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Mushrooms & Zulus


Hidden Zulu

Yes. Zulus and mushrooms.

Wait! What?

Layering has its benefits. Mixing of very different subjects is one of them. Another is mixing content that was made at very different times. Sometimes from film and sometimes from digital imagery. In this case, I used a Krewe of Zulu Tramp who was walking on Mardi Gras Day and… some giant mushrooms that popped up after a lot of rain.

Here’s what I did. I photographed the mushrooms in many ways, but I focused (not a pun) on the circles and patterns. I knew that, on their own, they looked pretty good. I also realized that the circles would be a great addition to my collection of shapes for this new layered work I seem driven to do. These days. The Zulu was a little more photojournalistic. Normal street work.

That’s just kind of how I think.

This is what you get. A face peering through the shapes and darkness. I blend, I add, I subtract, I smooth a little. Sometimes, I go too far. I pull it back. But, I always save everything. It’s good for me to see my progressions and changes. As I wrote earlier this week, that sort of thing causes storage issues. It also causes personal growth. I suppose you have to balance the two. And… always move forward.

So.

I have a question. On Sunday I’ll finally be home and in a position to photograph a second line. The Father’s Day second line. It’s what I do. It gives me joy. I get to see friends. A friend says that it’s like going to church. It may very well be.

I’ve talked about New Orleans being a violent place. You get used to it. To the point that when you hear a gun shot, you just think, “Oh, somebody is shooting.” This month has been particularly violent. Forty shootings and the month isn’t half over. Four just last night resulting in two KIA. KIA is a military acronym that means killed in action. That’s what it feels like in New Orleans. A battlefield. We average a shooting every seven hours. Whether we need one or not.

So.

As much as I’m chomping at the bit, my age is kicking in and saying, “hey, wait a minute.” So, do I approach this as “I will not be denied” or do I retreat to work again when things get a little less violent. If… that ever happens.

What would you do?

Every Place


Spring Flowers

Spring flowers.

From three states. Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico.

Exploring layering techniques has some advantages. I get to look back. And, make images by combining the past with the present. I get to see my successes. And, I get to see my mistakes. And, learn from them. I guess they are giving me a kind of wisdom. Finally.

A wise musician once said that, “when you play a song 500 times it teaches you how to play it.” I think the same thing with photographs. Tinker with them every couple of years and you’ll figure it out. Or, they’ll figure you out.

The picture. You know about my experiments in layering. The base image is fairly subdued. Sunflowers. It was made on film. In Texas. The main image, a kind of high desert weed, was made in New Mexico. With a DSLR. The last image — floating around bits — was made in Louisiana using a smart phone. That gives the three pictures a range of about 16 years.

Looking back seems to be a good thing to do. Right now. But, I don’t want to get stuck there. Once I’m back in New Orleans, I’ll make some new pictures. It drives me crazy when I don’t do that.

Somewhere Far Away


Worlds away.

I’m going to be a little quiet today. The shooting in Virginia breaks my heart. Prayers for everyone. Even us. Especially us. Since I believe that the work is the prayer, I better go find a picture to take. Somewhere.

This guy. A Thai farmer. Peaceful. Kind. Be like him.

Peace.

Slight Return


About nature.

Guess. Just guess.

Okay. It’s a handicapped zone. Photographed from the side so that the iconic head is turned toward the top. I added the new growth as a layer.

Because.

It illustrates nature. And, something that I say a lot. Nature always wins. Nature doesn’t care. Nature seeks stasis. Sometimes it happens quickly. With an earthquake. Or tornado. Or hurricane. Mostly, nature just plods along. Undoing what we do. Making the planet whole again.

This isn’t about doom and gloom. It’s about what is. I think this way. After many, many years of living in a hot-house with rising seas and swampy cities, mankind will be gone. Either we’ll just be gone, or we’ll find a way to leave. Nature will sigh and just think, “Those little jerks, they are gone. Finally!” And, Mother Nature will go on about her business. If we survive, we’ll call Earth a dead planet. We’ll be wrong. Earth won’t be dead. It will be thriving. Teaming. Growing. It will be done with the thing that hurts it the most. Us.

The picture. I’m still playing. There are two pictures here. The first is the handicapped parking icon. The second is the swamp fern. One gently laid over the other. And, adjusted. That’s it. Play with it until it looks good and as you envision it. Go too far one way, and one subject is too dominant. Go too far in the other and… well, you know. Luckily. most editing software use sliders so you can see what you are doing as you do it.

Asian Dream


The Asia that’s in my head.

My Asia. The Asia of my dreams.

Literally.

I’ve been having some very cool dreams lately. They are so interesting that I seem to willing myself to stay asleep longer so I can explore them. That’s very nice. Dreams can go either way. There are times when dreams are close to nightmares and you can’t wait to get out of them. And, there are good dreams.

My dreams are colorful. Kind of makes sense. That’s how I see. I think the world is a colorful place. I aim to help you see it that way. I also hope that you enjoy exploring with me.

I have no clue what my dreams are about. All I know is that I am having a lot of them. They seem to be sequential.

The best and most workable theory about dreams came from Jung. He said that dreams are answer to questions that you haven’t thought of yet. The word best is relative. Best for who? In this case, me. If you’ve got a better idea, I am all ears. And eyes.

The picture. I wouldn’t wish this on any of you. I’m not sleeping all that well. I have a good idea why. I’ll tell you later. As I awake these dreams come to me. It might be 3 am, but I get up and mess with a couple of pictures. I try to get what I saw in my mind’s eye into some sort of digital file. Of course, that means I’m up even later. But, then I fall back asleep. Into a deep, sound, sleep.

In the clear light of day, some of my early morning work doesn’t make sense. I’d probably have wake up in the middle of a dream to understand it. But, this image did make sense. So, I finished it in the morning.

What is it? I can hear you thinking. Magical powers. Tinfoil coming next.

Seriously. You’ve seen all of the elements in the past. Some on Storyteller. Some on Instagram. And, some in the background of other pictures. What looks like windows came from the Winter Palace. The portrait is the Thai farmer. The floating bits of color are little flowers that were stuck on the black hood of a car after a rainstorm.

I cannot tell you about the mixing, blending and leveling. Remember I was awake when I did this, but I was trying to live inside my dream. My work transitioned to my own personal autopilot. So I made this image which, really doesn’t  look like the dream. Except in the color palette.

So.

Is this from the past? Is this in the future? Or, should I be headed to some fine institution?

I don’t know. I’m not sure that I care. Just let it roll.

Along the Way


Lost in space.

This is about as far as I can go in this series. Pure color. In space.

The pictures are really made up of flowers, grass and trees. I layered them. I did a lot of post production prior to, and after, the layering. I found that it’s pretty important to do certain bits of post after the layers have been assembled. It seems to smooth things out a little bit. It helps the picture look like it’s one image rather than bits and pieces of separate images.

If you were to ask me which one is my favorite I would say all of them because each of them is very different in final output. If you were to ask me which one I’d print, it would be the top one. I’d make it huge. The size of the wall. I might even turn it on its side, which is really how it started. The flowers and the leaves have become just blobs of color. But, wait a minute! Did I just make wall paper? Hmmmm…

The other two are somewhat recognizable for what they are. I think. Well, at least to me.

The pictures. This is a great example of always carrying some kind of camera. And, to shoot whatever you see without editing on the scene. Too many people delete images after they check their camera’s little bitty lcd. What can you really see on those? Wait until you get home. Or, wherever you have a bigger monitor. Not only can you see the picture, but some of what you see might inspire you. I had no idea that the pictures I just took could be used in this way, until I saw them on a larger monitor and started playing.

Listening to a lot of Grateful Dead helped.

Behind the trees.

In the light.