The world in water.

Water.

I was looking through my archives. Again. Because I’m trying very hard not to repeat myself. And, because I realized that some artistic experiments have been going on for eight or nine years. In a couple of cities. Two states. And, on about four continents.

However.

I’m fascinated by nature. By the yearly spring rebirth of seemingly dead stuff. Especially this year when we the temperature nose-dived for three or four days. When the highs were in the low twenties. Our semi-tropical ecosystem is not used to that. Plants died. Fruit trees took a beating throughout the region.

As I look at the brown sticks that were all that was left over after the freeze and see brand new ferns showing their leaves, I’ve come to understand the cycles of nature a little better. I’ve long known that nature always seeks stasis. I didn’t realize that she could bring some things back from the dead.

Of course, the more we beat her up. The more we pollute our home — the planet — the harder it is for nature to recover. I was just reading about this winter near and around the North Pole. Normally, the water there is frozen solid. Long sheets of ice. Not this winter. There is plenty of clear water to sail through.

Think about it.

There was enough flowing water to make this picture. But, photographing it using my normal approach would be confusing. You wouldn’t know if I made the picture in 2016, 2017 or a few hours ago.

I made it a few hours ago.

I decided to use a lot of editing tools to make it look like a painting. An abstract painting. If that wasn’t enough, I turned it on its side because it looked better to my eye. That long red line on the right was trapped in the horizontal version of this.

If there is anything to be learned from this, we in the digital age have amazing freedom. We can leave things alone and make pictures that completely approximate reality. Or, we can take them someplace else.

It’s up to us.

One more thing. Don’t steal. I’ve banged this drum for forever. Just because you see a picture on the internet doesn’t mean it’s free to use. It’s somebody else’s work. Ask permission. Even though the artist really should be paid, at least give them a credit. Acknowledge their hard work as you would like your own work acknowledged.


The pool needs cleaning.

The picture really isn’t about the pool. Or, the water. Or, even the leaves. It’s about the shapes and the color. It’s also about what I did in post production.

Debra at http://breathelighter.wordpress.com found my cropping interesting. So, I thought that I’d talk about it. A little.

When I was a young photographer, back about 150 years ago, I mostly worked with Kodak Tri-X black and white film. Like many faster films of the era it was grainy and lacked resolution. We learned to crop in camera so that we didn’t have to crop and enlarge in the darkroom. Later, I moved on to color transparency film. Slide film. While there were some great films at the time, most of us would agree that it was better to fill the frame with the subject that you wanted. Cropping radically wasn’t usually a good idea.

Along came digital photography. Originally, file sizes were small. Then they grew. Bigger. Bigger. Bigger. At the time, the digital gurus mostly talked about image quality.  Of course, somebody figured out that if you had a huge file size, you could crop when you didn’t succeed in the field. For many consumers that meant their shooting got sloppy. And, sloppier. And, even more sloppy.

In addition to machine gun spray and praying, many people didn’t really pay attention to the subject. After all, they had a bazillion pictures from which to select, AND they could crop in on the subject.

Arrrrgh. You know what I’m going to say about spray and pray. I’ve said THAT about a bazillion times. But, cropping. I think that you should fill the frame with you intended subject. You might have to trim the edges if you work in an uncontrolled environment like the street. Besides, from a quality standpoint, when you crop to get to the subject the picture looks flat.

Or.

You could make a very radical crop as I did today and yesterday. I do that mostly out of a need to shape the page. Digital or print, sometimes the page needs direction. And, given that WordPress isn’t really a photographer-friendly place I sometimes need to game their system and make pictures big. Real big.

By the way. This picture. It started out as a horizontal frame. Not only did I radically crop it into a vertical picture, but I flipped sideways and upside down so that so that the stairs lead to the water, which lead to the leaves. I would not do this with a photograph that was more “real,” as in a human being or a recognizable scene.

There you have it. A little lesson for today.


Too many leaves.

It looks like a whole lotta work.

You’ve seen the place. Normally, I make a Zen-like picture with something like one leaf twirling around a sparkling bit of water. That’s not what we saw yesterday.

The winds ripped the leaves from the trees. The rain pushed them into the little stream. The stream backed up. And, so it goes.

That’s the nature of things.

And, that’s it. A quiet day. I have to make up for the couple of days of lost production, which includes the mundane. You know. Like making groceries. Paying the bills. Scrubbing the kitchen floor.

These things could have all been done while Harvey was passing through.

But, well. You know. You know that you know.


In blue.

A summer day at the lake. A southern summer day. A New Orleans summer day.

A summer day in New Orleans that folks who aren’t from here probably never think about. They think about the French Quarter. Maybe Magazine Street. About parades. Mardi Gras. And, food. We have our peaceful places too.

This is one of them. Just about anywhere along Lake Ponchartrain. Sure, the lake can get pretty violent during a storm. It was storm surges from it that actually flooded New Orleans 12 years ago.

But, on a nice hot summer day with a little breeze blowing…

This picture is for Sunday. A peaceful Sunday. I thought that after yet another week of turmoil, presidential stupidity, protests and terrorist attacks, we could use something calming. If you open this picture up real big, and play some quiet music, I promise you’ll think you are some place else.


A morning float.

I seem to be a little obsessed.

With water. And, why not? If you read anything about climate change, you know just how important water is to all of us. To our lives. To our lifestyle. To our bodies. You know that 8 glasses of water per day thing? It’s real. That’s just a ballpark number. Some of us need a little less. Some of us, a little more. For sure we need more down here in the swamp. Especially in summer.

So, why shouldn’t I be obsessed with water? At least when I am out wandering around. With or without a dog. Or six.

I found this picture on a morning walk. Just about 90 minutes ago, at 10:30 am, my time. Okay, Central Daylight Time. Sometimes, I can work fast. When I feel like it. And, I know what I have.

The picture. See it, shoot it. Add a little post production to clean things up and brighten them a little. Done and done.

In case you are wondering. I’m recovering from all that traveling. Even so, my normal work day is something like this. Get up around 7am. Read, eat and home stuff until about 8 am. Work until the dogs nag me into walking which is usually around 10am. Go back to work when that’s done. Or, do home stuff. This lasts until… whenever. Sometimes until the dogs pre-dinner walk. Sometime, I work into the evening.

Depends.


Drifting through the sky.

I’ve been having a lot of very colorful dreams lately. Things are whirling around, spinning and popping. So, I decided to try to make a picture that looked something like I saw in my slumbers.

This image is not exactly like what my mind saw. To be sure, it isn’t even close. It’s getting there. Sorta. Kinda.

It’s not from lack of trying. No machine can equal a human brain. Artificial intelligence, indeed.

The picture is a combination of a number of images. Five to be exact. The main picture is black and white. You saw it a few days ago. The secondary picture in which you see power poles is older and the flowers and floating bits are detail images that have sort have become my own kind of stock collection.

There. I said it. Stock.

I’ll post about that sometime later. THAT’S a really long story. I’ll just say this about that. Most stock libraries and companies are denigrated because of the, well, vanilla imagery that they produce and license for a dollar. Or a penny. They are a large part of why the professional photo industry is in tatters. Not all of us are in tatters. I’m not. Many of my friends are.

There you have it.

By the way, this is the second attempt at this picture. My first go was very dark and gloomy. It didn’t suit the energy of the colors.


Leaves in the pool.

Sometimes.

It’s just better to sit with it. Whatever it is. Like all the events of this past week.

Past week.

Time to rest. Time to reset. Then come back renewed.

Happy Friday. Or Saturday. Wherever you may be.

The picture. Leaves floating in the pool. With a little manipulation. Well. Okay. A lot

 

 


Drifting away.
Drifting away.

Slipping into a new week.

Seems like forever since Mardi Gras. It was only six days ago. That’s okay. I kind of needed a week to drift. Now, it’s time to pull up my pants and get to work.

First stop. A big box store. That’s a whole other story. Then, a few pictures. That too, is another story. I’ll just leave at that. I’ll just call this my Facebook post. You know the ones. Somebody posts something. They don’t say much about it. You start to wonder. Or, worry. They never reply. Even when 20 people ask, “Are you okay?” That, in part, is why I’m barely on Facebook anymore. There’s other parts.

This picture. I suppose it could fit in the occasional series, “What the Dog Saw,” except it was a little out of her line of sight. It’s a little man-made stream. The water was running fairly fast. I had thoughts of turning it into one of those misty water pictures, but those are so last decade. So, I kept everything as sharp as possible. To the point that you might not understand that the rust and blue colors are even water.


Water... everywhere.
Water… everywhere.

Summer in Louisiana. The rainy season.

Water everywhere. That means pictures everywhere. I made this picture in New Orleans. At the grocery store. In the parking lot. The photograph is a little odd. I suppose that you could call this a nature picture. If you stretched the definition a little. Or, a lot. After all, there is water and leaves floating on it. But, really…

I realize these look like fall leaves. Remember, I said “in New Orleans.” Things aren’t often what they seem.

It’s summer right now. Trust me. It was hot Friday. Very hot. The heat index was up around 110 degrees. That seems like a summer temperature to me. After Saturday’s rains, the temperature plummeted to 84 degrees. The air was less humid. The water in the air was pooling on the ground. Hopefully, the weather will stay like this today. I’d like to photograph that second line I mentioned. And, it’s Father’s Day. A lot of people — me included — would like to burn something on the grill. And, eat outside. In the heat. And, humidity.

Happy Father’s Day, y’all.