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.

Encore


On the inside.

The greatest story ever told. Maybe not the greatest, but very close. I’ve been looking for more upbeat thoughts. I heard one yesterday. A friend of mine said that his wife had stage four cancer. Note that word. Had. Usually at that point it’s all over but the funeral.

Not this time.

Somehow she was given the wrong chemo. Somehow. Mistakes are always made in hospitals. Some of them life threatening, some not.

In this case the mistake produced wonderful results.

After months of fighting this thing, her scans showed no trace of cancer. What was predicted to kill her was gone. Chemo treatments will continue for about a month to make sure that her cancer stays gone.

In 2020, with everything beating us about the head and shoulders, this is truly a miracle. My friend was so happy that he told people that he didn’t know. It put a smile on their faces, just as it put a huge smile on mine.

Hopefully, it’ll put a smile on yours.

The picture. If the picture looks more like spring than autumn, that’s because it is a picture of spring. I wanted something light and happy to match my words. Sorta. It’s an older archive picture. I made it durning my days if living in New Mexico. This rooting around in my archives has reveled many images that I’d forgotten about.

You’ll see more tomorrow. Something about roads and New Mexican light.

There is a trick to this picture. Expose for the dark leaves so that the back leaves are blown out and made pastel. Once you’ve done that everything falls into place.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your masks. Enjoy every burrito.

I Can See It In Your Eyes


On a wonderful morning.

This is a pretty good way to start the work week. Don’tcha think?

I’m pretty sure that if we start out on a positive note, the negative curve will flatten. Even a little helps. It’s important because a lot of people are really starting to feel it. Depression is in the air. That’s a pretty good way to get sick. CoVid-19 may not strike you, but something else will. Something like a heart attack. Or, whatever chronic illnesses you may have will elevate..

My job, should I choose to accept it, is to contribute to your well being. Two things about that. Hopefully, I’ve been doing that for the last ten years. I know that it’s only for a few minutes. Every little bit helps. For those of you who are new to Storyteller, I encourage you to take a deep dive in my archives. There is a lot of fun stuff that you may not have seen.

Yellow. According to color science, yellow is a mood lifter. From a large press printing perspective, it brightens the picture. Is this yellow enough for you?

The picture. I made it in the morning. As usual, I was walking. I made a lot of pictures of this swamp flower. You’ve seen some of them. I blew the exposure on this one. I didn’t do anything with it. In a later review I saw its graphic possibilities. That’s the reason I suggest that you never delete any file from your take.

Anyway.

I started working on it. Rather than to darken it, which was my first impulse, I made it lighter. I made it yellower. I added a little circular bokeh. I smoothed it out a little. That’s it. Hopefully, it will brighten your day.

Stay safe. Enjoy every meal.

The Blues


On a winters day.

It’s a blue sort of day.

The weather is frightful. It’s raining outside. Jazz music is playing inside. They say that we are going to get wet. Very wet today. Rain all day. Into the night. The late night.

Some plans went out the window.

I gave some serious thought to photographing one of two things. A walk through The Bywater with a group of photographers. I know. I wrote that I don’t work well in groups. This sounded fun. Or, I was thinking about photographing a second line. The first was cancelled yesterday because the group leader got sick. The second is postponed because of the weather.

Not doing both are fine with me. These days I’m trying to roll on. There’s plenty to do around this place. Or not. Maybe it’s a listening and reading day.

The pictures. I’ve been experimenting with a single way of enhancing pictures with basically one click. One move. I hesitate to call it post production because it’s been incorporated into my normal workflow. My new move seems to enhance the darks and bring out the highlights.

I did have to be careful in my culling. The techniques works best with blues. I tested it on a number of pictures. Warm tones hate it. Colder tones seem to like it.

The trees are just two bare branched winter ones that I saw around the neighborhood.

Even bluer.

Shapes


Graphic shapes in nature.

Shapes.

In nature. I could try to make the same ones. I wouldn’t come close. It’s best that I just make photographs of what I see. And, show them to you.

This is a walking picture. With the dog who sees things. The light was wonderful. Strong and low, with deep shadows. I stopped and made the picture. What else could I do?

There isn’t much more to say. The picture says it all.

Except.

You knew I had a little more in me.

I haven’t made a picture like this in a long, long time. I haven’t really seen this way in many moons. Once upon a time, a young designer called me “The Dean of Clean.” That’s how I saw. How I made pictures. Even how I design. I see to have gotten away from it a little bit. Since I’m reworking my website yet again, it’s time to remember who I am. Clean design. Not too many pictures. Certainly not enough to overwhelm the viewer.

Minimal. On point. Clean. Clear.

 

 

Summer Palace


The back of the Wisdom Sea Temple at Longevity Hill, The Summer Palace.

Once upon a time.

I spent a lot of time traveling in Asia. I live for a year in Shanghai, China. Between my comings and goings, I spent six years in Hong Kong. Long enough for me to have resident visa. I worked on a lot of big projects. Often, one project would take two months to complete. And, that was with very long and odd hours.

On my free time, I photographed wherever I was. Hong Kong. Singapore. Japan. All over Southeast Asia. And, China.

I became a kind of “Old China Hand.” Between my year in Shanghai and my travel, I’ve probably spent two years in China. For a while when the photography industry was good, that made me a go to photographer when it came to working there. At least for my clients.

So.

When Hurricane Katrina forced me to evacuate, I begged one of my editors for a foreign assignment to anywhere. He came up with a trip to Beijing. Perfect. I worked there for about two weeks. I made all the pictures that he needed. In between, I’d wander around the sites that he asked me to photograph and make a few of “my pictures.”

I made this picture at the back of the Wisdom Sea Temple at Longevity Hill at The Summer Palace. This isn’t what you think it is. It is not a building made of some kind of brick. Well, it is. But, the bricks are made of colored glass. Red colored.

A few facts. The Summer Palace was built during the Jin Dynasty in 1153.  It was expanded over time. Various dynasties added more and more buildings with final additions being built, and the entire area being restored in 1888. It fell into disrepair until it was restored again in 1953 and 2006. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1998.

There’s a lot more to the story. But…

The picture. I worked at the site for an entire day. It’s about an hour bus ride from Beijing. I didn’t want to leave without photographing what I came to see. I wanted to have enough time to just poke around. Since I was there in September, at the very end of the travel season in China, I had a lot of it to myself. It also meant that construction and restoration projects where beginning for the off-season. I had to work around them, which wasn’t a big deal.

When I turned the corner of the Wisdom Sea Temple, I saw the scene you are seeing and just knew there was a picture there. One of “my pictures.” I didn’t think my editor would care about it when he saw it. Wrong. This picture was a two page crossover picture in the book I was working on. I guess my vision and intuition was pretty good.

 

Summertime Yellows


Summer sunflower in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Summer sunflower in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Summertime.

Bright yellow blooming Sunflower. Always makes me smile. Probably it does the same for you, too.

This is among the last pictures I made during my post-Katrina adventure.  Sort of a nice way to hit the road.

Happy Saturday. Y’all.