Red, red, red.

Red.

They say in design school that if you want to make your readers or viewers happy use warm colors rather than cold. So, that’s what I did. And, a red rose. For love.

The picture is simple. It is a macro photograph. A real one. I saw it. I stopped. I made a few pictures. In fact, you’ve seen another version of this in some of my layered images. This one took very little post production. Nature did the rest.

Some virus notes. No statistics. No bad news. Just a few observations.

I saw a couple of folks shopping in their PJs. At least PJ bottoms and a house t-shirt. You know the ones. They are really ready for the rag bag, but they are so comfortable that you never put them there.

A lot of people stopped combing their hair. For the first week or so everything was unique. As we entered in the third week, people gave up or just don’t care. I’ve a had a number of online meetings. At first, people looked like they were dressed for work. Now? Not so much. Some people look like they haven’t shaved since stay at home rules were put in place. Some of them, like me, may have started with some kind of chin hair. Now, I’m really close to having a full beard.

At least I get dressed. And, wear pants.

Then there are groceries. I have no idea what motivates people. One day there are no paper products at all. I’m not sure why people are buying everything. How many fancy dinner napkins do you need? The next day, those shelves are restocked. But, other shelves are empty. Why, oh why do people need every potato chip in New Orleans?

And so it goes. And, goes. And, goes.

Stay Safe. Look after others. Wash your damn hands. Keep your distance. Wear a mask in public. Enjoy every piece of sushi.

 

 


Taking back the pavement.

Is the pleasure worth all the pain?

That’s a line from an old Jimmy Buffett song. After warnings, and a few arrests, people of our fine city still seem to think that gathering is okay. I’m sure their momentary pleasure will cause them a lot of pain later.

I’m going to take a break from CoVid19 commentary. Y’all probably read and watch way too much coverage of it already.

Let’s talk a little bit about pictures.

I’ve been asked to participate in a couple of Zoom round table discussions about pictures. I’m hoping they won’t turn into gearhead discussions. I have no interest in that. If the organizers want to talk about philosophy, I’m all in. If they want to talk about art, I’m all in.

If it turns into “which is better a Nikon or a Canon camera” discussion, I’ll reply Leica and fade away.

A little housekeeping.

I’ve developed a very strange problem with WordPress. For many of you I cannot “like” your posts without doing a major work around. Usually, when I hit the like button, I get a blank pop up screen for about a second. Often when I comment, I’m asked to fill in my contact information as if I weren’t part of WordPress. Sometimes a WordPress button pops up. If I click on that, I’m sort of logged in.

I know it’s a WordPress bug because I’ve tested this across computer systems, using Apple and Windows. I’ve also tested it across browsers. I’ll talk to the fine folks at WordPress today. Storyteller is a business account so I have access to immediate help. They are pretty good about that.

The picture. It’s a little bitty detail that I was able to photograph near macro. But, not really macro.

That’s another story.

I see so many people misusing the term macro on WordPress blogs. Macro is the ability to focus so close that the details of a bee’s wing are in sharp detail, sometimes without the whole bee filling the frame.

Most people are focusing on a subject, like a rose on a rose bush and calling that macro. It’s not. Really, those folks are just isolating a part of the scene in front of them. It’s about time.

One more thing about focusing on the subject.

Another blogger likes my work because it has a 3D quality. That’s easy. Use a wide angle lens, set the camera to everything auto, and stick it right into the middle of the thing you are photographing. You’ll get what appears to be 3D . Of course, if you are mostly driven to photograph sunsets, you’ll always have a compressed looking picture. Or, you have to fly to the sun. That’ll get mighty hot.

Stay Safe. Look after each other. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Don’t gather in groups. Enjoy every crawfish.

 


Out making groceries.

Morning glory.

Maybe I should be out and about in the morning. Pictures made then are usually a lot of fun. I usually have things to do then. Not the least of them being taking the all seeing dog on her morning walk. Maybe I can work around that.

Here’s a morning picture now. This one came after we parked in the grocery store lot. I made two reasonably good pictures there and one that is of the time. You’ll eventually see all of them

All the news that fits.

Covid19 rages on and on and on. In some American cities it may peak toward the end of April. New Orleans is following New York’s path, but only two weeks later. That means that we are nowhere near the midpoint. The rest of this week should get interesting. May you live in interesting times is the worst possible Chinese curse. We are cursed.

It seems that a lot of people are going through some kind of reevaluation of their lives. I’m no exception. I awoke this morning counting all the places that I’ve lived. There are a lot. I use to write it off to making career moves. Now, I just think it was caused by personal stupidity.

My career cost a lot. People, cool places, family. It’s harder to regain any of those things the older that you get. I could go further, but I’ll just depress myself.

On a positive note, I always had a lot of fun. I did get to see a lot of very different locations. I did get to participate in some great events. I met some interesting people. I am coming up to my 50th high school reunion. Many of my classmates grew up in Southern California and there they stayed. That’s great for some people, but it’s likely I would just have gotten bored.  I’ll never know.

Stay Safe. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Care for others. Enjoy every po’boy.


Smile though your heart is breaking.

I needed this picture.

The news is grim, getting grimmer. The virus is growing exponentially in New Orleans. I live in a country in desperate need of a leader. Many people, most not from NOLA, are trying to blame the mayor for not cancelling Mardi Gras. None of us knew. We certainly had no direction from the president or even FEMA. I’m not the mayor’s biggest supporter. I stand with her this time.

I followed my own advice. One day at a time. Doing what I do. Making art.

I started tinkering with the base picture which is a very tightly composed and cropped picture of a rose. You’ll see other versions of it eventually. I added the little tiny flowers on the lawn. You’ve already seen those. I started  working on the color, brightness and glow.

I started smiling. I started laughing. This picture is so whimsical that it brought out my hidden happiness. I hope it works for you.

Stay Safe. Care for others. Enjoy every sandwich.


Life on the surface.

May.

Bill Gates and the surgeon general agree. We will finally see a turning of the tide in mid to late May. But, but, but… only if everybody in the entire country does the right thing and self isolates.

After seeing pictures from around the country, I don’t believe that will happen unless the president declares marshall law. Many people are just plain stupid. That sounds harsh. Don’t endanger my life and I won’t call you stupid.

I think the newness of staying at home is wearing off. If we have to stay home until sometime in May, we will probably look like people coming out of a bunker during WWI or WWII.

This is a marathon, not a sprint.

In New Orleans businesses are hunkering down. Grocery stores are taping off six foot areas at checkout counters. They are building plexiglass wall between the checkout clerk and the shopper. Many businesses will not take paper money. Many business will not survive.

Me?

If I am going to the store, buying gas, or going to the pharmacy I wear rubber gloves. I don’t know who or what touched the very thing I want. I certainly don’t know who touched the keypad or nozzle at a gas station.

A photographer colleague did a video about despair. It’s very good. If you aren’t there yet, you will be. It more or less describes a hopeless future. The only way through is something that I’ve written (I knew I understood something, so there.). One day at a time. Or, as we say in the rooms of AA, if need be, one hour at a time. Or, one minute at a time. And, stay focused on whatever it is you do.

Because my mind was scrambling some things, I followed the advice of another blogger. Create a schedule similar to the one you used in early times. You know. Three weeks ago. Follow it. You’ll do what needs to be done and maybe a little more. You won’t be lying on the couch watching cartoons all day.

One more thing. Get dressed. You’ll feel a little more real even if time has no meaning. I liked wearing my pjs the first week. Later, I realized that I spent way too much time sleeping or watching television about nothing.

The picture. I put the smartphone down on the ground. I moved it around while looking at the LCD and made a few variations on a theme.

Stay safe. Care for others. Enjoy every sandwich.

One more thing.

Say a little prayer for a friend of mine’s father. He is a little older than me. (The father, not the son.) He is a Vietnam Veteran. He’s one of those guys who never really came home. That’s sad enough. He has CoVid19. He’s on a ventilator. About 12 hours ago he had less than a few hours to live. I have no idea if he made it through the night.

My friend lives in Bloomington, Indiana. His dad lives in Fresno, California. Even if he could get there, he wouldn’t be allowed to see his dad. He will never get the chance to say goodbye.

That’s just horrible.


All is peaceful and calm.

We need a break. All of us.

I know. Nothing has changed. In fact, it’s getting worse. The United States is now number one. That’s not a good thing. The virus grew by almost 50% in one day in the state. The deaths in the city are growing by leaps and bounds. The governor sounded as stressed as I’ve ever heard him.

That’s enough.

It’s Friday. Time to rest. Time to relax. Time to think. I know, those pastimes are normally left for Sunday. But, time has no meaning. Days pass without anyone realizing it. I sit down to work at noon. Suddenly, the all seeing dog taps me on the leg. It’s 5pm. Time for her evening walk.

I spent some of the time creating this image. It’s quiet. Calming. Peaceful. It wasn’t easy to do. I made more mistakes than usual. That didn’t matter. I had the time. I wanted to play a little. That’s the thing. Time. It’s meaningless.

Stay Safe. Care for others. Enjoy every sandwich.


Seeking stasis.

I had a really weird thought.

That’s nothing new. Most of my thoughts are weird. I’ve said in the past that nature always seeks stasis. Nature does not determine the rightness or wrongness of a thing. She just wants balance. When something gets out of equilibrium, she solves it. It may take time, but balance is restored.

Do you see where I’m headed with this?

I have no idea how CoVid-19 began. I don’t think anybody understands it. The prevailing theory is fairly simple. A human ate some tainted meat from a wild animal which was purchased in a wet market in Wuhan, China. There really is no one to blame except that I would never think to eat pangolin meat.

For sure, the conspiracists are out in force. I read that some of the black community thinks the whole thing is a plot to kill them off. Even if a cure is developed, they won’t be taking it. Because, you know, the government will be injecting them with poison that will finish the job. Back up the stupid train. Nobody intentionally wants others to die.

All of that said, what if nature wants more stasis? Mankind isn’t exactly earth friendly. What if nature needs to kill a good number of us off? What if nature thinks we are killing the planet and wants to get our attention in a dramatic way?

That’s no conspiracy theory.

Nobody is plotting to kill other people. It’s just a thought. It’s similar to something I said to my neighbor a few weeks before the virus became a pandemic. I was joking, but something happened that questioned my faith in man. I said, “God said, you people suck. I give up. Just watch this.”

Think about that.

And, consider this. We are no longer out and about. The whole planet has more or less shut down. The earth is healing. Slowly, to be sure. But, it is healing.

The picture. It’s just me trying to find my own artistic stasis. A balance point. It’s me creating art from a number of layered photographs. Or, at least, trying to. I still wish that I had the talent to paint.

Stay safe. Care for each other. Enjoy every sandwich.


Twinkle, twinkle…

It started with an email.

Wolf Kahn passed a few days ago. He was an artist. He painted like I wish I could paint. I’d never heard  of him. I read this obituary. He was an American treasure. Where  the hell have I been? I know about some artists, but not him.

That evolved into a discussion of the one thing that drove him. His work. He had a vision and he stuck to it for almost 75 tears. I poked around. I went to his website. I went to gallery sites. Sheesh. His calendars sell for between $40 and $75. There are almost no lithographs except for those made for a show. His work starts at an affordable price, may $400, but don’t let that fool you. Most of his work starts around $25,000 and rises from there.

Make no mistake. Money isn’t everything. In fact, at the end of the day, it might mean nothing. But, it means that collectors value your work. It allows an artist to support himself, his family and maybe some others.

The email discussion moved on. It was about changing direction, pivoting as they call it today. You are supposed to be nimble. You are supposed to be quick. Seems to me that pivoting around and around is just chasing the almighty dollar. No vision, no intent, no dream, is needed.

My friend didn’t pivot but he changed the direction of his career. I really never changed my direction. Still, we pretty much ended up in the same place. I cannot speak for him, but I can for me. That’s what the title of this post is about. How much time did I waste? That I still waste?

Hmmm.

I know I should keep moving. I’m actually a little frustrated that I have to stay at home because finally, when the chips seem very down, I have ideas. A lot of ideas. Oddly enough, they are pretty good.

How about you?

Stay safe. Care for each other. Enjoy every sandwich.


Reaching to the sky.

We went grocery shopping this morning.

Old folks time is from 8am until 9am. Most people followed the six foot rule. Some didn’t. Some looked like they didn’t care. There was enough of what we wanted, but many shelves were bare. Given that I was about the 30th person in the store, that meant the store didn’t get the deliveries they needed. Luckily, we have plenty of toilet paper.

We have never shopped so quickly. Between the lack of some products and the lack of people, shopping took 20 minutes from door to check out.

Back to toilet paper. None to be had. I still don’t get it. As a friend of mine said, this is a respiratory illness, not a field trip to Taco Bell.

We are finally under a mandatory order to stay inside. But, the lists of what you can do is longer than the list of what you can’t do. The biggest don’t do is congregating. But, we can walk, walk our dogs, go to the grocery store and so on.

That’s the CoVid19 story from the swamp. For today.

The picture. I’ll be damned if I can remember the name of this flower. I’m sure one of you will know. Somebody told me that it only grows in a sun tropical climate. No. No. No. When I was growing up in Long Beach, California my family grew them in what amounts to a side yard. In fact, they looked more healthy than these do.

All the rest. See it. Frame it. Push the button. Almost no post production. Mostly, I was trying to retrieve the detail in the flowers which was lost because the light meter read the shadows.