Mixing it up.

I the dead of winter.

This picture is for all of you who still are suffering from cold weather, and I don’t care what that little rodent said. In many places it’s cold. Down In the swamp, we have all sorts of blooms. In this picture I tried to make that point by layering two flower images. The image is bold and bright. Just the way a spring picture should look. Except it’s not yet spring.

Anyway.

My dear old dad used to say that when a person wrote a letter and about half of it was about the weather, the person had nothing to say. He was probably right.

So.

I’m going to talk about photography. I’m a reading book called, “Photo Work: Forty Photographers on process and practice. I think it was recommended by someone who posted to a photographer’s network. It’s a good and interesting book despite it’s academically lengthy title.

In a few words, those 40 photographers are asked a series of questions which are the same for all of them. The group came from different backgrounds, use different tools, and answer the questions fully.

I’m about half-way through the book. Reading is slow, but not for the reason you might think. Instead, I’m savoring it. I read no more than two chapters a day, or, about two photographers a day.

I’m happy to know that many of them think as I do; instinct over research. I also learned that I might be on track when it comes to New Orleans culture. A project or series of pictures might take ten years to complete, but when it’s done, it’s done.

There’s more, but I’m I’m still reading.

The  picture. I mentioned that it is layered. Let’s talk about that because I actually made the picture just like I normally do. See it, photograph it.

Layering works only if you have pictures of the same size and shape. You can approach color from a lot of ways. My two favorites are the use of contrast and bold colors or by using extremely similar colors. You can find your own joy.

It’s a matter of fine tuning and adjusting the layered pictures from there.

Try it. You’ll like it.


Something to enjoy.

So pretty. So pink.

Yesterday’s sunset was stellar. The sun was hidden by drifting clouds. And, then it wasn’t.

Just then.

Right then, the Japonica (Japanese Magnolia) trees were lighted by wonderful late afternoon golden light. I was lucky. Ten minutes either way and I wouldn’t have seen this little bit of prettiness. I wouldn’t have been able to make this picture.

I know.

You make your own luck. That’s really what photographer’s luck is about. I see that as getting out of your chair and going outside. Not this time. I was outside. I saw the Japonica trees. They were in total shade. I turned around to keep walking and the light broke through. I wasn’t ready and it didn’t last. Then, the light broke through again. I was ready.

Writing this reminded me of something one of my mentors used to say about travel photography. Rather than chasing around trying to find stuff to shoot, and going to tourist sites, he’d find an interesting coffee house or a  bar with a view outside. He’d sit there and wait until something interesting passed by. Then, he’d make pictures.

Sounds strange, yes?

I think he’d have some idea of what he was doing, being both a Magnum and a National Geographic photographer.

Try it. You might make the pictures of your dreams.

 


Chance.

Art.

All art is autobiographical. But, the reader makes his or her own meaning.

Sometimes, it seems that art being autobiographical is a stretch. How is making pictures of Mardi Gras Indians about me or my life? Or, second lines? Or, about broken and abandoned buildings? I’m drawn to those things, especially living in New Orleans, but what do they say about me?

Or, are those subjects art at all? Am I stepping back into my old roll as photojournalist? Even my faux nature pictures like this one is stretching the boundaries of my life. I make these pictures because I live in a swamp. They are local and easy to make. They may be more about my skills than they are about me. They are more about my seeing and organizing than they are about who I am.

This picture, for instance , is a combination of two other pictures.The base are pavers and fresh growth near me. The flower-shaped objects are just that. Flowers. I worked very hard to make the new image in the studio. On the computer. What does this image say about me other than I see tiny details, have a few computer skills and I have an imagination? Yet, it’s art. My kind of art. Or, not.

 

 

 

 


Not a Christmas picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

عيد ميلاد مجيد

З Калядамі

圣诞快乐

聖誕快樂

Čestit Božić

Veselé Vánoce

Glædelig Jul

Prettige Kerstdagen

Häid jõule

Hauskaa joulua

Joyeux Noël

Frohe Weihnachten

Χαρούμενα Χριστούγεννα

Buon Natale

メリークリスマス

메리 크리스마스

Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus

Linksmų šv. Kalėdų

Среќен Божиќ

God jul

Wesołych Świąt!

Feliz Natal

Crăciun fericit

Счастливого Рождества!

Srećan Božić

Kirismas Wanaagsan

Feliz Navidad

Heri ya krismas

God jul

Веселого Різдва

It may not look like a Christmas picture, but it’s a picture the I saw today. So, in a way, it’s a Christmas picture. A real Christmas Day picture.

From all of us to all of you, Merry Christmas.


This is what you get.

I am NOT laughing at you who live in places where it so terribly cold.

Instead, I’m showing you what we get for putting up with New Orleans things. We have a high murder rate (two weekends in a row). We have an ancient water system that breaks every week. We have a terrible street infrastructure filled with car killing pot holes. We have a city government that wraps everything up in a marketing tagline, “The City of Yes.” Yes, most of us would like them to actually do something rather than all their posturing. And, they raised the value of our homes so that they could claim that they didn’t raise property taxes. The list continues. And, continues.

We also have mild weather. Of course, that contrasts with the extreme heat of summer. But, our mildness allows me to publish a picture like this one, twelve days from the winter solstice and the actual start of winter.

Older people who live in the north move to Florida for mild weather during the winter. They don’t have dodge bullets and potholes. And, the don’t have to live in our summer heat if they live somewhere near Florida’s long coast.

Anyway.

The picture. I saw it, I photographed it. It didn’t need any help in post production.


Flower explosion.

This idea came to me in a dream.

I’m not sure what it means. The dream, or the work. Rather than just stuff it all back inside me head I thought it would be a good idea to explore it.

I made layers. You’ve seen both pictures in the past. Bright yellow flower and red leaves. My exploration involves basic arithmetic. You know. 1 + 1 = 2. I’ve long believed that 1+1 can equal all sorts of numbers if they are the right 1+1. This is especially true in the art world.

By layering pictures, I think I made at least a three. Maybe more.

I’ve tagged this picture, “Boom.” It looks like a firework display to me. It may look like something else to you. Likely, a mess. Never-the-less, all opinions are valid.

Somebody once asked me when I have time to do all this, especially since experiments can end in failure. It’s more or less when I feel inspired. Or, when we are watching something very light on television. Often, I’ll just listen and work on pictures. I’m great with podcasts. And, the radio.

The picture. You can do this too, especially if you use “Snapseed,” which tends to make editing very easy. The key is to find two pictures that work together. I usually work on both independently. I try to build equal light and color values.

When I layer them, I experiment with different ways of layering. After I’ve completed the layers, I adjust them together. I also make sure to trim — not crop — the final picture. Unless you have two pictures with the same shape, there may be bits of one or the other picture hanging out. I crop mostly for shape. On WordPress-based blogs, deeper is better.

That’s it. My first lesson in a long, long time. Sorry about that.


Gleaming behind the sun.

Morning. Low Sun.

This. You get this. If you look at the light as it falls behind new blooms and old leaves. This is what you get.

I’d like to say this was an accident. It wasn’t. Even though I let the all-seeing dog lead me, I gently directed her to where I hoped to find light like this.

The first place in which I looked, I found that the sun was too low in the sky. But, the next place bore fruit. Or, flowers. I carefully exposed the picture as best I could. And snapped away. Post production work was mostly about darkening the image and making sure the background was obscured.

That’s it. I cropped it as usual, to give it shape.

A word about the weather. When I awoke the temperature dropped from a high of 79 degrees yesterday to just about 40 degrees. That’s nothing. On Wednesday, we are predicted to have low temperatures in the mid 20s.

Whaaaat…?

It’ll be windy on both days so the “feels like” temperature will be 8 to 10 degrees less than the predicted temperatures.

First, it’s too hot. Now, it’s too cold. When is this porridge going to be just right?

Er, something like that.


A lot of color.

The picture had a hole in it.

I fixed it.

The hole was just a big portion of the picture that was right in the middle. There was also this great stuff going on around the edges. The center had no subject, just an open space. Like a donut.

It reminded me of so many pictures posted on social media with great leading lines… to nowhere. I had options. I think the leading line pictures that I’ve seen could have presented the photographers who made them with options. But, noooooo.

I chose an easy option. I layered another image right into the middle of the original picture. I adjusted it as needed and it was ready for you.

I made the picture about two days ago. I made the layer about four days ago.

The interesting thing about our autumn season is that it is also a second growing season. The weather normally turns cool, not cold. You can start planting veggies for spring. The weather is turning colder and colder so I’m not sure about that for this year. But, native outdoor plants have already started blooming. That’s why I could make this picture.

Isn’t that great?

Unfortunately, we pay for this with brutally hot and humid summers. They last for at lest six months. I read something about this in a climate change story I found. Apparently, as the weather turns weirder and weirder, we won’t have an extreme change to our already hot weather, but New Jersey and that region will.

New Jersey?

Yep. The weather up there will become more like our summers. Lucky New Jersey.

On the other hand, as that happens we will continue to subside and the water will rise. That means as we sink, we will sink into higher water. At first, New Orleans will be an island. Then, we will be underwater.

I likely won’t be here by then, unless I survive to be about 115 years old. But, the Mardi Gras Indians will have to learn to swim.

Don’t you think we out to really start doing something about this?


Water and flowers.

We had a storm last night.

It wasn’t the usual kind. This thing was a fairly big tropical storm. I heard the the winds at about 3am. I got up to close the storm shutters. As I looked out the windows, I was amazed to see the gale force winds. Things were blowing around. Tree branches snapped. Our very heavy pool furniture blew around and into the pool. One of the umbrellas was open when it sank to the bottom. That’s going to be fun to rescue.

Oddly, all of our local meteorologists mostly said this storm would barely pass us by. The one that I trust the most, said it would stay out in the gulf and make landfall in Alabama.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I’m pretty sure that they downplayed this storm because they well oversold the last two storms. One was a severe tropical storm. The other was a hurricane. Both fell apart before they came close.

But, this one was cooking all day long. We had rain for about 28 hours. We had six inches fall during that time and then the winds arrived.

Right now, we are looking at overcast skies with the sun peaking through from time to time. The sidewalks are dry and the ground is starting to dry out. But, the broken tree limbs and tossed outdoor furniture will take some work. Normally, when the weather folks go crazy, we close the umbrellas and maybe move all the furniture undercover. They didn’t so we didn’t.

When the dogs and I went for a walk, we looked around our neighborhood. There were some pretty big trees pulled out by their roots. There were a couple of broken windows. But, luckily no cars or homes were damaged seriously. It just looks like a low level bomb went off.

The picture. That’s a car hood with water droplets and a bunch of windblown stuff on it. I saw it, I photographed. F8 and be there, or something like that.