No longer Gray.

Surreal?

That’s probably the least of things around here. It really comes down to people, who as Jerry Seinfeld once said, are the worst.

Even though all St. Patrick’s Day parades were cancelled. And, even though the governor put a limitation on crowd sizes, some people just had to gather on Magazine and Bourbon Streets to get drunk and celebrate the holiday. Mostly, they got drunk.

The police broke up the gathering on Magazine Street, while some of them were shouting about their right to assemble peacefully, forgetting that the rule concerns protests. The police did not disperse the crowds on Bourbon Street. I suspect locally owned club and bar owners’ money came into play.

Of course, there are all the airport disruption issues that were created by the Federal Government when they imposed virus tests for incoming passengers without thinking the process through.

I saw pictures some of the 13 approved airports. Crowds and crowds and crowds. In most cases, it took 6 hours to retrieve luggage and at least four hours to make it to customs and immigration. The travelers were packed about six inches apart. Forget about the six feet of separation.

Sheesh.

When did my country become a banana republic? Never mind, I know. When did people become so selfish and show such disregard for other people’s welfare? When did people panic at every little comment? In most of New Orleans not only did toilet paper and hand sanitizer become rare, so did chicken. WTF? Chicken? Who started the rumor that drove people to buy all the chicken in Greater New Orleans?

Nothing good is going to come from any of this.

The picture. That’s really what you want to know about, isn’t it? This is the gray picture. I liked the picture well enough that I set out to make it prettier in post production. Oh yeah. I posted it to notches unknown. There’s a little gray, but mostly it’s orange. Much brighter. Much prettier.

Stay safe. Take care of each other. Enjoy every sandwich. And, for God’s sake, stay out of Wal-Mart.


As dusk arrives.

“As pieces of cloud dissolve in the sunlight.” — Rumi

When I saw this and made the picture I didn’t know what I had. What a wonderful scene as nature created it. I just had to let it find me. That was the hard part. The easy part was pushing the button.

Call it what you want, but this is the best way to make pictures. The pictures are usually pretty good because I had nothing to do with them.

This is also why I try to teach my travelling photographers friends not to run around from one place to another trying to see what they can see. Instead, I suggest that they should camp out for a while in place like a coffee house or bar or cafe and just watch the world go by. A picture will stumble past.

I also suggest that if they are going to be in one location for a week or so that they return to the place they settled into earlier. Other daily patrons will see you, chat for a few minutes and get to know you. When you tell them what you are doing they might have some locations that they see with a local’s eyes.

If you do something like this, think of the pictures you might bring home. They won’t be like every tourist pictures. They won’t be postcard-like. They will be uniquely yours. Let me be clear, sometimes you have to work through the touristy and postcardy pictures to come out on the other side. At least, those won’t be your best selects.

When I decided to publish this picture, I had no idea where my words would take me. Funny how being in the moment allows for a lot of spontaneous thought and creativity.


Another way.

Learning.

That’s my word of the year. My koan. My focusing point.

Sometimes it’s about the inside. Other times, it’s about the outside. Today’s picture is about the outside.

Here’s the background. The all-seeing dog and I were out walking. Yesterday was a bad day in the pain department. I had to sit twice. Not because I was out of breath. Because my hip really hurt. This is a new one. This is where my NASA grade plastic cup and my titanium femur insert come together. That’s not supposed to happen. Ever.

I made the best of it. We slogged through about a mile-and-a-half walk. Sophie, the all-seeing dog, is very aware and she slowed down. That’s probably worse. In my case, faster is better. Not that it’s all the fast. A toddler is faster than me.

Anyway.

While we were sitting, I started messing with my phone. It doesn’t matter whether you use the latest Samsung or Apple phone, they both have about the same camera functions. I set mine to “pro,” which is really manual. I started messing with the settings. I changed the ISO, reset the shutter speed, changed the f stops and set the compensating wheel as well as changed how the phone’s camera focuses.

Once I was ready to walk again, it was time to test what I had done. Yesterday’s picture. remember that? It was a mistake. I made it. I turned it into some spring-like and pretty. It worked.

But, what about my intent?

This picture was my intent. By using “pro” and changing just about everything to how I like to make a RAW file, I made this picture effortlessly. How effortlessly? The only thing I did in post production was crop the picture.

That’s the real goal in digital photography. To make a file so well exposed and so clean that you don’t have to do anything. Unless you want to.

I love the quality of this image. You can see the texture of the Japonica blooms. You can see the soft, fuzzy fur along the leaves. And, the background. The bokeh, if you will. It’s creamy and gentle. It’s as it should be.

For sure, I won’t stop working with mirrorless cameras. Real cameras. But, this tells me that in a pinch I can make a high quality picture that can be enlarged to at least 16×20. I know this because I tested it. I think it will go bigger.

Learning.

Sometimes, it’s from the inside. Sometimes, the outside.

That’s the beauty of it.