After the storm. If you’re lucky you get a rainbow.

Sometimes,

You get lucky. You get to see the rainbow after the storm.You get to see nature being friendly rather than allowing us to get sick and die. That’s what this picture is about. Hope. You know me. You can’t eat hope. If you have hope right now, you’d better go to work.

Hope, unfortunately, is withering on the vine. I read a story in The New York Times about our new future. It’s grim. The virus is forever. There will be ebbs and flows depending on what we open and what we don’t. I fear sort the sports and entertainment industries. Fans going to a venue wil be in a petri dish. Maybe some get sick. Maybe some won’t.

We are in the digital age, so maybe some of these events can be done online. While some people might recoup some funds, that’s not what live events are about. It doesn’t account for what they really about. Excitment. Energy. Fan interaction. Instead there will 300 or 400 people in a stadium designed for 50,000 people.

Okay. That stuff isn’t important.

Non-essential businesses are important. How are they going to be staffed? How are they going to be regulated from a health standpoint? How do staffers interact with the public? These questions, and more, are yet to be answered.

You can’t rush this stuff. You can’t set a deadline. You can’t rush nature. Nature moves in her own good time. This new normal is forever. Oh sure, it will be modified as we learn. I’m sure that there will be V. 1.0, V1.5, V. 2.0, and so on. Maybe in 70 years things will settle down. After all, that’s how long it to the Spanish Flu to eventually morph in H1N1, the seasonal flu that rolls around in the fall.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


Jazz Funeral for John Prine.

I am an old woman
Named after my mother
My old man is another
Child that’s grown old

If dreams were thunder
And lightning was desire
This old house woulda burnt down
A long time ago

Make me an angel
That flies from Montgomery
Make me a poster
Of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing
That I can hold on to
To believe in this livin’
Is just a hard way to go

When I was a young girl
Well I had me a cowboy
He weren’t much to look at
Just a free ramblin’ man
But that was a long time
And no matter how I tried
Those years just flow by
Like a broken down dam

Make me an angel
That flies from Montgomery
Make me a poster
Of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing
That I can hold on to
To believe in this livin’
Is just a hard way to go

There’s flies in the kitchen
I can hear them there buzzin’
And I ain’t done nothin’ since I woke up today
But how the hell can a person
Go to work in the mornin’
And come home in the evenin’
And have nothin’ to say

Make me an angel
That flies from Montgomery
Make me a poster
Of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing
That I can hold on to
To believe in this livin’
Is just a hard way to go

RIP — John Prine 1946-2020


Red, red, red.

Red.

They say in design school that if you want to make your readers or viewers happy use warm colors rather than cold. So, that’s what I did. And, a red rose. For love.

The picture is simple. It is a macro photograph. A real one. I saw it. I stopped. I made a few pictures. In fact, you’ve seen another version of this in some of my layered images. This one took very little post production. Nature did the rest.

Some virus notes. No statistics. No bad news. Just a few observations.

I saw a couple of folks shopping in their PJs. At least PJ bottoms and a house t-shirt. You know the ones. They are really ready for the rag bag, but they are so comfortable that you never put them there.

A lot of people stopped combing their hair. For the first week or so everything was unique. As we entered in the third week, people gave up or just don’t care. I’ve a had a number of online meetings. At first, people looked like they were dressed for work. Now? Not so much. Some people look like they haven’t shaved since stay at home rules were put in place. Some of them, like me, may have started with some kind of chin hair. Now, I’m really close to having a full beard.

At least I get dressed. And, wear pants.

Then there are groceries. I have no idea what motivates people. One day there are no paper products at all. I’m not sure why people are buying everything. How many fancy dinner napkins do you need? The next day, those shelves are restocked. But, other shelves are empty. Why, oh why do people need every potato chip in New Orleans?

And so it goes. And, goes. And, goes.

Stay Safe. Look after others. Wash your damn hands. Keep your distance. Wear a mask in public. Enjoy every piece of sushi.

 

 


Wonder.

Just give me one good season.

So sang John Prine. The singing mailman. A national treasure. He’s got Covid19. He’s been intubated. He’s 72. He’s beaten cancer twice. He’s been through chemo. He’s been radiated. He’s probably got even more underlying issues. His family asked from prayers last night. You know what to do.

I was feeling pretty down last night. I had this feeling that I wouldn’t come out on the other side of this.

Until.

A friend of mine sent an email saying “open now.” Luckily, it was about two minutes old. I read it and joined a Zoom meeting. One of the lead doctors at Columbia University Hospital was hosting it. The hospital is a 1200 bed leading research hospital. There is a team who takes data, spins it around and provides practical information.

There are four main points. You don’t have to get sick if you follow them.

  1. Keep your hands clean. After you touch anything that isn’t in your own circle, hit yourself with Purcel.
  2. Keep your distance. Covid19 doesn’t live in the air. You have to be hit by droplets. Or, if you come in contact with an infected person and stay too close to them for about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Keep your hands off of your face. The virus enters through your, mouth, nose and eyes.
  4. Masks are really not needed for protection unless you are going to spend time with an infected person. They really serve to remind you to keep your hands off of your face.

There’s a lot more, but most are examples.

This doesn’t mean we are safe, but if we follow those four rules, there is a high probability we might be.

One more CV issue. Our grocery store opened even earlier for us oldsters. 7am. For some reason I awoke at about 7:15. Out the dogs went. Out we went. There were about ten people shopping in the entire store. We bought everything we needed. But, if you wanted paper goods, no joy. We didn’t need anything. We don’t have toilet paper dreams.

The picture. Layered again. Three different images combined into one. It took some time to get things tinkered in the right direction. You haven’t seen the individual pictures. You will.

Stay safe. Care for one another. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Enjoy every burrito.


New blooms.

Art.

I read a lot about fine art photography. I read a lot about art. I look at a lot of both. The term fine art photography seems very misplaced to me. How is another picture of a sunset fine art? Or, the waves breaking on a beach when the water has been slowed down so much that it turns to mist? How is another painting of an animal, fine art?

I really don’t know.

For me, art — forget fine — is something that expresses an unknown truth or brings you closer to something that is unseen in the physical sense. It also simplifies a subject down to its purest sense.

I always liked Robert Mapplethorpe. No, not his later explorations that gained him a measure of infamy. I have no problem with that work, but most of Middle America did. I’m talking about his studio work. The work that looked at something from its barest essence. That brought the viewer inside.

Especially flowers.

I suppose that this is my homage to his work. I try very hard to produce simplicity. It’s not easy. You can’t just turn this way of seeing on and off. Even with my routine, even with my zen-like approach to getting into a zone, getting to this place is almost impossible to achieve.

That’s probably how it should be.

As an old friend of mine use to say when I would complain about some difficulty, “If it was easy any poodle could do it.”


Working tools.

Painter’s tools.

Paint brushes waiting to be called upon to make art.

No. They aren’t mine. You know better. I was walking a couple of the dogs when we came upon our neighbor who does paint. She likes to say hello to the dogs so we know each other a little bit. Her studio is located in a screened-off section of her porch. When I asked her about summer’s heat and humidity, she said she didn’t mind. It helped her to feel. To feel more connected to her work.

I asked her if I could photograph her studio. And, maybe her. She declined on a portrait saying she looked like a mess. I tried to counter that with you look like a working painter. She’s smarter than that. But, I did make pictures of stuff in her studio.

This is one that I like best.

My post production is kin to something that many photographers have forgotten about. Painting with light. It’s always been around. After all, the word photography is Greek for either painting with light, or, writing with light, depending on who is doing the translating.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it really burst onto the photo world, in part because a photographer-inventor created a machine that controlled how the light fell on a scene.

It looked like a giant vacuum, with a large hose attached to one side. You pointed it and controlled where the light travelled. There were additional tools that you could attach to the hose to create different light shapes. Just like a vacuum and the tools that came with it.

Like all things trendy, it fell out of favor after a few years of everybody doing it. What was art became technique. Sort of like those star field pictures that are so popular today.

I haven’t thought of that machine in years. I’m going to have Google around to see if I can find an existing example.

Anyway.

This is my take on a vase full of paint brushes.

If I can’t use them, I can photograph them.


Banksy with a little help from locals taggers.
Maybe Banksy with a little help from locals taggers.

There are rumors and rumors of rumors.

Especially in New Orleans.

I thought that I stumbled upon one of the so-called missing Banksy bits of wall graffiti and political commentary. Apparently, he came through New Orleans in 2008 and did his thing. Love his work or think it’s just graffiti defacing a wall, he did spend some time here. Most of his work was covered up by a self-described anti-graffiti activist known as the Gray Ghost. The Gray Ghost sprays over any graffiti he finds with gray paint. He finally got caught when he sprayed over a commissioned mural. Oops. Banksy’s last known work, located in The Bywater, was almost stolen by a couple of guys who thought it would be a good idea just to cut out a chunk of a brick wall and take it.

Along comes me. I was looking for some junk in Mid City near the new hospital corridor when I stumbled upon this building and its graffiti. At first, I thought I’d found another bit of Banksy wall art. But, it isn’t on any map and the more I looked at his past and current work, I don’t think this image is anything more than a copy. His work is a lot more complete with highlights of bright color. And, it is very well documented. There is even a website that has maps of his work divided by location. The street artist gets around. Whew.

For a while I was excited. I like to learn. I learned quite a bit about the elusive Banksy.


FQApril29-25
Holding Roses

I was wondering around with some new friends when I discovered this new art mall. Always remember one thing, discovery for me  means that everyone else knew about it ten years previously. I guess that I’m mostly lost. At one point we wandered to the back of the “mall.” This guy was sitting there. I asked if I could take his picture. I had no idea who he was. Everybody around me did. But, as usual I’m ten years late. He kind of grumpily agreed and asked if I knew who he was. I had no idea. And, I don’t believe it’s a good idea to lie to subjects — found or assigned. He showed me his one business card and I photographed it. I gave him one of mine. I asked to email me. If he does, I’ll email him some pictures. But, I doubt that he will. he doesn’t seem like a computer guy. I Googled him. Turns out that his name is Welmon Sharlhorne He is a painter. He spent 17 years in the Angola prison who started making paintings on the back of manilla envelopes that he caged from prison authorities by claiming he had to write to his attorney. His work is in the Smithsonian collection. It looks vaguely Myan.

FQApril29-27
Smelling The Roses

That said, this is one of my typical street portraits. You know. “May I make your picture?” And, “Just do whatever you you want to do. ” This is the vertical version. I’m not sure which I like best. What do y’all think?

 

 


Bokeh
The bokeh… in the background.

Bokeh. It’s a Japanese word for the blurred out of focus areas in a photograph. Good bokeh has certain characteristics such as definable round shapes.  It is mostly found around highlight areas and places where specular highlights appear. Specular highlights are  pure white areas that usually appear when light is reflected off of a very shiny surface like chrome or a mirror. Controlling it important.  Certain lenses produce more or less bokeh. You usually see it with short or medium length telephoto lenses. Sometimes in macro lenses. Always with mirror telephoto lens that produce bokeh that looks like donuts.

It is an over used word today. Many photographers make pictures that are nothing but bokeh.  Just like I did. They think it’s something new. I don’t. I learned that an image should have a definable subject to make it interesting. But, every now and then a picture that has nothing but highlights and out of focus areas makes some kind of statement. But, it’s one of those things that really is depends on the eye of the beholder. I happen to like this picture. I like the circular shapes and very defined colored sections of the image.

You’ve seen this scene before. Remember the carriage, taxi and car? That’s it. Same scene. Same street. The red circles and shapes are tail lights. I’m not so sure about the bluish-white or gold colors. Different region of focus. More definition in the circle of confusion. To me, it makes a sort of artistic statement about light and night. If I were one of those photographers who blend multiple images, this picture would be a good background. But, I’m not that clever, Thankfully.

Oh. I forgot to mention. I was voted as one of Hub Pages rising stars. Thank you for voting.