Airspace and other stuff.

T

his will be very short. I’m taking a break from writing. It happened this way. An old friend of mine from my college decided to drop in here and tell me that I need a new copy editor. I haven’t talked to this guy in at least a year. He said he found typos. That’s rich coming from a guy trained the exact same way that I was, but never worked as a photographer. The sold printing supplies, mostly for large presses, I think. Then he retired.

To my mind, you do whatever it takes to succeed, but if I was able to make it in my chosen field anybody could. I’m not that good. So, anything less is failure.

Criticism is cheap if you’ve never done the job. Besides, perfection is for angels.

T

echnically, I will say this. The finished image is layered. There are two pictures hiding in one. One was made in Albuquerque at the Balloon Fiesta. The other was made here during winter. I tinkered with them as usual. I found out something new. I saw it happen once before, but I didn’t think much of it.

Do you see how the image sort of looks like it’s blowing up? That happens when you put a border on it. I don’t know why. But, I’ll look into it. Anything less than perfection is unacceptable. Right?


Into the sky.

Sometimes pictures aren’t really about things so much as they are about what they make the viewer feel. I was playing around with layering when suddenly I smiled. This picture was on my monitor. It helped me feel lighter.

I was talking with a friend of mine about what art in general did for the viewer. We’ve all long known that the viewer makes the meaning no matter what the artist does. The viewer brings his or her entire life to a piece of art.

I have an idea why I like this picture. It’s a fantasy. With my dreams lately this picture just pulls me into it. The yellow on the bottom half of the picture doesn’t hurt. Yellow is a brightener in more ways than one.

Yellow ink is how printers who work on big commercial presses brighten an image without being overt. Yellow paint is a sure way to brighten a room. The yellow color spectrum is known to brighten people’s moods.

And, the blue?

It’s in the right place in the picture. It feels like it’s in space. It’s a good place for the eye to wander to after looking at the heart of the picture.

I could say this picture is almost perfectly designed except that it wasn’t, at least not be me. It just sort of fell into place.

That’s how I know it’s right.

I made this picture from three different layers.

The first is the bare beaches of a tree that has not yet shown its new leaves. The sky was milky with a light overcast so it made a great background.

The balloons were added next. I wanted them to be the subject of the picture rather than the branches, so I dropped the blacks out of the branches and worried about the color of the balloons.

Next came those floating globes of light. They were created out of whole cloth using an app that I rarely use. It’s a little too much except in certain cases like this one.

Once everything was assembled, I fine tuned it and I was done.

Well done.


It was a dark and cloudy day.

Everything changes. I had some lessons in that today. I wasn’t going to renew my premium membership with WordPress. It’s digital dump day, or whatever today is called. You know the equivalent of Black Friday. For electronic stuff.

I ended my premium plan yesterday. I received an email from WordPress today. 40% off for the next two days. I’m nothing if if not opportunistic. So, I renewed.

Don’t judge me.

While I have some complaints, especially with the Block System, I like it here. I have a community here.

I’ll still rebuild and redesign my website. That’s still the plan and the project. But, now I have a little more time. Like a year. That’s good because along with being opportunistic I’m lazy.

There is another important change too. You remember how I said that the all seeing dog was showing her age?

Wrong.

I noticed that when she stretched her jaw after waking up she would yelp in pain. I couldn’t find the problem until I put her leash on her. I happened to touch the back of her jaw. A little yelp.

Uh oh.

Another jaw infection. I called her vet and he prescribe the same antibiotics that he did when she lost a few teeth.

A week later and I let her out about 7am. The weather has turned cold here in the swamp. Luckily I had the presence of mind to dress properly even though I thought we’d be back inside in a few minutes.

Wrong again.

We went on the longest walk we’ve been on in the past few weeks.

Yippeeeeeeee.

Clouds. Both sides now. Joni is 77 and Judy is almost 80. My musical heroes may not be with us much longer. We’d better enjoy them while we can.

These are the first clouds of what turned out to be a three day storm and a cold front.

I made the file in color. I started messing with it and thought it looked better in black and white.

For sure, it brought out some things I didn’t see when I made the picture.

You can see the storm front as it moves. And, if I’m not mistaken, I can see a water spout. I didn’t hear any reports of a tornado, so maybe it broke apart.

No telling what a little post production will do.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy every snow flake.


In the air tonight.

The day after the day after. Back to work. There is so much to do. The house needs a spring cleaning and it’s still autumn. My work needs a spring cleaning too. Then, there are the more global issues. The ones that are going to get gummed up in Trump’s desire to sue everyone and everything that moves.

They say that if he doesn’t leave by January 20th that the Secret Service will escort him out. That ought to be a hoot. I’m disappointed that only a very few Republicans have congratulated Biden and one of them is a former president.

Why oh why do we need this great divide?

There are some things that are above my pay grade. The divide is one of them. I have some theories. By 2050, white people will be in the minority. Older and uneducated whites are terrified.

Some of them have only travelled for business. They didn’t see anything. I’ve spent a lot of time in places where I was in the minority. My life is richer for it. I’ve learned from local people just as I hope they’ve learned a little from me.

Some people don’t need to travel because they read and read and read. I’m sure some of the older people read too. But, what do they read? The uneducated people may read too. I don’t know. Again, it’s about content.

What do you read?

The picture. I made it on a dog walk. It was around dusk when the all seeing dog and I were walking. I saw this scene. I did what I do. I softened the entire picture during post production. I wanted you to feel what I felt.

Do you?

One more thing. The all seeing dog feels good, but she is getting old. We don’t walk in the morning. She goes out, does what she needs to do and goes back to bed. When we do walk, which is still two more times a day, she shortens our walks. Sometimes I shorten them because I know she’ll get tired on the return.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your masks.


The way it is.

Relaxation.

For most of us the water does it. We get heated up in the sunlight, cool off with a dip in the pool. And, if you are smart you just let yourself float and drift around like this guy. I’ve seen him in the past. I waited and watched, I showed some restraint and some patience. When the time was right, click, click, click.

That’s it. That’s the picture.

Hurricanes and other stuff.

The situation is changing.

Marco has slowed down some. He also appears to be headed to the Texas – Louisiana border at about the Sabine Pass. We may get some wind and rain in New Orleans. The early timing seems to be off as well.

Laura should pass by about Wednesday. The eastern edge of her cone seems to be just passing by the coast of Southeastern Louisiana while heading north somewhere well upriver of New Orleans.

That’s what I know now. At the next NOAA update everything could change. You never know. One thing I learned about is the myth of two hurricanes creating a super hurricane. That’s not true. They bounce off of each other creating a sort of repelling action. That’s a good thing.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Look after each other. Enjoy every turkey club sandwich.


Giant cotton balls.

Drifting.

The sky looked almost like rows of crops with cotton ball clouds floating by my discerning eye. I was going to wait to publish this picture. I’ve been enjoying working with “real” cameras. And, sharing those pictures.

But, my Instagram feed is flooded with pictures of these clouds made by local photographers. I think every photographer in town made pictures of them. So, without any further delay I’ll share mine with you.

I was out walking when I looked up. These clouds were passing by my location at a fairly rapid clip. So, I photographed at a fairly rapid clip. This formation of clouds is fairly rare which makes my decision to work quickly begin to make sense. I’m usually not that fast. Unless I have to be.

I actually hung out hoping that they would last until the low, glowing light of dusk would have really made a great picture. That was not to be. The cloud formation fell apart a few minutes later.

You know what they say. “If you snooze you lose.”


Continental drifter.

Clouds.

From both sides, now.

I can’t remember seeing clouds shaped like these. They looked as if they were following each other after being pulled apart in the sky. There wasn’t much wind, at least down below where I was standing. It could have been quite gusty up above. That would have done it.

I don’t photograph many clouds unless something dramatic is going on. This isn’t dramatic. It’s interesting to me. I liked the repeating shapes. I liked the pristine blue of the sky, something that only happens around here after rainfall. When the rain stops and the storm clouds blow out, I try to take advantage of my time outside to make pictures like this.

Funny thing about going outside.

There was another discussion of how to break a photographic block. A writer’s block but with pictures. The discussion got complicated. Photography is fun. Folks should stop making it hard. Finally, I jumped into the question. Here’s what I said. “Get your camera, attach your favorite lens to it and go outside. Walk around. You’ll see pictures. Lots of pictures.”

The discussion ended right there.

Presumably, everybody was outside taking pictures. Or, not.


Fallen leaves drifting in a swimming pool.

Summertime and the living is easy.

In this picture, even nature is taking a break. Or, so it seems. It’s likely that either a storm or a big wind blew through, knocking leaves to the ground. If there is a pool nearby, into the water the leaves go.

Somebody better than me has to come along a skim the water. I just take pictures. If this was my pool, it would be another story. In New Orleans, even if the work is zen-like, it’s hot work. A lot of rehydration is necessary. Maybe some sun screen at about a PF rating of 90. And, a hat. Maybe even long sleeves, which makes it feel even hotter.

This picture was made just passing by, like so much of my work. I was exploring a little. You know me. I never self-edit in the field. I see it. If it’s remotely interesting, I photograph it. I can delete the files later.

Which brings me to Sony’s latest and greatest camera. It’s a A 7 IV. It makes a 61mp file. That’s about a 183 mb working file. Add a few layers to that and you are well over a 200 mb file, even with compression. That sounds interesting, yes?

No.

That file is way too big and bulky for most of us. With that camera, not only would I need to upgrade every lens I own because the lenses must have proper resolving power. I’d need increased storage. Given that I save final files in three places, that’s a lot of storage. Then, there’s computing power.  A new computer with about 64 mb of RAM is needed, along with a very fast video card and a lot of onboard hard drive space.

Whew.

See where I’m headed with this? For most of us it’s overkill. Way overkill. For sure, there are working photographers who could use the equivalent of medium format film. Small product photographers need files of this size. Fine art and landscape photographers could use these huge images. Exposed properly, files of this size could make great 16×20 prints. That’s in feet, not inches.

For the rest of us?

This means we can pick up the last year’s latest and greatest camera for pennies on the dollar. I’m already starting to see the “gear head” photographers on social media selling their year old cameras. These are great deals. This group of photographers use their camera to take pictures of their gear. Maybe they take a few pictures to prove how good the camera performs. They rarely use their cameras as I would. As a tool to make pictures. For them, collecting gear is deal.

Boy, oh boy.

New to me gear.

 


Drifting in the darkness.

A single cloud.

With the face of a dog. Drifting in the early evening.

As a prelude.

To the storm to come. There are two. The big one, that I mentioned yesterday.

And, the little one, which arrived in the early morning. Within three hours it managed to dump nine inches of rain in our neighborhood. The entire city, and outlying regions, is flooded with about two or three feet of water. Even our street, which never floods, is overwhelmed. Water is up to our porch and well into our driveway. The pool is overflowing.

We had a tornado warning, a flash flood warning, a high wind advisory and a lakefront overflow warning all at once. We are a very special place.

If this keeps up, and with the big storm arriving Friday, it is very likely that the levees holding back The Mississippi River will overtop. That’ll be something. Low lying streets along the river will be flooded with I don’t know how many feet of water.

The big storm is going to make landfall as Hurricane Barry, a Category 1 storm somewhere near Lake Charles Saturday morning in the daylight hours. It will dump anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of rain inland. I have a very soft spot for Lake Charles. That’s where we finally made our temporary shelter after we evacuated following Hurricane Katrina. The folks there took good care of us. I wish them well. And, prayers.

That’s our story.

Have a good thought for us.