Another fall afternoon.

W

hat a nice warm fall day we had. I’m ready for the heat of summer to go away, but I’m not ready for the cold of winter to arrive.

The light has been especially pretty. I did miss the sunset of sunsets on Saturday evening, but this is the time of year when one sunset leads to another. It’s the time of year that photographers in the deep south cherish.

Maybe I’ll be lucky and make some memorable pictures. As you know, I think it’s less a function of luck than it is being there.

You know. Go outside, walk around at a certain time of day and you’ll get “lucky.” It’s harder now because the other dogs like to walk during the day. The all seeing dog liked to walk around dusk. I miss that dog.

That’s where I have to stop.

T

his won’t take long. Not, that I don’t want to talk with you about pictures. But, there is a reason I ended as abruptly as I did on the left side.

This picture is a result of looking at the wonderful light and thinking, “Oh my gosh.”

You push the button a few times and that’s it. The picture is done.

There is absolutely no post production except for a bit of sharpening.


The pain remains. But, the shock is passing. I took out the trash and actually saw pictures. That’s a great change from not being able to see anything at all for the past few days.

I even had the idea to experiment with the pictures instead of staring dead eyed at the television watching who knows what or where.

That’s a step.

Right?

I think whatever I photograph and work with must be bright and colorful.

I like muted color, but now is not that time.

I’ll tell you why.

The rainbow bridge is why.

A number of my real world friends who communicate with me via Facebook were talking about that.

I offhandedly and kindling remarked that in order for Sophie Rose to meet me there assumes that I would be headed to heaven which I didn’t think was happening.

Then, I thought that I do want to see her again and her predecessor, the late Debbie.

So, clean up time.

I still don’t exactly know what that means. I’ll figure it out.

Notice? No caption? The fine folks at WordPress changed something again.

I wish that they would work on something else.

Oh, they are. They are teaching classes on how to make WordPress blogs earn money for the blogger.

Of course, first they are earning money for themselves.

The courses are $25, which is half off. $50? Really? There are plenty of free YouTube offerings that are probably a lot better structured.

Anyway.

This image is made of three different but similar images. They are layered and adjusted. I did most of the heavy lifting in Snapseed and finished it in OnOne.


Flying.

Looks like wings, doesn’t it? Could be a moth or butterfly. It’s not. It’s too soon for flying creatures like those two. Even down here in the swamp all we have are caterpillars.

There are two kinds. There are soft furry ones. They make butterflies. There are hard spiny ones. They make moths. If one falls on you or you step on one you can get hurt. One of my neighbors still has a scar on her ankle two years after she was stung.

I don’t like to kill any living thing. I make one big exception. Put on a nice pair of hard soled shoes and step on every one of those spicky caterpillars that you see.

Sorry if that offends you.

Anyway.

The little piece of the picture that looks like wings are flower petals. I’ll tell you what I did to this picture on the other side.

I’m trying to figure out what this picture means to me. What the image means to you is your business.

I think there are two components to ma nature. The first, that I’ve written about in the past, is that she always seeks stasis. The second is that getting to stasis takes chaos.

This picture is an example of the later.

Earth’s chaos.

I’m about to use a new phrase. Some of you may know it. It gives me a lot of latitude. I believe ma nature is a tool of the higher power of your understanding.

Get it? Good.

Finally. A technical nightmare. This image was made in many fits and starts.

There are three images layered into the one you see.

That was the easy part. The rest made me crazy. And, that’s saying a lot.

First, I added color. Then, I used a retro setting that took the color of of the image.

I brightened the color slightly. Then I used an app that creates drama by removing a lot of mid tones out of the picture. Then, I selectively added some color.

Getting near the end, I used the grunge app which created all those weird little shapes.

Then I was done. And, so was the picture.

Figure out what it means to you, if anything. Let me know in the comments.


Nature’s colorful light.

Have I ever told you how I make this kind of picture? It’s not quite as directed as you think. I usually do this kind of post production at night, usually while we are watching something like the local news.

Since I don’t need to see the video, which is usually boring, I work on a picture using my phone and Snapseed. So, I have about a half hour to finish my work.

Early on this was a push. Now that I’ve learned the software, I move a lot quicker. A half hour is usually enough time.

I’ll talk about how I created this picture over there on the right hand side.

The why of it is a discussion for right here.

I suppose that I see spring as a cacophony of color. I see nature working her magic with a color wheel. I realize this picture might look a little Christmasy to some of you, but I don’t plan the colors when I see them.

They just are.

I think it’s important to look closer at the image so that you can really see all the colors and how they drive the final work.

Promise me that you’ll do that. Won’t you?

Stay safe. That’s it. I read a lot this morning about the virus. The pandemic will morph into an endemic. That’s a viral condition of permanence. It’ll be like a common cold or seasonal flu… someday.

It’s likely that we will never reach herd immunity. Ever. In The United States that’s on us because some people are too concerned with their own freedom rather than doing something for the good of many.

In many parts of the world, like India, that’s also on us because although we have a glut of vaccine we won’t share with other countries. That matters. A safe world is a safe country.

Making a picture like this is always an experiment. Even though I usually create the work in about thirty minutes, I back in and out of looks and feelings.

Working quickly has its benefits. I don’t think too much about what I’m doing. I just do it.

There are three layers that make up the image. There are two layers of greens and blues and a third layer of reds.

The order in which they are layered matters. Red comes last because the second layer of cool toned colors will bury the red.

That completed, I work to fine tune it. I’m careful with the sliders called structure and sharpness. Too much of either in both directions and pieces of the image disappear.

I wish I could tell you when to stop, but this is one of those things that are, “You’ll know it when you see it.”

You’ll see it. I promise you.


Into the sky.

Sometimes pictures aren’t really about things so much as they are about what they make the viewer feel. I was playing around with layering when suddenly I smiled. This picture was on my monitor. It helped me feel lighter.

I was talking with a friend of mine about what art in general did for the viewer. We’ve all long known that the viewer makes the meaning no matter what the artist does. The viewer brings his or her entire life to a piece of art.

I have an idea why I like this picture. It’s a fantasy. With my dreams lately this picture just pulls me into it. The yellow on the bottom half of the picture doesn’t hurt. Yellow is a brightener in more ways than one.

Yellow ink is how printers who work on big commercial presses brighten an image without being overt. Yellow paint is a sure way to brighten a room. The yellow color spectrum is known to brighten people’s moods.

And, the blue?

It’s in the right place in the picture. It feels like it’s in space. It’s a good place for the eye to wander to after looking at the heart of the picture.

I could say this picture is almost perfectly designed except that it wasn’t, at least not be me. It just sort of fell into place.

That’s how I know it’s right.

I made this picture from three different layers.

The first is the bare beaches of a tree that has not yet shown its new leaves. The sky was milky with a light overcast so it made a great background.

The balloons were added next. I wanted them to be the subject of the picture rather than the branches, so I dropped the blacks out of the branches and worried about the color of the balloons.

Next came those floating globes of light. They were created out of whole cloth using an app that I rarely use. It’s a little too much except in certain cases like this one.

Once everything was assembled, I fine tuned it and I was done.

Well done.


All the color in one place.

Color. That always makes me smile especially as we cruise into the weekend. I need a little color. I’m guessing that you might too.

Besides color, I need music. Not the usual stuff we listen to around here. I need a playlist that Spotify assembled. It’s called, “Echoes of the Canyon.” It’s about that time.

That time in California when all things seemed possible. The time when I was young, fresh and maybe a bit naive.

It sure seemed fun back then.

The Canyon refers to Laurel Canyon. During the 1960s and early 1970s music flowed from there. I could name names, but there are so many. Bands were formed there. Music was written there. Music was made there. The stories are lost in the haze.

I’ll tell you this. As the set list plays I have tears in my eyes. Tears of joy. The ones that are good and welcome because my memory of the music and the time are sweet.

I find myself wondering just how the hell we got to this place in history. What happened to our hopes and dreams? Who stole them?

Two more things.

I’m about to start trouble. Or, I’ll be ignored. There is a professor called Dr. Nina Asary. She’s Iranian. She’s American. She a women’s rights activist. She is very highly thought of. For some reason she pops up on my Instagram feed. We don’t follow each other. She’s had a set of portraits made that she uses often. She never smiles. I realize her work is weighty. But still. I’m going to message her and ask if it wasn’t time to let somebody else carry her armor. We say that a lot around here when the serious grumpies come.

In the pandemic age. I put my name on a number of lists for vaccinations. The first one to come through is my hospital. They scheduled me for Saturday. Then, another provider called, and another called. I could have three injections between Saturday on Monday.

That’s how it works sometimes.

Down here in the swamp, spring is upon us. Yes, I know there are a few more days of winter. In the north winter will last a little longer. Well, a lot longer.

We did have a setback when the deep cold arrived. The Japonica blooms were killed. They are back.

All of the ferns were killed as well. They are brown and dead. They must be cut back to the earth. They’ll grow back in a while.

This picture is about the coming spring. The spring that is upon us today.

It’s a couple of layered pictures. The color is enhanced. For sure, there is a lot of work done in post production.

This picture makes me smile just as the music is…

Stay safe. Stay mighty. You know what to do. You know exactly what to do. Enjoy all the color and all of the music. Everyday.

Just as I close, Joni Mitchell is playing — what else — “Ladies of the Canyon.”


Another yellow photograph.

More yellow. I don’t know why. I guess during the winter months I like color. Yellow is warm. It’s inviting. In the world of big commercial presses it is used to give “lift” to a photograph. Most importantly, it makes me smile.

I’d like to revisit yesterday’s discussion for just a few minutes. Okay ten minutes.

The person who asked the questions that turned the discussion into chaos is well regarded in the photo community. He’s not a great photographer, but he is a person who raises up photography and photographers. He discusses our work, our projects, our books and what he believes a picture could be.

He can be a little sheltered since he mostly looks at the photo art world, which is often an enigma to me. I had to laugh once when he looked at an old friend of mine’s work and proclaimed how good it is. It is good, but in my world that photographer is a legend.

All of that said, he really never came back to the discussion, which angered a lot of people on both sides of the issue.

I expected a wrap up the next day. All he said was that he didn’t expect such a reaction. He moved on to his next question which was something along the lines of the previous question. Huh?

I thought to myself, “Are you just going to drop a discussion that prompted such emotional responses?”

There are topics that deserve serious discussion despite what I may think of the work of one or two particular photographers. This is one of them.

His next topic, by the way, is about one of my former mentors who has been accused of being a sexual predator by a number of young women. “Young” is important because he is 75 years old. The women in question are in their early twenties. He is in a position of power with the ability to make or break somebody’s career.

Notice the use of the word “former.”

I can’t abide by him.

On to something else. This is easier. I have made it a point to not name names even in a complimentary way. Do y’all think that I should continue that? Even though I learn some things quietly, it eventually gets published anyway.

Experiments. I like doing them. It’s how I learn. Success or failure doesn’t matter to me, as long as I learn.

This photograph is a grand experiment.

It’s layered with the same image just slightly skewed. If nothing else I’ve found a way to control the yellow. I suppose I could perform another test where I layer the same picture without skewing it.

In the commercial printing world that’s called a double hit. An example of that is Coca Cola Red. It cannot be done in one pass. So… a double hit.

I don’t know what you think, but I kind of like this picture. To me it’s about the cycles of nature. And, while nature is patient she is always moving.

That’s it from the right side.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy nature.


Something for winter.

Something for winter. Something yellow. Something bright.

The change is coming. In one day. Many of us will be watching it online via the socials. Many of us will be happy.

There are also those who have convinced themselves with no evidence that there is no way Biden could have won the election.

The pillow man thinks that he uncovered all sorts of thing. He brought them to the president who wasn’t interested and suggested that he bring them to the DOJ, who said that’s nice and promptly forgot them.

That’s it.

I’m sorry that the current president won’t even be at the inauguration. He’s skipping out. Heading to Florida. He wants to leave will he’s still president. That call sign, “Air Force One” is important to him. He doesn’t want to fly on a plain old plane.

What a punk.

I know that there is a chance he could be convicted by the senate. I know he has financial and commercial troubles that could choke a horse.

I don’t care.

Let the folks who deal with that stuff deal with it. I want to move forward. That’s what’s important to me. Even though I’m searching for me I know that working to benefit others will help.

So, that’s where I’m headed. To the future. See y’all there.

Bright flowers. Sun flowers. I didn’t even know that they could be grown down here.

Then I read that there are huge fields of them in Mississippi just across the border.

These aren’t them. I have a neighbor who grows everything. He’s got a small greenhouse. He’s got a hydroponic garden. He’s got a regular garden.

There are sunflowers in his greenhouse. I asked if I could photograph them. Obviously, he said yes. In return I’ll give him some prints.

The image is the result of layering. There are five layers of the same picture. Each slightly skewed. Doing this was so easy that I didn’t even have to adjust the picture.

That’s it.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Enjoy the future.


Left Behind.

Remnants. Left overs of the summer just past. Leaves, grass, pine droppings. A lot of nature on a forest floor. Or, what passes for a forest in the city. Of course, this isn’t all one picture. More layering came into play. But, it speaks to the detritus that everything leaves behind.

Nature’s leavings are fine. They build for the future. Many of mankind’s leavings are not fine. Think plastic. We make a big deal out of recycling. So, we put glass in one bin, metal in another, plastic in a third. What do you think happens to the plastic?

It like gets sold to some far away country where some of the plastic is saved. Some is buried. And, some is burnt. Very little plastic is turned into anything useful even though many people make that claim.

A lot of plastic finds its way into the oceans. There it collects and collects until beaches are covered in leftover plastic. Fish die. Birds get trapped in it. Bigger water mammals ingest it until they die. It is only when an autopsy is performed by a suspicious wild animal management type, that the animal’s belly is found to be filled with indigestible plastic.

Where am I going with this?

We are in terrible shape. Politics, pandemic and social reckoning aside, our home is flooding, burning and being buried in plastic.

Once this next general election is over we’d better get to it. If the worst possible thing happens and I have to flee the country, I’ll start working from wherever I am.

What about you?

The picture. It’s really just three pictures layered on top of each other and adjusted to get the effect that I was looking for. I wanted the picture to feel like a forest floor. That’s hard to do when you live in a city so I faked it.

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