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.


What happens when…

S

ometimes I forget the work I’ve already done. If you recall I wasn’t posting everyday. That didn’t mean I wasn’t making new pictures and working on others.

I was. And, I forgot about it.

I was looking for something else when I stumbled upon a little group of pictures that I had forgotten about.

This is one of them. Well, three of them to be precise. They are layered and combined. I’ll get to that on the right side.

Questions. I have questions.

After reading the testimony of the former Facebook employee and their crash the other day, I’m thinking about giving up on their products. There’s more to that. Facebook is pushing those of us who post our still photography into posting videos.

I’m not a videographer. I’ve made two videos in my lifetime. They are unedited. One is just a bit of Hurricane Ida as she blew through. The visual isn’t much, but the audio is terrifying.

That said, I’m not posting videos anywhere. That’s not what I do.

The reason to stay with Facebook/Instagram is to show my work. I have a place for that. Right here. Oh, for sure, I get likes and hearts and a few comments. Mostly, from my friends.

Originally, many years ago, I thought that it could be a marketing and sales tool. That hasn’t worked out. So, what’s the point?

I can be found here if anybody wants to find me.

What do you guys think?

T

he work. That’s what matters. Doing it. Practicing it. Do it for long enough and you might get good.

That’s one reason that Storyteller exists. There are a lot of other reasons, but that’s one of them.

As I wrote over there, this is image is layered and created from three photographs.

There was an adjustment phase because not all of them were the same size or shape.

Once that was completed, I adjust for density first, and color second.

I tinkered with them to sort of smooth them out.

Then, I published them right here, on Storyteller. As if you didn’t know that.

By the way, the title is a title of a song by the same name recorded by Roseanne Cash. Sometimes, I steal — er — borrow things.


“U

nderneath the heavens above.” That’s a line from a Bob Dylan song. I heard it just as I started writing. So, I thought, “Why not?”

Y’all know that I listen to music while I write, yes? I’m playing a Spotify play list called Summer Rewind. I’m trying to think about what summer this particular list comes from. It is certainly eclectic mix of songs.

I’ve been chatting with a friend of mine who lives in Philadelphia, who rents a small apartment in The French Quarter. She and her husband are coming down in a few weeks. It’s hard to beat the weather then. But, I was surprised because we’ve been talking about the crime and how it’s become very hard to take pictures.

I’ll see them while they are here. I’m pretty sure we’ll stay in the Quarter. During the day it may be one of the safest places in the city. As night rolls into early morning all bets are off, especially near upper Bourbon Street where it meets Canal Street.

My city. It’s really something these days. I keep trying to talk myself into staying. That’s getting harder every day.

Like everything, it depends.

T

his picture was easy to make. Just look up and try to put the moon and a subject on the ground to line up in some way.

Then, push the button.

The exposure was pretty close except for the center of the picture where the high mid-tones were too light, and they always will be. It seems to be a quirk of all smart phone cameras.

Maybe I should go hunting with a real camera.


Another way.

T

he caption says it all. Another way. I keep reading what a great camera the iPhone 12 is supposed to be. I had better be because it’s a terrible phone.

I decided to test it.

I made this photograph towards the end of dusk. That means I made a time exposure. I wasn’t sure about the first couple of exposures. A little yellow wheel caught my attention. It turns out that it shows just where in the exposure time the camera is working.

I tested that theory.

If you want a sharp exposure let the wheel finish turning. If you want motion, move the camera slightly during the exposure, say about in the middle of the wheel’s turning.

Oh man.

Maybe this phone will be more than I thought it was, which is to say no fun at all.

I’m not a video maker, but I did test the phone during Hurricane Ida. For the fist 30 seconds or so I didn’t know how to turn on the microphone. For the next 30 seconds you can hear what it sounds like. It’s very scary.

Try it sometime.

T

he real experiment was in the camera rather than in post production.

The camera over exposed the scene. It’ll do that when it’s trying to capture detail in the deep shadows.

That’s any easy fix.

It happens with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Digital cameras of all types want to open up the shadows.

That’s great if you are making a RAW file. You have control of everything. Not so much using a smart phone.

In all cases you should darken the file in development. Once I did that all those reds and oranges popped out.

There wasn’t much to do after that.

You are looking at the results of what turns out to be a really important experiment.


A kind of blue

I

t began today. Cool air. Not exactly cool but very dry. And, the temperature struggled to reach 75 degrees.

For us, after our usual very hot summer that included a hurricane and a half this is the start of something very good.

Fall.

Thankfully.


Moody and misty.

S

ometimes just the sky. And, the trees. That’s all I know. Today. I’m having a terrible time with technology. My main machine has a problem with the logo page. I cannot type my password. The system acts like the magic keyboard isn’t working. After trying every known fix nothing helps. There is one last thing. I can use an old school keyboard that over rides the wireless one.

Good luck finding one. I can buy one from Amazon for ten dollars. It’ll take almost two weeks to get here.

Then, there’s the other gear. But, that’s for another day.


Out of the black and into the blue.

T

om Petty said that they waiting is the hardest part. And, so it is. Most of the preparations have been done. I was about to take the trash out when I remembered not to do it. During a hurricane the trash cans get blown around and the trash gets plastered to your house. Or, your neighbors house.

Besides, a trash can launched in a 75 mph wind and becomes an unguided rocket. What goes up always comes down. Maybe through somebody’s roof. It could rip through the roof, blow through the second floor and land on granny sitting in her chair on the first floor.

That would not be good.

In case you are wondering, my humor gets blacker as the big event gets closer. Besides, it’s not yet time to get into my zone. The cold, very clear eyed one that allows me to respond calmly and not in a panicked way. If I started that process now by the time the hurricane arrived I’d fly into the air and try to stop it by myself. It’s a well known fact that I’m not Superman.

Seriously, here’s what I know.

Unless there is a radical change, Hurricane Ida should make landfall upriver from New Orleans, near Baton Rouge, 75 miles away sometime tonight. That may seem like it’s far enough away to not hurt us. That would be wrong. Hurt us it will because we lie within the cone of uncertainty. Landfall can shift anywhere along that cone. Or, the entire cone can move.

Even if it doesn’t, we will get very strong winds, rain and a big storm surge.

Here are the numbers.

Wind gusts. 50-75 mph over the windspeed.

Storm surge. 12 – 15 feet above normal.

Rain. 12 – 15 inches above normal.

The house is armored for storms. That’s how it was built in 1854 when whole parts of town used to get blown away. Once we close the storm shutters we are safe. The biggest fear is loss of power and cellphone service, which also means loss of the internet.

We can deal with loss of power, partially with the hardwired generator and battery system. It only powers the kitchen and not all of that. We also have one of those little in room air conditioners. It’s useless in a big room, but works fine in the kitchen.

That’s all well and good if we have a few power lines down, but Hurricane Katrina knocked down whole power grids. It look weeks for power to be restored. It’ll get awfully old living like a refugee. No disrespect to our Afghan friends.

We cannot do anything about the loss of cellphone and internet service. I recall that after Katrina, we were able to get service after the telco rerouted us through some unaffected region. I don’t know if that’s possible today.

So, this might be it from me for a while.

Have good thought for all of us in Southeastern Louisiana.


Out of the blue and into the black.

W

e do it for the stories we could tell, so says Jimmy Buffett, even when we know do that something could end badly. It’s especially true if you are a young teenager. I was 13 or 14 when I did that story telling thing.

I went to a day camp during summer. One day we were taken to a pretty big and wild park. We could borrow or rent bicycles. So, I borrowed one.

All good so far.

We road to a sort of big peak. The ride was gradual, but if we wanted to continue in the same direction we had to ride down a pretty steep path. The chose would have been walk down or turn back. We should have chosen either of those two options.

Oh no.

We just had to ride. Being the biggest idiot among us, I rode first. About 30 feet into the ride I realized there was no braking and certainly no stopping. I made it about 75% of the way down. I hit a surface tree root. I went airborne, then I went side wise, and finally upside down.

I landed on my face.

I was battered and bruised. After a little clean up by one of the camp counselors I looked better, but not much. I was lucky. I could have broken all sorts of parts. I didn’t.

When I got home my mom was horrified. My dad just laughed. He asked if I would do it again.

Yes.

Of course, for the rest of the summer I was called skid face.

Kids can be so cruel.

I was their hero. I did something they were afraid to do.

So there.

A

pologies. If something doesn’t make sense on the other side.

That WordPress programming trick of capturing everything in a block and not allowing editing happened not once, but twice.

If you try to edit, the software deletes whole sentences. The only way to recapture any of it is to revert to a saved version.

But, that only brings your work so far.

So you rewrite whatever you lost.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember sentences exactly. I reconstruct them as best I can.

Do that three times and you have no idea what you originally wrote.

Add to that the newest annoyance, placing the cursor at the start of a sentence even though I intentionally placed it in the middle, and I almost gave up today.

WordPress has to stop this. Even though I said I’d stay here because of the community, I’ll leave if this nonsense doesn’t stop.

I’ll ghost. That’s where I’ll go to a blogging platform called Ghost.


Into the mystic.

M

ostly, I say that a picture needs a little post production work to turn into something presentable.

Not this time. What I saw is what you get.

Better yet, I decided to take a little walk because I’m mostly trapped inside. I looked up and there it was. The moon poking through a wisp of white clouds and a bright blue sky backing it.

I made five pictures. That was it. I mostly just moved the moon around in the frame.

When things are right, that’s how my best work comes. Things haven’t been right for many weeks. I listened to a TED Talk by Dewitt Jones. He’s a former NGS photographer who now mostly gives talks. He’s polished and funny.

He discussed his way of working photographically which is to look for the good rather than document or find the bad. I kind of chuckled at that, but thought maybe I should do that. Maybe it would help me get out of this funk.

It did. Making this photograph made me feel pretty good. I don’t know how long this will last, but there’s always tomorrow to make another picture.

T

here is nothing technical to tell you. Just go outside and let a picture find you.

There’s magic in music and there’s magic in photographs. Let the magic come. Let it embrace you.

That’s all need to know.

From a technical point of you, I’ve been trying not to work so hard. I read that there is a new trend afoot.

For years, we’ve been told to capture RAW files. They are like a negative that you can work with in many ways.

Now some photographers are questioning that. They suggest that if you get your exposure down properly you should be able to make .JPEG files that are as good or better than RAW ones.

There is a way to test that easily. Set the capture to both RAW and .Jpeg and see what happens.

I’ll let you know.