The Memory Of Trees


Golden light.

We walk around. We see things. We see transformation. We see change. We saw what nature tells us. That clocks can’t tell us. In the pandemic era time meanders. We act normal. As hard as we try we can’t be normal.

Not no. Maybe not ever. That is a good thing. To be normal in this day and age is truly silly. Some people keep trying. They crowd the streets of The French Quarter. Maybe two percent of them are wearing masks. There certainly is no social distancing.

The virus rages on. We are seeing record infection rates almost everyday. Hospitals are crammed. Some are full. Most medical personnel do have the proper gear. They are using masks meant to be worn once per patient for the whole day. We are dying at the rate of over 1,000 per day. In some places freezer trucks are being used to store the dead.

The dead passed alone. Their families can’t bury them. Before we head directly into the chaos of March and April we need national leadership.

We won’t get it.

The president is sniveling and whining about his electoral loss. He hasn’t done a single thing except Tweet and play golf since he lost. He spent a whole seven minutes laying a wreath at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Oh yeah. According to the president, those guys who gave their full measure to our country are losers and fools.

Some Republicans are saying it’s over. Some means a few. The American Stooge trio of McConnell, Graham and Cruz are spouting nonsense. Let’s call them what they are. Traitors. They are duty bound to honor the Constitution. They aren’t.

It’s time to move on.

Trees. And, the picture. I photograph the things that I see and like. I return to the scene of the crime because I know where pictures could be.

That isn’t to say that I am making a lot of pictures. Everything gets in the way. I spent almost an entire day chasing down parts of one single issue. It wasn’t me. I think the people who are actually working have turned Covid stupid.

Normally, good hard working and competent people can’t seem to agree with each other on simple procedure. They are getting too cute in their attempt to solve problems.

That word. Simple. That’s how I try to keep things. That’s I try to photograph. It really is the only way to work. Especially now, when I am sure that I too have a little Covid head.

How about you?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Keep your distance.

I’m supposed to attribute some things. So. The title “The Memory of Trees” came from Enya. “American Stooge” and “Stay Mighty” came from Mary Chapin Carpenter.

See? Sometimes — not often — I do what I’m told.

Weather… Or Not


Changes in latitude.

The season of changes.

We’ve had cool and dry weather. The best kind. Now, we have moist and warm weather. The worst kind, this early in the season. The weather blabbers on the local television stations are already talking about hurricane season. Settle down. That’s just under two months away.

Anyway.

I get to make different kinds of pictures without traveling far and wide to do it.

Lately, I’ve had two problems. You know that I don’t feel like photographing much. I also don’t feel like traveling much. Too bad for me. I have to do both in a little bit. Money beckons.

It’s not that I don’t like photography or traveling. I love both. I just don’t like what it takes to do them.

Since everybody is a photographer, I have to figure out a way to make a picture that is different, but not necessarily better.

Since everybody wants to travel, the actual act of doing it has become crowded and hellish with so many inexperienced travelers not knowing what they are doing. I like to be comfortable when I’m flying somewhere. But, I don’t wear my pajamas and flip-flops onboard a plane.

I’m not whining or ranting. It’s life in the real world. If you were able to plop me down in my destination I’d have a great time. Despite all this new technology, that hasn’t happened yet.

I have no doubt that it will. At least that’s what they say on all the science fiction that I watch.

Oh.

One more thing about traveling to photograph. Since everybody is a photographer, the classic locations are crowded with people trying to make the very same picture the first 2,745,981 photographers did. I jokingly say that there are tripod holes at prime locations.

That leaves me with a lot of choices. Let’s say I’ve gone to New Mexico. Let’s say I’m staying in Santa Fe. I could get very lazy and photograph the city. Or, I could move on and work outside of the city, coming back at night. That’s what I would likely do. That works for me because I do like to explore.

Anyway.

That’s how I think. These days. Going to a place isn’t enough. Not any more.

The picture. Just about everything has bloomed and has settled into summer’s green. Except for here and there. This tree is an example of here. Or, there. As the storm clouds started to blow in, I started making a few pictures. This is one of them. Since the light was low at around dusk, there is some nice highlight on one side of the tree. That’s also what’s causing the clouds to be yellowish.

You know the rest.

F/8 and be there.

Looking in Windows (Spring)


Reflections.

“Thank you, my love.”

That’s what the female FEDEX driver said after I signed for the Leica. Don’t get excited. It’s a southern thing. It’s a nice thing. A good way to treat each other when we interact.

Anyway.

I had the days wrong. Today is Leica test day. A good day too. The light is stunning, once again. It bounces around from lightly overcast with white puffy clouds hiding the sun, to changing the light to bright and contrasty. Wowie-zowie.

I have an idea that I’m going to wander around the Quarter. It’s a good place to work during the day. It’s very different from the usual night views. For one thing, there are very few tourists. All locals. Doing their jobs. Getting ready for the night. And, tourist dollars.

The picture. I’ve been eyeing this window for a while. It takes bright, contrasty, low light to make it work. Even with that, you have to be careful of the window frame since you can’t get an angle that prevents keystoning. Rather than fight it, I just photographed it knowing I would crop it in editing.

I thought that I wanted it bright and colorful. But, after testing different approaches, I liked this version best. Almost no color. All monochrome.

Enjoy.

I’m off to Disneyland. Er, the French Quarter.

But, first I have to figure out this camera.

They Do Grow High


Higher and higher.

My fascination with trees. In all seasons.

Especially in winter. I counted. In the last two weeks, I’ve mostly published pictures of trees. I like them. I like their shapes. Their form. I like them when their branches are bare in the winter cold. I can see all sorts of thing going on. I like them in spring bloom. Everything seems possible. I like the shade they provide in the heat of summer. I love the color of their leaves as fall arrives and the air turns cold.

They give me hope. They are about rebirth.

Unless they get sick, they live for years. More years than I will. That’s okay with me.

The cycle repeats itself year after year.

In the Gulf South, nature takes care of them. The former swampy earth is moist and healthy. Rain falls every month. Humidity keeps them young and tamps down the threat of fire.

Unless a hurricane blows through, it’s a perfect world for trees. Down here in my swamp.

That’s why I make so many pictures of them. Besides, Helen Keller had something to say about them. She had a lot to say about a lot of things.

The picture. I looked up in the cold winter light and saw this little cluster of trees and branches.  I exposed mostly for the highlight in the branches and let the light do the rest. I did a little work in post production and that was it.

Today. Friday. A quiet, but busy day for me.

Winterlude


That wonderful low winter light.

Nature always teaches. At least, she teaches me.

This picture could have been nothing. The day was cold. Cloudy. No highlights. No shadows. No shape or form.

Then.

Just before dusk the clouds blew out and that wonderful low winter light fell upon the bare trees. I didn’t think. I didn’t pre-edit in the camera. I just took the picture. Good thing too. Two minutes later and the clouds at the northern edge of the picture blew in and the scene was gone. No. light. No shadow. No magic.

This is my lesson for today. For me. For you. It is prompted by my friend Hedy. We were talking in the comments about practicing and I wasn’t clear since she replied that worked for her because she is a visual learner. I am too. But, that’s not what I meant.

I was trying to talk about a Buddhist way of thinking. Do or not do. Wait, that’s Yoda’s thinking as in, “There is no try, there is only do or not do.” But, the Buddhist belief of living in the moment — which everybody seems to be talking about for 2018 — is what I mean.

This picture, for example, would not exist if I had thought about it. If I looked for the “perfect” angle. Tried to make the perfect exposure. I just pointed and pushed the button. That is what the old masters of street photography teach. “Clear your mind of all thought and just take the picture in front of you.”

THAT, takes practice. Not only in using your camera gear, but in clearing your head. Buddhism, baseball and photography… all the same to me.

Wait. What?

How did baseball creep in here? It’s an old story. When New York Yankee great, catcher Yogi Berra was in a hitting slump, his manager said to him, “Think, Yogi, think.” Yogi looked at him for a second and replied, “You want me to think and hit a baseball?”

There you have it.