T

he edge of town. No darkness here. Just raw, bright New Mexican light.

This is where Route 66 sort of comes to an end. It’s about as far west in Albuquerque as you can go, without leaving the city line.

I think that these ruins, probably once a gas station and cafe, were caused by the move to Interstate 40, which is south of here. Motorists just didn’t drive though here as much and locals wouldn’t stop here since this is very close to modern gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores.

I’d have probably never run into this place if I hadn’t been roaming around looking for PAD images. But I cruised far and wide.

I went further west than this place, to where the casino and the remains of route 66 re-emerge at a rickety old bridge. I went east out past Moriarity, where the junkyard and car museum is located. I went south as far as Las Lunas and north as far as the San Felipe Pueblo where I made two signature images.

I travelled as much as I could on surface streets. Interstates are not the way to go when you are looking for pictures.

I met great people along the way and some not so great people. I remember going into a small town grocery store about the size of a 7-11. I asked to use the restroom. “You hafta buy something.” “Okay I’ll take these two waters.” “That’s not enough.” “Okay, you’ll lose the sale and I’ll go pee on your driveway.”

I bought the water and used the restroom.

M

ore technical nonsense that I don’t want to deal with.

It seems that WordPress continues to make changes. At least some of the stuff works that didn’t work.

Of course, WordPress didn’t say a word, meaning that I caused myself all sort of problems doing an unneeded work around.

Anyway.

This picture was easy to make. Just shoot almost directly into the sun and pray.

If you expose the bright light properly the buildings will be silhouetted, which is what I wanted.

I added some faux bokeh and stuff, actually to tune down the electric color on the tumbleweeds in the background. The color was real but my eyeballs vibrated.

At least I’m having fun with color drop caps. What a day.


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.


Glowing delight.

Flower Fantasy.

I have to look in the shady parts of the dogs’ walks. That’s where I find this stuff. That’s also where I decide that I can’t make a more “normal” picture. That I have to make some a little different so that I can eventually play with it in post production. In this case, I stuck the phone into the heart of the flowers and just pushed the button. I let it do whatever it was going to do. Then I brought it into the studio and worked on it. I wanted to make the original image sort of dream to counter act the week’s always terrible news.

Speaking of the week’s news. Here are some numbers for you. 1,400. 2,021. 20,000.

According to what I’ve read, in most cases an immigrant will wait 1,400 days to have his or her case tried. The judicial dockets for trying such cases are booked until 2,201. The military has been asked to plan for 20,000 beds on certain southern bases. The powers in Washington want to keep these people concentrated in a few places while they are awaiting trial.

We might as well call these places exactly what they are.

Concentration camps.

There are those who say this is how it started in Nazi Germany. Try again. We are almost half way there. We did it to ourselves. Some of us — not me and mine — voted for the monster at the top.


Making my world.

Another day. Another experiment.

It’s another kind of portrait. Something not quite so bright. It drifts a little. It feels like it’s wrapped in cotton. It’s kind of peaceful.

So.

The backstory. The base picture, the portrait was made on black and white film about forty years ago. The subject is a college friend. We went to school together in San Jose, California.  While I was working on this image, I realized that sometimes photography is like magic. It stops time. Forty years have passed. We have grown older. Changes have changed us. But, here she remains young. So do I.

I remember when I took this picture. Where I took it. How I took it.

The two flower overlays were made last week. On a walk. Taking a break from my life that week. Clearing my head. Then thinking clearly. When I make a picture on a walk it is pure reaction. No thought about the picture. In many ways, it’s just point and shoot. The thing that serious photographers claim to dislike. But, even more serious photographers who make pictures like I do, say that clearing your head and not thinking is the best way to work.

Combining the three pictures was not easy. They have to work together. They have to fit. They have to make sense. To me. To you, if you want to experiment too. Everybody else brings their own meaning to your work. This work.


All sorts of people mask for Halloween. This woman joined the Krewe of Boo parade in The French Quarter.
All sorts of people mask for Halloween. This woman joined the Krewe of Boo parade in The French Quarter.

Only a couple of more days now. I made this portrait as The Krewe of Boo was getting ready to roll. I like working the very beginning of parades because there is more time to talk to the folks who are going to actually walk in the parade.  There is more time to make pictures that may be more meaningful than the usual parade picture. Please don’t misunderstand, I like photographing parades. After all, I live in a city of parades. But, the more I keep going on the harder it is to make a picture that is very different from the ones I made the year before. Or, the year before that. Or…

So. I make my way to the front of the line. Paraders are getting read to walk or ride. You catch them putting on the finishing touches to whatever costume they are wearing. They let you instruct them, which I usually just do by motion and the placement of my cameras.

This picture. Funny thing about it. I was just saying that the SONY NEX kit lens, a 18 – 55mm variable f-stop lens, is sharp as a tack. Very unusual with a kit lens because often camera manufacturers use some cheap add-on lens to sell the camera body. But, not this one. It is so sharp that I actually used my post production to tone it down a bit. Why? The picture was so sharp that I could see every imperfection in this woman’s face, even though she is obviously wearing a lot of make up.  So, I used a portrait photographer’s trick, er, technique. I lightened the picture just a bit and added some “glow.” But, not so much that I made her skin look like plastic. I can still see the imperfections. Just, not so much.

 


DMG003
A Drifting Druid

DMG009
Pre-parade Prayer

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Mardi Gras Fantasy

Photographing Mardi Gras parades are usually a study in marathon running. Or something like that. It’s gruelling. It’s a lot of walking. It’s physical. It’s also pretty repetitive from year to year. So, this year I had to make two things happen. Since I’m in the middle of another very busy year, I had to figure out a way to cut out some of the physicality. And, I had to figure out how to make my pictures a little different from last year’s pictures. So. Here’s my trick. At least for this year. I just go to the start of the parade well before the parade actually starts. I do most of my work there. I photograph krewes as they prepare. I photograph marching bands as they prepare. I photograph just about everything that goes into making a successful parade. Then, I walk with the parade for a few blocks. A few blocks may not seem like much, but dodging in and out of the crowds and then finding my way back can be a bit of walking. I describe it as playing full contact football.

I think the pictures are a little different and somewhat more revealing than last year’s take. As far as these pictures go, my intent is to make them a little more mysterious and “swampy” feeling. I’m not quite sure that I got it. Maybe next shoot. Or, the one after that. It does take some time. Some work. And, a lot of patience.