Way inside.

Memorial Day. If you’ve been around for a while you know what I think. There is no “Happy” to Memorial Day. There are only thoughts of those who never made it home. Those who paid the ultimate price. For freedom. For your hot dog. For your hamburg.

Generally, I feel guilty.

Instead of a flag or cemetery picture I thought that I would post a picture of pure light, pure color. A picture once made in New Mexico.

It’s the food stands at one of the International Balloon Fiestas. In Albuquerque. New Mexico.

That’s not what this post is about. It’s about going deep inside. Finally. Ironically, on a day the we mourn our war dead. My war dead. Your’s too.

It started as a dream. A dream that won’t let go. A dream that’s come back to me four times on two different nights and mornings.

The dream that began in New York. I was returning from a trip with a bunch of other people. The vehicle was so filled up with stuff that I had to stand outside and hang on to he back end.

That was just as well. When we got into the city traffic was so backed up that I just jumped off and walked faster than the cars were going. I needed a way out. I came to a hole and I jumped into it.

No comes the wired part.

I started walking down, down, down. I walked past piles of junk. I walked past abandoned vehicles. I walked until I came to the bottom where everything was just a brownish-gray mud.

I made my way to the surface slowly. Very slowly. There were broken down and used up military vehicles. Some people were working on them. They ignored me. I watched them. The tanks and cannons weren’t blown up. They were used up. They no longer ran because they couldn’t be repaired.

I eventually came to the surface. I was covered in mud. I was gray. I was brown. I went to a locker and changed into newly washed clothes. They were old fashioned dungarees. I had to pass through a sort of check out where I was sent onto the street… in Los Angeles.

I started walking. I knew where I wanted to go. Home. Home was in Long Beach. I started walking in that direction. I passed through all sorts of neighborhoods, all of them run down and broken. The people looked mean but ignored me as I walked.

Eventually, I came to a river…

I awoke.

Making this picture was easy. Maybe, too easy.

Slow the shutter speed down. Set the aperture for F 5.6. Stand tall so that everything doesn’t move. Hit the button.

Done.

Keep things clean in post production and everything is golden.

What I can’t figure out is how my dream lead me to this picture. Or, was it the other way around?

I think the grays and browns lead me here. No matter. There is more of the dream to come. Maybe you’ll find out. I’m still not sure that I did.

Maybe it’s just my reaction to so much drab color. After all, this picture is the antithesis of that. It’s all color.

And, it’s simple. As simple as gray and brown, but the other way around.

There is one thing I sort of understand about my dream. The worn out tanks and cannons come from reality.

The Nazi Germans built a couple of huge tanks. The Tiger and the King Tiger. Allied armament couldn’t penetrate them yet they were defeated.

There were three reasons.

The US armed forces sent five smaller M4 Shermans to attack them. Four were blown up. The fifth got through and was close enough to destroy them.

The Tigers were gas guzzlers. Something like eight gallons to the mile is what it took to move them.

Worse. After about 10 miles they needed an overhaul. They broke down in the field of combat and needed to be repaired.

They were used up.


The cracks are beginning to spread.

There are a few flowers still blooming and growing. I came across the remainders of a little Camellia. Wow, I thought. A possible picture.

So I clicked the button a couple of times. I continued on. I felt lucky. You know, I’m not seeing pictures all that well.

In fact, I might not be seeing anything very well. I’m still out of time. A lot of people feel the same way. I’m procrastinating.

I read something about that. Most people think it’s a time management problem. It’s not. It’s depression. A different kind of depression than most, but still it’s depression.

That made sense to me. After all, most of us are in mourning. We miss the life that we had. I know I say that our “new” normal can and should be better. But, just cutting off one life and starting another isn’t exactly easy.

I realized last night that I haven’t seen most of my friends since March. Eight months. That’s a long time. Oh sure. We text, talk on the phone, hold Zoom talks. But, it ain’t the same.

It can never be the same.

We talk about businesses struggling. The food and music industries are hit especially hard. So is the travel industry. Combined, that just about kills New Orleans.

That’s not what concerns me.

I have a little pod. We stay together. We touch. We laugh. We talk.

That’s not it.

I’m writing this close to publication time. Normally, I would be at a second line. We either shake hands or hug. I haven’t had that since just after Mardi Gras.

We call second lines our church. Church is where you find it. So is God, or whatever you call your higher power.

No church for us. No noise. No music. No dancing. No BBQ smells.

Damn. I almost brought myself to tears.

I miss that stuff. I didn’t think that I would, but guess what?

I do.

Peace.

Pictures. They are really something. I’ve made my living from pictures since 1974.

During these pandemic times, I’m almost not working. I’m not working in my other business.

Luckily, we have a little money and and income, sorta.

I’m starting to think that I should find something to do just to keep me busy.

Anyway.

The all seeing dog and I were walking. I saw this little flower hiding among the Elephant Ears. I made the picture.

When I started developing and post production I found my settings for the last picture I worked on.

I thought, why not? So I just used that. Mostly, that doesn’t work. Two different pictures require different approaches.

It really didn’t work this time, either.

But, I liked what it did. In fact, I enhanced it. I made it more atomic. I stretched it out beyond my imagination.

There you have it. My own imagination was stretched.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. I don’t care what anybody says, enjoy every sandwich.


Curly headed Cocker Spaniel.

Yes. This is the dog.

The dog who sees things. The dog who leads me to pictures. The dog who demands walks.

The picture was made from above. Here’s the story. If the weather is just right. Not too hot. Not too cold. Bright. Sunny. A slight breeze.  She will walk to a certain point and just stand there with her nose in turned up in the air. Then, she sits. Enjoying the nice day.

That’s great if she is in the yard with the rest of the dogs. They all do about the same thing. Sometimes in one area. Sometimes, about as far away as they can get from each other. Dogs need a break too.

But.

If we are walking, as sweet-tempered as she is, she can get stubborn. You can’t move her from enjoying the day until she’s ready to move.

So.

What to do? What to do?

I just take pictures. Usually, I look at my surroundings. But, the morning light was so pretty that I decided to take a few pictures of her. Not normal portraits. Pictures of body parts. At least the ones that I could see while she was sitting.

I really like this view. The top of her head. As winter comes on, we don’t trim the dogs as much as we do for summer. Right now, she looks a little poodley even though she is a cocker spaniel.  Once I started dragging the picture around in post production all the little hidden colors started to emerge. Oddly, she’s not gray. She’s buff with a little white trim. I know that light and shadow have different basic hues so, one side of her head looks golden. The other, sort of blue.

Happy weekend.


Chrome Head. In the French Quarter.
Chrome Head. In the French Quarter.

Hmmmm…

Sometimes when I walk around I just photograph what I see. That’s probably the same with most people. It’s just that I do it more often and with some sort of intent. To sort of paraphrase Einstein, it’s not that I’m better than anyone else. It’s just that I work longer and harder at it than most people.

Eventually, something has to give and I make a couple of worthwhile pictures.

If think that’s pretty much the same with most artists. You work and you work and you work. And, on one day. One very happy and lucky day, you break through to someplace else. I think that’s where I am now. I’m moving my work to something else. But, where and what that is…

Well, I have no idea.

It’ll come when it comes. Trying to force it will only delay it.

Change is hard. But, it’s worth it.

A popular mode of transportation around here.
A popular mode of transportation around here.