More like magenta.

Getting close.

Close enough to see the details. The shape. The various shades of color.

Color.

Call this what you want. Is it pink? Is it magenta? Is it something else? If you are trying to match color, as I used to do on a big commercial printing press, it matters. If you aren’t, enjoy it for what it is. Whatever you think it is.

Now. A quick message from our sponsor.

I was reading a Facebook conversation between a couple of people and an author friend of mine. They were discussing how to market a book. One thinks websites are dead. Another thinks blogs are dead. A third one thinks Facebook is old fashioned. None of them discussed tweeting or Instagramming.

They admitted that they had no idea what was right or wrong. They were guessing.

The correct answer, according to the head of SEO for CAA, is all of them as long as the same people don’t follow you around. They may think that they are helping, but they are not. Each of those social media platforms reach different kinds of audiences. Having a Facebook page is like being in the telephone book. Remember those? You have to be there or for sure nobody will find you.

The other big trick is not to share, post or tweet the same material. That makes sense. If people follow you around, you want them to see different stuff. If somebody stumbles on your work in a couple of places, you don’t want to bore them.

Get it?

The picture. A new summer bloom at home. I saw it. I photographed it. That was pretty much it. Ma Nature made that flower. She doesn’t need help from me.

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A spring flower bundle.

Sunday.

Memorial Sunday. In New Orleans, today is the day we memorialize our war dead. The guys who gave their fullest. The guys who never made it home. This is their day.

We have a ceremony. Their graves are covered with little American flags. There are speeches. We ring the bell. We pay them the highest honors that we can.

These spring flowers are for them.

I may go. I may not.

It’s a little hard.

If I go, and I go to the Money Waster’s second line, I’ll be hopping and bopping. It’s hot out there. I’ll need lots of water to stay hydrated. I’ll need to eat something somewhere along the line. Some kind of New Orleans food.

But.

It’ll all be great fun.

Or, I could lounge by the pool. Take a dip. Work on my tan. Burn some meat on the grill. The American way.

Or.

I could photograph what needs photographing. And, do the lounging thing later in the day. That would work.

That’s what I’ll do.

I need some pictures. New ones.


About changes.

A little Friday art.

Pure art. The picture is as I saw it. Very little post production on this one. It’s meant to be soft and gentle. It’s meant to be a break from real life. A little peace. A little quiet.

I could stop right here and wish you happy Friday.

You know me. Lately, that hasn’t been my way. Lately, I have the need to talk, er, write.

This is about joy. Joy from anywhere. I started thinking about this after watching and Amazon show called, “The Grand Tour.” It was created after the original Top Gear team left the BBC. It stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. Last nights show was the final episode, not of the series, but of the entire thing.

History. Clarkson got fired from the BBC for punching a crew member. Over a sandwich, I think. The other two realized that two without one didn’t add up to much, so they asked to be released from their BBC contracts. Clarkson went through some behavior modification counseling and the three of them joined Amazon. The new name reflects what tours of the world used to be in the 1800s. They were called a grand tour and used to last for months.

The original version was Clarkson’s brainchild. Prior to the arrival of Top Gear, car shows were boring. I like cars, but I never watched them. Once I saw Top Gear during its first year I was hooked. Comedy reigned supreme. Things crashed. Things blew up. Things burned. Richard Hammond almost got killed (for real). Only his short height saved him from losing his head.

Last night they said goodbye. Clarkson, who can be a giant knob as Richard May would say, fought back tears during their entire announcement. They played some highlights, some of which were borrowed from the BBC, to the tune of the original ending of Eric Clapton’s “Layla.” For me, that has always been a leaving song, especially the end  piece with Eric Clapton and the late Duane Allman playing intertwined guitars over a piano.

I was in tears.

They’ve done this for 17 years. I’ve seen every episode. Think about that. I’m 65 now. I started with them when I was 48 years old. They’ve made me laugh and laugh some more, even during the dark days immediately following Hurricane Katrina. When I say laugh, I mean laughing out loud, rolling on the floor.

The audience was crying. They talked about their favorite shows.

Then.

Finally, the three of them made another announcement. The talk show, the in studio work and their local race track scenes were ending. The show as we knew it was ending.

But, they love Amazon and Amazon loves them. So, Clarkson claims. Instead of thirteen weeks every year, we were going to see what they do best. Long treks in some foreign country with either junkmobiles or the best of the high-end Lamborghini, Maserati and Porsche cars. Those are the episodes that to me, and I’m pretty sure, most of us liked best. We won’t have to wait a year to see new work. It’ll be released as Amazon continuing series.

My heart jumped. I immediately felt better.

One more thing for you to know.

Anyway.

I borrowed that from them. Since they really drive the cars, catch on fire and get in crashes, they decided how to move on if one of them was killed. They would briefly tell the studio audience what happened and would immediately move on with…

Anyway.


Into the sky.

Spring’s rebirth.

A seasonal cycle. Now you see it. Now you don’t. We are at a seasonal point that you can’t help but see it.

If you look at Facebook, the keeper of all infinity, your pages will start filling up with spring flower pictures. It starts around now and lasts for a while as our friends in the snowy north start to awaken from their winter slumbers.

Makes me smile.

Since I only look at my threads on various social media twice a day, I wasn’t aware of the melt down of Facebook and their related sites. Apparently, it got so bad that Facebook had to go to their competitor’s site and tweet about the problems.

So many people were frustrated by the whole thing.

As I said to a friend of mine, it was the best day in a long time. No alerts. No emails saying that somebody commented on one of my pictures. No pop ups from Instagram telling me somebody likes something. Just a pleasant day. A lot of work got done. Not just by me, but by a lot of people.

I suppose the young lady who has a big following, and is an influencer on Instagram, and whose mom was arrested for bribing a USC official in that huge scam was upset. While she lying around on the president of USC’s yacht.  She couldn’t make money while it was down.

Damn.

Funny thing about her. She doesn’t care about college. She makes really big bucks using Instagram. That’s her job.

I’m willing to bet that she hasn’t taken the time to look around and see a place like the one in this picture. Sure. She gets outside. For big deal stuff. But, little stuff?

I’m pretty sure that I’m having more fun seeing stuff like this, than any of the people who were busted. Before they were busted. They seem like a miserable lot. They are too busy cheating.

Many people are blaming the parents, coaches and some colleges themselves. They claim that the kids probably didn’t know anything about it. Yeah. Right. That’s why little miss was cruising around on the college president’s yacht.  Of course the kids are culpable.

One more thing.

I don’t know about you. But, I paid for my schooling. Every time. At every university. I didn’t cheat to pass tests. I didn’t claim to be anything that I wasn’t. I just worked hard.

It’s amazing.

How a pretty spring picture could bring all of that up. It shouldn’t. I’ve known for a long time that the game was rigged. Every game. With every kind of rigging.

Anyway.

Look up. Look down. Look all around. In front. Behind. To the side. See what you see. Make a picture. Make another one. Keep making pictures. Until you are done. If you are really good, it could take you one picture. Or, two. If you are like me, maybe 15 or 20. But, I like to explore the scene. I don’t machine gun. No point in that.

You might make a picture like this one. Or, not. Or, a better one.

But.

There is no competition. Unless it’s with yourself. As they say, help a brother out.

 


Twisted.

Twisted. Trunks.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to make a version of this picture for a couple of years. I’m not sure what the trees are, but they are primordial. They are original trees from the days when much of “backatown” New Orleans was a swamp. A swamp that was reclaimed. Drained and built upon.

Whenever I found them, either the background didn’t work or the lensing wasn’t appropriate.

Along came my new — old now, because Samsung just released a newer version — smartphone. Like most modern phones its camera functions are amazing. Not only can I increase the length of the lens from approximately 28mm to 56mm with the push of a button. But, once I get it there,  I can use two fingers in a pinching motion to increase the length of the lense by six fold to about 336mm. This all internal. Nothing actually pokes its head out of the phone. This is more of that computational photography I wrote about earlier.

Finally.

I found the background. And, I had the lens capable of compressing the scene into my vision. The vision that kept me looking for at least two years.

This picture is the result.

I could have gone out looking for the picture, armed with one of my mirrorless camera bodies and a couple of lenses, but this was easier.

Too easy.

If I wasn’t a working photographer, it would be simple to put my camera gear on a shelf, forget about it, remember it and sell it on Ebay for pennies on the dollar.

But.

I am a photographer.


Winter color.

More cold.

The few blooming flowers are no more. They don’t like the cold temperatures. They pass into another world. The world of compost. The world of endings. This happens before their seeds are passed from flower to flower. There are no flying insects to do that job.

They do another job. They catch my eye. I’m not that important. They catch everybody’s eye. That’s more important. They give us all a break from the winter drabness. I can’t imagine living where some of you live. Where you have a five month winter of cold and snow.

I complain about our hot, humid summers. At least they are bright and colorful. Until the end, when even the greenest of leaves look washed out and faded.

They say that cold winters are better than hot summers. That you can pile on the clothes. I’m not sure about that. Even with our mild cold, it takes me ten minutes to prepare. I suppose that I’m used to it, but I’d rather change my clothes and take more showers than prepare to take a walk.

Anyway.

The picture. At this time a year my eyes are drawn to bright spots, whether they are blooming or dying. I try to make a picture that reflects a flower’s life. In this case, it’s almost a macro picture so that you can see the state of the flower.

It took a little work in post, mostly to hyper-sharpen the details without making the picture go crazy with a sharpening rim. The best method is to darken the picture, increase the contrast to way more than normal and work backwards from there in small steps. It may not look it, but this image is the result of about 15 tiny steps. One of the markers that I look for is in the shadows. They are light enough to give you a hint of what is lurking there.

At the end of the day, I am balancing deep shadows with bright highlights after making the picture too dark and too contrasty in the first place. There is probably a more efficient way of getting there, but what would be the fun in that?


Not like winter.

Winter. Not winter.

No. I’m not gloating. I just feel lucky. After being in the cold north for a bit and coming back to NOLA, I realized just how good we have it. In late fall, winter and spring. The rest of the year is hot, humid, sticky and generally miserable. We all try to leave.

For a little bit.

With climate change and all that it implies right this minute, I have no clue where to go to cool off in the summer. Just about everywhere is hot. Oh sure. There is dry heat. After a while that just feels hot. If you happen to be in the high desert, the temperatures drop at night. That’s something. At least. The very least.

For right now, this picture is fun. I made it yesterday. After being in the cold for a few days, just seeing the flowers made me feel good. Even better, they are fresh blooms. These aren’t the last of dying flowers left over from summer.

Okay.

Housekeeping. Part two.

I told you yesterday that I made my decision. I’m staying here at WordPress. I’m sticking to that because today starts the billing cycle for next year on both sites. I removed my work from Squarespace and closed the account. I reupped here. Doing it prior to the very last second gave me a break. My year starts today but lasts until May 18, 2020.

WordPress congratulated me.

My next step is to turn this into a .com instead of a .org. You won’t notice the difference. From there, it’s off to the races.  WordPress says that they have a new photography oriented basic template that is more along the lines of what I want. I’ll check it out and go from there.

Things may be a little wonky here for a few days or a week or so, while I make changes to Storyteller. Hopefully, it won’t last long. At least for the basics. I think this will be an ongoing project for a couple of months. You’ll see little things, tiny things, change over that time.


Shadows make the picture.

Sticky days and very hot nights.

I’ve noticed that I don’t see a lot of my neighbors. There’s a good reason for this. Everybody is tired of our super sticky days. With the last storm, the humidity has increased to almost unbearable levels. I call it a four t-shirt, three shower, day. They stay inside where the air conditioners are working overtime.

Whew.

So. I make pictures where I can and get excited thinking about fall-like weather. A time when I can roam about without feeling like I’ve been through the rinse cycle.

In a way, that’s what this picture is about. I saw it. It didn’t look like much the first time that I passed by. But… the next time, late afternoon shadows were encroaching on the scene. The picture turned interesting. Now it was ready. So was I. Yes. I helped it in post production. Everything needed to be deeper, richer and glowing.

That’s the photography lesson for the day. Be patient. I suppose that’s the unspoken lesson every day. You know. Study, practice, study, practice, study… that’s another way of saying work hard at what you do and be patient.


A look inside.

Sometimes nature is amazing. The colors. The details. Rebirth. It all is wonderful. Even if you can almost set your calendar by it.

Down here, spring starts early. By the first or second week of February. I’m sorry about those of you who still have snow on the ground. Really, I am. We’ve already been through a couple of cycles of blooms. These are the latest. Even they are fading.

Spring is a good metaphor for life. It passes quickly. Don’t waste your time.

One more thing. The Formosan Termites are here. Keep your doors and windows closed around dusk. If you live in NOLA.