Happiness on the rock.

I

reckon we could all use a bit of color. It’s Friday. We sort of made it to someplace else. The weekend. I’m not excited about that. Working from home sort of tones that down. But, this is the start of Carnival and that means something even though I can’t photograph it.

But, during parade time I can wander down the street and stand at the far edge of the crowd and see some floats, maybe catch a bead or two. I’ll be targeted because…

I haven’t cut my hair in a long time. My former stylist shop’s employees refuse to wear masks. Do you honestly think that I’m going to sit in a chair with someone breathing down my neck? For that matter, I haven’t brushed or combed it away from warm lights which made it look brownish-blonde. I finally looked at it in daylight. Oh my. It’s very silver. I look my age.

So, I’ll be targeted for beads tossed to me gently because I’m such a broken down old senior. Little do they know. I’m a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If I weren’t afraid of getting sick and dying I’d be in the front of the crowd making pictures.

The president said, among other things like condemning the former president, that we were going to have to get used to living with CoVid-19. Or, is that a warm up for a speech in Atlanta? I forget.

I ought to be a government adviser. I knew that almost from day one. Read about pandemics for five minutes and you knew where this was headed. The Spanish Flu is still around after 100 years. The strain of yearly flu that comes along right about now is a descendant of that.

I was ready until I wasn’t.

Who knew that other factors would come into play?


When there was yellow.

When there was yellow. When there was color. When this muddy gray didn’t cover everything. When we were happier. When smiles and laughter came easier. When we didn’t have a new worry everyday.

I see in color. Some photographers see in black and white. I’m having a hard time seeing color. Things seem muted. Trees seem sad. Flowers are gone.

Talking to friends finds us all lethargic. Struggling. Trying, but not achieving. Days get away from us. Hours are still meaningless. The only way to measure time is by the season. By nature.

I wish that we lived some place with seasons. At very least we could see and feel the passing of time. The only way to tell down here in my swamp is when the air gets a little cooler and less humid.

Anticipation. Election time. Pandemic time. Protest time. Disaster time. Climate changing. Violence time.

All those worries.

Which do we pick? Which do we try to forget? What happens next?

It’s all too much.

Sometimes.

I’m having a terrible time making meaningful photographs. I keep going because that’s the only way through. I don’t know what through means. Or, where I come out. What will I be?

That’s all for today. I really dislike waking up to greet the new day with all of this swirling through my head and soul.

Sunflowers. This is a picture that I made in New Mexico a while back. Many people are posting sunflowers on various socials. I like that, so I’m following along.

I like yellow. In the commercial printing world, it’s a brightener. In the world, it’s a happy color.

If you read the other column you know I think the world is currently looking like shades of gray. Deep gray.

That’s why I decided to publish this picture. It couldn’t be any happier if it tried. It creates smiles. It opens eyes.

Making it was easy. Find sunflowers, photograph sunflowers. In New Mexico, as there is in Mississippi, there are fields of sunflowers. Scrolling through my archives was easier than driving to, and looking for, a field in the next state.

I should listen to myself and maybe learn. Every time that I look at and work on a DSLR file, it is rich, thick, and creamy. Not so with a file made on a phone. They say that you can’t tell the difference. They are wrong. Yes. You can.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask.


Sophie Rose

This is very rare.

Sophie Rose never poses for a picture. I guess that she felt like it. Or, maybe she knew that I hadn’t made a picture for the day.

Anyway.

This is the all seeing dog. The dog who finds pictures and waits while I make it. Sometimes, she looks up at me as if to ask are you done,

She’s an old lady dog. She’s twelve years old. She’s a rescue dog. She came to us when she was eight. She was scared and confused because her person passed at 85 years old. Her care givers didn’t much like Sophie. She was well underweight and she had a gastrointestinal infection. We brought her to our vet. He fixed her up. I fed her the same food that the other dogs eat, She gained weight. She came to like the other dogs. She came to trust us,

Now I belong to her.

Lately, she’s been sick. She had a gum infection that worked its way into her jaw. Four teeth later and an aggressive course of antibiotics and she’s fine. She’s back to her old self, aggravating the other dogs and shepherding me and everybody else.

She also has a bladder stone, which has finally broken up. We are hopeful that more antibiotics will break the rest up. Otherwise, she could require surgery. We’ll know in a few weeks. I’m not inclined to put her through it. She shows no symptoms. She’s happy. She acts younger than her age. She has no symptoms.

What would you do?

The Picture

It’s a portrait. A lucky portrait because she normally doesn’t allow it. I didn’t do any post production except to correct the warm light of the room that we were in. Sophie did the rest.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Protect our teachers. Enjoy every sandwich.


Smile though your heart is breaking.

I needed this picture.

The news is grim, getting grimmer. The virus is growing exponentially in New Orleans. I live in a country in desperate need of a leader. Many people, most not from NOLA, are trying to blame the mayor for not cancelling Mardi Gras. None of us knew. We certainly had no direction from the president or even FEMA. I’m not the mayor’s biggest supporter. I stand with her this time.

I followed my own advice. One day at a time. Doing what I do. Making art.

I started tinkering with the base picture which is a very tightly composed and cropped picture of a rose. You’ll see other versions of it eventually. I added the little tiny flowers on the lawn. You’ve already seen those. I started  working on the color, brightness and glow.

I started smiling. I started laughing. This picture is so whimsical that it brought out my hidden happiness. I hope it works for you.

Stay Safe. Care for others. Enjoy every sandwich.


Something for y’all.

Empty.

That’s how I felt when I awoke. As a friend said, we are paused for thirty days.  For some people a deep kind of sadness has settled in. They, like the rest of us, know that the virus will forever change us. All of us. I was reading a thread on Twitter. It was so bleak that I could only read about five tweets.

Enough.

If you haven’t seen the videos coming out of Italy, you should They are about as uplifting as anything that I’ve ever seen. All of the folks who are confined to their houses started playing and singing music.

The sound floated through the city streets.

Then, they got organized. They played certain tunes at certain times. A true wonder. Before they did that, they started clapping. Clapping for all of the medical personnel.  For the doctors. For the nurses. For the technicians. For the orderlies. For the EMTs in the street. For the guys who cleaned everything so carefully.

It hit me. Like a ton of bricks.

I have been given something to do. Something I can focus on. A way to use my best talent. Make pictures. Doh! Make bright, colorful, happy pictures. I can’t really do much to give comfort to those who I don’t know. But, I do have a pretty vibrant community right here, on Storyteller. I can brighten your day. For a minute. For five minutes. Maybe even for longer.

Pictures. I made this picture a few weeks ago. I did my layering thing shortly there after. I set it aside. I don’t know why. Yesterday, I made a picture of a couple of train cars in the fog. It is gray and sort of bleak. It’s a fairly good picture. I was going to publish it today. I thought, nah. You’ve got enough gray things floating around right now.

You get the colorful picture today.


Bright yellow.

This is for you.

Sunflowers. Bright, yellow and happy.

I made this picture some years back when I lived in The Land of Enchantment, or New Mexico as some people call that fine state. I went there after Hurricane Katrina flooded my city. Well, only 80% of it.

Did you ever have that feeling of when I’m here I want to be there? And, visa versa? There is actually a fifty cent word for that, but I forgot it. I’m feeling that way just about now. I think that I’m really tired of New Orleans. I think that I don’t want to be in Brooklyn either. I think that would like to go back to the place that brought me so much peace and healing after I evacuated from New Orleans.

I know that it’s not perfect. Perfection is for angels. But, most of the streets work. The water systems work. I won’t get shot in some crossfire. And, I won’t get flooded unless I’m standing a dried arroyo or wash. Even then, it won’t take my house.

Or, not.

I suppose it’s just another way of saying that I’m feeling a little restless as the decade speeds to a close. I know that I may not have many decades left. I don’t want to waste time and I don’t want to spend time in a place in which I don’t want to be. Besides, things come to an end. I think my time in New Orleans is coming to a close.

We’ll see.

The picture. I made it toward the end of summer a few years back. That’s when sunflowers reach their peak. I was just driving around looking for them. I photographed them every way that I could think of except for a very long shot because I couldn’t find a high enough elevation to do it. The entire take came out of the camera looking as you see this picture. You know. Nature, the final frontier.


Original flower.

The other one.

Yesterday, I wrote about seeing a delicate white and yellow flower. The one that I used as a layer behind a pink flower.

Welp.

This is the original flower with a little post production work done to it. I made it more colorful. I made the file a little more meaty. And, I gave the white areas more shape and definition.

That’s really what caught my eye.

I reckoned that you should see it. The way that I saw it. The way that it inspired me to go further.

A little bit about the gear. My smart phone is a Samsung Note 9. It is not a great phone. That includes both talk and text. It is a great little handheld computer. It also has a wonderful camera that allows me to do a lot, from just using the onboard lens as a zoom, to turning it into a fully manual handheld camera. And, lots in between. Video. Pano. Other size formats.

I’ve mostly been photographing with it even though I’d really rather use some kind of mirrorless body and interchangeable lenses. I don’t always carry that kind of gear. I do carry my phone. Everywhere.

I have this little baby Leica. It’s a great little camera. And, with Leica glass it probably out performs just about most cameras out there. It would be very easy to carry everywhere. But, It’s 965 degrees outside, with a humidity factor of about 10,000, making the
“feels like” temperature about 900 billion degrees. Anything I don’t have to wear on a strap over my shoulder is better.

And, you think it’s hot where you live.


Frozen.

After yesterday’s day of reflection, I needed something different. I’m pretty sure you did too.

What to photograph? What to photograph?

The best pictures come to you. Right? This one came to me in the grocery store. Every freezer door was clear except for this one. For some reason the ice cream behind this door was hidden by a film of condensation.

Ah ha! The lightbulb in my head went off.

I made two pictures. This is one of them. Sure, there’s a lot of post production. I had to help you see what I saw. I like the pastel shade of the image. It’s not my normal approach.

That’s it for today. I’m a little tired. Still, I’m going to test something like WordPress called Gutenberg. It is supposed to turn the normal WordPress templates into a free-flowing, free form website. It’s the future. I’m testing it as a plug-in. I know it’s going to be a bit buggy. Even WordPress says that. Knowing that going in makes it no big deal.

Wish me luck.


More purple.
More purple.

There’s more to that headline.

It goes like this, “When you walk down the street, keep a big smile on your face and you’ll be amazed at how many people will ask you what the hell is so funny.”

Humor. It’s a great thing.

I’d go there today. But, I need a little quiet time.

Besides, I have to respond to an old friend, who wants to turn Vampy into a woman and make her part of the secret service, move her to Washington D.C.. He wants her to bite the Klown who is Korrupting the Kountry. Sheesh. Crowd sourcing. By the way, did you see what I did there? Heh.

The picture was simply made. Stick the lens almost into the hanging flowers. Fuchsias. And fire away.