Leaving town.

There are many ways out of Albuquerque, but this is my favorite. If you are going on a road trip you can kind of say goodbye to the city as you leave. Even if you are not, you can pretend.

This is what is left of Route 66 west of Albuquerque. Just a little over the rise in the far center of the photograph is where it meets I-40 and all points west.

There are little bits and pieces and parts of Route 66 that run along I-40, but not enough to really get anywhere. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t photographable. They are.

There have been a lot of reflective articles lately about photography. There have been a few concerning how it relates to social media. I’ve said on Storyteller that each has their specific place in the branding world, but do they?

I have never gotten even a nibble from anything that I post on Instagram, which is distributed to Facebook. Oh sure, I get a lot of likes. But, you can’t eat likes. I read Twitter mostly for NOLA Twitter and news. I really don’t know most of the local folks who post on Twitter. And, I read news at the source.

So, why do it?

A photographer/writer who I read and like, reckons that we waste 2.5 hours per day on social media. Think about it. That’s 17.5 hours per week, or 70 hours per month, or 840 hours per year.

That’s 35 days.

What could you do with 35 days?

I have to think about it for another ten minutes, but I think I may do that. There are plenty of ways to reach, find, and talk to me.

Or, I can stay around, not post and just read here and there.

We’ll see.

No worries, I’m not going anywhere here, on Storyteller.

Wowie Zowie. Look at the big ball of light. Wouldja? Oh wait, that’s the sun as it blasts its way through the windshield.

Yes, if you leave Albuquerque at around sunset, this is your view.

There are some big businesses outside of the city limit so you have an inbound rush hour of sorts.

The finished picture takes some explanation.

I tried to keep some details in the sun. Yeah, right. But, doing that made the surrounding everything very dark. It also added a lot of contrast which is no problem for me.

Of course, all of that created a lot of shadows and silhouettes. A lot of people don’t like that which is why HDR was invented.

I like shadows and silhouettes. If anything, I want to make them stronger and more defined.

It’s all a matter of personal taste.

For me, this is how it looks and feels if you are leaving Albuquerque around sunset.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Stay strong. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient.


Parking in blue.

The picture a day project lead to a lot of day trips. It lead me to a place near Cerrilos, New Mexico. That’s where I found this Bel Air parked in a Trade Post lot.

Normally, I’d go inside, talk to the folks who were there and buy something, usually water. Nobody was around, so I made a bunch of pictures of the car from all angles. As usual, the best view was the simplest.

The car looks pretty original. Northern New Mexico is prime lowrider country. The cars they build are pretty amazing. It’s a wonder that this car hasn’t been scooped up. I’m guessing the owner knows what he has and it won’t come cheaply.

I’d like to stop here, but I’d be wrong not to discuss yet another American symbol. Mass shootings. This time it happened at the FEDEX distribution center in Indianapolis. Eight dead. The shooter killed himself. A few more wounded, one critically. WTFF?

And, in the swamp four people were shot throughout the city, one was killed. I guess the weekend came early. We’ve been averaging seven or eight shot people per weekend for a long time. I suppose that means the pandemic is over in New Orleans.

I’d rather eat a taco or a burger.

Technical stuff. What technical stuff?

I saw it. I photographed it. I processed it. I did very little editing beyond that.

There is a philosophy behind it. I started viewing PAD as a kind of photojournalism. Don’t mess around with pictures.

It’s simple.

Most of the images I post here are a kind of art and I really do tinker with them in post production.

That’s different.

Art is art is art. Do whatever you want to express your vision.

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


Long ago.

Long ago and far away. Ten years. 1,000 miles.

New Mexico is in my head. I was able to put it away for a while. OnOne archived all the work it could find on my computer’s hard drive and on one of my portables.

It found images that were “lost.”

They were not necessarily lost in my archives so much as being lost in my brain. Once I started seeing them again I looked at many of them in amazement.

It was like looking at them in a dream. I can’t remember the circumstance of making them although I do remember the pictures. Clearly.

And, speaking of dreams, this morning’s dream was very cool.

I was walking in a long tunnel like the kind that are made for mines. Everything was dark. I arrived at an open place. Everything was glowing. I got in line with the rest of the workers. We were handed five gallon buckets and sent to a dark fountain.

We dipped our buckets in the fountain until they were filled with multi-color fluid. It was stunningly beautiful. The colors were bright, they jumped in and out of the bucket, they sparkled.

What a show.

Then I woke up.

Pictures at an exhibition. April is going to be all over the place.

Some photographs will be old. Some will be my kind of art. Some will be from the project. Some will be from a survey of other ideas.

This picture from the mountains of New Mexico kicks off the month.

I decided to tone it down and make it look like a dream.

All of the work was done in Snapseed. I could have done a little more in OnOne, but I was satisfied with my work as it stood.

So, this is spring.


Across the high desert.

Memories.

The Sandias near Albuquerque, New Mexico.

This was one of the last pictures I made in the state before we returned to New Orleans. Originally, the picture was bright and bold. I thought that I would rework it into something a little different. I wanted to feel like I was gazing at a dream. These days, that’s what our time in the state feels like. A dream. All a dream.

As I’ve been working through my best of the decade work, I’ve been bringing up all sorts of memories. About people. About places. About events. It all feels a little hazy to me. Sometimes remembering something sends me to an entirely different mental image. You probably know how that goes.

Anyway.

I’ve edited a big archive down to the decade’s ten best pictures. I wish I had another reviewer to check my selections, but I don’t. I’ll publish them during the week between Christmas and New Year. That’s what a couple of you suggested. That sounds right to me.


Reworked ornamental cabbage.

It’s one of those things. It was inspired by the local newspaper, which I rarely read. And, by their website, which I read daily. There was a piece about “seeing food differently” in their food section. It was about a photographer who takes close up pictures of fresh food. He is, apparently, making a splash in New Orleans. It’s big time art.

Oh boy. Wow.

I did the same thing about a decade ago when I lived in New Mexico. I stuck some lights on the end of a macro lens and made close up pictures of fresh food for a stock photography request. They weren’t licensed for much money per picture, but they did sell in volume. You can find pictures similar to them in every stock photography library around the world. Just Google them. You’ll find thousands of them.

Either those of us who took them were well ahead of our time. Or, the young millennial reporters don’t know very much. And, these kinds of pictures are art to them. I’ll go with the later since I’m pretty sure they haven’t studied enough about the history of anything to realize that there is very little new under the sun.

One would think that this would give artists of my era a head start. You’d think that. But, no. Many millennials are also ageist as hell. It’s like the work we did years ago never even existed.

Oh well.

Speaking of age. I’ve just gotten older. Today. On November 21st. Yep. My birthday. For a while, birthdays didn’t matter. This is not one of those big years. But, for some reason this one seems to matter. I have an idea why…

The pictures. The bottom one is very close to the original take. It didn’t need much help because I lit it properly in my studio/kitchen. The top picture is one of my current experimental approaches to making photographs worse. It’s more-or-less how I see things now.

Oh yeah. In case you are wondering. You can’t eat this cabbage. It’s called an ornamental cabbage. No matter what you do, it is as bitter as can be. But, it is very pretty. After I photographed it, I planted it in the ground. It looked great. It probably still does.

As it really was.


Out on the road.

This is fun.

I’m revisiting old work. I’m tinkering with it. And, showing it to you. There’s a secret to this picture. I made it during the day. The dusk-like quality came in post production. I wanted to see if I could do it.

Apparently, I can.

Now you know that the old saying, “a picture never lies, ” is — well — a lie. Even in the old darkroom days, you could burn (darken) and dodge (lighten)and do overlays. It was just a lot harder to do than it is on a computer. Don’t get me wrong. If this was some kind of photojournalism, the picture would be an accurate rendition of what I saw with my eyes. Since it’s not, I can make the picture I saw in my brain.

So There.

I made this picture in New Mexico. On another back stretch of the roads to the west of Albuquerque. I used to prowl around a lot when I lived there. For that matter, I used to prowl a lot in New Orleans. I don’t do it as much these days. I’m probably a little burnt out on this place. It happens.


Out on the road.

It’s pretty rare that I make two pretty nice pictures within minutes of each other. But, that’s what happened. You saw yesterday’s post. Here’s today’s.

Five minutes apart.

I forget which came first. Doesn’t really matter. I suspect this one was second because there is no setting sunlight in the sky. Just blue light. Blue hour. The time immediately after sunset.

Today is Friday. Or, Saturday. Depending on where you are.

So.

I’m going to take a break from serious comments. Except to ask, did you read about the two ex-Google staffers who are trying to disrupt bodegas and corner stores with their digital vending machine?

More disruption. I told you.

Except this time, it ain’t happening. They invented a vending machine. Congratulations. And, most people like their little neighborhood stores.


Late spring in New Mexico.

New Mexican light. There is nothing like it.

I miss it a lot. There are days when I wonder what I did. I wonder why I came back. But, that’s pretty much another story. It has to do with the romance of place. The swamp. A lot of culture that I’d grown used to in New Orleans. And, the food.

However.

The place is falling apart. The swamp smells. I’m kind of over the culture. And, I’m bored with “New Orleans” food. Besides, as I try to get healthier and healthier, New Orleans food is the last thing that I need.

I’m not complaining. I was happy to come back. I’m glad that I did. And, I sure made a lot of cool New Orleans pictures. I even got to know a lot of the players in the Mardi Gras Culture. And, then there’s Mardi Gras itself. People pay a lot of money to travel to New Orleans to see the Mardi Gras. I walked out my front door and up two blocks. Same thing with The French Quarter. People travel from miles around. I drive five minutes.

Anyway.

This is a New Mexican picture. It has the kind of light that artists of all genres revere. At the time, I was comparing man to wide open spaces. Those big, huge electrical power poles feed the west. They sure don’t look so big in this picture. It makes the statement that no matter what man does, nature is always bigger and grander. You’d think we learn that during Hurricane Season. I guess you have to be there.


Out in New Mexico.

I seem to be stuck in a western mode. That could be telling me something. Maybe a long road trip is due. But, it would be really long. I’m not going to take this trip many more times. So, I probably should make the best of it. And, just go.

Of course, there are complications. I have to fit it into an already busy schedule. And, then there is Storyteller. I don’t have the need to take a break like I did last summer. I fixed that overworked problem. Now, I look forward to working here. Like many things, it was mostly an attitude adjustment. I suppose  that I could do what I really never do, and post from the road. The easiest way to do that is to photograph some scenes twice. Once with cameras and once with my smart phone.

I’m also trying to decide about the timing. If I traveled during summer, which is fast approaching, the weather would be hot and the pictures would have sort of a nostalgic feeling. It would harken back to the days of family road trips. If I waited until fall…well, you know. The light and color would be outstanding. But, it would look and feel much different from summer pictures.

We’ll see. I do have to move soon.

The picture. This was made with a digital camera, as opposed to being made on film. A friend of mine asked via an email what the difference is. This picture feels completely different to me. It’s probably technically superior to the film-based pictures. But, it feels too sharp and mechanical. Even with my tinkering. That’s still not to say one is better than the other. They are just different.

Where did I make this image? New Mexico. Those of you who live and work there will know  this place. Those of you who don’t, but like to photograph this kind of stuff, won’t. Oh well. Reciprocation is fine. But, many people want locations and such, but refuse to share theirs. There is no mystery to this place. Still…