Time Passages


Like another world.

Finally. It hit me this morning. I am in mourning. Not for the life we all once had. Although, that’s part of it. I’m in mourning for the passing of time. Not, the time that I’ve been discussing. That time has no meaning, no concept these days.

Another kind of time passing. The kind that catches us all in the end. The time of aging. Not so much for me, although that matters. But, for my loved ones. Even the dogs. Especially one dog.

Sophie Rose, the all seeing cocker spaniel is aging right before my eyes. She came to us when she was eight, so she was already a senior dog. She fit right in. She became my walking companion since the other dogs were very happy with one walk a day, in a pack.

She wanted two or three walks a day, just me and her.

That was fine, if not painful. At least until a senior doctor diagnosed the real issue as bursitis.

Lately, instead of going for a morning walk, she goes outside and does what she needs to do and goes back to bed. Mostly, we go for a short walk once a day.

It crept up on me. I looked but I did not see. I got nervous today so I called her vet. For basic things that seems to be what all medical professionals prefer in the pandemic age.

We talked for a good while. He asked me the usual things. She eats her normal amount of food. She drinks her normal amount of water. She seems happy. She doesn’t express any pain. Her droppings are normal.

Everything is good.

He said very simply that she is getting old. If you use the correct way of measuring dog’s age. Twelve years for the first year. Nine for the second. And, seven for the rest. She is about 93.

I don’t imagine that I’ll even be on the planet at 93. So, at that age she is doing fine.

Never the less, I don’t like it. Cockers live from 11 to about 16 years. At 16 they don’t do much but sleep, eat, pee and poop. If she lasts that long of course I’ll love and take care of her. The other dogs will stay near her as a way to protect her.

Now, I’ve made myself sad. I don’t like getting older for me. I don’t like it for those I care for.

There is nothing to be done. It’s nature.

The picture. This should be short and sweet. That dog, the one I discussed in theft hand column, and I started on her walk. We got to my go to place and I looked up.

What a nice peaceful sky. A popsicle sky.

I did what I always do and we walked on.

I did a little post production and posted it here.

Happy popsicle sky to you all.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Don’t travel this week. Enjoy every sandwich.

In A Gentle Way


All the light that matters.

Saturday. The week ends quietly with a simple study of light and color. It’s something that somebody who claims to be a photographer should understand.

Lately, on the socials, I’ve seen a lot of pictures that make me wonder. For every good photograph there seem to be three or four pictures that tell me that we’ve reached the saturation point.

Too many pictures.

I have to think that maybe everything doesn’t need to be photographed. I’ve seen a lot of talk about how glued to our phones we are. I think that for some people their eyes are glued to the phone’s LCD rather than just enjoying themselves.

I don’t know. I’m mostly just sayin’.

One more thought about too many, too many.

Probably 95% of the people taking all these pictures are storing them on their phones. It’s a good thing they are taking so many pictures because their phones are going to fail at some point, or technology will change, or something else will intervene and all those pictures will go poof in the air.

It’s true that some people will connect their phones to a cloud, but what happens when that technology ages? Sheesh, I’ve still got Kodak’s Gold CDs. If I want to open them I have to download a piece of software.The software is free. No one needs it anymore.

I suppose what I take away from this is to make pictures of things that matter, in light that helps the picture, using color that’s beautiful.

That works for me, anyway.

This picture was easy. All I had to do was get up early and take the all seeing cocker spaniel for her morning walk.

We stepped outside and there it was. Wonderful early morning light.

It took me about five minutes to make the picture and a little more in post production, mostly to clean up little things and add the border.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Look after each other.

Like Asian Art


Gentle.

Like Asian art.

Gentle. Calming. Relaxing.

When I saw it, I knew. This was not about the original file. It was about what could be done with it. It was about my vision. My intent after I brought the image home.

To be clear, it wasn’t about heavy post production. It was about doing just enough studio work to bring forth what I saw in the scene. I saw it as something Asian. Maybe Japanese. Maybe Chinese. Makes sense. They borrowed from each other.

It was also about the color green. It’s said to be calming. We all could use a little calming.

These days have gotten completely out of hand. I try not to read much news. That’s one approach. But, that’s like turning down a fast flowing water spigot. It just keeps trickling out. My only alternative seems to be to shut it all down. But, I like baseball. In order to get to it, I have to wade through various news publications and websites.

Also, we are in the middle of hurricane season. I do need the storm alerts. The best storm information comes via Twitter. As much as I try to follow artists, musicians and local people, the news that I want to avoid seeps out.

I’ll figure it out. Eventually.

The picture. I pretty much discussed it at the start of this post. I saw it. My brain broke free of its rust and realized that there was something to this grassy shape.

 

Shape of Things


More like magenta.

Getting close.

Close enough to see the details. The shape. The various shades of color.

Color.

Call this what you want. Is it pink? Is it magenta? Is it something else? If you are trying to match color, as I used to do on a big commercial printing press, it matters. If you aren’t, enjoy it for what it is. Whatever you think it is.

Now. A quick message from our sponsor.

I was reading a Facebook conversation between a couple of people and an author friend of mine. They were discussing how to market a book. One thinks websites are dead. Another thinks blogs are dead. A third one thinks Facebook is old fashioned. None of them discussed tweeting or Instagramming.

They admitted that they had no idea what was right or wrong. They were guessing.

The correct answer, according to the head of SEO for CAA, is all of them as long as the same people don’t follow you around. They may think that they are helping, but they are not. Each of those social media platforms reach different kinds of audiences. Having a Facebook page is like being in the telephone book. Remember those? You have to be there or for sure nobody will find you.

The other big trick is not to share, post or tweet the same material. That makes sense. If people follow you around, you want them to see different stuff. If somebody stumbles on your work in a couple of places, you don’t want to bore them.

Get it?

The picture. A new summer bloom at home. I saw it. I photographed it. That was pretty much it. Ma Nature made that flower. She doesn’t need help from me.

Simple in the Springtime


Blooms of Spring.

And so.

It goes.

In the last 24 hours, one person passed. Another is having a birthday. A big one. And, the all-seeing dog found these flowers on a route we rarely take.

Obviously, the birthday was expected.

The dog did her usual thing. She turned a fifteen minute walk in a 60 minute walk because, well you know, all things must be explored.

The passing was not expected. He was a member of my krewe.

The Krewe of Backsteppers, which is not to be confused with backsliders. Backsteppers are the third line, but we walk before the first and second lines. We are the photographers who document second lines, Indian events and all sorts of Mardi Gras cultural events.

As I wrote to a friend of mine, it’s never good when there is a second line during the week. It almost always means some has died. And, so it did. Randolph “Mookie” Square was so well-known in the Treme community that the mayor issued a proclamation upon notification of his death. May he rest in peace. Or, as we say around here. RIH. Rest in Heaven.

So.

Even though I didn’t know it when I made this picture. The flowers are for Mookie. And, the birthday girl.

I’m pretty sure that there will be a jazz funeral. Usually, for well-known community members it’s a really big deal. When Uncle Lionel Batiste passed (You know his nephew if you watch Late Night with Stephen Colbert), it took a while because there were a lot of very violent rainstorms, but when his second line finally got going it was huge.

So huge that the Louisiana State Troopers closed two exits on the interstate where it passes over Claiborne because people were on the off ramp dancing and photographing. Yes. I was one of them.

I expect about the same thing this time.

I’m not sure I have the energy I had back then. That was a long time gone. But, I’ll do my best. You know why.

Sometimes, in New Orleans, it’s about learning. It’s about learning how to deal with death. Of course we mourn. The first steps in a jazz funeral are a dirge. But, we know that all things must pass. That dying is part of living. So, when the dirge is over the music soars. People dance. In the streets. We send the one who just passed, out in a blaze of glory.

Of course, we’ll miss them. But, we’ll always remember them. And, the good times we passed with them.

For me that means on the parade routes. Mookie had a habit of finding the picture at the last-minute and jumping right in front of you. After a couple of times of “WTH?”, you realized that he was no better or worse than you are. I can’t begin to tell you how many how many times I did that to other photographers. I won’t even apologize for it. It is what it is.

Life on the streets.

Peace, y’all.

Song of Sunday


On a Sunday.

A mood.

A quiet mood. A peaceful mood. A jazz mood.

Because it’s Sunday. Because it’s Sunday I was going to photograph a second line. Way out in the Lower 9th Ward. I’ve chased this second line in the past. It’s yielded some good pictures. I even traveled some to get here. Today.

But.

I awoke being into little things. Details. Enjoying the process of tinkering. So, I walked a couple of the four-legged kids. Came back in. I said something like forget it. At least the word started with an “F.” Heh. I’m not a choirboy.

I messed around with this picture. In more ways than just post production. I changed so internal settings that should make it easier on you. It should pop up on your screen, rather than load slowly.  I didn’t know I could do it using this software. So, now there’s more to explore. To learn.

Remember?

Learn is my word for the year. I’m glad it chose me. It has settled nicely into the front of my brain. I think that I’ve been learning about different things at a nice steady clip.

While I worked on this picture, I realized that I needed music. I poked around on Spotify via Sonos. I found a not as well-known Joni Mitchell album that I hadn’t listened to in a long while. “Night in The City.”

Because. It’s a Joni Mitchell kind of day.

Rare Fog


A foggy morning in Jackson Square.

This is it. The very first picture I made in New Orleans.

Unlike some of the others in this series, it wasn’t exactly lost. I just hadn’t seen the original scan in a long time. Yes. Scan. This image was made on film. In 1999. In June, if my mind isn’t playing tricks on me. It’s very likely, the image was made on Fuji Velvia, which is a bright, high color, high contrast film. It’s mostly what I used almost 20 years ago. It still exists today.

This working style isn’t what I was known for, but my editors loved it. They wanted me to do more. Hmmmm. That reminded of what I always knew. If any editor is not a photographer, they have no idea of reality on the street. This picture was made by happenstance and luck. I can’t will nature to drop some fog wherever I want it. I could if I was making a movie with a big budget, a huge crew and a bunch of tools. I’m usually one guy with a couple of cameras. I work by discovery and a little bit of foreknowledge.

That said, this is a very nice Sunday picture. It’s quiet. Peaceful and subdued.

Enjoy.

A Summer’s Evening


Drifting into the mystic.

Another one. Another picture that makes you smile. A version of yesterday’s post made from a different perspective.

And still.

That weird light refraction followed me.

I have no idea what it was. I think it was some strange bit of light bouncing around the water droplets in the air. Usually, that reflects something in the red spectrum, making the raw frame a little gray and muddy. Not this time.

Perspective. That’s a good word. Let’s talk about that.

A friend shared a post on Facebook. It was about #metoo. It was well written from the point of an expert in what I’ll call systems of belief. She was waiting for a plane with another expert. A man. A guy sitting across from them asked why they were there. They told him. He proceeded to go off on a tangent mansplaining his point of view rather than asking her for viewpoint. Her colleague proceeded to take this guy down. He did it gently and mentioned that he lost a great opportunity to learn from an expert.

All good.

I made the mistake of reading the comments. I never do that for obvious reasons. Most of the comments were fairly tame until. Until it devolved into a shouting match where women were attacking other women on little tiny points, calling each other sexist. WTH?

People, people, people.

This ain’t gonna help. Better to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes than to be so sensitive that you attack them for some little, insignificant point. Always to remember what they taught me in drunk school. When you point one finger at someone, the other three are pointing back at you.

If you want to change something – and a lot needs changing — work at it. Stop attacking each other on social media. Build. Don’t destroy. After all, faith without work is dead.

The picture. It’s one that I made when the sky was doing weird stuff. I even walked to a different location. The strange light followed me. Maybe it was meant for me. It did some post production. The first take looked very evil. Nasty.

So.

I thought, a dangerous thing to do, that I would make it gentle. Cotton ball-like.

See?

It’s all in your perspective.

Gentle Growing


New birth.

Like a watercolor painting.

A time in nature, when greens are still green and summer hasn’t officially arrived.

The time in between.

I am fascinated with Asian art forms. Something Chinese. Or, something Japanese. This picture sort of crosses the border. Between.

Make no mistake. It was a photograph first. I started tinkering with it. I tinkered with it some more. Eventually I went backwards. I made it lighter. Gentler. Almost wispy. I came to this place. I took it a step further. It was gone. So, I back tracked. Here I am. I added a frame because it was drifting all over the screen. I changed my watermark from white because… well, you know.

Happy Sunday. Happy Father’s Day.