An autumn walk through a forest.

O

nce, awhile back, I used to walk through a forest like place. In truth it is a park but most of it was left as wild land.

It’s a great place to walk because there are measured distances. You chose the trail that you wanted and you could walk from one to three miles.

Along the way you could walk near railroad tracks, you could see a modern all metal sided performance venue. Or, if you walked further you could see the New Orleans Saints training field and their business offices. You could even see the so-called Shrine on Airline. That was a AAA baseball stadium.

Unfortunately, the team called The Babycakes — Yeah, I know what kind of name is that — moved on to greener pastures.

There was hope of getting a new team, but first MLB cut the number of minor league teams and then the pandemic arrived. We’ll see what happens next.

It is currently used as a rugby pitch and for local high school football games.

I like walking through the most natural areas which is how I found this scene. Obviously, it was autumn when I did that. And, yes, this is another “lost” photograph that Amazon Pictures found.

T

he biggest issue in making this picture is one of focus.What stay sharp?What goes soft?

In those days I used a Canon G9 as a walk around camera. It worked like any DSLR. I loved that little camera to the point that I used it up

Anyway.

I decided to keep the bark and moss as sharp as possible because it’s in the foreground and let rest go a little soft in order to make the details in the tree pop out.

That worked.

Post production work was fairly simple. I toned down the red leaves because they were too bright and too red. I sharpened the tree as much as possible without going too far.

I usually go too far.

E

ditor’s note.This is the closest that I’ve come to giving up and thinking the hell with it. For some reason unknot to me, the paragraphs became trapped in a little block. If you tried to edit the words, the entire paragraph was deleted. I have no idea what I did to restore it back to normal.

I also found out why I kept think the text seemed light. That because it was. Apparently, the default setting is a light gray. Black text on a white background is considered to be the easiest to read. Of course, Word %&@# press knows better. I’d better tell all the designers with whom I’ve ever worked.


Sunlight serenade.

I try to write Storyteller sometime the night before they are actually published. As they often do, things got in the way. So, I wrote two posts in one day.

That’s hard to do.

I barely have enough to say for one post. Now, two? I’ll give it a go.

Let’s talk about New Mexico.

Let’s talk about the light. The light that every artist, who travels there, loves.

I could get all scientific on you and talk about particulates in the air, or how the rain clears every thing out and makes the light a different kind of beautiful. Or, I could talk about the high altitude.

But, but, but…

That’s all fine, but how does it feel? How did it make me feel?

It was magical to me. Early morning and late afternoon was alway spectacular. There were no useless days. Even the rare overcast day was special.

There were days that were headed towards dusk. I’d be running errands and I’d stop and find a subject for the wonderful light to illuminate.

No. I wasn’t depending on my phone. In those days I always carried a real camera. In fact, it wasn’t until my last few months there that I realized I could take pictures with my phone. Oh, I knew it. It just never occurred to me to do it.

Do I sound like I miss it?

I do. But, I doubt I’m going back to live, at least anytime soon.

That’s kind of too bad.

Ahh, the glowing Airstream trailer. I found it because it called to me. I say that sometimes about other subjects, but this time it did.

That polished aluminum was reflecting light all over the place.

I wrote a couple of times that I am playing it straight because these pictures are a kind of photojournalism.

Then it came to me. Nonsense. These are my pictures. I can do whatever I want with them. Especially since I’m pretending to be an artist.

So that’s what I did.

I made a file that is as a close to perfection as I’ll ever come. Then, I added glow, followed by the sunburst and more glow.

That did it.

Even there is no license plate to see, you can tell this is a New Mexico trailer.

Look at the propane tanks. Look to the left. You’ll see different shades of reflection. In the green area look again.

Two bullet holes.

Yep. New Mexico.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Stay strong. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient.


Cowboy boots and dancing feet.

El Rancho de los Golondrinas harvest festival is one of the best in the nation. USA Today says the they are number two. I don’t know if that matters, but it sure is a lot of fun. You can eat, make food products like cider and watch the entertainment.

Going there made a good day trip from Albuquerque since it is located just a bit south of Santa Fe.

I made a lot of different kinds of pictures there, but this one was the most loved. It ran as an ad for the New Mexico tourism folks. It ran as an advertisement for the gallery of which I was a part. It also is a part of many people’s private collections.

Of course, I like it when a picture is licensed as part of an advertising campaign, but, it’s humbling when it hangs on somebody’s wall. They liked enough to want to live with it.

Whenever I made a day trip like this I included the work in my PAD project. It made that day’s looking a little easier. Over the course of a year sometimes easier was better.

It means you worried more about making the pictures rather than worry about the logistics of looking for the pictures.

Isn’t that what we want? Pictures.

I feel like I’m not helping you at all.

This is the classic F8 and be there picture.

I worked my way around to the back of the stage which wasn’t hard because backstage was just a dusty plot of land and nothing else.

I photographed until I was done. A couple of other photographers saw what I was doing and joined me. There was no competition at all.

Post production was minimal and the final picture was as you see it.

It’s getting boring around here, yes?

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient.


Floating into the distance.

Amazon pictures is the problem. Every time that I open it up I find more and more “lost” pictures. It doesn’t help that I’m a little lost myself.

You’d think that I want to travel. I don’t.

Although some big news about travel happened yesterday via Live Nations’ president Michael Rapino. He’s booked the three major festivals in the UK. He believes that touring in the United States is a little more difficult because of individual state restrictions, but that by late summer the mid-sized music halls could be in play.

Yipee.

Music. Work. Money. Tour buses. Hotels. Catered food. Bad food. Gallons of coffee. People messing with you 16 hours a day.

Funny. Even my last line sounds good to me right now.

With that will start to come photo jobs. Pictures. Work. Money. The rest is not applicable.

Of course this all depends on the people in the country. I was reading something on Facebook about local venues starting to open up. A woman said just to break the law. Since I always want to know who is going to fight with me I went to her page. A lawyer. Can you believe it? A lawyer.

She graduated from Loyola New Orleans Law School. As I recall from my days at the university, three kinds of lawyers came out of there. Very good and moral lawyers. Ambulance chasers and liars.

What can I say? She doesn’t come from the first group. And, she and her ilk are going to be what delays everything.

I saw it a little yesterday when I went to get injected. The hospital is in an active area of the city. Little cafes, bars and restaurants line the streets. I didn’t see much social distancing. For sure, I saw no masks.

Everybody looked like they were having a good time. Come on folks. Think.

The sky and other stuff, namely balloons.

I like to try to make unusual photographs. At the balloon fiesta that’s not easy. Working photographers like me are all trying to do the same thing. Make a lot of different kinds of pictures.

There’s a lot of good to that. If we do our jobs we will make pictures that you haven’t seen. And, we won’t get into each other’s way doing it.

This is one of those pictures. I made it from an overlook near I-25.

I’d like to say that it’s a little gauzy and soft because I wanted the picture to look that way. In truth, the sky had a lot of noise in it so I had to correct it.

I don’t know why. That’s not the usual place for noise to appear.

No matter. I like the outcome.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Do all the rest. And, get injected. Enjoy all the outcomes.


Comes a time

There comes a time when the world gets the better of you. Or, as the say “Sometimes you eat the bear. Sometimes the bear eats you.

Technology completely got the better of me in the past few days. Or, most likely, incompetent people did.

Everything thing that I did last week to repair the situation is undone.

I need a break. No matter what we think about a new vaccine or president the world is still spinning out of control.

So, about this break thing. Today is my last post until January 1.

My head needs to clear.

Have a very merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate. As always, stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Peace. ✌


With explosive power.

Man oh man, Forty years already. Where did the time go? Better yet, why did my time go? Today is December 8. A horrible anniversary. I didn’t know until the next day so for me December 9 is just as bad.

I hope by now you know what I’m talking about. If not, this is the day that John Lennon was murdered in cold blood outside of his home in New York City forty years ago.

There are days that will live in infammy. December 7 was one of them. The anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941. That affects me too. My dad served during WWII. I might not be here if things had gone sideways.

But, December 8 lives on in my heart and soul.

Here’s my story.

My then wife and I lived in two different states, North Carolina and Virginia. She worked as a reporter for the Roanoke newspapers and I was a photographer for the Winston-Salem newspapers. It’s not as bad as it sounds. In Virginia — our base — we lived in Christiansburg about two miles from the interstate. In North Carolina we lived in Kernersville, the home of the North Carolina Klu Klux Klan. They have nothing to do with this story.

It’s still not as bad as it sounds.

By a quirk of shift scheduling, we managed to spend six nights together. We would pack and leave straight from our respective newspapers. It was a little less than two hours door to door. We took a small road across the Blue Ridge Mountains.

There was no radio reception up there so I played tapes. No CDs. No streaming. This was 1980.

I got home to Virginia, unpacked my stuff and went to bed. I didn’t watch or hear the news.

The next morning the phone ring. It was my wife telling me the horrible news.

Eventually, I got myself together and went to meet a friend at my old newspaper chain. To be quite honest, we were going to drink our lunch. As I walked in the back door where the pre-press work was done, out came the new publisher.

The driving force behind my leaving was that my old newspaper was bought by a terrible newspaper chain. One by one we were all leaving. The new publisher was a guy who drove the biggest car that he could. He was also very heavy. I never comment on people’s looks, but between his weight and his face which was round with a sort of a snout for a nose, he looked like a pig.

He started screaming at me for some reason that I still don’t know. I just stood there. I didn’t reply. The one thing I remember was that he yelled, “You are making a fool of yourself.” I did reply to that. I said, “No, that would be you.” The gathered crowd of my former coworkers started laughing. He stormed off.

That’s how my mourning for John Lennon began.

It continued on and on.

When I returned to work in Winston-Salem, my boss, Chief Photographer Bill Ray — a wise older man from North Carolina — made sure not to schedule any assignments for photographers during the commemoration which, for us meant climbing on the roof and looking into space at the stars.

Somewhere during those early days my wife joined us. We went to my friends house — another photographer — to remember Lennon. They had a piano. He played “Imagine.” My wife, his wife and I sang the best that we could. You didn’t want to hear that.

A week or so later my parents, who still lived in Long Beach, sent a giant special section from the Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram. It was about Lennon.

A young writer named Tim Grobaty wrote an editorial. It was probably the best thing I read during that time. He concluded with something like this wasn’t just another entertainer death, it was like a death in the family.

And, so it was.

Time fades away, so says Neil Young. Luckily, he’s still alive. He’s 75 and as productive as ever. He’s right. It does.

I have no picture to commemorate John Lennon, so I made something a little bright and a little pretty.

It’s a layered combination of two images. Sword Ferns and the blooming of one of those flowers that I showed you yesterday.

It takes time to make these kinds of pictures. I tinker and I tinker until I get it right. Then, I look at it on the big monitor and think, “Oh, man. It’s too dark.” So back into the tinker toys I go.

See what I did there?

Anyway.

There is no trick to this. It just takes time. Maybe 40 years. And, patience. Maybe a lifetime.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Imagine. Just imagine.


Mellow yellow.

Gulf Coast. Fall. Florida too. This is one reason why people move down here. Mild autumn and winters. Some flowers die or hibernate. Many do not.

You’ve seen these flowers earlier this year during spring. Here they are again in autumn. Apparently, they thrive in cooler weather, which a Gulf Coast summer is not.

I say this with no snark, but while you are cold and snowy in the north, we are mild and colorful. I freely admit that I like cold and snow. My poor spine does not.

That’s what happens as you age. If we wanted to stay somewhere along the Gulf Coast, we should probably move to someplace like Destin or Tampa, both of which are in Florida. For us it would probably be Tampa because we do like an urban environment.

There are a couple of other places too. I’m not talking. I don’t want to casta bad spell on those options.

Oh. More about the flowers. They appear to be growing on Elephant plants. I think that’s wrong. They are growing between them. They are their own flowering weed. I prefer wildflower.

The flowers are greatly enlarged in this picture. They are no bigger than my thumbnail.

Seeing. These yellow flowers called out to me from about 50 yards away. They are very bright. They are also brand new, which means that they haven’t faded.

It’s kind of the same old thing for me. See it. Photograph it. Develop it.

That comes with a lot of practice. Don’t be afraid to photograph everything.

When people look at me as if to say what are you doing, I usually say out loud, “don’t you wish you were taking pictures?”

Pictures are fun. Not work.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy all the flowers.


Tiny flower.

I had a lot written. I wrote a lot about the soon to be vaccine. I talked about picture theory. I thought I was going along pretty good. As I attempted to switch columns I accidentally hit something — I don’t know what — and the entire written piece was deleted. I know that there is an earlier version saved under all posts. I’m sure some of the writing is saved there. But I just don’t have the time to mess with it today.

The reason I was switching to the right column was the usual thing. Two different subjects. But, copy editing the right hand column was a nightmare. I couldn’t place my coursor where I wanted it. When I tried to re-write a sentence by changing a few words, the entire sentence was either garbled or deleted.

WordPress tried to blame Safari. Good try, but they are lying. Their spell check takes over. Safari has no ability to override it. WordPress’ AI and spell check suck. And, blow.

I may have resubscribed because the price was so low, but I don’t need this nonsense. I spent all of yesterday doing things three times because of others’ incompetence. I completed my tasks on the third try because you know,”If you want anything done right, do it yourself.”

I am not doing that again today.

I have a lot of work to do that didn’t get done yesterday, and I have errands to run.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Don’t make me come over there. I’m in no mood. Enjoy every blog because you never know when the author may disappear.


Someone had fun.

Not my normal location. Wandering from my normal scenes lead me to find these shoes. I have no idea why they were left behind. But, they are neatly aligned as if someone was returning to get them. I don’t know what the soles look like, but it could be that she was slipping and sliding. It could be her feet and shoes got soaked, so she left them to dry in the rainy weather.

It could be the she is a he.

This is a good example of photographer’s luck. If I hadn’t started running errands, I wouldn’t have seen these shoes. Many people don’t believe in luck, but I do. At least in small doses like this.

The second interesting subject in the picture is the moss. After three days of intermittent rain, it is flourishing everywhere. I’ve never seen it in a parking lot, but during 2020 anything can happen. Most of it bad.

However, as we come to the end of what was a very brutal year, maybe it’s time to look forward, to look at the little things that may actually be just a bit good.

I’ll tell you what a really good thing is for me. The background noise has been tamped way down. The current President of The United States is not in my head as he has been for the last five years. Yes, five years. He got into our heads from the moment he rolled down the golden escalator.

His steady drumbeat was brutal. Now I have to seek him out. Don’t get me wrong, he will make plenty of noise between now and January 20, but it’s irrelevant.

Not only is that a small thing, but it feels really good.

Shoes. To me, in my doddering old age, they look like nighttime shoes. Shoes that you’d wear to a night of dancing. But, what do I know? Today they could be worns on the street with jeans or shorts

Anyway.

I found them without the help of the all seeing dog. I was running errands. She was home sleeping or annoying the other dogs.

I did it again. I saw it. I framed it. I pushed the button. The day was overcast so I didn’t have to deal with harsh light, shadowss and contrast.

Development and post production was minimal.

That was it.

Shoes.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy every sandwich.