Forest floor.

L

ast Chance Texaco. Not, this is your last chance. Last Chance Texaco is song by Ricki Lee Jones. She also wrote a book by the same name, which is an autobiography. We are listening to it.

We are big on podcasts, so why not listen to books when we are doing something semi-mindless?

So far I know that she had a rough upbringing. She was raised by her mom and grew up with her brother. They moved at least once a year. It seemed that they are always leaving.

That seems to be the case with a lot of well known musicians. Leaving.

That’s probably something worth getting used to if you are a working musician. Touring is about the same. Play one night. Leave. Play the next night in a different place. Leave.

The last two years have been weird for that. During the lockdown year, nobody played anywhere. Last year and the beginning of this year musicians are trying to tour. Some go out only to be rerouted, postponed and canceled. Or, it seems like they are dodging the raindrops. They’ll go out, play a show, reschedule one or two shows and resume again.

You could easily ask, what are you thinking? But, I know what they are thinking. They either need to play for people — musicians are like that — or they need the money.

I get that.


Everything, every way.

T

here’s so much. Too much. Everywhere. All over the place.

I’m starting to understand the problem. I’m beginning to understand what the internet’s democratization did. It opened the doors to everyone. That’s not a bad thing. Everyone deserves a chance. It clogged up all of the artistic pathways to the the people wanting to listen to, see, or watch anything that’s even vaguely artistic.

This isn’t what you expect. It’s not a rant. It’s just an observation.

I was working my way through my Instagram feed when I stumbled upon a video that was interesting so I went to the video portion of IG. Oh, there were the usual things. Kittens, puppies, and people doing stupid things.

But, in between.

There were a lot of musicians. Good musicians who were playing their instruments in their bedrooms. I was watching guitar players. Those folks could really play. So could the drummers and keyboard players. That started me thinking.

Professional musicians have a hard time making enough money to exist. They make no money from their recordings unless they get very, very lucky. They earn a little from selling their merchandise. The real money comes from touring if they are lucky.

What about the young people playing their instruments at home. Maybe some of them, will breakout if they are lucky. Most will do something else. And, that’s too bad. They have something to contribute to the world. Something good.

Because… music is magic.

T

he picture. It’s magic too. There are three layers of trees, making a forest. There’s tinkering and smoothing going on. There’s a little glow added. And viola!

Magic.


Sunlight sparkling at dusk.

T

his almost didn’t happen. I had so many problems rebooting and reinstalling software that I was about to give up. For instance, OnOne took just one hour and fifteen minutes to load. I have no idea why. Most everything else loaded in a reasonable amount of time. But, there was a lot of it.

That said, I really wanted to publish this photograph. It’s fall personified. I needed to show it. You needed to see it.

And, that’s all.


The greens of autumn.

N

ovember 1. My birth month. I suppose that I should start celebrating now. That means I’m a Scorpio. You know how we can be. Vain. Well dressed. Likable. Able to strike at a moments notice. The list goes on forever.

In Chinese mythology I’m a snake person. What a combination.

These days I’ve tamed my evil ways. A little. But, every now and then…

It’s turned weird these days. You can’t say anything. You might get canceled. Cancel culture, indeed. Lack of courage culture seems to fit a little better.

Then there’s this. I got into a spirited discussion with a woman last week. I say spirited because it hadn’t elevated to the argument phase.

After a few minutes she called me a misogynist. I stopped and said I didn’t disagree with her because she is a woman. I disagreed because she was wrong. Since she couldn’t win by calling me names, she said I was mansplaining. If I was doing that, she’d understand why she was wrong.

I gave up.

Wasn’t that the point of her words? To force me to say “I give up.” She didn’t care about the facts. Make no mistake, men are even worse. Our choice of words is just a little more spicy.

This is just the very long way of saying that the world is as polarized as I’ve ever seen it. We can’t even agree that climate change is real and we’ve pretty much run out of time to do something about it.

Why is that, do you think?

A

short technical discussion if you’d like.

The image is layered. I used two photographs to create a dense forest. That took some doing because I tried three or for top layer pictures.

Once I found two images that worked well together I combined them but the result was a little shaky, so I worked on fine tuning them.

I almost gave up and started to look for another image.

Then it hit me.

Lighter, not darker.

Once I did that the images blended fairly well. Fine tuning was needed, but fine tuning is always needed.

I made what I think is a deep, dark, dense forest image that speaks to fall.


All the fall colors.

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friend of mine used to travel from Michigan to Vermont to photograph fall colors. Now he travels from Florida where he retired.

That seems like an awfully long way to chase color.

Me?

I’m lazy. I walk out of my door and take pictures of fall color. Or, I could. We lost a lot of trees around here a month or so ago.

That’s not all bad news.

Downed trees mean new views. New views mean new pictures. New pictures mean new smiles.

That’s what happened when I made this photograph. It seems like this amount of color is way too early, but Hurricane Ida seemed to change everything. Or, maybe it’s climate change… no matter what the Republicans say.

I’m won’t get into the politics of that because it really is just politics based on money. Follow the money, they say.

You know where the money goes. I know you know.

And, that’s enough for a pretty, but weird picture.

T

his is one of those pictures that needed a lot of help.

It needed cropping. It needed color control. And, it needed art.

So, I gave it art.

I gave it Pointillism, which is an art movement that uses a technique in paintingĀ in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image. Unless you enlarge the image, you don’t usually see the dots.

This is an extreme application because you can see the dots with just a glance.

That’s your Saturday art semi-lesson. There’s a lot more, but there always is.


All the red that fits.

F

inally. The big machine starts. I came to realize that I couldn’t type in my password because the magic keyboard couldn’t type anything. I’m not sure if it gave up the ghost or there is a bluetooth setting that is turned off.

After poking around endlessly on various computer repair suggestion pages I found something that kinda made sense.

So, I did it and it worked.

I went to a big box store and bought an old school wired keyboard for all of $10.99. The end has a usb plug so I plugged it in. Viola. It worked.

Now, I can work.

You have no idea how hard it was to work using a phone. I realized my posts were getting shorter and shorter as I became more frustrated using the phone.

Now, I’m back. And, I’m noisy.

I

made this picture on a walk. This is autumn. It may be all that you need to know about the season.

It’s a beautiful bridge between summer and winter.

It’s my favorite season. The color is wonderful. The light is even better. It’s low. It’s golden. And, it illuminates everything.

So.

I’ll do my best to work a little every day. Yeah, that’ll help my mood.

I hope.


One stop shopping.

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his is the kind of place that we saw on our drive to Natchez. That’s Mississippi, in case you were unclear on it.

Stopping at little places like this were one of the reasons the drive too so long. This place was closed. The drive would have taken longer if it had been open because the owner would talk to me and I would start a longer conversation.

If you want to take pictures in unfamiliar places that’s how you do it. Talk. Talk. Talk. Let them know that you aren’t a threat in any way.

Make your picture, thank them and move on.

Do that 15 or 20 times on a trip and it adds up to real time. On the other hand, it’s worth it. Meeting new people is always worth it. And, you may learn something about the place you are photographing.

It may not be historically accurate, but who cares? We do it for the stories we can tell. And, for this blog. Well, I do anyway.

And, then there was lunch.

We read about a legendary cafe tucked away between Highway 61 and the river. We knew the crossroad, but that’s all. It took some poking around and looking because the cafe was located in the middle of a trailer park.

That’s also the joy of this kind of travel. Even though the hangries were approaching, we had fun finding the place and eating. The food was really good. Sort of southern home style cooking.

Imagine that. Southern home cooking in the South. What’ll they think of next?

S

ince there is no technique to making a photograph like this one, other than what I wrote about talking to people, I thought that I would talk about yesterday.

I went to an appointment with a new oncologist. There was nothing wrong with the old one. I liked him a lot. But, he retired.

I kind of grilled him about the efficacy of my vaccinations as oppose to what my CLL did to them.

He looked very carefully at my blood work and saw something encouraging. My hemoglobin numbers look almost normal.

So, in the next week we are going to run a detailed panel just looking at that. If it is as we hope, there is a chance that I don’t have to stay locked down, or at least I don’t have to be quite so strict because if the hemoglobin is near normal then the vaccine will work to a point.

Have a good thought for me.


An autumn walk through a forest.

O

nce, awhile back, I used to walk through a forest like place. In truth it is a park but most of it was left as wild land.

It’s a great place to walk because there are measured distances. You chose the trail that you wanted and you could walk from one to three miles.

Along the way you could walk near railroad tracks, you could see a modern all metal sided performance venue. Or, if you walked further you could see the New Orleans Saints training field and their business offices. You could even see the so-called Shrine on Airline. That was a AAA baseball stadium.

Unfortunately, the team called The Babycakes — Yeah, I know what kind of name is that — moved on to greener pastures.

There was hope of getting a new team, but first MLB cut the number of minor league teams and then the pandemic arrived. We’ll see what happens next.

It is currently used as a rugby pitch and for local high school football games.

I like walking through the most natural areas which is how I found this scene. Obviously, it was autumn when I did that. And, yes, this is another “lost” photograph that Amazon Pictures found.

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he biggest issue in making this picture is one of focus.What stay sharp?What goes soft?

In those days I used a Canon G9 as a walk around camera. It worked like any DSLR. I loved that little camera to the point that I used it up

Anyway.

I decided to keep the bark and moss as sharp as possible because it’s in the foreground and let rest go a little soft in order to make the details in the tree pop out.

That worked.

Post production work was fairly simple. I toned down the red leaves because they were too bright and too red. I sharpened the tree as much as possible without going too far.

I usually go too far.

E

ditor’s note.This is the closest that I’ve come to giving up and thinking the hell with it. For some reason unknot to me, the paragraphs became trapped in a little block. If you tried to edit the words, the entire paragraph was deleted. I have no idea what I did to restore it back to normal.

I also found out why I kept think the text seemed light. That because it was. Apparently, the default setting is a light gray. Black text on a white background is considered to be the easiest to read. Of course, Word %&@# press knows better. I’d better tell all the designers with whom I’ve ever worked.


The swamp and the tree.

There is one corner where the land looks like this. It looks and feels what it must have been like 25,000 years ago.

I don’t really know. I’m not that old. I swear.

All I know is that it’s green and can get kind of noisy when squirrels talk and birds chirp.

Sometimes wilder animals than those make their way through the foliage. I’ve seen raccoon and possums pass by. I rarely see snakes, but they are there too. Nothing poisonous, just the usual black snake or two.

Scrape away 160 years and this neighborhood is wild and swampy. Well, not that wet. This is ridge land. Kind of. It’s six feet above sea level when so much of the city land is below sea level.

But, that’s enough.

It survived the big hurricane in my memory — Katrina — without getting flooded. That’s one of the reasons we live where we live.

It’s not the oldest neighborhood in the city, with much of being built in the 1850s. It was annexed to be part of New Orleans a little before that. People built here for three reasons. The land was fairly inexpensive. The area was a little cooler which kept the viral outbreaks down. And, it isn’t near the French Quarter and “those people.”

That doesn’t mean what you think. It really means a wilder, rowdier bunch.

Even now, it’s removed enough that if I want to go to the Quarter, I can hop on the streetcar and be there is 10-15 minutes. And, that’s a two block walk from the house. I can watch the craziness and come home to quiet.

Sometimes living here is easy.

Jungle land. The hardest part of making this photograph is the light.

Most of it is dark. That’s easy to expose for. But, look at the highlights. They are way blown out.

The way to account for that is to expose for the shadows and add a little flash. Not much, just something we used to call a kick light.

I could have done that but didn’t. Remember, I make these pictures on dog walks or going from one place to another.

The result is slightly gray highlights caused by the processing that takes a RAW file to a JPEG. It crunches some of the highlights to make them fit within the JPEG gamut.

Never the less, I think this is a fairly striking representation of my neighborhood.