Night magic. Tree shimmering at night.

S

ometimes, I talk about experimental pictures. Mostly that just means I’ve done something odd in post production.

Not this time.

I wanted to learn something about my smartphone camera at night. How would it hold up from a proper exposure standpoint? What would happen to the color? Would the image remain sharp enough.

The exposure is fine. The color is distorted because of night light reflecting off of almost everything. It is plenty sharp.

Then, I set out to tinker with it. I pulled the color this way and that. I sharpened it to the point that the leaves look like little sparkling blobs. The sky turned purple.

I’m not sure what I think. I’d like to know what you think.

What do you think?


Not so dark in the sky.

W

ork. It’s all about the work. If it’s important the work is simple, but simple things are hard. In any case, the work is the prayer.

I’m sitting here listening to a pod cast with Donnie Osmond. Wait, what? Yes. Donnie Osmond. It turns out he is one helluva a musician and a great guy. Forget the early music. “Puppy Love” doesn’t count in this conversation.

He talks about talent. He talks about his career. But, he talks about work. Hard work. And, that’s what it takes.

That’s what it takes in photography. And, that’s what it takes for me. That’s where the problem lies. I know that it’s a combination of pandemic languishing, a bit of personal illness and just flat out being lazy.

There I said it.

I’ve been very lazy for the past two years. I have nothing but time and I’ve been pretty good at wasting it. It’s one thing to take a needed break. It’s another thing two waste two years.

It’s time to get going. I’ll have to break a couple of routines that aren’t so bad for me, but they get in the way.

Wish me luck.


Interesting pizza place.

W

ow, oh wow, oh wow.

This is another picture that’s been reworked and cropped. What I didn’t notice until I enlarged it are some of the details.

The upstairs windows are new, if new means chopped out of the wall in the late 1800s.

How do I know?

Aside from the sloppy finishing job of those windows, my processing sharpened and brought out everything. There are letters all over that wall advertising something. They are part of a so-called ghost sign.

I’d have to do some research to know what this building was in the before times. Today, the upstairs is an apartment, maybe two. Downstairs is where a pizza place called The Louisiana Pizza Kitchen lives.

The pizza place was one of a couple of restaurants opened in the early days after Hurricane Katrina blew through. Most people went there for lunch because pizza. We could take it to go.

So.

Now I’m interested. A little research is in order.

Maybe I’ll get to photograph from the inside out.


Green to orange.

L

earning. Always learning. Practicing. Always practicing. Mostly trying to have fun with the pictures I make. It wasn’t always that way. Pictures were how I made my living. I don’t do that so much now. For sure, I still accept assignment but I don’t go courting them.

That is too much work.

As you know, I’m lazy. Maybe not so much, but if you are busy chasing assignments and all of the rest of the stuff that goes with it, you spend 80% of your time working on business and 20% of your time making photographs.

How much fun is that?

These days, if there is something I really want to photograph for someone, I’ll build a campaign which could take months to come to fruition. That’s really old school, but I’m not looking to be discovered on Instagram. A lot of picture buyers and assignment makers used to troll there. I’m not sure how many of them continue to do that.

A lot of younger photographers still think that they do. At least that’s based on their tags. They won’t tell you a thing about the picture. Instead their tags are directed to various publications. That may be the big difference. Publications still pay pretty much what they did when I was getting started.

Who wants to work for that?

Meanwhile corporate clients, the kind that I want, understand that assignment fees rise just like everything else in a normal economy. They aren’t on IG looking for the next great photographer.

That’s a good thing.

You should earn your way to that level. Photographers shouldn’t be famous because of the number of followers they have or the number of likes and shares they generate. Photographers should be famous for the work they generate over a long period of time.

At least, that’s what I think.


Evening glow.

T

his post was inspired by a band called Ranky Tanky. They are a Gullah band from the Lowcountry area of South Carolina.

They play a kind of country jazz. I’m always amazed at how many of their songs I know. Songs that were covered by The Rolling Stones and Little Feat. The good news is that both bands always acknowledged their musical roots.

Roots. I think that knowing who’s shoulders you are standing on. That’s another little piece of Storyteller. I haven’t talked about my inspirations in a good long while. (Let’s see if I can write that anymore Southern.)

Maybe I should start doing that again. Whaddya think? I can write about particular artists, or photographers or musicians to authors.

Let me just say that there are only a few photographers who inspire me. Most of them are old now. But, artists and musicians? You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting them. (Southernism number two.)

I wonder why that is.

S

ometimes things that look easy to do are a lot harder than we think.

This picture is an example of that.

It’s a time exposure made on my smart phone. Easy enough, right?

Sure. If you don’t care about the highlights or the deep shadows.

I did everything I could to keep those areas intact. I failed. Either one or the other had to go.

So, I kept the highlights and let the shadows go dark. I tried to hold the shadows, but they lost way too much contrast.

I did the best that I could, which wasn’t enough.

That’ll happen sometimes.


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.


W

hen we were getting ready to leave New Mexico we did a thing that some New Mexican like to do best. We went cruising. We weren’t showing off our cars. We were looking for our last pictures.

And, we ate dinner at all of our favorite places. We went to places like Garcias, The Frontier and Sadies. If you know Albuquerque, you know these places. If you watched Breaking Bad, you know some of them.

This picture was made on Central Avenue as it heads out of town toward the West. You might know it as Route 66. We, however, were headed east so I could catch the blue hour with some traffic on the street. This is about the location from which the late, great, photographer Ernst Haas made one of his very famous photographs.

You know what this driving around really was, don’t you? We were fixing things in our minds knowing we wouldn’t be back for a long time. We were making nostalgia.

I’m glad we did it. After a year like the last one when we didn’t move around at all, those memories helped our travel jones.

I’m sure you do things like that too.

What are they? When do you do them?

N

o joy yet. These templates are as twitchy as ever.

But, that’s not what I want to talk about, so goodbye bad code.

Instead, let’s discuss the picture.

It’s a drive by, or drive through. It helps to have a co-pilot who knows my moves. I just talk about the objective and the lane and the only thing I worry about from that point is making pictures.

I typically like to meter from a middle highlight like the back of that silver Jaguar. Get that close and everything falls into place.

Of course, there is work to do in post production because fine tuning is needed in a lot of little points of the picture.

That kind of good work is worth it in the end.


Blue. My picture. Joni Mitchell’s song. My eyes. The sky on a sunny day. A clear lake. The ocean away from land.

I made this picture in New Mexico. Older pictures keep resurfacing on Amazon Pictures. They are pictures that I’ve forgotten about. Pictures that have never been seen by anybody. Pictures that were “lost.”

So.

Lucky you. You get to see them before anybody else.

I’m not sure what these desert flowers are called. They come out in late spring and stay for the summer.

Once, when I could actually crawl around on the ground and get back up without aid, I used to make pictures like this with a DSLR camera. Those days are gone.

There is a song in which one line says that we don’t know how much we would lose. Even though I think this picture is happy, the day is sad.

Yesterday, I read a quick two inch story about somebody getting killed in New Orleans. I didn’t think much about it because rarely does a day go by that somebody doesn’t die by violent means.

We were watching the 10 PM News. The murder was across the street from my old house. Uh oh. A woman was killed. My oldest friend in New Orleans. She was stabbed to death as she was walking to her car to go to work, by a guy who was stealing it.

Rest in Peace, Portia.

June is starting out like a hellhound on my trail. A dog, and a person died. Makes me wonder what’s next.

This column is going to be more of a rant.

Sorry.

WordPress is running terribly. Yesterday, I blamed it on the huge internet outage.

Today, it’s on WordPress.

There is still no caption line. Worse, making this two column alignment took an act of God.

I’m not sure what it was doing, but the software was stacking column on top of column. The paragraph template didn’t know where to go.

It turned out that pressing the column template once dropped six templates on top of each other.

Leave well enough alone. The block system is bad enough without WordPress making it “better” every time the programers think about it.


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.