Out of the blue and into the black.

A calming effect.

Looking at the moon on a night like this one is sublime. For me, it’s calming. It’s peaceful. It’s quiet. It’s certainly early enough in the night sky that even the witches aren’t around since witching hour is nearer to midnight.

Technically speaking, this is an interesting picture. I made it with my smart phone. The phone’s sensor over exposed the scene, so the only real work that I did in post production was to darken it. That bought out the color and  gave shape to the moon. One point to note, the moon wasn’t full. It’s moving just enough to make it look that way.

The more that I look at it, the more I think we have come to a point were “computational photography” is catching up to the DSLR, Mirrorless and Rangefinder cameras. For sure, it isn’t as technically perfect as it could be, but the technology is moving in leaps and bounds. My phone is last year’s model. I wonder what improvements have been made to the latest version. Of course, I won’t know that unless I borrow a phone. We try to keep our phones for at least three years.

In case you’re wondering, my semi-rant of yesterday did bring about some interesting reactions, both here and on various social media. Some were worried that we are further fracturing. I agree. Most were favorable to my point of view. One person wrote that she’d read that millennials lack of serious work ethic comes from knowing that they have a big pay day when we pass. I’ve never read that, but it’s worth investigating.

Me? I’m taking my cash with me. I’ll need it to pay the Devil to turn on the air conditioning. Heh!

For my part, I probably shouldn’t have verbally slapped those kids around so much. On the other hand, as long as a Boomer said it, they didn’t want to listen to reason. Hopefully, they’ll learn. We need each other.

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Autumn light.

I changed my mind.

I wrote a fairly long post about me. I think I went a lot further than I intended. So, here I am writing something entirely different. It’s about teaching and letting go.

Many of my posts are purely about photography. My intent is to teach even if I don’t expressly say that. Sometimes, I teach by example. Sometimes, I tell you how I did something. Sometimes, I talk about theory and philosophy.

Hopefully, something strikes your fancy and you try it. Maybe you’ll ask more about how, why and what I did. Sometimes, I see a picture that looks just about like something I posted or talked about. I just sort of smile.

All of that is humbling.

I learned a lesson yesterday from some folks on Facebook. I was reading comments on a group page. If someone disagreed with another a big fight ensued. They attacked each other personally. It made me sad. The people in this group should be pulling in the same direction. Of course, disagreements happen, but throwing the kitchen sink at another person never helps.

Whenever you offer advice to another person, keep in mind that it is their life. They can choose to follow your advice or not. In either case, give your thoughts freely and walk away. You’ve done your best. For you, that should be good enough.

The picture. This is what happens when a cool front chases slightly warmer air. First, there is rain. Then comes wind. More rain. Then beautiful blue skies appear with brilliant white puffy clouds cruising through. My approach is to shoot directly into all that brightness and let the foreground fall into silhouette, making a dramatic graphic shape.

You may be inspired by the thought of making a fall picture. You may go about it in a different way. How cool is that? Your brain switched on and then clicked again. You made your picture.

 


Looking into the blue.

Blue sky. Gentle white clouds.

This picture was made on the day of the “big” temperature drop. The changing weather was pushing the clouds from white puffy to whatever these are called. It looks like they were broken apart, stirred by some giant with a big spoon.

That’s how I see them.

I needed some kind of point of reference, so I added a parking lot light. Its leading lines re-enforce the direction in which your eyes move. Or, at least, in the direction I want your eyes to move. Up.

This is going to turn into a little political commentary. It won’t be a rant. But, you can stop now and enjoy the picture.

Our wise and stabile genius decided, on a whim and after a telephone call, to abandon our long time allies. The Kurds. They fought along side of U.S. troops for a long time. Almost a decade. By doing that, he put our troops in harms way. He allowed Turkish troops to brazenly kill Kurdish fighters and civilians. The Kurds, in order not to be slaughtered, made a deal with Syrian national forces. By the way, the Syrian government is supported by Russia.

From day to night in a weekend.

That’s the abridged version of the past week.

U.S. troops are cut off on every side. It’s likely they’ll have to be extracted by air. This, after being shelled by Turkish forces and being ordered to retreat.

Where I come from, you never leave anybody behind, including your allies. You return fire if you are being attacked for no reason. And, you make damn sure that you have the support to retreat in an orderly manner.

How did all this happen?

The U.S President who shall not be named made a gut decision. You know, the chosen one. He consulted no expert counsel. He relied on just his gut, which he says knows more than expert’s brains.

And, what a gut it is.

Fueled by a steady diet of fast food, it’s ballooned up to at least ten normal guts. It’s flabby, fat and flaccid. It doesn’t think. It just reacts.

Between this, and all the issues being investigated in congress, the steady rolling back of laws that protect us, and the denial of climate change, we — in the U.S. — live in hell right now.

In the old days, just three years ago, I didn’t think about the president on a daily basis. But, today there is the steady sound of boots on our ground. I hear trump, trump, trump.

Happy Monday.


This is what I saw.

In the morning.

When you rise. Do you think of me?

From an old Crosby, Stills and Nash song. Without Young. The band that will never play together. That’s a long story. Maybe I’ll tell it some day. At least, as I know it. Let’s just say that there are too many old resentments and jealousies. At this point in their checkered past, the only thing that will bring them together again is a huge payday. And, that means Young has to play in the band… which he won’t.

Such good music. At an end. At least we can listen to their old songs. And, some new music. Later this month Young releases an album called “Colorado.” Crosby has released three new albums in four years, matching Young’s production. Nash? Nada. Stills? He would if he could. But, he’s stone deaf. He can play live music as long as he follows other band members and can feel the bass rumbling through his feet. Still, his guitar solos come in odd places and timings.

Oh well.

As Neil Young once said, “The thing that makes you who you are will kill you in the end.”

And, so it does.

I made this picture working in extreme pain. There are days when my poor old back sends signals to my legs that say, “Your muscles are so tight that they cause agonizing pain.”  Of course, the dogs don’t understand this and so I walk with them when I should really be sitting in one particular chair that seems to straighten my back which tells my legs they aren’t hurting.

Yes. I do. I take a light weight muscle relaxer. I’m not sure it does anything, because my muscles aren’t really tight. It’s just that the nerves think they are.

Oh well.

I work as much as I can when I can. I have a real heavy shooting month with all sorts of events coming up that I’ve agreed to photograph. We’ll just see if I can live up to my plans and contract. if I plan it right, I’ll be able to do just that.

The picture. It’s what I saw enhanced just a bit. It was luck that we even walked in that direction. Photographers luck. The more I think about those two words, I think that for veteran photographers it really just means get outside, stand in front of better stuff in the best light that you can find. Press the button. Work the scene. Walk away once you know that you have it. That’s where the magic is. That’s where whatever it is — a spirit, nature, a higher power — lives.

Because.

As the old biblical saying goes, “Faith without work is dead.”


A little confusion.

No matter what you think.

The picture isn’t it. Unless you look at the curve at the top, which is really the bottom.

Yeah. Sure. This is one of those scenes that I return to when I can’t find a subject to suit a great sky. But, it’s different. It’s a reflection made by pointing the lens into a car’s hood. A black car. A black, dirty car.

I’ll tell you why dirty matters in a minute.

I made the picture on another walk. I was trying to figure out how I could do something a little differently because the clouds were so intense. They needed to be photographed. I happened to look towards my right. There it was. An almost perfect reflection of the scene above. I didn’t even bother with the real sky. I found what I liked.

Ten exposures later and I was done. I did not over shoot. I worked the angles and the length of the lens a little.

Dirty? Oh, that matters because the little star field you think you see in the bottom of the picture is really just little bitty bits of dirt.

I suppose if I flipped this picture around so the up is down, you might think I made the picture at night and somehow managed to get the stars in the picture even though we live in a place where there is nothing but light pollution. You could never really photograph star in New Orleans.

Aren’t I clever? or not.


 

 

Dusk in the fall.

Gently.

The night comes.

If you are lucky, you’ll be outside to see it as it drops down over the earth like a dark curtain. For me, it just depends. If I’m done with inside work and a dog wants to go out, I get to see nature’s magic. Magic and renewal. A 24 hour cycle. A kind of rebirth.

Sometimes, I’m trapped inside. I see dusk and nightfall through my studio windows. Sure, I can see the light. I can see day turn to night. But, it’s just not the same.

We — the dog and I — were walking along a little fence. When we turned the corner this is what I saw. I almost got too excited. I calmed down within a few seconds. I steadied myself. I made five frames. I knew I made a picture of what I saw.

That’s how it’s been for the last few  days. A lot of photographer’s luck, combined with timing and a little bit of knowledge. When the weather finally cools down, I’ll go looking for pictures in earnest. This is the time when we all got impatient because it seems like summer will never come to a close.

I saw a little meme of Facebook. Southerners say, “We made it through 20 weeks of summer. Only 32 weeks to go.” That feels about right. Right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Into the mystic.

Clouds.

I don’t usually photograph them, but I happened to look up and saw the most wonderful shapes. So, I did what I usually do and made a few pictures. I liked how fast they were moving across the sky. That’s hard to show using a still camera, so I just mostly concentrated  on what I originally attracted me to them and to their layers.

The way that I’m working these days is almost a picture a day. I make the picture one day and publish it the next. That was never my intent. It just seems to be working out that way.

That brings me to this.

Housekeeping.

I’m about to turn Storyteller into a full blown website with my blog incorporated into that. I’m going to use an outside template designed to replace WordPress template, which should give me more ability to do what I’d like. I found one company that I like a lot. I have a number of questions for them. If they are answered to my satisfaction, I’ll start on the project. There are two big questions.  One is about coding. The other is about building the site and how I lay it over Storyteller. It’s possible I could be out of service for a couple of days. I’ll let you know.

And, speaking of being out of service, I’m thinking of working on a picture per week schedule. In reviewing my work, I am repeating myself. And, I’m not making very substantial work. That isn’t to say I’ll only post once a week because I can share my out takes as well as the very best picture. I have to think that through. I’ll let you know about that too.

If all goes as planned, there will be a direct purchasing tab, leading the buyer to a place where images can be bought or licensed by size, with options for paper type, canvases and framing.

All of this will take some work, but I am free for awhile.

 

 


A summer’s day.

A summer’s afternoon. In the south.

It’s hot. It’s humid. It rains almost very afternoon.

It takes a while to get used to it. If you’ve moved from some other place, you’ll think that you died and went to hell. But, slowly if you stop staying indoors and spend some time in the heat, you’ll come to like it. Sure, you’ll gripe about it. You’ll pass the time talking to neighbors about it. You’ll try not to work in the noonday sun, because after all, only mad dogs and Englishman do that. But, you’ll get used to it.

And, those afternoon storms. They only last a while. The suck up the humidity. They cool things down for just a bit.

The picture. Honestly, I saw it. I made it. I positioned the lens so that the clouds are as important as the trees. I took some time getting the colors right. Some sensors have a little trouble being too red. Those trees could have looked like they were on fire if I let the image have its way.