The Memory Of Trees


Golden light.

We walk around. We see things. We see transformation. We see change. We saw what nature tells us. That clocks can’t tell us. In the pandemic era time meanders. We act normal. As hard as we try we can’t be normal.

Not no. Maybe not ever. That is a good thing. To be normal in this day and age is truly silly. Some people keep trying. They crowd the streets of The French Quarter. Maybe two percent of them are wearing masks. There certainly is no social distancing.

The virus rages on. We are seeing record infection rates almost everyday. Hospitals are crammed. Some are full. Most medical personnel do have the proper gear. They are using masks meant to be worn once per patient for the whole day. We are dying at the rate of over 1,000 per day. In some places freezer trucks are being used to store the dead.

The dead passed alone. Their families can’t bury them. Before we head directly into the chaos of March and April we need national leadership.

We won’t get it.

The president is sniveling and whining about his electoral loss. He hasn’t done a single thing except Tweet and play golf since he lost. He spent a whole seven minutes laying a wreath at the Arlington National Cemetery.

Oh yeah. According to the president, those guys who gave their full measure to our country are losers and fools.

Some Republicans are saying it’s over. Some means a few. The American Stooge trio of McConnell, Graham and Cruz are spouting nonsense. Let’s call them what they are. Traitors. They are duty bound to honor the Constitution. They aren’t.

It’s time to move on.

Trees. And, the picture. I photograph the things that I see and like. I return to the scene of the crime because I know where pictures could be.

That isn’t to say that I am making a lot of pictures. Everything gets in the way. I spent almost an entire day chasing down parts of one single issue. It wasn’t me. I think the people who are actually working have turned Covid stupid.

Normally, good hard working and competent people can’t seem to agree with each other on simple procedure. They are getting too cute in their attempt to solve problems.

That word. Simple. That’s how I try to keep things. That’s I try to photograph. It really is the only way to work. Especially now, when I am sure that I too have a little Covid head.

How about you?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your masks. Wash your hands. Keep your distance.

I’m supposed to attribute some things. So. The title “The Memory of Trees” came from Enya. “American Stooge” and “Stay Mighty” came from Mary Chapin Carpenter.

See? Sometimes — not often — I do what I’m told.

Golden Tree


My Autumn.

Experiment. It came to me that I hadn’t been playing once I made the picture. I actually haven’t been playing when I made the picture, either. I reckon if I start on one side the other may follow.

Here’s hoping.

I thought that the election news might break my block. But, Republicans in general are acting like the entire election is a fraud. What a crock. If I were going to run a game on the election, I’d make sure that senators like Graham and McConnell were voted out as well.

Graham is an American Stooge. McConnell is a complete waste of time.

This election is not over, even though it is. It’s going to play out over the coming weeks. The claims of fraud and outright lies are being distrubuted over the various socials.

Trolls are lying, saying things like I saw postal workers dumping bags of ballots.

Bags of ballots.

Get that? How does anybody know what’s in an enclosed bag? If, in fact, they were ballots, how do you know how the people who mailed them voted for? It’s more likely to be Democratic voters who are harmed.

The list goes on.

There was a day when either side accepted their loss. Now?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Be prepared.

Little leaves, all on a page. If you are unsure, just think, you may be on an artistic break through. My artistic break through.

I’m not sure if this work is a break through, but I had fun doing it.

At one point the bush looked like any other bush. Then I started tinkering. And tinkering. And… oh you get it.

I came to this place. I liked it at first glance. Then I started thinking. I wasn’t sure about it so I hung onto it for a couple of weeks.

I decided that it was time to show it.

Some of you may want to know how I did this. I’m being honest when I say I don’t know, except that 90% of it was done using Snapseed and my phone.

Time Fades Away


The sound time makes as it passes by.

I slept really late for me. After a pretty bad Saturday, I awoke at a little after 10 am. The house was already very busy. Dog food was making. Laundry was washing. Breakfast had been eaten.

After Friday nights horrible news I was convinced that I would be really out of sorts for a couple of days. I wasn’t. The sleep did me good.

I’m actually sort of peaceful.

Yes. I’m worried about how RGB’s seat will be filled. If the Republicans rush to fill this seat after blocking Obama’s choice they will be as fake as I’ve always thought them to be.

If Biden should happen to win, I would fully support the idea of packing the court. After all, fair is fair.

All I know right now, is that we have to work as hard as we can to prevent 45 from winning a general election that is about six weeks away.

I’m not talking about just the presidency. I’m talking about down ticket candidates, like the senator from Kentucky. He needs to go.

I’m also talking about state leaders right down to some city councils.

Enough is enough.

Nature’s way.

The picture. That’s what you came for. Right? This is a case of being outside at the right time. It’s also a case for running as fast as I can with my metal hip and impacted spine.

It’s also a case of photographer’s luck. Five minutes either way and I would have missed this.

I’ve seen post storm skies in the past. Often they are dramatic. Because of the way that I work at home, I often miss them. Sometimes, I just don’t have the right angle to see what the sky is doing. Sometimes, I just forget to look.

This time I had the angle and I remembered to look.

I didn’t have to do much in post production. I did darken the picture to bring out the colors. I did not have to bring the them up artificially. Nature really did her thing.

A small victory in a year of massive defeats.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your damn mask. Enjoy every boiled crawfish.

One Drop


Golden motion.

One drop.

Of sunlight.

The all seeing dog and I finally got outside around dusk. She won’t go out if rain is falling on her. The rain gave up earlier in the afternoon but she was doing the other thing she does best. Sleeping.

We walked the long way and saw these last few flowers of summer glistening in the sun. That wonderful all seeing dog kept tugging at me so she could go to her favorite place. I accidentally made this picture. Then I made the correct ones. I like this one better so there you have it. The dog was right again.

Sheesh.

My life is run by a dog.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every tuna sandwich.

The Greens of Summer


Summertime and the living is easy.

Summertime.

I know summer started a few weeks ago, but I wanted to show you a few pictures from my past. So, the real colors of summer start on July 1, in the age of the pandemic.

The picture is pretty. It looks and feels like a rich, verdant summer lawn. With a golden leaf on it. I reckon that’s a good way to start.

The real topic today is government advisories.

I don’t understand the public’s resistance to everything. Wear your mask. It saves lives. Maybe it will save the life of your beloved granny. There is so many arguments about that. It’s really not want I want to talk about.

Instead, I want to talk about hot weather.

It’s really hot in Southeastern Louisiana. The heat and humidity “feels like” temperature was over 105 degrees yesterday. The governor posted a set of charts and maps, with a few words saying stay hydrated, stay rested and if you can, stay inside, on all social media. This is normal procedure in the summer around here.

I could not believe the blowback he got over that. “You can’t tell me what to do.” “You can’t tell me to stay inside.” “You can’t tell me to stay hydrated.”

What the hell?

I realize that people have already been trapped inside with various degrees of lockdowns. I realize that the country is smashed into little tiny bits. That division is at an all time high. I even know who to blame.

But, really?

People are attacking a heat notice?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Stay inside. Enjoy every grilled cheese sandwich. (You can grill them on the hood (bonnet) of your car.

Starting Small


Bicycle bell.

Something simple.

I’ve been reading a lot about the future by studying the past up to now. I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t want things to return to normal. I want them to be better.

I like the idea of NCY closing a lot of streets to traffic so people can walk about freely, but still social distancing.

I like the idea of the city of Berkeley closing their streets to traffic in order to create a giant outdoor food mall.

I like the idea of driving less.

I like the idea of permanently working from home as the Twitter staff are doing.

I like the idea of fewer, but better restaurants.

There are costs associated with all of this. Some may be smaller than we think.

For instance, if New York keeps many streets closed, how will people get to work? Working from home is the answer. Of course, that impacts the land and property owners who won’t be able to lease property at the current high prices. Maybe that will drive property prices down to something more affordable for those who want to open a business.

That may be a plus. It also affects many small business. Coffee shops. Smaller cafes. Small stores. These are places were workers of all stripes stop to get their morning coffee, lunch and maybe to pick up dinner. There is an obvious work around for this. I’ll let you tell me what it is, keeping in mind that many modern day New Yorkers can’t cook. Heh!

That’s just one example.

Let me just say that in New Orleans, we could probably do with a lot fewer restaurants. Pre-pandemic there was one for every 300 people. That’s unsustainable in a good year. Yes. I know that means fewer jobs. That’s an adressible issue.

The list goes on.

Some of my reflections came from a long piece in Eater. If you don’t know it, you should. It’s http://www.eater.com Pick your favorite city and have a look. It’s a foodie group of websites but many topics are addressed on its pages.

Eater published a long story about the state of the meat packing industry. In a word, it’s frightening. My takeaway is simple. We don’t need to eat so much commercial meat. If we pay a little more and shop locally, we can keep ourselves healthy and taste the meat again.

At the end of the day, in almost every category, smaller is better.

That is something we can all do starting now.

Don’t misunderstand. Even this little action is complex. Buy local meat and create unemployment at the big corporate slaughterhouses. Once again, the owners will skate while the rank and file suffer. The issue needs careful study. Keep in mind, the federal government can’t help. The president issued a defense decree and the workers said, “yeah, we won’t be doing that.” You can’t order people to die.

That’s enough for a Sunday afternoon. We should all be relaxing.

The picture. I saw that bike bell. It looked cool to me so I made three pictures. This is one of them. I brought out the color a little, But that’s about it. It is that time of year when bike rides are better.

Another test. This one should link to a YouTube video.

Beautiful World


Out making groceries.

Morning glory.

Maybe I should be out and about in the morning. Pictures made then are usually a lot of fun. I usually have things to do then. Not the least of them being taking the all seeing dog on her morning walk. Maybe I can work around that.

Here’s a morning picture now. This one came after we parked in the grocery store lot. I made two reasonably good pictures there and one that is of the time. You’ll eventually see all of them

All the news that fits.

Covid19 rages on and on and on. In some American cities it may peak toward the end of April. New Orleans is following New York’s path, but only two weeks later. That means that we are nowhere near the midpoint. The rest of this week should get interesting. May you live in interesting times is the worst possible Chinese curse. We are cursed.

It seems that a lot of people are going through some kind of reevaluation of their lives. I’m no exception. I awoke this morning counting all the places that I’ve lived. There are a lot. I use to write it off to making career moves. Now, I just think it was caused by personal stupidity.

My career cost a lot. People, cool places, family. It’s harder to regain any of those things the older that you get. I could go further, but I’ll just depress myself.

On a positive note, I always had a lot of fun. I did get to see a lot of very different locations. I did get to participate in some great events. I met some interesting people. I am coming up to my 50th high school reunion. Many of my classmates grew up in Southern California and there they stayed. That’s great for some people, but it’s likely I would just have gotten bored.  I’ll never know.

Stay Safe. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Care for others. Enjoy every po’boy.

Just Dandy


Morning sun, part two.

Just Dandy. See what I did there?

Spring arrived. The time of allergies. The time of sneezing. Not from this little guy, but from Live Oaks. So much pollen. More pollen in years. At least, that’s what the weather person said who comes on at six.

Everybody is sneezing around here. Even the dogs. None of us are amused. Especially in this season of the witch. If we are walking somewhere and sneeze, people glare at us. No. We don’t have “THE VIRUS.” We have allergies. That what our docs told us. We have some kind of steroidal stuff that we spray up our noses.

It’s really not a big deal. It’s just a season in the swamp. I’d say that we get used to it. But, we never do. Just like we don’t get used to Carnival Season. When you think about it, even with a change of costumes, so much of Mardi Gras looks about the same. That’s a little comforting.

The picture. I think smartphones are amazing. The sharpness of the dandelion is something. I didn’t have to do anything magical, or technical. I just pointed the lens and waited until it found its focus point. And, check out the background bokeh. All those little circles pinwheeling around make the picture a little more interesting.

Just like everything seems a bit surreal right now, it’s even more so in my photographic world. Nobody is working. Most events have been cancelled. Travel photographers can’t travel. Music photographers have no music to shoot. Commercial photographers assignments have been cancelled.

When they can, I know a bunch of professional travel photographers who use the newest, most high end smartphone to do their jobs. Some of them don’t even bother to bring their DSLR or Mirrorless cameras. I don’t have that many guts. But, one of my agencies asked me to work using my smartphone in order to produce a different kind of photograph.

Different photographs. For sure. Because phones are so ubiquitous nobody pays attention if you make pictures in their presence. Sometimes I don’t even focus. The camera does. I just stick my hand into the middle of something and push the button. That creates another kind of energy and sensibility.

I didn’t take smartphone photography very seriously. But, lately I’ve seen some stunning work in print and on walls. This has been going on for awhile. I just never noticed it. Now that I have, I’m eager to test it. Not just with my version of nature pictures, but with real people, maybe at a second line or Indian event… if they ever happen again.

When we come out of the season of the virus, most everything will have changed. That’ll be the time to fix things. To make things better.

Even though I was pretty bleak yesterday, I still have a kind of hope. But, you can’t eat hope.

Instead of laying back and waiting, I think we ought to prepare, sharpen ourselves, train, get stronger and spring into action as soon as we can. I certainly don’t want to go back to the way things were with everybody screaming at each other, with intense polarization, with true greed showing at every turn.

I want things to be better. Much better. We can do this. I know we can.

Stay safe. Look after each other. Enjoy every sandwich.

Life During…


In the early morning sun. 

“This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco
This ain’t no fooling around
This ain’t no mudd club, or C.B.G.B.
I ain’t got time for that now” — The Talking Heads

I awoke with the song “Life During Wartime” in my head. I had to hear it. The best version in our library is from their live shows in 1984. I saw that tour. My then wife, Cherie, and I were taking a break from Los Angeles Olympics coverage. The Talking Heads came to a venue in Orange County, California. We were exhausted from working 18 hour days. It was just the energizing break that we needed.

It’s hard to believe that 36 years years have passed since then. There have been changes. So many changes. The world can live in isolation because we aren’t really isolated. We can’t reach out and touch somebody, but we can see and hear them via the digital tools that were unthought of in 1984.

Of course, there is the book 1984. And, the amazing commercial that Apple dropped during the Superbowl. But, we had no idea where any of that was going.

Today.

Things weren’t great, but they were sort of cruising along.

Until. Until. Until.

CoVid19 escaped from China. Now, the whole world is shut down. People are sick and are getting sicker. The most compromised and aged are dying. Most business are closed, or working in a very reduced manner.

Things only seemed to get worse yesterday. Even though I knew it well beforehand, Jazzfest was postponed until October. Most music tours were cancelled. Most of the producers of those things seem to think that they could resume in October.

But, wait.

The CDC and the rest of the federal government are planning for an 18 month siege.  There goes October. There goes any of the things that I enjoy. There goes any of the ways we earn our livings.

When we finally emerge from our homes, what will be left? Will we emerge to find out that there is very little left?

God. I hope not.

Life During Wartime, it is.

The funny thing about listening to the Talking Heads live album is that even though I haven’t listened to it in a very long time I know every word. 36 years indeed.

Stay safe, take care of each other, and enjoy every sandwich.