Southern spring.

A

little something pretty for a Friday afternoon. I made this picture a while back, sometime in spring. I did the developing and post production and promptly forgot about it.

I found it looking for something else just as I did yesterday. I reckon if I keep doing that I won’t ever have to take a new picture again.

What would be the fun in that?

Besides, I’d just go crazy.

I just have to find safe places to work. There are plenty of stories I’d like to tell around this place that don’t require me to be part of a crowd.

And, that makes me happy.

After thinking about it I realized that I added 2+2 and really did come out with 4. The twos are simple. I can’t be in crowds ever, or at least until the pandemic has been managed. The second two is my realization that it maybe years before that happens.

That’s pretty depressing.

Understanding that helped. So did a little stiffer med. I feel better now. I have one problem with it. I sleep a lot. I suppose it could be worse. A friend of mine started on a new medicine and within about nine months she gained 40 pounds. She’s working on that now.

I suppose that everybody has something.

F

lower, flower on the wall. Who’s the fairest flower of them all?

I’m pretty partial to this one. It has a lot of names. Around here people call it a Swamp Iris. Oddly, something very close to this grows in the high dry mountains along the northern Pacific Coast.

I wouldn’t have thought that it could survive in such different locations.

But, what do I know? I name flowers by their color as in that’s a red flower, that’s a blue flower…

I managed to lay the flower over grass that has crepe myrtle blossoms and fallen leaves on it.

Judging by the amount of little broken branches on the ground I must have photographed the lawn after a storm.

I tinkered with it and used a filter that approximates frosted glass.

And, there you have it.


The wheel.

T

his is it. The very first one. The very first experiment in layering. I made this picture in 2010, in Albuquerque, New Mexico on my kitchen table.

According to the EXIF data, I made it with an iPhone 4, in December. That means the weather was cold and there may have been snow on the ground.

Normally, that’s not a good reason to stay indoors. Albuquerque doesn’t get that much snow so the city doesn’t own the usual snow plows. Often, you get trapped indoors until the snow starts to melt.

Anyway, I must have been a little bored so I did some experimenting. I’ll get into that on the right hand column.

The subject matter is two items. An indoor fern and a box with watch parts and a razor blade.

For a while my dad played with watch making. He thought that he might like to do that as a job. He’s like me. Either he didn’t have the patience or he lacked really fine motor skills.

So, he gave it up and put watch parts, repair tools and some broken watches into a tool box and into the closet it went. Many years later, I found it in the same closet.

I didn’t do too much with it until that cold December. I opened the tool box and thought, “Wow! I could something with this.”

So, I did.

W

hen I started working on this picture, I had no idea where I wanted to go. For sure, I didn’t know what I was doing.

I know why I photographed the watch parts. I have no idea why I photographed the fern.

Anyway.

Somehow an idea formed in my brain that I could use both of the pictures together.

I didn’t know it, but that was the start of my adventure with layering.

As I recall, I didn’t do much of it for a long time. I started playing around with archive images.

Before I knew it…

This layering is relatively simple. Layer the fern over the watch parts. No adjusting because I didn’t know how to do it.

I did do some finishing work using OnOne yesterday, but that’s it.


Nearing some end.

With the all seeing dog on the mend I hit a wall. I wasn’t making new pictures. I did the next best thing. I worked on older pictures, experimenting every step of the way.

The good news is that the dog in question is feeling better. She took me for a walk this morning. I put the brakes on about half way through a normal routine because I didn’t want to tire her out.

So.

I did make some new pictures. You’ll see one tomorrow since I was already was working on this one.

Of course, even getting this picture here took an act of God. It started when a client forced me to use some alternate way of uploading PDFs.

It took me the better part of two days to fix all the issues including working in the safe mode to clean out the bad data.

This guy still wants to be a client. That’s fine. My basic billing rate is triple what I normally charge. Shut me down for two days and his accounting department is going to have questions.

Anyway…

Finally, a picture that can take some technical talk.

I built this one sort of backwards. Normally, my pictures are full of color.

This time after layering the images and getting them approximately where I wanted them, I worked backwards.

I removed color. I removed contrast. I almost came close to just leaving the dots in the file. Them I built the image up a little and that’s what you are looking at.

It’s a picture for late spring as we near summer. The brightest colors are fading. Others are starting to appear.

The mystery of life.


Over and over.

Art or not, I like this photograph. It was the last of the New Mexico pictures that I was showing you earlier. I decided to make it into something more after claiming that my PAD pictures were akin to photojournalism.

So, I held it back.

It’s been living on my desktop staring at me, reminding me, nagging me. The image won. They always do.

I’ll discuss how I made it on the other side, the right hand column.

Under the heading of all the news that fits, there are some things going in the city that are scary.

There has been a rise in violent crime of 50% year to year. Shootings are up by 23%. There have been 12 shootings on upper Bourbon Street near or on Canal Street in the last two weeks.

One shooting was big enough that I read about it in the London newspapers. It was national news. You probably didn’t read about it because it’s likely there was another mass shooting the next day.

Somewhere.

Talk about a short news cycle.

Granted, the French Quarter is a touristy place, but the 100 and 200 blocks of Bourbon Street are gangland. There are armed wannabe thugs hanging out there, especially at night and the early morning.

If you are visiting stay away from there. Besides, there isn’t much to see.

The city’s response is to add another 150 cops there. That’s understandable because tourism is the city’s lifeblood. But what about other neighborhoods, of which the Quarter is just one?

In my hood we pay for armed private police. Most of them are former military and some are former M.P.s. No, they weren’t working in English parliament, they were military police.

They are armed, but they can’t apprehend anyone. They can put the cuffs on someone, but they have to call the NOPD in order to make an arrest.

I feel relatively safe right now. Most strangers are transients. They are either tourists taking pictures or people just passing by.

Right now nobody is passing by. Our street is finally being repaired. The construction crew thought the best way to fix it was to tear it all up. The street is all dirt with holes everywhere as the city pipes are being repaired to replaced.

As messy as it is, that’s a good thing. And, they are ahead of schedule, The original plan was to begin work in 2032. There are a lot of political and business heavyweights who use and live on the street. The former mayor’s aunt lived there.

What do you think happened?

His aunt was 82. She passed before any of the work began.

I was afraid that with the original schedule, the same thing would happen to me. I suppose that it still could.

And, so it goes.

Balloons floating through the air in the quiet of early morning.

That wasn’t enough so I added a foreground.

That still wasn’t enough so I added what picture editing apps call bokeh. I think they are just round circles that have been softened so that the fit into the picture.

Besides, bokeh is something else entirely. It’s the quality of the out of focus area of the picture.

For a while it was a really big deal. Brand new photographers were trying to take bokeh pictures. Others were discussing how to add it when it didn’t exist in the picture.

The conversation turned silly, even though the very best out of focus areas are creamy, but in which you can still recognize the shapes.

I have friends in Japan. The word bokeh is Japanese, but they said nobody uses it there.

Oh well.

Another western appropriation shot to hell.

Anyway.

After I added all of that, I fine tuned and tinkered a bit. Finally, I was done. So was the picture.

The picture has a sort of explosive quality to it, don’t you think?

Stay safe. Stay Strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient. Float around in all the air.


China Rose

A while back I had an interesting discussion on Instagram. It was probably my only one. It wasn’t about photographs. Instead it was about flowers.

The photographer that I was talking with misidentified a flower that he called a China Rose. I knew that it was something else because I grew up with them.

We both started Googling and found out what a real China Rose looked like. We learned that it isn’t the color, but the smallness and the shape.

These are China Roses produced my way.

Artfully.

I have more traditional pictures, but today we are still headed towards confusion and mixed up imagery. That’s just fine. It’s what I feel like producing.

If anything, this image gets me closer to how I saw it in bright and contrasty sunlight. It was a little dream-like at the time. If I went out today, it would also be the same. I’m having trouble waking up.

That’s after finishing packaging homemade dog food, and having a coffee and a donut. Don’t judge me. I know that you’ve eaten worse. Gummy Bears for breakfast just shouldn’t be a thing.

Which brings me to one of the lamest things I’ve heard in years. Some Republican know-nothing is claiming that President Biden won’t let us have meat in our beer.

Imagine that. Meat Beer.

And, the world turns.

Whatever did I do to this picture?

For one thing, nothing is in sharp focus but by tinkering with it there appears to be sharpness. Trust me, there isn’t any real sharpness.

The next thing I did was remove all of the mid-tones. That caused overly bright contrasty color which I added more color. I give that saturation slider a good, hard pull.

The result is what you see. I don’t know about you, but it’s art to me. Sorta.

We’ve been through that before. I don’t need to repeat it just to make a point or fill space.

So. I won’t.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask inside. Keep your distance everywhere. Wash your hands. Get your jabs, especially your second one. Look after each other. Be patient because we are getting close.


Of the past.

I like the caption better than I like the headline. Okay, the title. The base image is of the past.

It’s a long story, but many, many years ago, my Dad thought that he wanted to work as a watch maker. Like me, he lacked the patience to do that kind of meticulous work. That’s why I’m not a studio photographer.

I don’t fuss over every detail. I let the picture find me. I let the picture tell me how to make it. I’ve made some fine pictures. And, sometimes I wonder what I was thinking. Or, not thinking.

I’ll tell you more about the picture over there in the right hand column.

Finding those tool images felt just about right. I’ve been going through a journey through my past lately. That may account for some of my dreams. It certainly is a coming to terms with things I did or didn’t do long ago.

You know, my own reckoning.

Weird scenes inside the goldmine. That could be this picture.

As I was writing this I turned on a Spotify play list called 1969’s Top 200 Albums.

It’s a strange mix. It goes from some very eclectic jazz to songs by the Doors and Beatles.

“This is the End” by The Doors started playing. That’s where “weird scenes” line came from.

Makes good sense. This picture is a pretty weird scene.

There’s all sorts stuff going on in it. All made by the magic of layering four pictures.

There’s the tools. There are leaves. There is a tree. And finally some flowers all tucked into the picture somewhere.

This is one of those pictures that comes under the heading of I don’t know what was thinking. This time that’s a positive because I kind of like it.


Into the purples.

Play time. That’s what I needed. Play time. So, I took some, both here and there.

The weather turned coolish after a massive storm. That made it wonderful to be outside. I think the entire south was hit from West Virginia to The Gulf States.

Anyway.

I made a few pictures of spring flowers and thought that would be a good way to end the business week.

And, speaking of business.

Yesterday’s troubles with the legendary David Alan Harvey have not simmered down. This time the fight comes from photographers who don’t know him but think what happened to him wasn’t fair.

They are posting under #justice for david alan harvey.

They seem to forget three things. There is no crime. He was part of a cooperative and as such they can do whatever they want. He resigned.

This is one of those times when those who don’t know should be quiet. When has that stopped anybody since the dawn of the internet?

The same thing is starting to happen in the defense of that moron who killed eight people in Georgia, of whom all but one were Asian.

I’m starting to read from the blame the victim crowd that they worked in massage parlors, that his religious beliefs drove him to do it, and last but not least, from a sheriffs deputy that, “He had a bad day.”

Murder is murder. End of story. That guy committed mass murder, killing eight innocent victims.

I don’t know about you, but I have bad days. I don’t go shooting up a city.

And, the world turns.

We found these little purple and magenta flowers. Instead of getting close I stood back.

They sort of exploded in development so I thought, hmmm.

Let’s see what happens if I layer them.

I did that.

They exploded some more and I stopped right there. I adjusted color and contrast and viola, there they are.

The thing that seems to be very important to the composition is that bare branch coming out of the white area and heading straight to the top. It gives the picture some needed weight.

I got in a little tussle at a store today. Some guy didn’t want to wear a mask. In the end, he stayed in the store… wearing a mask.

Because of that, you get punished.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your damn mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Enjoy every purple.


Oooooh no, Mr. Bill.

I broke a picture. It slipped out of my hands and dropped on the floor. It was just a flimsy digital file of about 36 mp.

That’ll happen.

Seriously, there is no way to do that. Digital files are made of ones and zeros. They don’t exist physically. I suppose you could destroy one in a computer or erase one from a hard drive. But drop one?

Nooooooo.

Since I’m searching for the way forward I thought it would be a good idea to test some new software. If it’s for a phone it is usually free up to a point. Then, you have to pay for anything further. Sometimes I do, mostly I don’t.

This software is called Lumli. It’s okay, but I wouldn’t use it that often so I didn’t buy the rest of it.

The picture says more than you see. To me it’s about the globe and just how fractured we all are. There’s also hope because it draws together in the center. The trees may be barren for now. But there will be new growth.

I hope.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Don’t think that your jabs are going to totally protect you. Enjoy every experiment.

Testing. That’s a big part of Storyteller. I want to know what works, what doesn’t, and what’s close enough for work arounds.

This blog is how I learn. There are other ways, but this is a big part of it.

One other way is to post on Instagram and let the picture be shared to Facebook.

However.

Never follow the crowd. I suppose that I could have a huge amount of hearts and likes if I did what everybody else does.

Instead, test pictures. In my case, I want to have an idea of what viewers and readers like.

It’s not that I need the validation. I want to know because I’d like to have a salable archive. In a way, it’s disappointing.

Every scene is predictable.

I’ve made the pictures in better and different light, at an odd time of day or from a different view point.

I’ve known this for a while. There are eight to ten locations that buyers want. They are fairly well known.

If I photographed them seasonally I might never have to photograph them again since the scenes don’t change.

What would be the fun in that?


A mystery wrapped inside a riddle/

All patience is gone. I’ve had nothing but technical problems here. I spoke to the minions — oh wait, I meant automattitions — at WordPress. They say that I don’t understand the block system. Really? Nobody understands the block system. The only people who really do are the coders who work for their VIP clients. Brands like The New York Times, Federal Express, UPS and so on. Clients with entire technical staffs, a few of which are dedicated to their websites.

Well, I’m just me.

I don’t have a staff. I have about a thousand things a day to do. None of those are about photography. Photography? Sheesh. No wonder I think that I have a shooting block. I don’t have a block. I just have no time. If I had a client of course I would have time. These days clients are far and few between. That’s in both industries.

So, I work to improve things within my own realm and that goes bonkers. We decided to change checking accounts because our bank has no branches in Louisiana. It’s a quirk of state law. We open a new checking account, while leaving the old account open.

I should have known better.

The first thing to know is that we keep a solid balance in our working accounts. We also have credit cards with that new bank. Had them for years. I paid one of those credit cards from the new checking account.

A few days after I tried to pay the credit card bill, I received an email saying the money was returned because of some refusal to pay.

WTF?

I contacted the bank. Three agents later the problem is declared repaired even though they can’t say what the problem was.Of course, during that time, the entire bank’s computer system went down. Thisn’t some small commercial bank. This is a major institutional bank.

Guess what?

Yesterday I received the same notice about the same payment. And, today I received the same notice about another payment.

I give up. I should have known better.

So, on Monday, I get to start all over again. For the third time.

Art. Before I get started, I’m still unhappy here. I tried to tell those minions about the drop cap problem. If you flip the little switch to start a paragraph with a drop cap, the software moves the drop capped letter to the end of the word. No. It should be at the beginning of the word.

I guess what it really comes to, after reading both main subjects, is that technology is not my friend. It never has been. It’s just that I’ve learned enough out of pure self defense that I’ve fooled myself into thinking I know something.

Anyway.

The picture is layered. Two pictures create a third new one. It’s about a little vision and a lot of tinkering. It’s time consuming. Even though few people aren’t working, and time doesn’t really matter, based on the number of emails and PMs I receive, it seems like many people still want a shortcut to doing what it’s taken me close to 50 years to learn. Either I’m stupid or they are lazy. I pick the second one.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your gloves. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other.