Farther Along & Further In


The cracks are beginning to spread.

There are a few flowers still blooming and growing. I came across the remainders of a little Camellia. Wow, I thought. A possible picture.

So I clicked the button a couple of times. I continued on. I felt lucky. You know, I’m not seeing pictures all that well.

In fact, I might not be seeing anything very well. I’m still out of time. A lot of people feel the same way. I’m procrastinating.

I read something about that. Most people think it’s a time management problem. It’s not. It’s depression. A different kind of depression than most, but still it’s depression.

That made sense to me. After all, most of us are in mourning. We miss the life that we had. I know I say that our “new” normal can and should be better. But, just cutting off one life and starting another isn’t exactly easy.

I realized last night that I haven’t seen most of my friends since March. Eight months. That’s a long time. Oh sure. We text, talk on the phone, hold Zoom talks. But, it ain’t the same.

It can never be the same.

We talk about businesses struggling. The food and music industries are hit especially hard. So is the travel industry. Combined, that just about kills New Orleans.

That’s not what concerns me.

I have a little pod. We stay together. We touch. We laugh. We talk.

That’s not it.

I’m writing this close to publication time. Normally, I would be at a second line. We either shake hands or hug. I haven’t had that since just after Mardi Gras.

We call second lines our church. Church is where you find it. So is God, or whatever you call your higher power.

No church for us. No noise. No music. No dancing. No BBQ smells.

Damn. I almost brought myself to tears.

I miss that stuff. I didn’t think that I would, but guess what?

I do.

Peace.

Pictures. They are really something. I’ve made my living from pictures since 1974.

During these pandemic times, I’m almost not working. I’m not working in my other business.

Luckily, we have a little money and and income, sorta.

I’m starting to think that I should find something to do just to keep me busy.

Anyway.

The all seeing dog and I were walking. I saw this little flower hiding among the Elephant Ears. I made the picture.

When I started developing and post production I found my settings for the last picture I worked on.

I thought, why not? So I just used that. Mostly, that doesn’t work. Two different pictures require different approaches.

It really didn’t work this time, either.

But, I liked what it did. In fact, I enhanced it. I made it more atomic. I stretched it out beyond my imagination.

There you have it. My own imagination was stretched.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. I don’t care what anybody says, enjoy every sandwich.

Perfect in the Yard


Glowing.

Maybe this photograph is a little too radioactive. In my defense I cannot predict how WordPress will compress my already compressed .jpeg. Many times I over compensate. Don’t we all? Now that a bit of my life is getting back to some kind of normal feeling workflow I have to be very careful not to move too fast.

I still believe that we can emerge from these pandemic days better than we were before the virus came roaring through the country. I know we can do better. Much, much better.

I make no bones about my political leanings. I hope for a change of leaders in two weeks. Whether you are a democrat or a republican, I’m pretty sure that you’d like a leader who believes and trusts in science instead of his gut, a gut filled with five pounds of McDonalds fried food. I have nothing against McDonald’s, but everything in its place.

I’m not sure why months slipped by, but I could have put the time between March and July to better use. I’d like to claim that I was getting used to working from home, but that would be a lie. I always work from home.

Finally, I got going.

I think that we accomplished a lot as summer rolled on and fall arrived. But…

What about y’all? How did you do during this virus months?

Flowers. The best thing about moving on from WordPress will be the way drop caps are programmed. As you type the first letter of the word you are writing drops to the back of the word. So, Flowers is lowersF. I have no idea why this happens.

Anyway.

Back to flowers. These are the same ones that I turned into the autumn photograph. I reworked one picture into something bright, bold and energetic. It didn’t take long. Between Snapseed and OnOne I think it took me a total of 20 minutes.

Stay safe. Stay mighty.Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Stay focused. Vote.

Beyond The End


It’s all light.

Light. It’s all light. That’s what makes or breaks a photograph. After all, the word photography is Greek for writing with light. No. It’s not all Greek to me. I actually know this word.

Hurricane Delta passed us by for the most part. We did have some strong gusts of wind and a little rain. Those outer bands can reach way out.

I had to run an early morning errand. You know, a honey do. Pancakes were in the offing, but we were out of eggs, milk and chocolate chips. Mmmm…

So, out I went sometime around 7:45. The light was stunning. The wind blew out the ugliness and humidity of the past few days. The air was clear. The light was sparkling as well as being stunning. I said that already, but I cannot emphasize that enough. Stunning. Stunning. Stunning.

On the way to the grocery store I made some obligatory pictures. You know. The ones you expect in this kind of light.

I parked and looked across the lot. I saw what you see above. Now this is a light picture, a picture about light. The subject isn’t particularly attractive, but the light makes it so.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Shadows and silhouettes is what we learned in college. Look for them. They can save a bad assignment. In order to have them you must have light. I also think you have to have bold, bright light.

So, I saw the scene. What then?

I kept reminding myself, expose for the highlight, expose for the highlight.

Apparently, I got that right. There is just a hint of color in those giant highlights. And, the darks go really dark.

Of course, there is a little post production to help shape the details, but that’s about it.

Questions? I’ll be happy to talk.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Look after each other. Chase the light.

Summers of the Past


When there was yellow.

When there was yellow. When there was color. When this muddy gray didn’t cover everything. When we were happier. When smiles and laughter came easier. When we didn’t have a new worry everyday.

I see in color. Some photographers see in black and white. I’m having a hard time seeing color. Things seem muted. Trees seem sad. Flowers are gone.

Talking to friends finds us all lethargic. Struggling. Trying, but not achieving. Days get away from us. Hours are still meaningless. The only way to measure time is by the season. By nature.

I wish that we lived some place with seasons. At very least we could see and feel the passing of time. The only way to tell down here in my swamp is when the air gets a little cooler and less humid.

Anticipation. Election time. Pandemic time. Protest time. Disaster time. Climate changing. Violence time.

All those worries.

Which do we pick? Which do we try to forget? What happens next?

It’s all too much.

Sometimes.

I’m having a terrible time making meaningful photographs. I keep going because that’s the only way through. I don’t know what through means. Or, where I come out. What will I be?

That’s all for today. I really dislike waking up to greet the new day with all of this swirling through my head and soul.

Sunflowers. This is a picture that I made in New Mexico a while back. Many people are posting sunflowers on various socials. I like that, so I’m following along.

I like yellow. In the commercial printing world, it’s a brightener. In the world, it’s a happy color.

If you read the other column you know I think the world is currently looking like shades of gray. Deep gray.

That’s why I decided to publish this picture. It couldn’t be any happier if it tried. It creates smiles. It opens eyes.

Making it was easy. Find sunflowers, photograph sunflowers. In New Mexico, as there is in Mississippi, there are fields of sunflowers. Scrolling through my archives was easier than driving to, and looking for, a field in the next state.

I should listen to myself and maybe learn. Every time that I look at and work on a DSLR file, it is rich, thick, and creamy. Not so with a file made on a phone. They say that you can’t tell the difference. They are wrong. Yes. You can.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask.

Walking on a Dream


All the color.

So you want color? This picture contains all of it. I just made it without any thought of symbolism. On the picture side I’ll tell you what makes up the components. But over here on conversation street, you can make them be whatever you want them to be.

Jeeze.

I just stole, er, borrowed sentences from two different quotations. I’d better watch myself. Somebody might be watching. Nah. This isn’t Facebook.

In the wonderful world of politics, a good number of the current White House administration are sick including the president and his wife. I could laugh, but I won’t. This virus is serious business.

There are a number of people on social media who say that we should wish the president and his wife well. That we should pray for them. I agree whole heartedly. There has been enough pain and death. This is the time to come together as a country, not split further apart.

Besides, I’d really like to see him be voted out of office in a blue wave landslide. There are way too many issues that cannot be settled without one.

After that, let the chips fall where they may. The New York Times story about Trump’s business life is telling. Let the IRS do their thing. Let the Southern Court of New York do their thing. If he ends up in prison, so be it. He’s pays his money and he takes his chances.

Sounds harsh?

Not as harsh as it could be.

Forgive me for that, but just about everybody that I know feels terrible in one way or another. Physically. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually.

We are tired, beat up, confused.

I know artists of all stripes who can’t work because they are emotionally blocked. I know teachers who can barely teach. This is just what I know about. I’m sure if someone took a poll they’d find out that about 90% of the answers would trend in this direction.

But still, I wish the president, his wife and all the newly diagnosed staffers and senators no harm. If you pray include them in your prayers.

In my life I’ve never seen anything like this. Have you? I’d also think that we are better than that.

Pictures. What does a picture mean? What doesn’t it mean? Seriously, that’s all up to you, the viewer.

I’ll leave that to you. But, I’ll tell you what I did to make this piece of art.

I found an image in my archives that was simple. Old Mardi Gras beads hanging on an old school screen door.

I brightened the beads while I darkened the background making the beads pop with color.

The picture looked pretty good, but you know me.

I layered those square blocks over the original image. The blocks are the ends of old railroad ties stored along a spur.

I have no idea where they came from, why they are here or if they are moving on.

Nevertheless, I photographed them. The colors appeared in post production. I did the subtraction of color thing and the hues appeared from out of the brown.

I kind of layered the railroad tie picture over the original image in odd ways. The ends of the ties appear to be floating in every direction. They appear to be above snd below the original image.

That’s it. The story in a few words.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your masks.

Outside Looking In


Down, down, down.

We all watched something two nights ago that we shouldn’t have. They called it a debate. I’ve heard also sorts of negative descriptions. They all fit. I can think of some worse ones, but they aren’t fit to print. I read that the folks who host the debates are going to change them. I read that they may put a mute button on the microphones of each speaker. Something better happen. I won’t watch another debate if one guy won’t even come close to playing by the rules.

I suppose the world saw in 90 minutes what we’ve lived with for the past 47 months. We are tired. We are scared. We are angry. Now the rest of the world pities us. I cannot remember a time in my life when one man has ruined just about every one of my days. If it isn’t him, it’s this damn pandemic which could have been in control except for that very same man. The liar in chief. The denier in chief. The loser in chief.

There. I’ve said it. I’ve had my rant.

I hate to leave like this so…

I think my photo world is starting to turn a little. I’ve licensed a lot of work out of my archives. I asked one art director how he found me and why he wasn’t looking at the inexpensive photo portals. He found me by Googling for NOLA photographers. He didn’t want to use portals because the pictures were either not so great or that they were derivative. Ha! What did I say a few says ago?

Derivative. Derivative. Derivative.

This has gotten me thinking. Maybe it’s time to build my archives in a very public place. Make them very searchable and let people license them for normal uses without me even knowing. And, for more special projects they could talk to me directly.

Maybe there is a way for photography to become real again. Don’t get me wrong. I like my other career. But, this is what I was built to do.

Pictures at an exhibition. The all seeing dog and I were out walking. We arrived at our bench and I noticed that leaves started falling and sticking to odd places like our park bench. So, I made this picture. It’s about as raw as it could be. I wanted to test a picture loading system forgetting that I hadn’t done any finishing work on the image.

Oops.

That’ll happen in this fast paced world.

Stay safe. Stay might. Wear your mask.

One Moonlit Night


The night sky.

It was early. The all seeing dog wanted to go out. She kept nagging me until I took her for a short walk. I did what she demanded. It was a good thing.

Because.

Look what I found. What a night. What a sky. What a moon. And, two long haul train engines. Sophie Rose knows what I don’t know. It would have never made this picture without her. Because we went out so early, we went out again close to midnight to just make sure. I hate waking up because she needs a quick pee at 4 am.

The moon was high. The engines were gone. The picture was gone.

Let this be lesson to us all. Listen to the animal who thinks she owns you, and always carry something with which to make pictures. Don’t hesitate.

That’s all I have. Today.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every bowl of Yakamein.

All That Reckoning


Not dead yet.

Not that late.

No. We aren’t under siege.

Hurricane Lucy will hit Lake Charles likely as a Category 4 storm. I haven’t been there for a long time. The city isn’t as little as I described it. Not anymore. They are bigger than we are. They are a city of 780,000 people. That makes them the largest city in the state without making a big deal about it. I’m hopeful and sad all at once.

We will likely get some storm surge which won’t bother us. And, some wind. The gusts are strong enough to make the spaniels look like they are flying as their ears fly up over their heads. They seem to like it.

The rest. We are good in practical terms. Because of the wind there is a chance that we might lose power. But, Entergy has reworked our lines so much that I feel pretty secure.

I’d like to say that we good emotionally. This storm passes through exactly three says until the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in Buras, Louisiana. Those of us who went through it get a little weird right now, showing a lot of PTSD symptoms. Me? I think I’m okay although my response time seems to have gotten quicker. And, I’m a little edgy.

The Picture

I told you, summer is starting to look like autumn around certain trees. The temperatures certainly aren’t fall-like, especially today. The ambient humidity has dropped way down because we have so much wind.

I’d work today but there really isn’t much visually to tell the story of a hurricane. No rain. Leaden skies and wind. Unless the wind speed gets higher, wind is really hard to photograph. If I had any guts I’d drive down to Viloet which is almost at the mouth of the river. That’s where the river pilots take control of the big freighters heading upriver. That would be fun. And, really dangerous. The pilot houses look like broken down shacks on stilts. I’m sure the river would be well over the two lane road.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Take care of each other. Enjoy every sandwich.

Ms. Lollipop


Adding color to an already bright, happy image helps the reader to feel what I flt. Happy.
Something to make us all smile.

Storms come and go.

This storm dropped a lot of rain. Its winds tore down some branches from weak and dying trees. All in all, it wasn’t as bad as it could be, or the hurricane that so many rumor mongers were posting on social media sites. There was no hurricane. There was even cyclonic winds.

Let’s talk about social media

I wish some people would just shut up. Between fake news, rumors and trolls, most social media is becoming impossible to read. These days, I rarely communicate on any platform except to share photographs.

But, I did get invloved today.

There is a big battle in my former world of photojournalism right now. There is advocacy group that claims to be photojournalists. They aren’t. Most of their thrust is to get non-binary people of all kinds into the forefront of news gathering and editing. They seem to be focusing on print journalism. Most are made up of professors and researchers who have never worked the streets.

A couple of comments.

Do what you want. If newsrooms aren’t diverse enough, go for it. Fix the issue. However, there aren’t many newsrooms left. They seem to be ignoring that.

That’s all good, but they crossed a line for me and many others when they advocated either getting consent from the protesters or blurring their faces.

Huh?

If you choose to protest that’s great. I think you should. But, you are out on the streets to serve a number of purposes, one of which is to generate news. In most cases, they are on public streets. They have no expectation of privacy.

They can’t have it both ways. They can’t raise awareness without being present. I think most of them know it.

Besides, whatever happened to CoVid-19? They aren’t social distancing, but they should be wearing masks. If they are doing that, the notion of privacy — however wrongheaded it is — should be covered.

One more little point.

If you have never worked the streets, and haven’t worked in crowds, you have no idea what photographers go through. Even in my current world, when I photograph New Orleans cultural events, I liken it to being in the middle of a rugby scrum. Until you do that, you don’t know.

As a wise man once taught me, “Those who know don’t speak. Those who speak don’t know.” I’ve focused on this one issue, but doesn’t that sound like all social media?

The picture

I wanted something lighter. I realized that I’ve been posting very dark pictures. I made this picture using a couple of different kinds of post production techniques. I combined elements to make my normal “Need a subject, stick a powerline in the picture,” a little different. Well, a lot different.

While I was looking at the picture, I noticed the reason we have so many power failures. Well, of of the reasons.

Check out the power lines right where they start to curve. Sure. That looks safe. Right.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every taco.