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.


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?


Drifting around and around and around.

See what I mean? Worry about not making pictures and you start making pictures. Or, I suppose that the pool needs cleaning.

One or the other.

No worries. After I got done pressing the button, I sent children out to do a man’s work. I tried to tell them it had to be done from above and not in the pool, but who listens anymore these days?

Normally, I’d go off on some tangent about nobody listening to anybody these days. That the state of the country — mass shootings and passengers attacking airline staff onboard the plane — has do to the remnants of a failed president.

Why bother?

Nobody listens to anything these days.

Just as well. There is no privacy online. That doesn’t matter if nobody listens because nobody hears.

That’s fine too. I just keep writing into the wind. I guess somebody needs hot wind.

No technique needed here. Just walk by the pool and realize that it needs cleaning.

But, before that happened I did something really important. I made a bunch of pictures.

I processed them in a way that would make them a little abstract without turning them unrecognizable.

Then the pool got cleaned, from the inside out. After all. the pool needed to be ready for the big Memorial Day BBQ.

Or not.


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.


Floating.

Over and over. I took a step back and tried very hard to slow down. I supposed that’s easier to do when I am well rested.

For some reason after going to bed at an early time for me, 12:30am, I awoke very late at 9:40am. Everybody was up. They decided to let me sleep. Even the dogs left me alone.

I must have needed it, but I didn’t have any kind of level of exhaustion. We watched a couple of movies last night and that was it.

Normally, my mornings are pretty fast paced. Since I already was more than half way through when I started, I decided to slow down a little. Well, a lot. I decided to do what I normally don’t do.

Mornings are normally quiet. Not today. I started playing music as soon as I sat down at my desk.

I didn’t answer as many emails as I normally do. I just answered two, from a friend of mine with whom I’ve been having a long running discussion about art, photography and the meaning of luck.

Music and a discussion about art. That’s a great way to discuss the day.

Oh, and I took The New York Times Friday news quiz. The way I score my results is backwards. The fewer questions that I answer correctly the better I feel. That means I didn’t spend too much time worrying about things over which I have no control.

That’s it for now.

Layers. That’s what makes this picture anything at all.

I started with a picture of the sky. That’s the first layer and the background of the image. I had to crop it a bit because there is train on the bottom of the picture. It’s gone now.

I added the top layer which is the lawn with all those little snowball like shaped wildflowers. They are everywhere right now so there’s no way to ignore them.

I started blending and subtracting color. Layering often magnifies the saturation.

Doing that also allowed more background to make its way to the top. You can see the clouds floating through the lawn.

A little sharpening to keep the flowers from looking like white blobs and I had what you are seeing right now.


Floating into the distance.

Amazon pictures is the problem. Every time that I open it up I find more and more “lost” pictures. It doesn’t help that I’m a little lost myself.

You’d think that I want to travel. I don’t.

Although some big news about travel happened yesterday via Live Nations’ president Michael Rapino. He’s booked the three major festivals in the UK. He believes that touring in the United States is a little more difficult because of individual state restrictions, but that by late summer the mid-sized music halls could be in play.

Yipee.

Music. Work. Money. Tour buses. Hotels. Catered food. Bad food. Gallons of coffee. People messing with you 16 hours a day.

Funny. Even my last line sounds good to me right now.

With that will start to come photo jobs. Pictures. Work. Money. The rest is not applicable.

Of course this all depends on the people in the country. I was reading something on Facebook about local venues starting to open up. A woman said just to break the law. Since I always want to know who is going to fight with me I went to her page. A lawyer. Can you believe it? A lawyer.

She graduated from Loyola New Orleans Law School. As I recall from my days at the university, three kinds of lawyers came out of there. Very good and moral lawyers. Ambulance chasers and liars.

What can I say? She doesn’t come from the first group. And, she and her ilk are going to be what delays everything.

I saw it a little yesterday when I went to get injected. The hospital is in an active area of the city. Little cafes, bars and restaurants line the streets. I didn’t see much social distancing. For sure, I saw no masks.

Everybody looked like they were having a good time. Come on folks. Think.

The sky and other stuff, namely balloons.

I like to try to make unusual photographs. At the balloon fiesta that’s not easy. Working photographers like me are all trying to do the same thing. Make a lot of different kinds of pictures.

There’s a lot of good to that. If we do our jobs we will make pictures that you haven’t seen. And, we won’t get into each other’s way doing it.

This is one of those pictures. I made it from an overlook near I-25.

I’d like to say that it’s a little gauzy and soft because I wanted the picture to look that way. In truth, the sky had a lot of noise in it so I had to correct it.

I don’t know why. That’s not the usual place for noise to appear.

No matter. I like the outcome.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Do all the rest. And, get injected. Enjoy all the outcomes.


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.


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.


Storm damage. Sort of.

I hesitated to post this picture.

Because?

We are Katrina evacuees and survivors. We know what it is like to be horribly hurt by a big storm. We lost cars. A house. Out buildings. A lot of furniture. And, keepsakes. Somehow I became the keeper of my maternal grandmother’s bible. It survived being brought to this country from Europe. It was 117 years old. Even though the water in the house didn’t reach it, the humidity did. It became what people in the paper industry call slurry. That’s broken down paper that is turned into liquid prior to recycling.

So, when I look at this picture I feel like I’m looking at one of those memes. The ones that have turned over plastic chair and in bold type, and says “we will rebuild.”

Never-the-less, retrieving this umbrella is proving more problematic than you might guess. You can’t pull it out of the pool directly, because it’s upside down and holds too much water. I tried to turn it over in the pool. Still too heavy. My next approach is going to be turning it on its side so the edge of the umbrella is facing up. Hopefully it will sort of glide through the water.

If that fails?

I’ll hire two boys from the neighborhood. The problem with that is finding them. Most of this neighborhood is very special. These kids hire people to start their cars when nothing is wrong with them. I may have to cross the tracks — the streetcar tracks — and head into Central City. Those guys will do it. They’ll work for free, but will expect a healthy tip. Besides, after all the second lines, I know and trust most of them.

One more thing.

I wouldn’t have published this picture at all, but I promised two people on Facebook that I would. One is a high school classmate. An old friend. I can’t let her down.

The picture. What else could it be? F8 and be there.