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.

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About passings.

We were talking.

A friend and I.

About music. Musicians. How fast time seems to be passing. How old they are getting. Compared to us. Seriously, they are around ten years older than I am. That’s not much older.

This morning, I learned that Gary Duncan passed. He was 72. He was one of the founding members, as one of two lead guitar players, of Quicksilver Messenger Service.

You’d have to be a fan of San Francisco music from the 1960s and 1970s to know who they were. They broke out along with Moby Grape, The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. The so-called San Francisco sound.

In Southern California, where I grew up, we had the Los Angeles sound. Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, The Doors and The Beach Boys were among the household names.

Both musical sounds are my bedrock. Sure. Earlier, I listened to my parents music. Big band. Show tunes. Some jazz. I broke away from that when The Beatles, Rolling Stones and the rest of the British Invasion poured through the radio sound waves.

But.

I started to come of age with California music. I am forever grateful for that. Rest in Peace, Gary Duncan. I’m sure you are playing around with Skippy Spence. And, your co-lead guitarist, John Cippolina. I’ll save Skippy’s story for another post. I barely know John’s story.

Which brings me to stories.

Today is the last day ever of our New Orleans newspaper, The Times-Picayune. It was bought by the competing paper, The Advocate. They sort of merged. The masthead will have the T-P’s name over the Advocate’s. For now.

By completing the merger, they had too many editorial staff members. So they terminated all of T-P’s staffers. They gave them two months notice because they had to under laws governing mergers and acquisitions. They kept producing quality journalism.

Eventually, they rehired 6 or 7 of the former staffers back at 20-40% lower salaries. The rest are looking for jobs. Some are creating start ups.

As the days wound down, the soon to be ex-reporters started asking what stories we, the readers, wanted told. For the last month or so, they told a lot of my kind of stories. Little stories. With little pictures.

The best kind.

Any newspaper can publish big national and international stories. The buy AP memberships, the subscribe to New York Times or Washington Post feeds. That’s easy. You pays your money and you get your stories and pictures.

But, little stories.

The kind where reporters talk to local people about, well, anything. Why are you interesting? What makes you a little different? Or, a little the same? And, that’s where some of the best pictures are made. That’s what I think.

Anyway.

I have no idea what my words have to do with my picture. Except to say that everything flows in its own good time.

Gary Duncan passed because it was his time. The newspaper merged and partially closed because printed newspapers are coming to an end. Actually, almost anything printed is coming to an end.  A smart newspaper owner, at every level, has long ago made the digital product the prime method of delivery. Papers like the New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal are great examples of that.

There’s more.  Just a little.

Online newspapers can’t make the advertising money that they once did. The business has inverted. They need your subscriptions. Paid subscriptions

Yeah. I know. We are in the era of “nobody wants to pay for nothing.” Artists of all stripes suffer because of this. If you want us to produce, we need the money to produce.

In the journalism world, it’s different. If you want to hold people accountable, they must be exposed. Usually by reporters. Photographers. Editors.

Journalists.

That costs money.

 


Flowing water.

No. I didn’t.

I didn’t forget about it. I bet you thought that I did.

The water project.

I work in bits and pieces. I keep ideas filed away in my brain. When I see something that I think might work I photograph it. That takes time. I find if I look for these elements of a little collection, I could probably complete a project in a week or two. It’ll look like that’s what I did.

That said, I found another picture for my dumpster series. Somebody threw away a lot of old wooden furniture. This was quality stuff. Fairly old. At least made in the 1930s. I looked closely. Dovetail joints. Very good details. Wonderful drawer pulls.

Sure. All of the pieces would need refinishing. Some would take more work. Most wouldn’t take very much at all. There were no holes that needed careful repair.

I have no idea why anybody would just toss it. If I had the ambition to work on it, I would have taken it. Even if we couldn’t use it, we could sell it. I’m sure by now a couple of the regular junk collectors have picked it up. They’ll sell it as is.

Anyway.

This picture might become one of my water collection. After looking at it enlarged, it’s going to take a lot of work to make it the kind of reproduction quality that it must be.

I made the original image in a very contrasty and backlighted situation. I really had no tools to control the original exposure. As you see it, there are deep pools of black that should be opened. It is too contrasty. The highlights are plugged up as a way to control some contrast.

If I’m going to do this project properly, I’m going to have to take a pass on my phone. These situations are just too hard for it to handle even with auto-HDR settings. I’m going to have to carry a real camera everywhere. Like I used to do.

That’s not a bad thing.


Summer water flow.

We are a wet place.

Even with all of our rainfall, summer dries us out a bit. I’d call this a kind of levee. Normally, the water level is about equal on both sides. Look at this picture. It’s not even close. Even the side wall is starting to dry out.

With our daily rain, which is normal for this time of year, it’s really not enough. The ground is still dry. And, cracking. In our humid conditions, I always say what falls down must rise up. After a rain storm, the air gets very moist and sticky. The water that fell from the sky is being evaporated back into the sky. So that we can have another rainfall.

Oh well.

That’s what living in southeastern Louisiana is about. That, and heat.

Speaking of heat, no matter which weather service you choose, it seems that they all agree that we have passed through our hottest part of the year. Some say we won’t be reaching 90 degrees for at least the next 15 days. Of course, on the day that I read that, the high was 91.

I always take long-term weather predictions with a grain of salt. Enough salt to drive anybody’s blood pressure through the roof. Actually, at this time of year, the only high/low prediction that I care about is the low temperature. When we start moving in the 60s, things start to cool off.

That should be any day now. Any day in late November.

The picture. See it. Photograph it. F8 and be there. It’s all reaction. No thought. That’s the best way to make pictures in the street. Or, on the water. Such as it is.


Flowing like a river.

I’m a little late. This is why.

“The wind in the willow’s playin’ “Tea for Two”; The sky was yellow and the sun was blue, Strangers stoppin’ strangers just to shake their hand, Everybody’s playing in the heart of gold band, heart of gold band. ” — Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia — The Grateful Dead.

It wasn’t because the dogs felt like walking until the end of time. They didn’t. It was because everywhere that we walked we met people. Some who we already knew. So who were new to us. We stopped. We talked. We visited. Sometimes, their dogs met our dogs. Sometimes they growled at each other, as dogs do. A greeting. Then they played.

Just like that.

What a nice Sunday morning. A little warmish with a cool breeze. Pretty light dancing, shimmering, and shining, everywhere. I may be forced to make some real pictures. Or, just be lazy and enjoy it.

The picture. The funny thing about this picture. It was finished before I worked on it in post. I just darkened it a little, made the color a little brighter, added some contrast and a vignette… and wowie zowie. It was done. I told you it’s Sunday. 🙂

By the way, if you’ve never heard the song, “Scarlett Begonias,” you should. It was written at the peak of Robert Hunter’s song writing abilities. It is a very happy song. It’s a little magical. He nailed it. You can find it anywhere. YouTube. Spotify. iTunes.


Swirls.

I was just thinking. And, you know how that goes.

This isn’t what you think. Yes. The temperatures have dropped some down here in the swamp, but I doubt that we’ll see any ice from it. This is just foam from fast flowing water. I was lucky enough to make this picture as it was dispersing. Most of the other frames don’t have near the shape that this one does.

Yes. It’s another dog walk picture. They are really patient when they see me start to photograph something. They stop. And, wait. That’s because they just walk longer as a sort of payback. Of course, that might mean that I stop again. But, they just walk longer. And, so the cycle goes.

Of course, I did a little post production. This picture didn’t really need much. It was just sitting there waiting for me. I helped it for sure. I sharpened it a bit and darkened the edges. But what you see is pretty much what you get.

That’s it.


Over the rocks and through the woods.

A weekend picture.

Something quiet. Something natural. Something peaceful.

You know how there is “Wordless Wednesday?” Or, “Throw Away Thursday?” Oops, I meant ‘Throwback Thursday.” Well, today is “Silent Saturday.” I think I just made that up. Or not. Probably not.

The picture is something that I saw along the way. Something that speaks to the season. Of Autumn. Our Autumn. 90 degrees with 92% humidity. Bracing. Chilly. Sweater weather.

I didn’t do very much to this picture in post production. Mostly, I darkened the highlights so that you could see what’s going on in them.

Happy Saturday.


Sort of Zennish.

Water.

Again. Why not? It’s the lifeblood of nature. Of you. Of me.

I thought this picture was equally balanced. I’m glad that it’s not. Look closely, there is a dark gray border on the bottom with bubbles on it. It keeps the bottom of the picture heavier than the top. It sort of gives it an anchor. Something to hang on to, while the top is all light and airiness.

A quick little discussion and question. Any answer is fine because you know that Storyteller is experimental and I mostly share pictures to test them. Some of them please me. But, sometimes I just want to see what they look like on this space. Of course I care what you think. But, like anybody else, I post some clunkers. It’s that old baseball thing again. The best hitters bat about .300. That means they failed two out of three times.

A friend of mine, with whom I attended high school, looks at my images on Facebook. I’m not sure if he actually reads Storyteller. In one comment, a few months ago, he said something about me growing beyond what people think about my work. That, at my age, that’s where I should be. My response, at the time, was pretty simple. I make my living doing this. If I people don’t like my work, my dogs don’t get high-end kibbles.

A day or so ago when I posted that layered picture of what is essentially just light and color, he said something to the effect of, “I like your work but I don’t understand this one.”

So.

Which is it? Should I just roll with everything? Good and bad. Or, should I take his criticism to heart?

I know what I think. Storyteller is the place where I play. Experiment. Tinker. Go too far.

For most of you that’s perfectly fine. For image buyers, they just drop down to a place where more traditionally produced images live. No problem.

The picture. A dog walking picture along a place that we both like. Morning is the best time there. In fact, with our extreme late summer heat, morning is the best time anywhere. We are having one of those “feels like” 109 degree weeks. How hot is that in real terms? Well, to make this picture I had to walk out above the water. Some of it splashed on me. It was bathtub warm. That’s flowing water in the shade. The actual picture taking was easy. Focus on the leaf and don’t fall in.

How bad would that be? Sheesh. After a long dog walk, I come in soaked anyway. Humidity is a great deep cleaning agent. Heh!


Water flowing through a little canal.

Water, water, everywhere a not a drop to drink.

That’s an old saying. It suits this particular water. It looks fresh. it looks clean. But, it is not. It’s been working its way through all kind of man-made systems. I have no idea what’s in the water.

No matter.

It is pretty and it makes a nice little picture. In fact, I think it’s given me a project idea. About water. Normally, I approach these things from a storytelling perspective. This time, I think I’ll do it through pure art. There will not be a beginning, middle and end. Or, a process. Instead, just a portfolio of water-inspired pictures.

Funny thing. We had a lot of rain this morning. I think it started around 3am. Rainfall lasted until about 9am. With my new-found interest in all things water, you’d think I’d have been out working.

But, nooooooooooo.