and a test print, and the light underneath two photographs that first caught my eye.

All things around me.

Don’t ask about the mini blinds. They came with the house. I was going to change them out, but they are great for shutting out light so they live on to blind me to the light on another day.

Alexa needs cleaning. The print above it is a test print. There are two tests going on. The first is that it’s an early smartphone picture enlarged to 13×13 inches. It held up just fine.The second is a longevity test. It’s been hanging for six years. No fading yet.

The brick wall is where I first noticed the light and the lightbulb went off. Pictures. Pictures. Pictures.

And the espresso cup. What can I say? What is there to say?

Let this whole exercise be a lesson to me. There are always pictures floating around. They just have to find you.

M

y question was how far to take these images in post production.

The answer was not very far.

All I really did was clean things up.

That was enough.

I also tested a different kind of picture grouping template. I don’t see that it’s anything different than I could have done by hand.

I suppose that normally I’d have a big picture followed by three smaller ones.

But, that’s about it.

I am very, very slowly starting to use this block (head) system. I’m just not sure that it’s worth the time.


The region of storms. And, kings.

The rain came down. Then the temperature dropped. Finally, we are turning a corner into pleasantness. At least, for now. The passing of winter to spring is always interesting in the swamp.

May you have an interesting life is one of the most harshest of Chinese curses. I think most people are like dogs. We like routine. That’s what’s been so hard living in the pandemic era. Routines are blown. Lifestyles are blown.

We’ve lost a lot. Everything is changing. Nothing is normal, or at least what we used to call normal. I’ve discussed that a couple of times. The new normal is a chance for us to do better. At least I hope that it is.

I have a better sense of hope, even though you can’t eat it, as Neil Young says.

But, with the change of presidents and governing administrations issues are being dealt with in an efficient manner. I just wish the other side would stop lying. The New Green Deal, which is only an idea, did not shut down power in Texas. Nor, did it blow out all kinds of water pipes.

I don’t see the gain in saying such nonsense. Eventually, the truth comes out. Especially these days when you don’t have the last president creating chaos everyday just to see his name out there. That noise is just about gone.

Yeah. He’s gonna run again. After four years of healthy change even his base is not going to be interested. Yeah. He’s going to start a new social media. Just like his steaks, wine, and university.

He’ll be so buried in legal issues that he’ll spend the rest of his life trying to suck money out of the last true believers to pay his legal fees that he’ll never raise his head again.

Now, that’s hope.

See where the picture of the rainy street lead me.

Now, that’s imagination.

drive by shootings. No. Not those kind. The kind where I make photographs from a moving car.

I’ve discussed this enough in the past that you know I don’t take silly chances. I’m not going to get hurt, nor am I going to hurt you.

Look at the picture. Not a car close enough to see me.

The real trick to this picture and the other picture from a couple of days ago is to find a color palette that makes sense for the subject.

The next trick is to be able to duplicate it in such a way that you can make subtle changes to suit the picture.

Once you’ve figured that out the rest is easy.

To be sure, the subject really should dictate the color palette. I don’t think bright, sunny scene would look great using this one.

Stay safe. You know the rest. Enjoy every color palette.