All the blue.

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 me. I was listening to them and they sort of called out to me while I was thinking of what to say about this photograph.

I think it was the moon that caught my eye.

I really didn’t have lens reach that I need to make good picture of the moon so I made it part of the general scene. That’s it. I did what I could do.

When I got it home, I decided darker was better so I did something about it. I don’t consider that much post production so there is no right hand column.

This is a simple picture. Sometimes is simple is better.


Green to orange.

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 know, I’m lazy. Maybe not so much, but if you are busy chasing assignments and all of the rest of the stuff that goes with it, you spend 80% of your time working on business and 20% of your time making photographs.

How much fun is that?

These days, if there is something I really want to photograph for someone, I’ll build a campaign which could take months to come to fruition. That’s really old school, but I’m not looking to be discovered on Instagram. A lot of picture buyers and assignment makers used to troll there. I’m not sure how many of them continue to do that.

A lot of younger photographers still think that they do. At least that’s based on their tags. They won’t tell you a thing about the picture. Instead their tags are directed to various publications. That may be the big difference. Publications still pay pretty much what they did when I was getting started.

Who wants to work for that?

Meanwhile corporate clients, the kind that I want, understand that assignment fees rise just like everything else in a normal economy. They aren’t on IG looking for the next great photographer.

That’s a good thing.

You should earn your way to that level. Photographers shouldn’t be famous because of the number of followers they have or the number of likes and shares they generate. Photographers should be famous for the work they generate over a long period of time.

At least, that’s what I think.


Sun splash.

I

was thinking about the rest of my photographic career when I stumbled upon a photographer called David Carol. What caught my eye was something in his biography.

He said that he was the first Image Bank assignment photographer. The division of Kodak for whom I worked was The Image Bank. The only TIB photographer and staffer was me.

Eventually, I’ll try to get to the bottom of this because it’s akin to stolen valor.

However, after looking at his work and reading about him I don’t much care about his bio because he shoots like I do, or I did. And, his philosophy is like mine. He said, “I don’t photograph homeless people or people who can’t defend or protect themselves. I genuinely it’s exploitative and it doesn’t interest me to do or see. Pick on people your own size.”

The difference between us is he’s published a large number of books and hangs in all sort of galleries and museums.

I ought to be jealous, but I’m not. He spent his time cultivating street photography as art. I spent my time doing just about everything else.

They keep saying that age is just a number. I’m going to test that.

I have a huge black and white archive. You’ve seen the best of my photojournalism in past Storytellers. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I must have ten thick binders. I started to try to archive them when I realized they were organized by date.

Good enough.

But, those images were made the same quirky way that I photograph sometimes. There are probably gems in there that I haven’t seen in years. It’s time to revisit every one of those binders. Or, it’s all a bunch of rubbish.

I’ll find out.

T

his is all technique so you get a right hand column.

I made this picture while I was sitting by the pool, looking up.

The picture is on point. The point being that you’ve seen this kind of image in the past.

I decided to do something about that.

I left well enough alone in Snapseed. But, then I came to OnOne for finishing.

That’s when I went crazy with experimentation.

I aded and subtracted stuff. I looked at a finished image and tossed it in the bin.

I started again.

After more of this experimentation I started to find a thread.

I followed it. I eventually came to the end. That’s the image you are seeing.

I darkened the image. I added fake bokeh. I added that sunburst. I added some glow.

The picture was done.

Finally.


In the distance.

S

o. I turned in another direction and saw this sky which was very different from the one that I showed you yesterday. The brightness of the light as I looked across the scene changed everything including the color intensity.

In case you are wondering, the weather is still cool and dry. In fact, it’s even cooler today than it was yesterday. The weather should stay that way for a few days. Warmth will return for a day or two as summer struggles to hold onto its grip only to fail as the sun moves lower in the sky until it begins to rise after the shortest day of the year.

We’ll pass through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, The Twelfth Night and, with luck, Mardi Gras. That’s a funny way of looking at things, isn’t it?

Mardi Gras matters down here.

Not only are there a huge number of tourists who pump millions dollars into our economy that we dearly need, but there is a feeling of celebration in the air. We could use a little celebration after these two long, dark years. I could use being on the streets to photograph something that I love. For me, that’s enough.

In other words, I’ve come to a place where I have to weigh risk and reward. It’s not lost on me that if I get sick with the virus I could die. But, living the way I’m living now may keep my body alive, but my spirit and soul are dying. If they die, what I have preserved?

Tell me, what’s left?


It begins with the first step.

F

all really came today. Cool winds. Cool temperature. No air conditioning. Windows wide open. No apparent humidity. People celebrating.

I’m not sure about the last statement. People celebrating. That may be taking it a little too far. Let’s just say people are happy. I’m happy.

That’s why I’m late. I went and stayed outside. Inside work be damned. Not quite. I have a lot of inside work. I’ll get to it eventually.

But, first… more out side.

I made this picture on one of our amazing sun shows at the end of the day. This is also the season for those. I followed my own advice and turned around to see what was going on. This was going on.

The factory building was a little too low to pick up the sunset’s color. But, the sky. Oh man, the sky. It went crazy. That’s really the point of this picture. Everything else just sort of anchors the sky.

So.

No thinking out loud today. Just doing.


In the air.

A

brand new picture. Imagine that. I went for a walk when the light was right and I started having fun. I just kept making pictures until I was finished, which took a while. I think that I wanted to take the long way home as they say.

The funny thing was that the more I saw, the more I saw.

I think my problem isn’t not being able to see. It’s feeling trapped in place by the current circumstances. I don’t like to be stuck anywhere unless I want to be. It’s one thing being stuck in New Orleans. It’s another to be stuck on St. Barts.

It’s also one thing to know that almost everybody thinks that the pandemic is over when it has years to go and that too many of them aren’t taking any kind of precautions thinking that they are protected by the vaccinations. To a certain extent they are, but there are enough breakthrough infections to make me wonder a little bit

In my case, that doesn’t matter. I isolate myself or I run the risk of dying. So, as I write I’m talking to the Shipt buyer. Because of me, everybody in the house likes not having to go grocery shopping. Don’t get me wrong, they like buying specialty items at a farmers market or a fruit stand. They like going to Hong Kong, the Asian grocery store, not the city.

One of the things that I’ve come to understand is that the pandemic made a lot of us think about how we do things. We don’t always have to be some place to work. We don’t have to travel across the country to have an hour meeting. We’ve managed to find and cut out a lot of BS factors.

On the other hand, shopping from home for bigger products has put a huge stress on the logistics chains, to which most people never gave a second thought. There are ships and containers stacked up at every major port city. In China, or other ports in Asia, there aren’t enough containers or ships to move new product.

This is a pandemic which keeps on giving in ways that never occurred to us. I’m sure that there will be more.

A quick change. When it comes to photo technique I keep writing the same things. Unless I do something out of the ordinary, I’m not going to divide the columns.


Transition time.

T

ransitions between dark and light, the end of the day and daylight is what I look for. Sometimes I’ll wait for that time rather than burn myself out shooting daylight pictures which I’ll never even look at after the fact.

It’s the light. It always the light. For me transitional light is the best light. Dawn or dusk. It doesn’t matter, but I have trouble getting up for dawn light.

As Bart Simpson said, “There’s a five o’clock in the morning? When did they start that?”

This is a dusk picture. It what was made during the blue hour while what was left of the day’s sunlight was reflecting off of the cloud.

In nature’s way, the orange and blue contrast very nicely. It’s no wonder that designers have been using that combination for years. Being a sometimes New Yorker, I think of The New York Mets.

Let’s not go too far down that track because I was born to be a Yankee fan, but blue and white is boring to me.

So.

It’s really about light and color. That is photography, no matter what or who the subject happens to be. Find a subject can be fairly easy. Finding the patience waiting for the light to be right is hard. Very hard.

I used to know a photographer who worked for National Geographic Magazine. He find the place where he wanted to work. He’d set up camp and he would sit. And sit. And sit.

When the light was right he’d wake himself and expose maybe twenty rolls of film and then, finally, he was done with that scene.

Do you have that kind of patience? Well, do you?

I don’t.

M

aking this picture was harder than you’d think. I exposed for the clouds which plugged up the tree.

It’s still pluggy because in order to bring up the clouds I had to darken the entire image.

When I lightened the image a little and now you can see the overly light area in the center. I could have done a couple of other approaches.

But, as you know, I’m lazy. So, what remains is what remains.

I darkened the edges of the picture a little to make it look old school burning and dodging. The kind that you did in a wet darkroom.

And, that’s it.

I’d tell you about working in a darkroom. I’d tell you about the peace it brought sometimes. I’d tell you about the smells. I’d tell you what it was like to watch a photograph come up in the developer. And, how we fine tuned little bits of the unfinished print.

I’d tell you that whenever I get a chance to just walk into one that it feels like I’m visiting a dear old friend.


Evening glow.

T

his post was inspired by a band called Ranky Tanky. They are a Gullah band from the Lowcountry area of South Carolina.

They play a kind of country jazz. I’m always amazed at how many of their songs I know. Songs that were covered by The Rolling Stones and Little Feat. The good news is that both bands always acknowledged their musical roots.

Roots. I think that knowing who’s shoulders you are standing on. That’s another little piece of Storyteller. I haven’t talked about my inspirations in a good long while. (Let’s see if I can write that anymore Southern.)

Maybe I should start doing that again. Whaddya think? I can write about particular artists, or photographers or musicians to authors.

Let me just say that there are only a few photographers who inspire me. Most of them are old now. But, artists and musicians? You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting them. (Southernism number two.)

I wonder why that is.

S

ometimes things that look easy to do are a lot harder than we think.

This picture is an example of that.

It’s a time exposure made on my smart phone. Easy enough, right?

Sure. If you don’t care about the highlights or the deep shadows.

I did everything I could to keep those areas intact. I failed. Either one or the other had to go.

So, I kept the highlights and let the shadows go dark. I tried to hold the shadows, but they lost way too much contrast.

I did the best that I could, which wasn’t enough.

That’ll happen sometimes.


More and more and more.

L

et me tell you a story.

A little over six weeks ago Hurricane Ida blew through. While her rainfall didn’t do too much in my neighborhood, 155 mph winds did.

They blew down almost every kind of cable and power source. Our power company, Entergy, did the best the they could and had us repowered in about two weeks. Cox followed right behind. They all picked up their damaged goods and cleaned up their messes.

Along comes AT&T. They got their service repaired but picked up nothing. The foreman flat out lied and said they would pick it up the next day.

Nope.

Now comes my calls to their corporate office. Do you know how hard it is to reach an actual human being at AT&T? I lied my way through their switchboard when I finally reached a maintenance and repair division of business accounts.

I reckoned I was trying to get a business account — AT&T’s — looked after. Heh. They said the problem would be taken care of within a couple of days.

Nope.

Yesterday I called The District Attorney of Orleans Parish and filed a criminal complaint. At their suggestion I also filed a civil suit.

Since their corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, Texas, and my attorney’s office is also located there, I filed in Dallas County, Texas.

Nobody wants to go to court there.

I doubt that I’ll recover the ten million dollars in damages I am asking for, but I’ll finally get their attention.

Dumbasses.

All they had to do was finish their job.

L

et me tell you another story. A better one.

I took a stroll in a place that I rarely do.

Look what I found. I found autumn in the pine needles and mud.

That made me happy because we are drifting between the moment of early fall and real fall.

This is when I get really impatient. It’s not cool and there aren’t enough red leaves. t’ll get here soon enough, but until then…

Grumble, grumble, toil and trouble.

The picture is easy. Expose properly and there is no work in post production.to speak of.

There is an interesting thing happening with the block design. Every time I try to do some actual design, the system messes with me so I eventually give up and go back to this kind of page layout.

It’s boring, but at least I can do it.

It’s clean and minimalistic.

That’s good.

For now.