Inside out.

W

hen I awoke, I was feeling confused. Something was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.The feeling passed. I let it go.

It came back when I started working. I still couldn’t place it.

I played some music. Music is magic. I takes me to other places. It inspires me. It centers me. And, if I’m lucky, it clarifies my thoughts.

That’s what it did.

I don’t know why I selected an album called “Age of Miracles,” by Mary-Chapin Carpenter. The backstory is complicated. It was her first album after leaving Columbia. It was her first album after she recovered from two pulmonary embolisms. It was the first album after her divorce.

I don’t listen to it often because she seems confused. She’s trying to break free of her country reputation, yet she falls back on it. She does sing one of the saddest songs in the word called, “I have a need for solitude.”

But, it caught me. I realized what I was missing.

And, it made me very sad.

I’ll work small to larger. You’ll understand. And, you’ll understand this picture.

I miss Sophie Rose terribly. We have other dogs, but Sophie chose me. I was her person. I feel like I let her down. I know that I didn’t. After a lot of reading, it’s very possible that she had been coming to her end for couple of months. It was just her time. But, that may give me a pass, but it doesn’t feel like it.

Then, there is my CLL, a blood cancer. It likely will never do anything terrible to me. But, it limits me. My CoVid-19 vaccinations do nothing for me. That means, no festivals, no second lines, no Indian events, no Mardi Gras.

If that isn’t depressing enough, we are back to wearing masks because our infection rate, like most of the country has grown by about 150%

Being in my condition of combined illness, sadness and depression makes it very hard to work. I can’t seem to let a picture find me and I can’t work. I have all sorts of projects that could take the rest of the year or more. You’d think I’d be excited to get started.

What do I do? I sleep.

When I finally start my day, I find everything to do but work.

In a word, it sucks.

I wish I knew the path. Maybe I’ll get lucky and stumble onto it. I doubt that. It’s bigger than letting a picture find me. It’s all of me.

Writers give advice about being authentic. Is this authentic enough?

F

or us, down in the swamp, late summer is already approaching. It’s gotten hot. It’s turned dry.

Stuff is dying.

I took a walk with a couple of the other dogs. They need walks too. I was looking for a picture. Or, was open to letting one find me.

No pictures because there is no color. The flowers die in the heat.

It’s also hard to stay motivated because after five minutes you are too hot. After ten minutes your shirt blooms with sweat.

The dogs felt it too. They were ready to turn around after they did what they needed to do.

So, that’s the technique. Walk until you can’t. Make a picture of whatever you see and return home.

The picture suits my mood.

In that way, I suppose I was successful. Or, not.


Life in fantasia.

Y

es. I know what I said. No brand new pictures until I recovered. I still stand by that although this one is a day old.

It doesn’t mean that I’ve recovered. That’s going to take a long time. But, this picture was calling to me. “Ray, Ray, Raaayyy, come here. Take my picture.”

So, I did.

I’m glad that I did because it makes me smile. You know that I like bright color. I made it brighter. And, more colorful. I reckon it’s a good Sunday picture.

It is Sunday, isn’t it?

Somehow I managed to slip into that place of elastic time that was so common during the lockdown. That is probably related to my weird sleeping habits. You know. If you take a long nap when you wake up you are a little disorientated.

Anyway.

Enjoy your Sunday.

O

h boy. Did I do a lot to this picture.

The image probably could have stood on its own because it is backlighted and I pointed the phone almost straight into the sun.

You know me.

That wasn’t enough. First, I corrected the color then I made it “better” by adding color and contrast and glow.

The picture was fine, but it was horizontal which yields a small picture on Storyteller.

So, I cropped into the heart of it, turning it into a vertical image.

And, there you have it.


O

ne of the benefits of having software finding old files is that they are almost new to me, and certainly to you.

I made this picture on Memorial Day 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

No worries. To me this is just about the picture, nothing more.But I do want to tell you about what I think is a very cool tradition.

Yes. Memorial Day still means what it should mean to the rest of the country. We honor our war dead. The troops that gave their all. The ones who never came home.

But, New Mexicans do something different.

They bring a blanket and a picnic and they sit near the grave of their loved on and enjoy a meal with them. There are toasts and offerings and prayers.

There is one thing which makes New Mexicans like New Orleanians. As I walked around photographing — and you know me, I want people in my pictures — they would ask me to eat with them.

I think refusing a small bite would dishonor both the living and the dead. So, I ate with whoever I photographed. Besides, we got to know each other. And, they were able to enjoy a few pictures that I sent to them.

T

his photograph was made with a Canon G 11. It was my picture a day camera. It was a great little camera. I wore it out. It did everything that I wanted it to do.

Many pixel peepers (folks that go too far in their technical evaluations) say that cameras like this one are not good for much more than just snapshots.

Does this picture look like a snapshot?

Besides, these days most clients want images for online projects. The few who want images for paper uses aren’t using them much bigger than a magazine cover. A camera with a good sensor and processor, no matter it’s classification, is just fine.

That’s the real world.


Apparently, that huge internet outage affected WordPress since I can’t seem to organize anything this morning after not be able to even logon to the site.

So.

I’m late. Late to posting. Late to the party. Late for the sky.

Anyway.

I was going to say that there will be some changes made. That’s song lyrics, but for the life of me I can’t remember which one.

Timing is everything. A website in a box company sent me an email yesterday. They’ve imrpoved everything. Even their best plan is half of what WordPress charges me. If I wave one of my degrees around I can get a 50% discount off of that.

Since I’m semi-business driven this all sounds good. Still one problem remains. I cannot take all of you with me simply by transferring my reader list. The only way to do it is to transfer you by hand. I think we’ve discussed this in the past.

The good news is that even though I have a large group of followers, the real readers list is about three percent of that. I can hand entire that by email.

It’s a lot of work but I was just reading a nice article about making passive income. Once you get the basic work done you might earn some money. But, the basic work is really work and time consuming. You just have to decide if it’s worth it.

It’s worth it.

The picture. It’s just another of those that I made when I could start seeing again. Not much to it, just a lot of detail. Enjoy.


The pain remains. But, the shock is passing. I took out the trash and actually saw pictures. That’s a great change from not being able to see anything at all for the past few days.

I even had the idea to experiment with the pictures instead of staring dead eyed at the television watching who knows what or where.

That’s a step.

Right?

I think whatever I photograph and work with must be bright and colorful.

I like muted color, but now is not that time.

I’ll tell you why.

The rainbow bridge is why.

A number of my real world friends who communicate with me via Facebook were talking about that.

I offhandedly and kindling remarked that in order for Sophie Rose to meet me there assumes that I would be headed to heaven which I didn’t think was happening.

Then, I thought that I do want to see her again and her predecessor, the late Debbie.

So, clean up time.

I still don’t exactly know what that means. I’ll figure it out.

Notice? No caption? The fine folks at WordPress changed something again.

I wish that they would work on something else.

Oh, they are. They are teaching classes on how to make WordPress blogs earn money for the blogger.

Of course, first they are earning money for themselves.

The courses are $25, which is half off. $50? Really? There are plenty of free YouTube offerings that are probably a lot better structured.

Anyway.

This image is made of three different but similar images. They are layered and adjusted. I did most of the heavy lifting in Snapseed and finished it in OnOne.


Blue dreams.

What I saw… in a dream. I woke up with this in my head. Well, not exactly. But, this picture is close enough.

In my dream, I was swimming upward through the color blue in this picture. I was swimming up and up until I broke through the surface with a spray of water and glowing light surrounding me.

I awoke feeling happy and smiling at the thought of my dream.

So.

I tried to duplicate it in a photograph or two. Instead of me rising to the top I added flowers. Blooming flowers.

I wanted to make a happy picture. I think that I did. I’ll tell your more on the other side.

Why do this picture at all? Hmmm. Since lockdown I haven’t really been very happy. It’s one thing to stay home when you want to, but what about when you want to roam about?

I read a piece in The New York Times about ten steps to achieving a kind of happiness and coming back from the brink. I don’t think that I was near any brink, but I wanted to know more.

Of course, the Times made t hard. They were are going to post one step a week. I had a bad thought and remembered that I know how to Google along with about 200,000,000,000 people.

So.

I Googled. I found what I was looking for.

The first step is to recalibrate your thinking. In short, make yourself believe that you are happy. Where I come from we say, “Fake it until you make it.”

It worked once, why not twice?

They say you can’t catch lightning twice. I agree. But this is something different. Maybe thunder.

I’m anxious to see where this goes.

Making this photograph took a bit of thinking before I started.

Normally I experiment along the way.

Not this time.

I knew which two pictures in my current archives might work. If it matters, I made both of them last week.

I worked on each of them then I layered them. They fell into place easily, which means that I’m on the right track.

I fine tuned them. And, I fine tuned them a second time.

The finished picture is what you are looking at.

Makes me smile. Maybe you’ll smile too.


Seeing is believing.

Luck. Photographer’s luck. I got lucky. I saw some new arrivals in the world of nature yesterday. I was able to take my time and really work the scene.

As you know, while walking a dog or two that rarely happens. But, the all seeing dog walked herself into a tired puddle. Whenever I stopped to explore a potential picture she just sat down and waited. When we returned home she laid down and slept for about three hours.

Then, she wanted to go for another walk. For a dog approaching thirteen years old she still has a lot of energy. I doubt that I’ll have that much energy as I approach 91 years old, which is about her equivalent age.

No worries. The day was coolish and dry so I let her go, but normally I wouldn’t let her get that far out because it is hard on her to return home. Trust me. I look after her very well.

These are blooms that you are looking at. They will eventually turn into purple flowers. If you’ve been here for a few years, you’ve seen them. I’ll try to do something different as I did with this picture.

It really comes down to light. And, with that it’s time to jump to the right hand column.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient. Enjoy all the nature.

Any photograph is about light. For that matter, so are paintings.

If I always had my way, I wouldn’t work until the light was right. That’s not always possible.

But, yesterday morning I awoke fairly early. So did the all seeing dog. She barely let me suck down a cup of coffee before we were off.

I made this picture at about 8 am. The light wasn’t just breaking through the sky, but it was low and very illuminating.

The dog of the hour waited and I made this picture. We were inbound so she was tired. It’s mostly backlighted with a little shadow in the foreground.

I did pump it up a bit because I wanted the glow to pull you into the center of the image.

I think it works as intended.


China Rose

A while back I had an interesting discussion on Instagram. It was probably my only one. It wasn’t about photographs. Instead it was about flowers.

The photographer that I was talking with misidentified a flower that he called a China Rose. I knew that it was something else because I grew up with them.

We both started Googling and found out what a real China Rose looked like. We learned that it isn’t the color, but the smallness and the shape.

These are China Roses produced my way.

Artfully.

I have more traditional pictures, but today we are still headed towards confusion and mixed up imagery. That’s just fine. It’s what I feel like producing.

If anything, this image gets me closer to how I saw it in bright and contrasty sunlight. It was a little dream-like at the time. If I went out today, it would also be the same. I’m having trouble waking up.

That’s after finishing packaging homemade dog food, and having a coffee and a donut. Don’t judge me. I know that you’ve eaten worse. Gummy Bears for breakfast just shouldn’t be a thing.

Which brings me to one of the lamest things I’ve heard in years. Some Republican know-nothing is claiming that President Biden won’t let us have meat in our beer.

Imagine that. Meat Beer.

And, the world turns.

Whatever did I do to this picture?

For one thing, nothing is in sharp focus but by tinkering with it there appears to be sharpness. Trust me, there isn’t any real sharpness.

The next thing I did was remove all of the mid-tones. That caused overly bright contrasty color which I added more color. I give that saturation slider a good, hard pull.

The result is what you see. I don’t know about you, but it’s art to me. Sorta.

We’ve been through that before. I don’t need to repeat it just to make a point or fill space.

So. I won’t.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask inside. Keep your distance everywhere. Wash your hands. Get your jabs, especially your second one. Look after each other. Be patient because we are getting close.


Jones.

I did a lot in the past 24 hours.

I redesigned Storyteller to make it cleaner and a lot more website-like. I decided to start publishing more art and less pictures from the past.

I have to think about photographing second lines whenever they resume.

I did that for a long time. Sometimes a project ends after you realize you’ve done about all you could.

And.

I did what I said I would do.

I dropped out of social media. I didn’t eliminate my accounts because I do need to monitor somethings about once every two weeks and Storyteller is distributed to Facebook and Twitter. I just won’t be there to see if anybody likes my work. I kind of don’t care.

This is a one day at a time project. With luck, one day will turn into two, two will turn into a week, weeks will turn into months and I’ll have accomplished a lot more than I’ve done in a long, long time.

That started today. I completed two projects that I’ve been nibbling at. I have one more to go and I am free to do whatever I’d like today. Maybe I’ll finish up this website.

We’ll just see how this goes.

Art is a funny thing. It means something different to everybody who looks at it.

After all, we know that no matter what I do as an artist it’s up to the viewer to make meaning of it, bringing his or her entire history into the image.

That’s why I don’t really care what people think of this work on Facebook, or Instagram.

That said, here’s what I did to the picture.

After I made the picture, I darkened it in post production. Then, I layered it with those big leaves at the top. Finally, I ran it through the grunge setting on Snapseed.

the caption is called Jones, not because I’m jonesing for something, or because of the singer. The manhole cover was made by a company called Jones.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient.