In a quiet place.

M

any years ago, I used to publish an experimental picture every Sunday. I haven’t done it for a long while. I’d like to say that I’m going to resume, but I’ll probably forget.

Throughout the news sites that I read there have been discussions about CoVid-19 (Over 106,000 daily new infections.), The Olympics, national and global fires, climate change and water.

Since I live in the land of too much water, I thought that I’d focus on that, not so much from a documentary standpoint, but from an artistic standpoint.

So.

This picture is about water. And, leaves. And, branches.

It took some doing to combine these natural elements because they are three separate pictures. We’ll get to that in a minute.

To my mind, all of the news with the exception of The Olympics are nature being nature. Even sports in Japan could fall into the nature category because anyone who competed outside felt the Japanese heat.

I’ve written this in the past, but to me it seems like nature, always seeking stasis, has finally had enough. Ma Nature has decided we — the human race — is the problem and she’s going to do something about us.

Or, we can mend our way. Right this minute. Now.

L

ayers. That’s my trick. As I wrote on the other side, there are three layers here.

Water, leaves and branches. Each of them was photographed at different times.

I started with the water and dropped the leaves into that. I held that back and worked on the branches, which ultimately becomes the base of the entire image.

There was the usual fine tuning and adding the faux bokeh.

I was finished.

I want to discuss one other topic. A friend of mine wrote blog about light. He said that the “overused painting with light” was really not in the discussion.

I wonder why he did that. Photography is literally the Greek words for “Painting with light.” Or, really, “Drawing with light.”

That’s the very first thing you learn in a photo class at any level.


My places.

N

o patience. That describes my attitude these days. I have almost no tolerance for technical issues and yet I know better.

I understand that everything made by man eventually breaks. That’s why there are so many service people. Mechanics, technicians, plumbers, the Maytag repairman, even doctors are working because stuff breaks.

Thinking about leaving WordPress I realized it’s not about the platform. Most of the time it is solid and stable. What aggravates me is the constant changing of workflow. That, and the lack of communication about those changes.

I know one thing about being creative. We need some sort of routine on which to hang our imagination. If the routine changes frequently all we are doing is swimming in place.

It’s one thing to shake things up in order to jump start the creative process, it’s another thing to be perpetually confused.

Take the block system for instance. What was wrong with the older so called classic template?

Nothing.

The block system is supposed to be faster. Nonsense. At best, it’s just a bit slower than the classic system. At worst, it creates extra work because it crashes or traps type, or traps drop caps.

Yes, I know there is a classic template in the block inserter. But, it’s a very early version. It may predate me.

So, that’s it.

I’ll discuss the picture on the other side.

T

his picture is more about feeling and a bit of nostalgia than any type of documentary work.

There are two images layered into one. As usual I was tinkering with number of pictures when all of a sudden it came together.

That happens sometimes when you put the work in. But, you have to put the work into your art. No work, no art.

The pictures in their literal form are of Mardi Gras beads on a fence, and of Kowloon, Hong Kong.

It’s nostalgic. It’s about looking back at my life and understanding that I likely won’t do these things again unless a vaccine is developed for people like me. That will take the federal government’s help. I’m not holding my breath.

I don’t know what you see or feel when you look at this image. After all, you bring your own life to the picture when you view it.

They say that all art is autobiographical. If this photograph isn’t that, I don’t know what is.


Not lazy. Not hazy.

A friend of mine said that she changed a lot of guitar chords to ones that she created because she got bored playing the normal progression. I tried to tell her that if she played every possible progression she wouldn’t get bored.

She told me to shut up and stick to doing what I do. Make pictures. She knows not to say, “Stay in your lane” because I’ll call her Karen.

No worries. It’s all in good fun. We think that all of that stuff, including the so-called cancel cultures is nonsense. If anyone is going to do any cancelling it will be me. I’ll cancel myself and be done with it.

Anyway.

The point of the first paragraph is that sometimes I bore myself. So I turned perfectly good trees into nightmares.

I suppose I could claim that this is a tribute to those folks who were hit by tornadoes in the past couple of weeks. The picture does sort of look like trees are flying around in space.

I guess that takes some imagination, which I have in spades.

Flying trees, eh?

First, let me tell you that this is a horizontal pictured turned every which way.

I also stretched the external dimensions .

Then I layered the same picture three times.

I made the color close to what some people call contemporary color. Some people.

That’s all I did. Ha!


It must have been the roses.

There is a piece in The New York Times that is the opposite of last week’s languishing. This time it’s flourishing.

The author gives you some steps to take to move from languishing to flourishing. There are seven of them. Most of them are smallish things like clean the kitchen or take the trash out. Others are more predictable like gratitude and hope.

I’m with Neil Young on the hope thing. You can’t eat it.

I suppose that moves me back into the languishing column but you can’t have hope without something to hope for. I suppose I do. If you read my comments about gratitude, turn them upside down and that’s what I hope for.

What are your hopes? Dreams?

I do have gratitude. I’m lucky to have a roof over my head. I’m lucky to the people and dogs in my life that I do. I’m really happy that the pain in my back and legs is mostly a thing of the past. I’m also very grateful that I haven’t caught CoVid-19 because it is a death sentence for me.

And you? What are you grateful for?

More importantly what are we going to do going forward?

Me? Well for starters, I’m going to clean this trashed studio.

Oh boy. This picture was a nice straight picture of some roses.

But, I couldn’t help myself. I just had to tinker with the picture.

Luckily, I had a vision for it before I ever started.

I wanted the picture to look like the emulsion of an old school photograph.

This actually starts with the border. Then, I worked to fill it in an appropriate way.

There is a lot of stuff going on in this picture that you don’t see right off. The background is one So are the shadows.

Even the roses are tuned up.

The total package works, but some stuff without the rest wouldn’t work. Believe me. I tried.

Stay safe. Stay Strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient.


It’s late and you’re tired.

You know how you feel. You are out on the road, traveling somewhere. You’ve been driving for a long time. Your body has finally achieved one with your car and the road.

Your brain is on remote. It’s a good thing that there isn’t any traffic because your reaction time is slow.

The scenes in front of you blur into one. Time becomes elastic. If you eat or drink it all tastes the same. No need for a good cafe. You won’t taste the food.

That’s what this picture is about.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient. Enjoy all of the road.

What does it mean to travel?

I suppose it depends on why and how.

This picture assumes you mean by car.

To be successful I simply laid one picture over another, sucked some color out of it, added some grain and there you have it.

I think it works.


China Rose

A while back I had an interesting discussion on Instagram. It was probably my only one. It wasn’t about photographs. Instead it was about flowers.

The photographer that I was talking with misidentified a flower that he called a China Rose. I knew that it was something else because I grew up with them.

We both started Googling and found out what a real China Rose looked like. We learned that it isn’t the color, but the smallness and the shape.

These are China Roses produced my way.

Artfully.

I have more traditional pictures, but today we are still headed towards confusion and mixed up imagery. That’s just fine. It’s what I feel like producing.

If anything, this image gets me closer to how I saw it in bright and contrasty sunlight. It was a little dream-like at the time. If I went out today, it would also be the same. I’m having trouble waking up.

That’s after finishing packaging homemade dog food, and having a coffee and a donut. Don’t judge me. I know that you’ve eaten worse. Gummy Bears for breakfast just shouldn’t be a thing.

Which brings me to one of the lamest things I’ve heard in years. Some Republican know-nothing is claiming that President Biden won’t let us have meat in our beer.

Imagine that. Meat Beer.

And, the world turns.

Whatever did I do to this picture?

For one thing, nothing is in sharp focus but by tinkering with it there appears to be sharpness. Trust me, there isn’t any real sharpness.

The next thing I did was remove all of the mid-tones. That caused overly bright contrasty color which I added more color. I give that saturation slider a good, hard pull.

The result is what you see. I don’t know about you, but it’s art to me. Sorta.

We’ve been through that before. I don’t need to repeat it just to make a point or fill space.

So. I won’t.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask inside. Keep your distance everywhere. Wash your hands. Get your jabs, especially your second one. Look after each other. Be patient because we are getting close.


The cat came back to find his hat.

Hmm, I thought. Maybe there are no green eggs and ham. I knew that wasn’t right so I thought a Dr. Suess-like photograph might help.

I’m sure that by now you are all aware of the controversy cause by Theodore Geisel’s estate removing six of his books from publication.

No. This is not part of the so-called cancel culture. So-called because it’s nonsense as far as I’m concerned. Closing out some books cannot be part of the cancel culture because the estate themselves did it. I don’t think you can cancel yourself, although on some days I’d like to try.

More to the point, who the hell set up a bunch of blathering idiots on social media as judge and juror? Most of the loudmouths on any social site are lucky they can walk and talk.

Of course, the six books should have been pulled from publication. They are racist on their very surface whether or not they were intended to be.

New York Times Columnist Charles Blow said this is a good first step since the estate did themselves, but he recalls growing up as a Black child that he was always made to feel inferior.

I think the world of Mr. Blow. He’s kind of the angry Black man among NYT columnists. That’s good. We need to hear his side.

Here’s the dirty little secret. Those six books were among the worst sellers in the entire franchise. If they were not Dr. Suess books they would have been remaindered and discontinued long ago. It’s really a matter of clearing out the fulfillment house.

That’s the story from the left hand column.

What a glorious mess.

I thought, after thinking about an illustration for this post, that I would make a Cat in the Hat tree.

I combined two images of winter trees. I layered them so that they almost appear to be one. I added a bit of color.

I smoothed the background, as I’ve been doing lately, and I sharpened the branches to the point where they glowed.

Then, I softened the whole thing slightly.

That’s it. Just a few 5,917 steps to get to this illustration.

It looks a little Suess-like I think.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Keep doing all the rest no matter what some state governments think because we are going to pay for that. Enjoy all the Dr. Suess books you can read.


Time is lost.

All the time in the world. That’s how numbers felt early in the pandemic. It was flexible. It stopped and started on its own. Many people felt that way, especially people like me who lost both businesses in the short term.

Timelessness did produce one huge thing. People got creative. People experimented. Some folks even found out that we didn’t need to work according to hide bound procedures.

New found creativity produced something else. Offices emptied out, some never to repopulate again. Mass transit systems were not overflowing, which caused an issue with monetary support. This list is endless.

Importantly, at least for people who like music, small venues closed their doors. Others just flat out shuttered. Not only have people lost their livelihood, but music will have a hard time recovering.

Small venues lead to medium venues, which lead to sheds, which leads to arenas which lead to stadiums. Bands learn how to be, how to talk to an audience, how to deal with hecklers.

Want proof?

The Beatles. You may have heard of them. Do you think they arrived at Shea Stadium fully formed without starting small? They played church events, they played high schools. Then, they started playing clubs like the famous Cavern Club. They went to Hamburg, Germany, where they played four shows a day, six days a week. Hard work. Young men learning.

When the time was right, they broke out.

That’s how it works. Sure, a band can build an audience via streaming. They can go out on the road and play. If they start out too big when they weren’t ready they can burn out. They’ll lose confidence and fans will lose patience.

They say a building is only as strong as its foundation. Well, there you have it.

Watches. A long time ago my dad thought that he wanted to repair watches. The work was precise but it wasn’t physically demanding. He took classes. He did a kind of internship. He stopped. I have no idea why. I was too young to even notice.

I have all of his watch making tools and broken watches. I started photographing them a long time ago. This is one of those images. It is a tiny file so I hid what I could and called it art.

As you know, I’m getting bored with nature. I’m also not inclined to be around other people. I may start photographing his tools and watches again.

Hopefully, I’m a better photographer than I was 15 years ago.

This picture looks stretched and contorted because the file is just too small. I can fix that next time around.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Don’t waste time, it’s all we have.


Maybe yes, maybe no.

As colorful as possible.

A Facebook and Instagram friend is going to be sure that I’m trolling her with this picture. I’m not. But, she doesn’t know me that well. She lives in California in the hills way up above Malibu. She’s a pretty good photographer so I followed her on Instagram. She followed back. After a bit, she friended me on Facebook. Of course, I friended her back.

She’ll think that I’m trolling her because two days ago she posted a heavily post produced hydrangea on Instagram. And, here I am.

She doesn’t know that after all these years on WordPress, I’ve learned to plan my weeks according to new the pictures I have on hand. The only time I stray is when I have a picture that is calling out to be published, like today’s moon. Or, if the well is dry and I have to go out looking.

My hydrangea image was reworked in a very different way than hers was. I have no idea what she did. I think it’s one app. I started in Snapseed on the phone and finished with big boy/girl software called OnOne.

For those of you who have been around for awhile, you know that I gave up on Adobe products like Photoshop and Lightroom a couple of years ago. I wasn’t a hard decision. I got tired of paying $9.99 a month forever.

OnOne does a lot of production things faster and more efficiently than Adobe ever could do. Besides, Photoshop really should be used by designers and repro houses, which is where I first started using it back in 1992. It wasn’t called Adobe back then.

Anyway.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Mask up. Keep your distance. Enjoy every bagel and lox sandwich.