Cold, cold, light.


More like fall.

It’s about time.

The rain poured out of the sky. The cold weather arrived. The leaves turned yellow. They began to fall. We finally had golden leaves in the swamp.

I made this picture yesterday afternoon at about 4pm.

There were a lot of leaves already on the ground. Looking up however, was a little marvel. The leaves of fall.

And, I didn’t have to travel to Vermont to find them. I didn’t have to go to New Mexico, either. Nor, did I travel to Virginia. Or, to the Upee — the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s not that I don’t want to travel. But, I travel enough.

There are a few more little trips coming and then it’s 2020. The whole thing starts again. Another trip around the globe.

Anyway.

This is a great Sunday picture. I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I tinkered and made it more like an etching than a photograph. That’s not to say that the very purest picture, almost right out of the camera wasn’t pretty good. After all, how hard can it be to make a picture when nature does all the work?


After the storm, comes this.

Then, comes the sky show.

After a storm and as the cold front arrived we had a little color in the sky. I did what I could to photograph it. I really need to understand nature a little better in order to be in better places, to stand in front of better stuff, in order to make better pictures.

I’m starting to get bored with trees and power lines.

Actually, light will get better and easier to predict once we resume Standard Time at 2am this next Sunday. The evening sunlight will drop even lower in the sky. And, I can get ahead of rush hour traffic as I travel around from place to place in town.

There is some strategy to making pictures at the right time of day. A lot of it is simply the time of year.

Of course, there is standing in front of better stuff. That’s just another kind of planning or traveling.

There is lots to do. I’ve been biding my time.

 


Droplets.

First, the rains came. Thunder too. The mixing of two weather systems.

When we ventured outside, man, it was cold. And, windy. The dog who sees things wanted no part if it. She knows a few words. One of them is walk. She hears that and waits by the leashes. Another is home. She hears that and heads straight for home. This morning we went out. She did her business, as they say. She stepped away from that, I asked, “walk?” She stood there. So, I asked, “home?” She headed right back through the gates.

Just as well.

I knew the weather would turn cold. Well, coldish. I didn’t think I would feel that cold. I rarely do. I did. If we had continued on I would have been freezing by the end of the walk.

It’s always something.

A few days ago I was complaining about the unseasonable heat. Now, I’m complaining about the cold. No, not really. I was just surprised this morning.

The picture. We’ve had rain for parts of three days. We also live in a semi-tropical swamp. That means that while many of you are living with dead things, our plants don’t go dormant. In fact, some continue to grow if the weather never drops below freezing for more than a few days.

I know. I know. Green in the autumn. It’s maddening to some of you.

I just saw the picture while we were walking. I thought, “ah ha, that’ll get them.” So I pressed the button.


It can fool you.

It can fool you.

The picture. Sometimes, the weather. This picture looks cold. It’s not. I made this picture yesterday. The high was unseasonable. It was 80 degrees. The winds blew, a storm followed and the temperature won’t get above the mid-fifties. For the next four days.

Yippee.

With Mardi Gras Indians Uptown Super Sunday, and St. Joseph’s Night to photograph, colder is better than warmer. Besides, if I get too warm I can start taking layers off. If the day starts out warm, well, nobody wants to see that.

This picture. I really did make it yesterday. It really was 80 degrees. But, the way that I photographed it combined with the post-production it looks and feels cold. Yeah. A picture says a thousand words. These days, you can’t always trust a thousand words.


Another view of Japonica blooms. 

I posted another version of this tree last month.

Last month was yesterday. I didn’t post it yesterday. I posted it a week or so ago. Last month.

That’s my topic. That’s what I’ve been thinking about.

Calendar pages flipping.

What does that mean? What doesn’t it mean? For me, aside from business and credit cycles, they don’t mean much. Of course, they mean seasonal changes. But, they don’t change me.

We make a very big deal about the new year. We make resolutions. We try to drive our businesses harder. We try to change ourselves.

Why wait for a new year to do those things? Or, a new month? I would humbly suggest that you change those kinds of things when you notice they need changing. If you are in poor physical shape, take action when you notice that. If your business had a bad month make the required course corrections. Whatever needs doing, you should do it.

This post was created in response to a number of posts, comments and tweets. People where talking about how bad January was for them. They expected good things after New Year 2019. Good things didn’t happen. In some cases, bad things happened.

People got sick. People lost their jobs — especially if they are journalists. People had dreams that didn’t come true.

I didn’t reply to any of that.

I realized that it would make a good post here, on Storyteller.

Here’s what I think. You can’t control illness anymore than you can control nature. Dreams take hard work to come true. Most of the people whose comments I read were just waiting for them to come true.

Journalism. It is true that digital companies like HuffPost laid off a lot of people. Same thing with Buzzfeed. That makes me nervous. Those are the kinds of companies that should succeed today. Obviously, their owners wanted a better financial return. Good journalism costs money.

A number of my friends got laid off from traditional newspapers. You know, the ones made out of real paper. I like these folks. But, what did they think was going to happen?

That side of the of the news business has been dying for years. You can’t hang on forever. Talented or not.

What really amazed me where the comments made in reply to their posts. Friends were offended for the loss of good journalists. Or, good photographers. Whatever. They said things like your newspaper doesn’t know what they are missing. Or, Let’s boycott XYZ  newspaper.

Like that’ll help.

The world is changing. Technology is running rampant. Some for the better. Some for the worse. Realize that. Accept that. Use it. Drive your career with that knowledge. For that matter, run your life with that knowledge.

Think about it.

WordPress claims about 90,000,000 blogs or websites. We do all of this self publishing online. We couldn’t do that 25 years ago. Sheesh. Doing it 20 years ago took real online publishing skills. Now? Not so much.

What do U.S. Marines say? ” Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.”

Do that.

Forget the calendar. Change as you need to. When you need to. What you need to.

Happy weekend.


Big clouds.

This morning’s readings were pretty bleak.

I learned about the word deep. And how it might be the word of the year as it is currently used. Everybody seems to be diving deep into all sorts of data. Our personal data is no longer safe no matter what we do.

I learned about post truth. That this years Superbowl is perfect for the current President of The United States. Illegitimate. I don’t say that as a Saints fan. I say that as a fan of the truth.

I learned that just about everybody who knows about such things as war, safety, immigration and most world views disagrees with that same president.

I learned that the door is open to beating and hurting people who don’t look like you. Who don’t act like you.

That makes me sad.

No country for old men. Sheesh. No country for anybody.

On the other hand.

This picture makes me smile. It’s the one I saw when I made the picture of trucks and me, that I posted yesterday. Look at it. Look at the beauty of nature. Even in changing and often hard times. Look at it as the clouds blow into the region dropping the temperature by about 30 degrees.

This is the real stuff. All the rest — post truth, lack of privacy, and violence — is just temporary. It’ll come to an end. It has to. Nature won’t allow it to go on. For me, there is no debate about climate change even if the president doesn’t understand what extreme weather really means. He keeps going on about how cold it is in the midwest, forgetting that on the other side of the world temperatures are way up in triple digits. That there are some children who have never seen or felt rain because droughts have lasted for longer than their short lives.

Nature seeks stasis. She’ll do whatever it takes to balance the planet. That could mean getting rid of us. Getting rid of all the noise. Getting rid of the polluters. Getting rid of those of us who do not respect her ways.

We are already seeing it.

Brand new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was criticized for saying the world would end in twelve years. That’s not what she said. She cited studies that said we have about twelve years to do something before it is too late to do anything. She gets attacked for anything she does. Sure, sometimes her numbers are off. But, she has our welfare at heart. The point is simple. We don’t have that much time to act. Twelve years is a short time.

That’s what these clouds got me thinking about. That’s what the words I read this morning got me pondering. That’s what this post is doing. At least, it is for me.

The picture. It’s a drive by. We talked about that yesterday. It’s a fairly simple thing. See it. Make it. Yet, so much is contained within its frame. For me, a picture brings up all sort of thoughts. I hope, if it isn’t this picture, that some picture does the same for you.


Winter color.

More cold.

The few blooming flowers are no more. They don’t like the cold temperatures. They pass into another world. The world of compost. The world of endings. This happens before their seeds are passed from flower to flower. There are no flying insects to do that job.

They do another job. They catch my eye. I’m not that important. They catch everybody’s eye. That’s more important. They give us all a break from the winter drabness. I can’t imagine living where some of you live. Where you have a five month winter of cold and snow.

I complain about our hot, humid summers. At least they are bright and colorful. Until the end, when even the greenest of leaves look washed out and faded.

They say that cold winters are better than hot summers. That you can pile on the clothes. I’m not sure about that. Even with our mild cold, it takes me ten minutes to prepare. I suppose that I’m used to it, but I’d rather change my clothes and take more showers than prepare to take a walk.

Anyway.

The picture. At this time a year my eyes are drawn to bright spots, whether they are blooming or dying. I try to make a picture that reflects a flower’s life. In this case, it’s almost a macro picture so that you can see the state of the flower.

It took a little work in post, mostly to hyper-sharpen the details without making the picture go crazy with a sharpening rim. The best method is to darken the picture, increase the contrast to way more than normal and work backwards from there in small steps. It may not look it, but this image is the result of about 15 tiny steps. One of the markers that I look for is in the shadows. They are light enough to give you a hint of what is lurking there.

At the end of the day, I am balancing deep shadows with bright highlights after making the picture too dark and too contrasty in the first place. There is probably a more efficient way of getting there, but what would be the fun in that?


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.