Something wild, something yellow.

T

here is a period in my life when I liked to make very closely focused pictures that are akin to macro photography.

That period started about twenty years ago and continues to this day. Some period, eh?

For me, this work is something like a palette cleanser between other, more gritty subjects.

Of course, I’ve been trapped lately.

Eventually that will change, but nobody knows when or how. When it does I’ll be chasing all over wherever I am, making pictures of anything, of everything.

Because, that’s my magic. My way of contributing. The thing that I know best. These days I feel old, but i’m young. The age thing will go away once I make magic, with light and color.

Then there’s musical magic.

As I write, I’m listening to an album called, “One Night Lonely.” Mary Chapin Carpenter did a live streaming show from Wolf Trap. There was no audience except remotely. It’s her and her guitars. She doesn’t talk, but she plays for two hours.

She’s doing the same thing that she did when I rediscovered her when she was playing songs from home.

Like James Taylor, she’s doing what she did back then, bringing me peace. We could all use a little bit of peace just about now, right?

T

his picture is about seeing. For sure, the yellow caught my attention. But, the details took some seeing. Or, luck. Photographers luck.

You make that kind of luck by being there. By being present. By focusing. And, by emptying your mind for just a little while.

I have a routine to do that. I’d tell you about it, but you may want do it differently. There is no one way. There is no right way. There is no wrong way.

That’s good.

We’d get bored if we did things the same way as other people.

So don’t.

I see so many derivative pictures on all social media. There is a saying among new photographers, “Fake it until you make it.”

That’s a saying from AA for newly sober people who are struggling to do what sober people do until they understand it.

It applies there. It shouldn’t apply to someone making pictures.

Stop copying. Stop faking. Start experimenting. Start being you.

You’ll go farther, faster.


You’ll never guess the name of this flower.

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earn something new every day, they say. I did. I learned the name of this flower from a friend of mine who’s lived here forever.

Care to guess?

It’s an Okra blossom. I never noticed any pods, but even if I had I wouldn’t have known what I was looking at.

I always thought of the bloom as a pretty, fragile, little flower.

But, I never knew what it was.

One of these days I’m going to learn more about flowers than, “This is a yellow flower, this is a red flower… ”

This post has taken all day to write. Business got in the way. Then, Wal Mart got in the way. In an effort to keep me healthy we started using their home delivery service.

It’s supposed to be simple, it’s anything but that. Deliveries go to wrong addresses, the order might not be complete, the driver gets lost while she is standing in front of the gate.

Last night the thing turned weird. Wal Mart sent me two emails saying sorry for the delay, we’ll let you know when it is coming. The groceries are supposed to be here between 7 and 8pm.

Nothing.

Yesterday morning at 6:20 am, they sent me a list of what had been substituted because they were out of stock. This is supposed to mean that the delivery will be made within an hour.

Oh no.

I finally arrived this morning, after cancelling the original order, calling customer service four times and reordering everything. Only 36 hours late.

They forget that customer is king. The CEO of Wal Mart has an Instagram account. Guess what I did? I wrote to him outlining these problems. Then, I wrote to you.

Safe yourself some grief, don’t use Wal Mart’s delivery service.

W

alking by, I saw these flowers. They usually bloom during late spring and last through early summer.

Okra.

I suppose if I tell some young millennial chef about it, he or she will use them in place of the real thing.

Hmm… deconstructed gumbo.

There is not much to making this picture. Find the angle, frame the scene, push the button.

Back in the studio, I processed the image and cropped it. That’s what I did. Nothing more.

Sometimes, being simple is better.

That reminds me of an ancient saying I learned at least 150 years ago.

“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

That applies to the many things that we all do.

Ever get in a rush and nothing goes right? Slow down, you’ll get more done.

Getting more done, if you aren’t working until the early hours of the morning, is very affirming.

For people who are like me and are built to work it’s essential.

It may just be the start of pulling me out of this funk. That is, working until all hours of the night and getting things done that I want to get done.


Into the light.

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xperiments are something that helps me to create art. Sometimes I succeed. Other times I fail. That’s okay. That’s how I learn.

Instead of thinking the project was useless, I’ve learned over time that there are no useless days, nor are there useless projects.

However, that doesn’t mean that I have to publish my failures. I see that all the time, especially on Facebook or Instagram. A couple of my friends who photograph New Orleans culture are racing to see who can post the most pictures.

I hate to say this, but well over 50% of the pictures that they post are not very good. Many of them are just plain boring.

That’s not really my business. Do what you want.

For me, less is more. Make a lot of pictures on the scene. Edit them loosely. Then run through them again and again until you are down to about 0.3% of the total take. That’s where the best pictures hide.

Publish, post, or share them.

Trust me. At the very least you won’t bore your followers and friends. At best, maybe you’ll fool them into thinking you are a great photographer.

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he subject is a magnolia. They grow all over the South.

I photographed just a portion of the flower.

I removed all of the detail making the subject into a graphic shape.

Then I lowered the overall exposure until the color appeared. The colors that you are seeing where there all the time. They weren’t enhanced.

Over the years of color work, I’ve learned to predict which way the colors will go.

Living things, especially as found in nature tend to go toward the warm side.

But, something found in the shade will move toward the cold side.

Keep that on mind the next time that you are photographing around.


On a summer day.

T

echnology is never my friend. We’ve long had an Audible account. I thought I might like to listen to a book while I work.

After all, podcasts and a book being read is about the same thing. Along comes Apple. Between their normally high rate of paranoia and the slowness of their server I’m almost done working on the computer.

Gee, thanks a lot Apple.

I suppose for me, technology is disappointing. It’s always oversold. It doesn’t deliver what the provider said that it would.

WordPress is a case in point. I write something complaining about it and I receive replies either in the comments or in email about how much the block system sucks. I’ve managed to make it work for me, but this blog is simply designed.

Every time they make a change I start looking at alternatives.

Back to Apple. Okay, now Audible is downloaded and ready to go, except…

Apple wants me to subscribe. I already subscribe. There is absolutely no place to enter my credentials without paying for a new subscription. Here’s another app that is going bye-bye.

Oh, the picture. I’ll discuss it on the other side since their is almost no technical issues.

A

s I wrote on the other side, there is no technology to discuss.

I will say that for the first time ever, my photograph didn’t need any kind of help in post production.

Now, here’s the interesting thing. Amazon found it along with a small section from the take in which I made the image.

For the life of me, I cannot remember where or when I made the picture.

It must be age.

I always remember my pictures, and probably yours. I have a very good visual memory.

Oh. I still wanted to listen to a book. So, I clicked on the app on my phone. I’m listening to a Stephen King book.


Blue. My picture. Joni Mitchell’s song. My eyes. The sky on a sunny day. A clear lake. The ocean away from land.

I made this picture in New Mexico. Older pictures keep resurfacing on Amazon Pictures. They are pictures that I’ve forgotten about. Pictures that have never been seen by anybody. Pictures that were “lost.”

So.

Lucky you. You get to see them before anybody else.

I’m not sure what these desert flowers are called. They come out in late spring and stay for the summer.

Once, when I could actually crawl around on the ground and get back up without aid, I used to make pictures like this with a DSLR camera. Those days are gone.

There is a song in which one line says that we don’t know how much we would lose. Even though I think this picture is happy, the day is sad.

Yesterday, I read a quick two inch story about somebody getting killed in New Orleans. I didn’t think much about it because rarely does a day go by that somebody doesn’t die by violent means.

We were watching the 10 PM News. The murder was across the street from my old house. Uh oh. A woman was killed. My oldest friend in New Orleans. She was stabbed to death as she was walking to her car to go to work, by a guy who was stealing it.

Rest in Peace, Portia.

June is starting out like a hellhound on my trail. A dog, and a person died. Makes me wonder what’s next.

This column is going to be more of a rant.

Sorry.

WordPress is running terribly. Yesterday, I blamed it on the huge internet outage.

Today, it’s on WordPress.

There is still no caption line. Worse, making this two column alignment took an act of God.

I’m not sure what it was doing, but the software was stacking column on top of column. The paragraph template didn’t know where to go.

It turned out that pressing the column template once dropped six templates on top of each other.

Leave well enough alone. The block system is bad enough without WordPress making it “better” every time the programers think about it.


Dancing in the dark.

There’s an elegance to this flower that I like a lot. It made me think of a reversed bell. That’s not why I photographed it. I did that because it was wet, although you can barely see the water drops.

Never the less, that’s what caught my eye especially since there isn’t a lot of contrast or sunlight. In all, I think this is a fairly delicate image.

It’s also a Sunday kind of image so I’ll leave it there for now.

No tricks here. Just some good seeing. There are 12 water droplets hiding on the whiteness of the flower.

That’s what I saw. That’s what I want you to see.

I will say this, there is quite a difference between an Apple sensor and a Samsung sensor.


Wonderful color, wonderful smell.

There’s nothing like Jasmine in the morning. You smell it before you see it. It’s like perfume for the outdoors. It is found all over the South and north until — well, I don’t know.

The little yellow flowers don’t last long so I recommend that when you see them you just stand there and smell your fill.

They may not be there the next day.

Sort of like life.

They say that, “He who hesitates is lost.” How many times do you, do I, have to be taught that?

Think about it. I don’t want to think about it. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve passed up way too many opportunities starting when I was a child. One comes to mind.

But, I’ll leave that alone for now because I’d like to finish this post sometime today.

This reckoning stuff ain’t easy. But, if you want to be free, truly free, I highly recommend it. Just be sure that most of your ghosts are friendly or I’m pretty sure you’ll hide under the covers like I did yesterday.

Actually, I didn’t stay there all day and mostly I was just worn out. The all seeing dog isn’t feeling well. She has a gastro infection. She refuses to take her medicine so I mostly slept with one eye open.

Today, even with very little medicine in her she seems to be feeling better. It makes sense in a way. My oldest family doctor once said that most of us can fight off an infection on our own, but antibiotics speed up the process and we feel better sooner.

We’ll see.

Photographing Jasmine is just about like anything else. See it, press the button.

The trick is to make the picture on an overcast day, or you’ll have blown highlights like I do.

The way that I dealt with it was to add a glow filter so it looks intentional.

They say that, “Garbage in equals garbage out.”

Looking directly across to the left hand column I see they say a lot of things.

I’m still trying to figure out who they is. I see that all the time.

“They won’t do this,” “They won’t do that.”

Who is they?

Oh, never mind. They won’t tell us who they is.

After adding “glow” the picture became simple to edit. So I did that and I present it to you.

Jasmines with no smell.

Ouch.


Sugar magnolia blossoms blooming.

Magnolias. I love them. They are big, bold, white and fragile. I suppose a lot of spring flowers are fragile. All of the pinks, magentas and purples are done for now.

Aside from their obvious beauty, I suppose I like flowers because like life itself, flowers are passing, somewhat fragile and shine for a while.

You think I’m going to write about life don’t you?

I’m not. I have nothing to say about life. In fact, I’ve come to one of those times when I’ll have to let my photographs do the talking because I have nothing to say.

I guess yesterday’s battles wore me out. Musical Miss and I went around and around about the inner workings of the music business as it relates to touring and playing live. A project may have been compromised. And, after thinking about it, I’m not sure that I can complete three books on deadline. On any deadline.

Those books, there’s at least a year’s worth of work on each of them.

Between both careers, I could be booked for the next five or six years. A few year ago that would have been great, but that will just about account for the rest of my working life. I’m not Joe Biden. I don’t want to work in one of the world’s hardest jobs until I’m in my mid-eighties.

I guess I had something to say.

Sometimes I wish that I was a more complicated photographer. I’d have something to write about on this side of the page.

But, alas, I’m a simple photographer. Even when I did something like I did yesterday, it’s nothing compare to what really good Photoshop drivers can do.

I do what I do because I don’t have the patience to do the little fiddly things that you must do in a studio, either in the real world or on the computer.

I liken myself to a Zen photographer. I like to clear my head of distracting noise and just react to whatever is around me.

That’s how this photograph was made. I saw it. I pointed. I pressed the button. I was done. Even post production was a matter of doing a couple small things.

That’s me. That’s how I am.


They come in late spring.

This delicate little flower begins to arrive in late spring and last through summer. For me, it’s a symbol of summer.

This may be one of the cleanest captures that I’ve made of them since I’ve been photographing them.

I think that’s because the light was muted which kept the exposure simple. Often, I photograph them strongly backlighted.

The creates a whole host of problems.

Since I try not to move my subjects around and photograph them how I find them, I have to deal with their quirks after the fact.

It’s Sunday so I’ll give you a break from my commentary about the state of the world. You should always remember whatever I write about that is just my opinion.

Some call this an Iris. I cannot find it in my big book of flowers. So, I’ll go with Iris.

As I mentioned on the left side, the light was muted so the exposure was easy.

That made post production simple.

The biggest issue was making sure a flower so translucent as this held enough yellow so that you could view it accurately.

I’ll talk about accurately v creative intent in another post.