Sunset in New Mexico.

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his testing isn’t easy. There are tricks and traps everywhere. I found a way to change type color.

“Ah ha!,” I thought.

Wrong again. Even though WordPress says it’s block, Tag Clouds are not. You can’t anything to them except remove them once they are applied. I suppose there is a way to change color, but pretty soon I’ll do what I always do and give up.

There are general settings, but I’m pretty sure that if a change one color of type I’ll change them all. That’s not a solution.

There is good news with tag clouds. Just as I suspected, if you press a tag you are taken to similar pages.

Of course, the one I tried took me to a page that is at least nine years old. That would be good for some of you who have just joined Storyteller.

It’s a start, I suppose.

A few other posts that you might enjoy.

Have You Seen Me Lately?


T his picture was made of a little of this and a little of that. I mean it. There are three pictures in there lurking somewhere. None of them were made at the same time. One was made in New Mexico. One was made in New Orleans. And, one was made in Shrewsbury. The last […]

Darkness After Day


A s long as there’s a sky turning in the darkness after day… everything worth knowing is in the sound of your old D-35. I borrowed these words from a song. A D-35 is a particular make of a Martin guitar. It’s fairly rare. Now you know. I actually didn’t choose these words. They chose […]

It Ain’t Over Yet


L earning. Always learning. Practicing. Always practicing. Mostly trying to have fun with the pictures I make. It wasn’t always that way. Pictures were how I made my living. I don’t do that so much now. For sure, I still accept assignment but I don’t go courting them. That is too much work. As you […]

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ost in New Mexico. Not really, those mountains are the Sandias and I’m in Albuquerque.

I made two good pictures while I was on I-25. For some reason — likely my normal lazy state — I never did anything with this one.

So, y’all are seeing it first.

The other one.

Above is the other good picture I made while I was driving in my car.

Photographer’s luck, that I even made these two pictures, but also that I didn’t die in a fiery crash.


Not easy.

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ometimes… you just never know. A terrible thing happened in Albuquerque, New Mexico yesterday morning. A balloon carrying five people hit a power line, started to dip, hit it again catching on fire and fell to earth killing all five people on board.

At the time that I wrote this, families had not been notified. The passengers and pilot were ages 40 to 60. The balloon crashed at the corner of Central (Route 66) and Unser (Those Unsers of automotive racing fame).

This saddens me because after all the sickness, pain and uncertainty of the past 18 months, I’m willing bet that these people were out just having fun.

Remember fun?

May they all rest in peace.


New Mexico in a nutshell.

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hey say that Mercury passed through its retrograde phase. Things should get and feel better. I’m don’t know what I think about astrology. There may be something to it. There might not.

But, I’ll tell you this. I feel better today than I have in a long time. I seem to have passed through a couple of stages of grief.

I’ll miss that dog for a long time, maybe forever, but it doesn’t feel like something is hammering in my head and making my eyes leak.

So.

This photograph. It was lost. I found it in the archives. It is New Mexico. It’s not what we think of when we think of the state.

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irst, I want to talk about WordPress. I receive emails about their updates.

I begged them not to keep changing things. They didn’t listen.

This blog was just hell to assemble.

Columns duplicated themselves and were buried, making it impossible to create a paragraph.

Don’t get me started on predictive writing. Just don’t.

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e tend to thing of New Mexico as being The Land of Enchantment because of the food, the festivals, the American Indians (Yes, that’s what they want to be called. At least in New Mexico.), the light, the high desert, the art, the artists, the indigenous jewelry and the list goes on.

We don’t think of the car culture which is mostly made up of lowriders, restored classic cars, and hot rods. I think they are wonderful, all of them.

It’s fun to photograph them because the owners are very proud of them. They’ll talk about their car for hours. They’ll pose and take direction.

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nd, the balloons. You already know about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta if you’ve been reading Storyteller for any length of time.

Some 900 balloons and crews come from all over the world to show and compete with their balloons. I attended almost every year that I lived in the state.

Oh yeah. Balloons make me smile.

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here is a lot of work going on in both photographs. Both have different levels of a glow filter added to them.

The top picture is intentionally very contrasty. I did that to emphasize the graphic shapes around the truck.

The balloon picture has a couple of things going on. First, I reduced the structure filter by 100% which makes the sky soft and allows the balloon to pop out of it.

I made the balloon a graphic shape using a combination of softening and glow filters.

Then I published them on Storyteller after fighting with the %&$*& block system.


New Mexican Transportation.

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hen I was a young child my family used to travel from Long Beach, California to Brooklyn, New York. In those days we either took Santa Fe’s El Capitain or Super Chief.

Those were the days. The food was great. The cars were luxurious. The staff was helpful and friendly. Though the ride was very long, it was enjoyable. Four nights total. We were traveling coast to coast.

Usually, the train was at least three hours late. Once your train got late, it kept getting later because we’d pull over for passing freight trains. We didn’t know it at the time but passenger trains lost money, while freight trains were big earners.

That caused real problems for us.

If our late arriving train was any later than three hours, we’d have to stay over night in Chicago.

If we got a little lucky we could travel across the city to another train station to catch a New York Central System — later a Penn/Central — train to New York City called The Broadway Limited. That train was usually late too.

That didn’t matter because all we did was catch a taxi from Grand Central Station to 16th Street in Brooklyn.

Amtrak is a ghost of those days. In 1971 all but one of the legacy railroad companies joined a national system called Amtrak in an effort to staunch the flow of red ink. It’s never worked. One by one, routes were closed.

Coastal trains still flourish, sort of. Long distance coast to coast trains are not so great even with fairly new equipment.

Until this year.

President Biden is a big fan of Amtrak. He famously used to work in Washington D.C. and return home each night to Delaware. He supports Amtrak and is looking to fund it as part of the infrastructure bill.

Amtrak immediately started to plan new routes and restore older routes. Cities and towns are clamoring for new or restored service.

We’ll see.

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rain time. That’s a song. I cannot count how many train songs have been written.

There’s a reason for that.

At the very least, riding the rails is romantic. At it’s best, it is wonderful way to relax while still moving toward your destination.

This photograph is part of my Picture A Day project. I’m fairly fearless when I approach people. I asked if I could take their picture and they were happy to pose. But, they’re used to it. Train riders take pictures of them all the time.

All I did to the picture is darken it, which seems to be a trend for me these days.

Oh, and the headline?

This is post number two. I was trying to multi-task and forgot to schedule it.

So, you received two posts yesterday. Storyteller Squared.

Sorry about that.


About ten miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, there are some strange hump-like hills. These are volcanoes. Theyare long dormant having last erupted some 30,000 years ago when most of the land around them was ocean bottom.

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ew Mexican skies. There’s nothing like them. Along with the light, that’s what draws artists from every place in the world.

That’s not why I went there, but I exploited those things every chance that I could. So, you get to see a lot of sky photographs.

This place is interesting. If you read the caption you know that the hump-like mountain is really a volcano. You also know that it has been dormant for 30,000 years, which is certainly older than you or me.

The clouds in the sky looks almost like smoke. It isn’t but, the shape is interesting to me.

I used to like driving here. You could leave Albuquerque by what was left of Route 66, make right hand turn on the road facing the volcano, drive north for about ten miles, turn right again and head towards the city.

This was especially good working on PAD projects because you could see a lot of different stuff along the way. And, as you know, if you want better pictures stand in front of better stuff.

Do you stand in front of better stuff?

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nce again, I’ve failed you. There is almost no technique to discuss.

See it. Stop your car. Photograph it. Get back in your car. Drive away fast, like you robbed a bank.

Kidding.

Post production is fairly simple.

Once again, I learned that darkening the picture works really well.

And, rather than make really detailed clouds, I’ve been reducing the sharpness with a slider called structure in the app called Snapseed.

Move the structure slider so that it is 100% soft and you’ll make these kinds of dreamy clouds.

Move it the other way and the clouds will have a surprising amount of detail.

How detail oriented are you?


Artists of all dsiciplines have been coiming to New Mexico for years. Most will say that it for the amazing New Mexico light. Some of the best light comes during the late winter when storms roll in and out with great frequency.

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here are days and there are days. On the day that I made this picture I needed a little solitude.

A group of photographers gathered in a coffee shop. I looked out the window and couldn’t believe what I was seeing, the most wonderful pre-sunset in a long time.

That’s saying something because New Mexico is the land of great sunsets.

I said that I was going to chase light and asked if anyone wanted to come. The other photographers looked at me like I was crazy.

One of them followed me out and said that he’d have to go home to get his camera. I asked why he didn’t always carry one because we live in a land of incredible light. He didn’t quite know what to say except that he only used his camera on planned excursions.

I hit the road and made five pretty good pictures. I made small work prints and brought them with me to the next meeting in a coffee shop. The other photographers were amazed.

That cause them to change. They probably still aren’t prepared. And, they still make tropes.

I guess it must be the photojournalist in me. I make those kinds of pictures too, but as a way of warming up. But, then again, my landscape work doesn’t look like anybody else’s work.

I’d probably make more money if I took the easy way, but what would be the fun in that?

I’d lose myself in the rush to cash.

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here are a few technical challenges that I’d like to discuss.

They aren’t really in post production except for a little clean up.

Instead, they are in the making of the original file.

First, comes patience. I found the location. Then, I waited for something to happen.

Without that little touch of red from the car’s tail lights there would be no counterpoint to the isolation.

The actual exposure was easy. By this time of day the light is relatively flat and lacking extreme contrast.

My post production mostly consisted of using a subtle glow filter which gave the clouds a mild 3D effect and separation from the main scene.

Of course, I didn’t do that when I first developed the RAW file. As I recover these pictures I’m reworking them to my current look and feel.

It’s just like playing a song a different way live than a musician does in the studio.

A wise musician once said that after playing the song 500 times on stage, it finally taught him how to play it.


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he edge of town. No darkness here. Just raw, bright New Mexican light.

This is where Route 66 sort of comes to an end. It’s about as far west in Albuquerque as you can go, without leaving the city line.

I think that these ruins, probably once a gas station and cafe, were caused by the move to Interstate 40, which is south of here. Motorists just didn’t drive though here as much and locals wouldn’t stop here since this is very close to modern gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores.

I’d have probably never run into this place if I hadn’t been roaming around looking for PAD images. But I cruised far and wide.

I went further west than this place, to where the casino and the remains of route 66 re-emerge at a rickety old bridge. I went east out past Moriarity, where the junkyard and car museum is located. I went south as far as Las Lunas and north as far as the San Felipe Pueblo where I made two signature images.

I travelled as much as I could on surface streets. Interstates are not the way to go when you are looking for pictures.

I met great people along the way and some not so great people. I remember going into a small town grocery store about the size of a 7-11. I asked to use the restroom. “You hafta buy something.” “Okay I’ll take these two waters.” “That’s not enough.” “Okay, you’ll lose the sale and I’ll go pee on your driveway.”

I bought the water and used the restroom.

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ore technical nonsense that I don’t want to deal with.

It seems that WordPress continues to make changes. At least some of the stuff works that didn’t work.

Of course, WordPress didn’t say a word, meaning that I caused myself all sort of problems doing an unneeded work around.

Anyway.

This picture was easy to make. Just shoot almost directly into the sun and pray.

If you expose the bright light properly the buildings will be silhouetted, which is what I wanted.

I added some faux bokeh and stuff, actually to tune down the electric color on the tumbleweeds in the background. The color was real but my eyeballs vibrated.

At least I’m having fun with color drop caps. What a day.


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oing where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain. That’s what the song says. That’s what it felt like on many days out there in the high desert.

This is the other end of Central Avenue, Route 66. In Albuquerque. It is a business district. When I lived there two old school camera shops were within short walking distance. One kept shrinking but still exists. The other went out of business a few years after I left. I had nothing to do with that. I swear.

The light of New Mexico draws many artists to the state. Like this. Light that I had to tune down in order for it to make sense.

I may have made a mistake in doing that because it’s been a long time since I saw that light. My mind is playing tricks on me.

Hey! What was I doing again?

This is actually a picture a day image. I used to pick good times of day to look around. That increased the chance of what I call photographer’s luck.

That’s really luck that you make yourself, usually by walking outside of your door and taking a look around. Or, by using bad weather to make better pictures. And, by standing in front of better stuff.

That’s all I know. And, that’s really all you need to know about the philosophy of making photographs.

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his is a drive through kind of picture. You can tell because a normally straightly aligned street is tilting to the left.

That’s because I put my camera on the dashboard and let it do it’s thing.

It did its thing, alright. I’m lucky this picture exists. It set the F stop at 1.8.

Huh?

Something like this should be at least f 11. Maybe even a smaller aperture.

With such a gross over exposure I’m lucky that I could fix in post production.

There shouldn’t have been enough data in the file to produce any kind of image.

Let this be a lesson to you. Check everything. Control your camera. Don’t let your camera control you.


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ne of the benefits of having software finding old files is that they are almost new to me, and certainly to you.

I made this picture on Memorial Day 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

No worries. To me this is just about the picture, nothing more.But I do want to tell you about what I think is a very cool tradition.

Yes. Memorial Day still means what it should mean to the rest of the country. We honor our war dead. The troops that gave their all. The ones who never came home.

But, New Mexicans do something different.

They bring a blanket and a picnic and they sit near the grave of their loved on and enjoy a meal with them. There are toasts and offerings and prayers.

There is one thing which makes New Mexicans like New Orleanians. As I walked around photographing — and you know me, I want people in my pictures — they would ask me to eat with them.

I think refusing a small bite would dishonor both the living and the dead. So, I ate with whoever I photographed. Besides, we got to know each other. And, they were able to enjoy a few pictures that I sent to them.

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his photograph was made with a Canon G 11. It was my picture a day camera. It was a great little camera. I wore it out. It did everything that I wanted it to do.

Many pixel peepers (folks that go too far in their technical evaluations) say that cameras like this one are not good for much more than just snapshots.

Does this picture look like a snapshot?

Besides, these days most clients want images for online projects. The few who want images for paper uses aren’t using them much bigger than a magazine cover. A camera with a good sensor and processor, no matter it’s classification, is just fine.

That’s the real world.