Dark skies.

W

e listen to a lot of podcasts around here. This morning I was listening to The New York Times’ The Daily. The reporter was talking to a viral scientist. It was a pretty good interview until the reporter asked the scientist when the pandemic would end.

She declined to predict that, but did say that because of all the issues we already know about including the politicizing of the virus, anti-vaxers, freedom complainers, and the general lack of concern about masking and potential super spreader events, the soonest the virus could be managed but not eradicated is late 2022 or early 2023.

Think about that. We have another potential 18 months of this stupidity before we even come close to managing this.

In my other world we started cancelling the first two legs of a four leg tour. It’s highly likely that the last two legs will be cancelled too.

The supernutjob fans on Facebook couldn’t understand why. They claimed everything but the truth, including that the star has breast cancer. A legal note will put an end to that.

When I asked who among them could meet entrance requirements of either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test taken within 72 Hours.

I heard.

Crickets.

And, there you have it. They killed a concert tour and their fun.

Morons.


As a dog sees it.

T

his picture has taken me awhile to edit and share. I’m sure that you have a pretty good idea of why. This is a dog’s eye view.

There.

That should make it clear.

Anyway.

I made the picture on a day like this. No light. No color. The overcast wasn’t even good enough to make a black and white portrait. It’s late summer. It’s what we expect. It’s hurricane season too. So far so good. But, the season ends in November.

Oddly, New York, Long Island and New England are the target for what was something major. How weird is that?

We had two tropical storms in the gulf. One went to Mexico. The other caused yet more damage in the poor country of Haiti and dropped some water on Florida.

You’ll have to excuse me for talking about tropical storms and hurricanes, but we are nine days from the 16th anniversary of the arrival of Hurricane Katrina.

I’m pretty sure that anybody who has been through it and survived turns a little strange about now. Add that to the never ending pandemic and there plenty of folks who could probably use something very strong to calm them down.

I’m so worn down from the pandemic that hurricane season isn’t getting much of a rise out of me. I’m even thinking less about where would we go in the event of an evacuation. Last year, the pandemic left us with nowhere to run.

It’s a little different this year. If we can get out of the south we’d be fairly safe. Or, at least, safer than last year.

Who knows?

B

oy. Did I do a lot of work to this picture.

First, I made it look like it was lost in the fog.

I let it marinate for a few months.

When I looked at again, I thought this picture needs something. I was wrong. It needed a lot of somethings.

I went to work.

Tinkering. Experimenting. Playing. Changing.

Eventually, something seemed to work. Note, the use of the word “seemed.”

As I look at it on this page, I think “Ugg.” It looks like I filtered it with pea soup.

It’s very possible that instead of publishing it, I should bin it.

But, I’d have to do more work on a day when I shouldn’t be working at all.

After all the laying around for too long, I got going. Now, I really do need a couple hours break.

If it isn’t one thing it’s another.

I’m writing it off to this year. The one that was supposed to be better than 2020, the year of the “great” new decade.

How did that work out?


Free falling.

T

oday got rolling just about the time I got up. I told you that I was going to get busy. I didn’t think that I meant right this second.

I thought I could cruise into the work a little bit at a time. Silly me.

I made my first mistake when I started listening to music. I started with something soft, slow and nostalgic. I almost couldn’t get started. I switched things up. I started Playing a playlist called “Ray’s Mix.”

Yeah. That’s me. I made it when I thought making play lists on Spotify was important. It’s loud. It’s s noisy. And, I know all the words.

Anyway.

This one will keep me working for hours.

I’ll keep this short. Work awaits.

Darn.

D

o you want technique? This one should fill you up. To the top.

The picture really is about nothing. Since all art is autobiographical what does that say about me?

That aside, this was a picture made from desperation. Or, it was an attempt to come back from wandering in the wilderness.

I made the picture, developed it and thought, “Now what?”

I removed a lot of color and muted it. Then, I tinkered around with different modification filters until I came to this place.

The picture highlights something I’ve been saying, and saying, and saying…

Go outside and take a picture. You’ll find one, or it will find you.


Little things.

So, people are saying spring is finally upon us. Down here in The Gulf Coast we’ve had spring for about a month. But, in the last day spring exploded. The greens are greener. The flowers are vibrant. Leaves have just exploded out of their slumber.

Luckily, it’s still cool bordering on cold. In a month or so summer’s heat and humidity will be upon us. Until October. Five months of three showers a day. Five months of dog walks as early and late as possible. And, six months of hurricane season.

The world turns.

Nature always seeks stasis. She doesn’t want to move anything too much except for us. That’s why the climate is changing. We will either deal with it or we’ll be gone. And, sooner than we think if we don’t act today.

I read that 40% of all Republicans will not be vaccinated.

This isn’t a political issue. This is a health issue. Both climate change and the virus will kill us if we aren’t careful.

I did get involved a little today. For the first time in 19 months we took a walk through the French Quarter. The air is cool and bright. We’ve had our jabs. We wore our masks. We arrived at the front of St. Louis Cathedral where parishioners were coming out after the Good Friday Stations of the Cross.

No social distancing. Not a mask among them. They were touching each others hands. The Archbishop of Orleans Parish was right there with them.

We weren’t about to get too close. But, worked my way around so that he could see me. I gave him the ultimate teacher’s stink eye. I didn’t say a word, but he thought I might be having a problem.

He came over and asked if I was okay. I said that I was, but he wasn’t and a wondered how many of these people he would be officiating funerals for. He didn’t know what to say. He’s supposed to be a community leader and this is how he leads the people closest to him?

If the thunder don’t get you than the lightening will.

The green, green grass of home. That’s what I saw. There were about a billion of little snowball like wildflowers just about everywhere.

I put the phone down on the ground and pointed it toward the subject. I’d like to say it was easy, but you have no idea how hard the phone fights you in that position.

Tools are supposed to do what you need them to do. Not anymore. Programmers think that they have to save us from ourselves. I’m not that stupid. If I point the lens at something, I want to take a picture of it.

It took me four or five times to make this picture. I’m not talking about extra pictures made as I explored the scene. I mean I’d press the button and nothing would happen.

Working at it in post production was fairly simple. I made it brighter and warmer because that’s how it looked to me when I saw it.

And, that’s it.

A pre-Easter picture because I found it and I could.


It’s in the details.

There seems to be a little hope these days. There is a little light at the end of the tunnel. That’s if we don’t blow it. We are tired. We are lonely. I get that. But, they say that it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.

So, let’s finish strong. Let’s do what got us to this place one year on. Let’s get jabbed. Let’s wear our masks. Let’s try to keep our distance until they day come that we don’t need to think about this stuff.

Two things come to mind. Well, three.

There is fear that the variants could reinfect those who have made it through the virus. Those who got sick and those who didn’t.

There is talk of another warm weather surge.

Finally, while I was walking the dogs we ran into a woman who I hadn’t seen in a year. We were both very happy to see each other standing.

It was a nice reunion.

Let’s hope there are more to come with family members, friends, and colleagues.

With those who we meet lets stay vigilant. Let’s make sure that we don’t accidentally start some kind of spreader event, super spreader or mini spreader. We don’t need either.

I hope to eventually get back on the road. I keep reading that small bands are playing some club dates. I’m not sure about that. The clubs are broke. So are a lot of musicians. Both need this, but are they ready for it?

Touring acts have other issues, not the least is being able to buy tour insurance. Tour insurance covers a lot umbrella issues. It’s gotten to the point that promoters in England are asking the government to intercede on their behalf and force insurers to underwrite tours.

Of course, this comes from the country of Brexit so who do they think they are kidding?

All of this is the long way of saying we are getting close to some kind of recovery so be patient.

Spring. The time of rebirth and recovery. When I saw this scene I knew what I had.

An old tree, new grass and moss. The placement of the moss proves the point about where it grows, on the north side of a tree.

I saw this scene on yet another dog walk. I take a lot of them. Some dogs want their own walks, others are happy to go with their pack. There are a couple who want two walks a day.

I cover a lot of ground on some days. And, on some days not so much.

Often the dogs are content to find a nice place, sit and watch the world go by.

The picture was easy to make. See it. Press the button.

The real question in my mind was how to keep everything sharp enough in post production. I wanted the woody look of the tree to stand out. And, I wanted to grass to almost seem three dimensional as it appeared over the tree.

It took some work. I may have accidentally created a tool to do that. I’ll test it a couple of times and tell you about it.

Stay strong. Stay mighty. Stay patient. Enjoy all the nice days as spring keeps rolling around.


Left Behind.

Remnants. Left overs of the summer just past. Leaves, grass, pine droppings. A lot of nature on a forest floor. Or, what passes for a forest in the city. Of course, this isn’t all one picture. More layering came into play. But, it speaks to the detritus that everything leaves behind.

Nature’s leavings are fine. They build for the future. Many of mankind’s leavings are not fine. Think plastic. We make a big deal out of recycling. So, we put glass in one bin, metal in another, plastic in a third. What do you think happens to the plastic?

It like gets sold to some far away country where some of the plastic is saved. Some is buried. And, some is burnt. Very little plastic is turned into anything useful even though many people make that claim.

A lot of plastic finds its way into the oceans. There it collects and collects until beaches are covered in leftover plastic. Fish die. Birds get trapped in it. Bigger water mammals ingest it until they die. It is only when an autopsy is performed by a suspicious wild animal management type, that the animal’s belly is found to be filled with indigestible plastic.

Where am I going with this?

We are in terrible shape. Politics, pandemic and social reckoning aside, our home is flooding, burning and being buried in plastic.

Once this next general election is over we’d better get to it. If the worst possible thing happens and I have to flee the country, I’ll start working from wherever I am.

What about you?

The picture. It’s really just three pictures layered on top of each other and adjusted to get the effect that I was looking for. I wanted the picture to feel like a forest floor. That’s hard to do when you live in a city so I faked it.

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


When I began.

Sleeping.

After working to get ready for Hurricane Sally last night, I went to bed. I slept. I awoke at my usual time. That was nowhere near enough sleep. I did some morning work, walked Sophie and came home. I finished reading the news of that day. Sophie was sleeping on the bed. That looked good so I laid down thinking that I’d rest my eyes.

Three hours later.

Here I am.

So.

Hurricane Sally. Late last night she turned a little more east. That means although we are still in the cone and will get wind and rain, the bulk of the water and wind will mostly hit Mississippi. I wish them no harm. But, I’m grateful. Things could change. Nature does what she wants to do. Right now, I’m convinced she’d like her planet back.

That’s the weather report for yer man in New Orleans.

I’d discuss something from the news, but luckily I forgot what I read.

The picture

I found a parking lot with freshly painted yellow lines. This being the greenhouse south some grass had already grown up on one edge. I photographed that. After a little work in post, I created something that could have stood on its own.

You know me. I can never leave well enough alone.

I found a picture in my archives that I thought might work as a layer. It did. I adjusted it, put a border around it and you are looking at it right now.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Stay dry. Enjoy the fish that washed up on your lawn.


As the world turns.

There are days. And, there are days.

Yesterday was one of those days. Quiet. Peaceful. Productive. Then, I learned the truth. The truth about someone I trusted. I was getting submarined by a friend. It took me awhile to figure out why I was walking uphill through thick mud while I was trying to complete a project.

Now I know.

I’m not angry, although I should be. I’m disappointed. My feelings are hurt because there was no reason for this. Now that I know I’ll patch the hole, get rid of my partner and finish the job properly. If need be, I have a good lawyer.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s important. It’s something that I didn’t need, especially now when the world is spinning off of its axis and numbers add up to nothing. Eventually, all of this bad stuff has to turn, right?

I think back to the early days of pan corona. I thought that we’d get hurt some, but that we could rebuild better than ever. Remember all of that? I still think that we might be able to, but I’m pretty toasty right now, so I’m not sure. After all, more and more bad stuff keeps piling up.

I probably could use a vacation to somewhere far away. But, I’m not getting on an aluminum flying can of death. I’m not afraid to fly. I fly all over the place. I’m afraid that the airlines won’t clean anything. Even if I do it, I won’t have time to get it done properly.

I’d drive, but I have the same feeling about staying in motels and hotels. I can stay with friends. But, I have to there and what are we going to do? Wear masks in their houses? That doesn’t sound fun at all.

I’d take Amtrak somewhere. I could quarantine myself in a compartment. I could ask the car attendant to bring me food. I could go somewhere that I enjoy. But, then what? The destination would have the same problems.

It’s funny. We travel a lot during a normal year. It’s kind of nice being home. It would be nicer if I wasn’t feeling trapped. I feel like I’m in some sci-fi movie. Sure, I can leave but the rest of the world is a nuclear wasteland.

Anyway.

The picture.

It’s less than 24 hours old. Yes, indeed. Another dog walk.

I didn’t think that flowers were blooming. At least, not these. But, they were and I did. You know all of the rest. Every bit.

Stay safe. Stay might. Enjoy all the Chinese dumplings.


Bigger than you think.

Sunday.

A good day for something peaceful. Like these little bitty purple wildflowers that I turned into something huge and unreal. I found these flowers when I was doing what I usually do. Walking a dog. She was exploring something nearby when I saw these two little flowers.

They were harder to photograph than you might imagine. I couldn’t hold the color in the grass and the flower. I suppose if I had some kind of way to create even shade I might have been able to do it. But, I was just out walking. I wasn’t carrying a ton of gear.

Anyway.

Since Sunday is a day of rest, I’m going to rest.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy all the days of rest.