In the air.

A

brand new picture. Imagine that. I went for a walk when the light was right and I started having fun. I just kept making pictures until I was finished, which took a while. I think that I wanted to take the long way home as they say.

The funny thing was that the more I saw, the more I saw.

I think my problem isn’t not being able to see. It’s feeling trapped in place by the current circumstances. I don’t like to be stuck anywhere unless I want to be. It’s one thing being stuck in New Orleans. It’s another to be stuck on St. Barts.

It’s also one thing to know that almost everybody thinks that the pandemic is over when it has years to go and that too many of them aren’t taking any kind of precautions thinking that they are protected by the vaccinations. To a certain extent they are, but there are enough breakthrough infections to make me wonder a little bit

In my case, that doesn’t matter. I isolate myself or I run the risk of dying. So, as I write I’m talking to the Shipt buyer. Because of me, everybody in the house likes not having to go grocery shopping. Don’t get me wrong, they like buying specialty items at a farmers market or a fruit stand. They like going to Hong Kong, the Asian grocery store, not the city.

One of the things that I’ve come to understand is that the pandemic made a lot of us think about how we do things. We don’t always have to be some place to work. We don’t have to travel across the country to have an hour meeting. We’ve managed to find and cut out a lot of BS factors.

On the other hand, shopping from home for bigger products has put a huge stress on the logistics chains, to which most people never gave a second thought. There are ships and containers stacked up at every major port city. In China, or other ports in Asia, there aren’t enough containers or ships to move new product.

This is a pandemic which keeps on giving in ways that never occurred to us. I’m sure that there will be more.

A quick change. When it comes to photo technique I keep writing the same things. Unless I do something out of the ordinary, I’m not going to divide the columns.


Evening glow.

T

his post was inspired by a band called Ranky Tanky. They are a Gullah band from the Lowcountry area of South Carolina.

They play a kind of country jazz. I’m always amazed at how many of their songs I know. Songs that were covered by The Rolling Stones and Little Feat. The good news is that both bands always acknowledged their musical roots.

Roots. I think that knowing who’s shoulders you are standing on. That’s another little piece of Storyteller. I haven’t talked about my inspirations in a good long while. (Let’s see if I can write that anymore Southern.)

Maybe I should start doing that again. Whaddya think? I can write about particular artists, or photographers or musicians to authors.

Let me just say that there are only a few photographers who inspire me. Most of them are old now. But, artists and musicians? You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting them. (Southernism number two.)

I wonder why that is.

S

ometimes things that look easy to do are a lot harder than we think.

This picture is an example of that.

It’s a time exposure made on my smart phone. Easy enough, right?

Sure. If you don’t care about the highlights or the deep shadows.

I did everything I could to keep those areas intact. I failed. Either one or the other had to go.

So, I kept the highlights and let the shadows go dark. I tried to hold the shadows, but they lost way too much contrast.

I did the best that I could, which wasn’t enough.

That’ll happen sometimes.


More and more and more.

L

et me tell you a story.

A little over six weeks ago Hurricane Ida blew through. While her rainfall didn’t do too much in my neighborhood, 155 mph winds did.

They blew down almost every kind of cable and power source. Our power company, Entergy, did the best the they could and had us repowered in about two weeks. Cox followed right behind. They all picked up their damaged goods and cleaned up their messes.

Along comes AT&T. They got their service repaired but picked up nothing. The foreman flat out lied and said they would pick it up the next day.

Nope.

Now comes my calls to their corporate office. Do you know how hard it is to reach an actual human being at AT&T? I lied my way through their switchboard when I finally reached a maintenance and repair division of business accounts.

I reckoned I was trying to get a business account — AT&T’s — looked after. Heh. They said the problem would be taken care of within a couple of days.

Nope.

Yesterday I called The District Attorney of Orleans Parish and filed a criminal complaint. At their suggestion I also filed a civil suit.

Since their corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, Texas, and my attorney’s office is also located there, I filed in Dallas County, Texas.

Nobody wants to go to court there.

I doubt that I’ll recover the ten million dollars in damages I am asking for, but I’ll finally get their attention.

Dumbasses.

All they had to do was finish their job.

L

et me tell you another story. A better one.

I took a stroll in a place that I rarely do.

Look what I found. I found autumn in the pine needles and mud.

That made me happy because we are drifting between the moment of early fall and real fall.

This is when I get really impatient. It’s not cool and there aren’t enough red leaves. t’ll get here soon enough, but until then…

Grumble, grumble, toil and trouble.

The picture is easy. Expose properly and there is no work in post production.to speak of.

There is an interesting thing happening with the block design. Every time I try to do some actual design, the system messes with me so I eventually give up and go back to this kind of page layout.

It’s boring, but at least I can do it.

It’s clean and minimalistic.

That’s good.

For now.


Maybe, an age of miracles.

H

ave you ever shared a dream? We did. This morning. I woke up thinking ,”Whew, what a dream.” I was thinking about what I saw and felt, when from the other side of the bed came, “Oh my God, what a dream.”

I started talking about my dream and pretty soon she was filling in the parts I was leaving out. Then, we got scared. How is this possible, we wondered? Was this a weird thing or was this the best thing?

Why worry about it? The person closest to me, the one who I adore is able to actually appear in my dream. Well, wait a minute. I was seeing things like I normally would. It was not dream-like. People weren’t just showing up. I was looking and seeing. It was the same thing for her. We were looking for something. We didn’t see each other in this strange land.

Where we looking for each other? Had we split up to save time and distance? I have no idea.

One thing that struck me was the color. It was my kind of color. Bright, bold, contrasty. The scenes were almost cartoon-like. I liked wherever it was that we’d found.

My hope is that one of these nights, well early morning, I return to this place. Maybe this time, we can travel together.

T

he water caught my eye. I just pointed and shot. I repeated that a couple of times, slightly changing the framing and the length of the lens.

The picture at which you are looking is the first one. Sometimes instinct is the driving force behind good art.

I’m not sure that this picture is even close to art, but it’s the thing that I saw first.

It needed a crop to get rid of some clutter. That’s why it’s square.

You know that I’m not a big fan of square crops. I think it displays a lack of confidence by the photographer or designer.

For sure, a group of nine pictures cropped square and laid out as a big square looks very cool, but don’t hurt the photographs.

Never hurt the photograph.


Time fades away.

W

hat remains.

This is one of our storm ravaged trees. Branches are broken, but new leaves are sprouting up like today was spring and not fall.

I’m not sure in what form the recovery will take, but at least nature is doing her work. All nature really wants is stasis. One way or another, this tree will be dealt with.

Okay. Enough of that.

Let’s talk about technological dependence. Let’s talk about Monday. Let’s talk about Facebook and all it’s secondary companies. They crashed. There was a DNS problem.

We think.

Facebook executives lie about everything. Here’s one now. They claimed service was down for five hours. Oh really?

I was looking for a post so I went directly to Facebook at 7:30am. It was down, at least for any new posting. You could still read whatever was posted before the system came down. You couldn’t reply.

I didn’t have service until around 5pm. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s 9 1/2 hours. Of course, that’s in New Orleans where time moves at a different pace. They say that we are 50 years behind. So, there’s that.

Anyway.

The New York Times published a story about what this really means. Facebook claims a membership of 2.6 billion users. Most just use it like many of us do. Mostly we talk amongst ourselves.

However, about half of that total use it to conduct business, to communicate within companies, to sell stuff, to publish newspapers and — in some countries — it is the prime method of communication.

That’s all great. But, in another story, the Times says that Facebook is weaker than we think and that it is already showing cracks.

There are those who talk about regulatory measures. That’s good. It’s a good idea. Let’s take it a few steps further.

What if Facebook is turned into a utility like electric companies and phone companies? What if the entire internet is declared a utility?

I know, I know. That could take the freedom of the internet away.

That’s been done about a decade ago.

There are only three — or four — big players; Amazon, Facebook, Google and some people say Apple.

There’s no privacy. I could post something on Instagram and see ads for something related on Google. That implies there is no freedom.

It seems simple enough to me. It could be done. It won’t be.

T

his picture needed something a little different. At least, I think it did.

I made it monochrome. It seemed a little bleaker that way.

It still wasn’t done. I tinkered. I added extra bokeh using OnOne.

I messed around with the basic color because I thought I made it too bleak.

So, this is the finished picture.

Let’s jump back to the other side for a minute. I realized I wasn’t done with it yet.

I concluded that any kind of regulation or reclassification of the internet and its most dominant sites wouldn’t happen.

It’s not because of a lack of political will. There may be. Or, not. I don’t know.

The real issue is that the people conducting hearings — mostly the Senate — have no clue what to ask or how to follow up because they don’t understand the digital world at all.

You’d think that after the last two decades of digital growth they’d take some time to get familiar with these things.

But, noooo.

They are busy doing something else; obstructing everything, trying to tear down the good things about government and taking money from certain rich players. You know, bribes. There I said it.

The very least they could do is ask their younger staffers to explain the questions they are about to ask on the floor or in committee so they wouldn’t look like idiots.

But — once again — noooo.


Not spring.

Y

ou would think that this picture was made in spring, but it’s not. It was made a couple of days ago. This is a weird year and we normally have two growing seasons. We’ve just entered the second one.

Things are starting to bloom again.

Trees aren’t blooming except for the ones that Hurricane Ida shook. They are exhibiting spring-like growth.

I suspect that we’ll be hearing a lot about Pandora, an investigation that tries to understand where big money goes and who is doing all of this corporate scheming, er, scamming.

I read that in The Guardian, a London based newspaper, not because it’s better than U.S. newspapers, but because I wanted their perspective.

I had to laugh. They named locations like Ukraine, Belarus, England and… South Dakota.

Huh?

Apparently, the state has been stashing money offshore for years.

I don’t think that anybody is clean when it comes to money these days. Most folks are out for themselves which explains the fight to get people vaccinated when the very act is a no brainer.

What can I say? What can you say?

I

give up. WordPress is as fucked up as it’s ever been. This damn block system dropped two paragraphs on the other side. If you try to put the coursor in the middle of a paragraph it immediately defaults to the first line.

Until, I backed out of everything, wasting money and time, I couldn’t even type here.

And, they have the stones to tell me that I’m going to be billed at the end of the month. Good luck with that.


And, so it came to be.

Y

esterday was a day of nothing. It wasn’t useless. There are no useless days.

Instead, on a day normally reserved for errands, I did nothing. I awoke at about 8:15 am, looked the clock, turned over and the next thing I knew, it was 10:44 am.

After a bit of stretching and exercise, it was noon. Time for breakfast, er, lunch. If this had been another time in my life, lunch would have turned into drunch. It didn’t.

Then, I did something different. Or, not. I took a nap. Now, we’re talkin’.

Actually, what I probably need is some traveling to someplace far and to the north. That ain’t happen’. I can’t travel now and you know why. For a while I accepted it. Now I’m getting angry. If any of you who follow me are anti-vaxxers for any reason, unsubscribe NOW.

In the next few weeks I’m going on an unholy tear against you and your entire dumbass selfish cohort. If you raise your voice to fight me, trust me when I say that I’ll leave you for dead.

I bet none of you saw that coming. I’m tired of being confined to home, staying away from my neighbors when I walk the dogs, ordering our groceries from Shipt and watching people parade around like the pandemic is over. It is not over.

There. I said it.

S

unset. As you know I’m not really big on photographing a sunset just because it is there.

I’ll photograph a sunset if it is incredible. I’ll turn around and photograph what it illuminates. Or, I’ll photograph it in a situation like this one.

Three out of four isn’t bad.

This sunset surprised me. I couldn’t really see it until I moved around the tree trunk.

Then, wowie-zowie.

What great light. It reflected off some structure and created even more golden light. It turned bright orange as it passed through the foliage.

That’s where it stopped. I turned around. Nothing.

I did two things to the picture in post production. I opened up the tree so it wasn’t a big black thing in the middle of the picture.

And, I cropped it.


All the fall colors.

A

friend of mine used to travel from Michigan to Vermont to photograph fall colors. Now he travels from Florida where he retired.

That seems like an awfully long way to chase color.

Me?

I’m lazy. I walk out of my door and take pictures of fall color. Or, I could. We lost a lot of trees around here a month or so ago.

That’s not all bad news.

Downed trees mean new views. New views mean new pictures. New pictures mean new smiles.

That’s what happened when I made this photograph. It seems like this amount of color is way too early, but Hurricane Ida seemed to change everything. Or, maybe it’s climate change… no matter what the Republicans say.

I’m won’t get into the politics of that because it really is just politics based on money. Follow the money, they say.

You know where the money goes. I know you know.

And, that’s enough for a pretty, but weird picture.

T

his is one of those pictures that needed a lot of help.

It needed cropping. It needed color control. And, it needed art.

So, I gave it art.

I gave it Pointillism, which is an art movement that uses a technique in painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image. Unless you enlarge the image, you don’t usually see the dots.

This is an extreme application because you can see the dots with just a glance.

That’s your Saturday art semi-lesson. There’s a lot more, but there always is.


What do you see?

T

his has been a very quiet time for me. I’m not doing much more than I need to do. That’s not me. Nor, is it good for me.

I’ve always been a believer of finishing your daily work and then do one more thing. Big or little, it doesn’t matter. You are making progress.

Where I come from we say, progress not perfection.

That’s good because I’m never perfect. I make mistakes. I’m the typo king. Some of my best pictures are either motion shaky art out of focus.

That’s not a terrible thing. I learn from all of those things. I edit my words tighter. I compensate for cameras shake either with a tripod or I make sure my shutter speed is high.

But, right now none of that is happening. I reckon that the pandemic and the last 18 months have worn me out. It’s worn a lot of people out. Add to that the pressure of really not working much and I’m probably blown out.

My way of dealing with this is not working. Or, working very well. I probably need a long, long vacation. But, I’d worry about what was going on where I wasn’t.

I suspect a lot of us are in this place.

What about you?

A

ll reflections, that’s what this picture is really about. I’d finished a very short walk when I looked up and saw the window.

I had to move around a bit in order to make this picture as well framed as it is, which is to say, not very well.

If I could have moved back about 15 feet, I could have aligned the final image a lot better.

There goes that perfection thing again.

Nonsense. I did the best I could with what I had.

Once again, I didn’t do much but darken and sharpen the picture. After all, simpler is usually better.

This time it was.