Like a painting.

A little experiment.

I was building my new and improved website and I was uploading a lot of pictures. That took some time. To help pass it, I started playing with older pictures. You might not recognize it, but you’ve seen this picture in the past, when it was bright magenta.

I started in one direction and realized I hadn’t used a couple of photo editing tools in some time, (time is a reoccurring theme today) so I started tinkering with them. Eventually, after many, many attempts, I arrived here. I added the frame and that’s how you see it.

Uploading and downloading large batches of RAW or Tiff imagery, does take a little time (There I go again) no matter how new and powerful your machine may happen to be. I like to fill it, (time) by doing something else. In this case, I was more-or-less practicing and experimenting with image modification software.

But, once upon a time…

I used to play a lot of computer games. I wouldn’t call myself a gamer, but I wasted a lot of time. One day the lightbulb went off. “Why not do something more meaningful,” I thought.

So, I did.

I started teaching myself Photoshop. It has a really steep learning curve. Some say it takes about five years to learn completely. Once I started I realized it wouldn’t take five years because there are some things that I’ll never do. It did take a while.

Doing that gave me the basics and a little more to understand what I was doing. Eventually, I started using a new software package called OnOne. It couldn’t develop RAW images back then, but that was one the company’s big goals.

Once OnOne became a potential RAW developer I left Photoshop and Lightroom behind. Who wants to pay $9.95 per month for the rest of your life?

Today, my workflow is simple. I download and cull in Photo Mechanic and finish in OnOne. You can use both of them forever unless you want to upgrade. Actually, Photo Mechanic upgrades are free.

Oh, Photo Mechanic is software that a lot of photojournalists use. It’s fast, easy to use and you can edit a big take in probably less than 30 minutes. I lot of my friends suggested that I try it. I kept putting it off, until one day…

I should listen to my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A little pink flower hidden on a bed of green.

A tiny little thing.

It was hidden in plain sight. So small that I had to look twice and break my cardinal rule of photography. I had to move some of the greenery around to photograph the flower. I try never to move or change anything when I make these kinds of semi-nature pictures. I had no choice. If I wanted to make the flower’s picture, I had to be able to see all of it.

There.

Honesty. Full disclosure.

It’s a very peaceful picture. After another week of political craziness, more lies and memorial sadness, I think we could all use a picture that’s a little quiet. Besides, it’s Sunday in the U.S. It’s a Sunday kind of picture.

Because it’s Sunday, I’m going to be quiet.

Have a great day.

 

 

 

 


Some people call this a Swamp Lilly.

Some folks call this a Swamp Lilly.

That’s good enough for me. Especially since I rarely know the names of flowers beyond, red flower, yellow flower, pink flower. I have the same problem with birds. A real nature photographer knows the common and Latin names for everything that he or she photographs.

That’s why I’m not really a nature photographer. Because of my early photojournalism training, I am kind of a generalist. I photograph what I see. Sometimes, because of time constraints, I tend to make pictures of a little bit of nothing. I’m in that cycle right now. That should come to an end by Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest.

Then, we’ll learn just how motivated I really am to produce something more meaningful than a picture of a flower. Let’s put it this way. I darn well better be. Ha!

The picture. See it. Photograph it. Process it to death to get all the little details in the flower to show up. That’s it.


Royal purples.

Pixeleen.

That’s the title to a Steely Dan song. It seems to be more about digital photography than music. But, what do I know?

I saw this flower. I almost passed it by. I’ve photographed pink flowers all summer and even before. I had an idea. Yet, another vision of what could be.

I returned to the portable studio in my hand. I went to work. I couldn’t quite get there. I used an application I rarely use. Voila`. I had it.

This image is as I saw it in my head as I pressed the button. This has been happening lately. I have an idea for a complete picture, make the basic file and fulfill my idea in the studio. That’s what is supposed to happen. It took a long time to get there.

One more thing. One more nitpicky thing. Voila`. It sounds like walla. I keep seeing people write it as walla. People. Take some French lessons.


Fully purple.

Summer flowers.

The rain brings out the best in them. Makes them glow. Makes them sparkle. Makes them shine. That’s everywhere. Doesn’t matter where in the world you happen to find yourself. Especially in The United States, where most of the country finds themselves in a horrible heat wave.

Or, in New Orleans, where another storm flooded the streets. Three inches in about 30 minutes. They say that the pumps can’t keep up with the rain. Or, that the water has to reach the pumps in order to be pumped.

Huh?

That’s what pipes are for.

What that really means is that the entire city has to be re-piped. Given that it took almost four years and a billion dollars to replace a few blocks of pipe, that’s probably not realistic.

Instead.

We probably should learn to live with water. Like the Dutch do. Greenways. Permeable surfaces. Water features. Flowing man made streams. A way for the water to flow rather than pool. A way to capture rain water rather than pump it into the lake or the river.

Will we do it?

Probably not.

There isn’t enough vision in New Orleans. There aren’t very good leaders. The leaders are voted into office for the wrong reasons. Then the graft starts. In New Orleans, it’s a generational things. It’s a racial thing. It’s a gentrification thing.

Eventually, the city will sink into the swamp from which is born, a victim of subsidence, land loss and climate change. Won’t matter to me. I’ll be long gone.

A bit of housekeeping. Or, should I say, complaining? A rant?

A person who sometimes reads Storyteller came to a post via Facebook. At first I thought that she was trying to compliment me about my pictures and my words. I tried to humbly say that I can barely write in the English language. It went on from there. She wrote something about my big head. WTF? I can barely type without 100 typos in a paragraph. Write? Not me.

Sheesh. Some days I wonder if I can photograph.

It kept going on. I gave up. I am so twisted around the axel that I have no idea what she was trying to say. So, I downloaded one of her books from Amazon. One of the two books that some publisher scooped up. Maybe I could learn something about her that would clarify her comments to me.

The publisher says they don’t understand its low sales. I do. It’s unreadable. Right from the start. The book starts in the middle of a scene. What? How did the story happen? No backstory. Clunky writing. No beginning, middle or end.

I don’t know that much about the publishing world, but I do know something about the music industry. They are kin. A record label’s job, like a publisher’s job, is to fine tune the product. They design an attention drawing cover. They market and publicize the hell out of it. Hopefully, they blow it up.

But.

Two things. One is timing. That’s fairly unpredictable. The other is excellence. The content has to be  wonderful. The reader or listener knows when something is good. They tell their friends. Word of mouth spreads the good word.

Bottom line. Content – Marketing – Distribution.

Bottom line part two. She confused me with her comments because of the same reason I couldn’t read her book. She’s not a writer. She’s probably good at selling. That’s how she found a publisher. Still, they make her do most of their work.

Which leads me to a general observation. The internet set about to democratize  and disrupt everything. It’s caused entire industries to crash. Anything creative —  photography, music, writing, all of the arts — has been overrun with people who “think” they are creative.

In order to break through, they give away or sell their product for next to nothing. Most of these people aren’t creative. Many of them are just derivative. How many vampire books do we really need? How many books about mentally challenged people do we need? Or, historical novels that feature a bare chested beautiful man as the main subject?

Even if we really needed them, we couldn’t begin to read all of them, just as we can’t listen to all the poorly played, produced and recorded music.

Photographs? Don’t get me started. The worst thing to happen to wannabe photographers is Instagram. You can’t find the good work in the deluge of crap.

Most of these people don’t have the talent or the grit to really pursue and artistic life. They have partners or spouses who pretty much subsidize their lives. While I don’t believe in the “starving artist,” I’m pretty sure most of these folks are just looking for something to do because they are bored.

Are you one of these people? I don’t know. Put it to the test. Will buyers pay the proper rates for your work? Will the publisher or record label market you properly? Will they get your product in stores, in agencies, or on the radio? Will you get to do a late night talk show? Will you get reviews in high end media?

Then, you’ll know.

Either way, you’ll learn something. If it’s not what you want to hear, either you can keep trying (that really sorts out the wheat from the chaff) or you can move on.

Some rant.

I’ll get killed for this one. I don’t care.

This picture. It’s like most of my pictures. I stand in front of better stuff. I saw it and I pushed the button. It’s easy to me. I’m the real deal. I’ve done all of what I suggest to you. I’m battle tested.


Original flower.

The other one.

Yesterday, I wrote about seeing a delicate white and yellow flower. The one that I used as a layer behind a pink flower.

Welp.

This is the original flower with a little post production work done to it. I made it more colorful. I made the file a little more meaty. And, I gave the white areas more shape and definition.

That’s really what caught my eye.

I reckoned that you should see it. The way that I saw it. The way that it inspired me to go further.

A little bit about the gear. My smart phone is a Samsung Note 9. It is not a great phone. That includes both talk and text. It is a great little handheld computer. It also has a wonderful camera that allows me to do a lot, from just using the onboard lens as a zoom, to turning it into a fully manual handheld camera. And, lots in between. Video. Pano. Other size formats.

I’ve mostly been photographing with it even though I’d really rather use some kind of mirrorless body and interchangeable lenses. I don’t always carry that kind of gear. I do carry my phone. Everywhere.

I have this little baby Leica. It’s a great little camera. And, with Leica glass it probably out performs just about most cameras out there. It would be very easy to carry everywhere. But, It’s 965 degrees outside, with a humidity factor of about 10,000, making the
“feels like” temperature about 900 billion degrees. Anything I don’t have to wear on a strap over my shoulder is better.

And, you think it’s hot where you live.


More like magenta.

Getting close.

Close enough to see the details. The shape. The various shades of color.

Color.

Call this what you want. Is it pink? Is it magenta? Is it something else? If you are trying to match color, as I used to do on a big commercial printing press, it matters. If you aren’t, enjoy it for what it is. Whatever you think it is.

Now. A quick message from our sponsor.

I was reading a Facebook conversation between a couple of people and an author friend of mine. They were discussing how to market a book. One thinks websites are dead. Another thinks blogs are dead. A third one thinks Facebook is old fashioned. None of them discussed tweeting or Instagramming.

They admitted that they had no idea what was right or wrong. They were guessing.

The correct answer, according to the head of SEO for CAA, is all of them as long as the same people don’t follow you around. They may think that they are helping, but they are not. Each of those social media platforms reach different kinds of audiences. Having a Facebook page is like being in the telephone book. Remember those? You have to be there or for sure nobody will find you.

The other big trick is not to share, post or tweet the same material. That makes sense. If people follow you around, you want them to see different stuff. If somebody stumbles on your work in a couple of places, you don’t want to bore them.

Get it?

The picture. A new summer bloom at home. I saw it. I photographed it. That was pretty much it. Ma Nature made that flower. She doesn’t need help from me.


Like magic.

The light.

Like magic. In nature. On this day.

Two more to go. Then home. Happy to be here. Happy to be there. Time to take a break. Time to rest. Time to work. Harder.

No. I’m not trying to be any kind of poet. Most of you know that I’m lucky to be able to write in the English language. Or, any language. I confuse people. Sometimes. Sorry. Then, typos. Typo king. That’s me. My mind goes in one direction. My fingers in another.

Oh well.

Perfection is for angels. They say. Do you know any? I ask.

I listen to music when I write these posts. Spotify has a playlist called, “Sunny Day.” It’s light and energetic. But. Too much musical miss. For me.

The picture.

Hmmm. Mostly point and shoot. Make sure there is a window. In the background. To reflect light directly into the lens. Refraction. Reflection. Strange circles of light everywhere. That’s it. Simple. You can’t do it. Because. I can’t duplicate it. Again.

Very cool song. By Sufjan Stevens. Called Chicago. He’s got a trumpet going on. Reminds me of Mexican trumpets. I’ve always like that.