Night magic. Tree shimmering at night.

S

ometimes, I talk about experimental pictures. Mostly that just means I’ve done something odd in post production.

Not this time.

I wanted to learn something about my smartphone camera at night. How would it hold up from a proper exposure standpoint? What would happen to the color? Would the image remain sharp enough.

The exposure is fine. The color is distorted because of night light reflecting off of almost everything. It is plenty sharp.

Then, I set out to tinker with it. I pulled the color this way and that. I sharpened it to the point that the leaves look like little sparkling blobs. The sky turned purple.

I’m not sure what I think. I’d like to know what you think.

What do you think?


Look up.

S

heesh. I started this post and forgot about it. Until now.

I try to post at noon my time. Obviously, I’m late. Very late. Sorry about that.

Let’s talk about stupidity and failure.

There is a guy who posts as NOLAphotoguild on Instagram. Today he wrote an eight page screed about freedom. I bet you know where this is going. He is calling for an end to all protections, all testing, all vaccinations for all things Covid. He wants FREEEEDUM.

A little research, starting on Facebook, revealed that he has started a number of photo-oriented ventures. Everyone of them failed. He started what amounts to a collective on Instagram. It earns no money but it has a lot of followers. He finally has one thing. A platform.

He’s bitter. He has a platform. His bitterness is going to kill someone like me.

What next?


In the dark hour.

Y

esterday was almost useless. Since I believe there are no useless days, that’s saying something. I had one of those days where everything went wrong. Luckily, they were little things. The espresso machine started the day, by doing something funky. The mouse batteries died without warning. Two lightbulbs burned out. And, so it went right up until the time I went to sleep.

Today is a new day that started off much better. Thankfully.

I made this picture on a walk through the French Quarter. You’ve seen another version of it. This time I cropped the heart of it and started playing with it. This version isn’t quite what I intended. I wanted to make the picture darker, but when I did that I lost too much detail. I thought that detail was important in this particular image.

Sometimes photography is about compromise and choices.


An autumn evening.

T

he title comes from Bob Dylan. The picture is my third try at publishing. There were no problems. I just didn’t like the picture. I tried reworking the first one, but that didn’t fly. I may try reworking it from the original. I well over defined the clouds on the processed images which made the picture, er, weird.

I found this image and decided that I like blue.


In the air.

A

brand new picture. Imagine that. I went for a walk when the light was right and I started having fun. I just kept making pictures until I was finished, which took a while. I think that I wanted to take the long way home as they say.

The funny thing was that the more I saw, the more I saw.

I think my problem isn’t not being able to see. It’s feeling trapped in place by the current circumstances. I don’t like to be stuck anywhere unless I want to be. It’s one thing being stuck in New Orleans. It’s another to be stuck on St. Barts.

It’s also one thing to know that almost everybody thinks that the pandemic is over when it has years to go and that too many of them aren’t taking any kind of precautions thinking that they are protected by the vaccinations. To a certain extent they are, but there are enough breakthrough infections to make me wonder a little bit

In my case, that doesn’t matter. I isolate myself or I run the risk of dying. So, as I write I’m talking to the Shipt buyer. Because of me, everybody in the house likes not having to go grocery shopping. Don’t get me wrong, they like buying specialty items at a farmers market or a fruit stand. They like going to Hong Kong, the Asian grocery store, not the city.

One of the things that I’ve come to understand is that the pandemic made a lot of us think about how we do things. We don’t always have to be some place to work. We don’t have to travel across the country to have an hour meeting. We’ve managed to find and cut out a lot of BS factors.

On the other hand, shopping from home for bigger products has put a huge stress on the logistics chains, to which most people never gave a second thought. There are ships and containers stacked up at every major port city. In China, or other ports in Asia, there aren’t enough containers or ships to move new product.

This is a pandemic which keeps on giving in ways that never occurred to us. I’m sure that there will be more.

A quick change. When it comes to photo technique I keep writing the same things. Unless I do something out of the ordinary, I’m not going to divide the columns.


Evening glow.

T

his post was inspired by a band called Ranky Tanky. They are a Gullah band from the Lowcountry area of South Carolina.

They play a kind of country jazz. I’m always amazed at how many of their songs I know. Songs that were covered by The Rolling Stones and Little Feat. The good news is that both bands always acknowledged their musical roots.

Roots. I think that knowing who’s shoulders you are standing on. That’s another little piece of Storyteller. I haven’t talked about my inspirations in a good long while. (Let’s see if I can write that anymore Southern.)

Maybe I should start doing that again. Whaddya think? I can write about particular artists, or photographers or musicians to authors.

Let me just say that there are only a few photographers who inspire me. Most of them are old now. But, artists and musicians? You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting them. (Southernism number two.)

I wonder why that is.

S

ometimes things that look easy to do are a lot harder than we think.

This picture is an example of that.

It’s a time exposure made on my smart phone. Easy enough, right?

Sure. If you don’t care about the highlights or the deep shadows.

I did everything I could to keep those areas intact. I failed. Either one or the other had to go.

So, I kept the highlights and let the shadows go dark. I tried to hold the shadows, but they lost way too much contrast.

I did the best that I could, which wasn’t enough.

That’ll happen sometimes.


All of the mysteries.

T

iming. It’s everything. Look in one direction and you see nothing. Turn around and there’s the picture. Make some great music and nobody hears it unless the timing is right. Play sports, maybe baseball. The difference between striking out and hitting a home run is timing.

You get the point.

This picture is a great example of timing. I was trying every which way to get under the wires to get some of the orange cloud into the picture. I couldn’t do it.

I turned to the side and thought, “There is a picture here after all.” This one. The one you are looking at.

Here’s an extreme example of timing. As you know, I can’t be in crowds. That means I can’t photograph second lines. Normally. I start at the beginning, walk a good bit with the parade. Then, I get back to my car and jump to the end.

If I had been out on Sunday, I could have been way too near a shooting that left one dead and one critically injured. I’m pretty sure it was gang related. For sure, it was Black on Black.

That, alone, makes me sad.

But, a misfired bullet in the air doesn’t see color. It just zooms through the air hitting whatever it comes in contact with. It would be one thing if these boneheads could actually shoot. But, they can’t. They spray bullets everywhere trying to hit the one poor guy they are after.

Think about it.

I was on the corner of St. Bernard Avenue and St. Claude on one Mother’s Day a few years back when two fools started shooting into the crowd in order to hit their target. They didn’t hit him, but they did hit a lot of innocent people.

They hit my friend, and just about everybody’s friend, “Big Red” Deb Cotton in the stomach. That may be the worst survivable wound. She survived, but after years of painful surgeries, she died.

Murders are up by 24% in New Orleans. Gun deaths are the highest they’ve ever been in the city.

A

fter I saw the picture I did everything I could to avoid those power lines, but I couldn’t.

It’s ironic. If I photographed this scene about a month earlier those lines wouldn’t have been in the way. They’d have been in the street.

My biggest trick was to darken the entire picture to bring the color out. I did add some soft glow because I like it.

If I left the picture horizontal there would have been way too much black. The color would have receded into the scene. So, I cropped it.

I’m not the world’s biggest fan of square pictures. Obviously, I use them when the situation calls for it.

Nothing is set in cement. Photographic rules should be learned and understood so that you can break them when your work calls for it.

I suppose that’s the same with most rules. Live by them until something goes way south. Then, do what you have to do.

Hopefully, it will be subtle and peaceful.

Unlike this photograph.


In the air tonight.

W

ell, maybe. I’m referring to the title. After I made yesterday’s picture I got excited and went back out to see what I could see.

I saw the picture you are seeing. Unfortunately, I mostly made vertical images. When I finally saw the totality of the photograph I realized a radical crop was in order.

That’s the version you are seeing.

I just like it’s depth and it feels like I am looking up towards infinity. And, if this pandemic keeps surging it could be a place that a lot of us see for ourselves. Hopefully not.

Which brings me to this. Turn off the news,, all of it. Well, except for sports where I want watch baseball and Formula One racing.

If we continue watching the news at this time in history we will go off the deepest end. There is too much going on, most of it really bad.

This may mean that you ditch social media because everybody and their brother just has to comment on some news item and 2,870,145 other people pile on.

You can’t even get into a discussion about nature without some bonehead jumping in. It goes like this. Comment: “The sky is blue.” Reply: “Well, Biden sucks.”

Enough.

Go hide out for the weekend. Everything will feel better next week.

P

retty soon you are going to give up on me. I keep making pictures that do not require tricky postproduction unless you are feeling particularly crafty.

Once again, all I really did was see it, shoot it.

Expose for the lightest part of the scene and the darkest part will get even darker.

Make it darker in post if you need to. But, it would be better to learn how to make a proper exposure and not need to.

In order to do that, you might want to turn off every automatic function on your camera. Learn how to set the controls after taking just a light reading.

Because.

I have a t-shirt that says, “Everybody is a photographer until…” and an arrow points to the control setting for aperture and shutter speed.

Don’t be one of those everybodies.


Sunset in New Mexico.

T

his testing isn’t easy. There are tricks and traps everywhere. I found a way to change type color.

“Ah ha!,” I thought.

Wrong again. Even though WordPress says it’s block, Tag Clouds are not. You can’t anything to them except remove them once they are applied. I suppose there is a way to change color, but pretty soon I’ll do what I always do and give up.

There are general settings, but I’m pretty sure that if a change one color of type I’ll change them all. That’s not a solution.

There is good news with tag clouds. Just as I suspected, if you press a tag you are taken to similar pages.

Of course, the one I tried took me to a page that is at least nine years old. That would be good for some of you who have just joined Storyteller.

It’s a start, I suppose.

A few other posts that you might enjoy.

Like a Speeding Bullet


O kay. I’m going to get back on posting track. So, this one is for 1pm Central Time. We’ll just see about that. That sounds a lot like the always infamous, “Just wait until your father gets home.” You know how that used to work, right? Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with DSLR […]

Winter Glow


T his isn’t exactly what I meant. I’ve been trying to push back the distribution of Storyteller to about 5pm Central Time. I intended to do it by posting about an hour later every week until I reached 5pm. Oh no. I jumped to 3pm in about two days. Oh Well. A couple of folks […]

Deep and Dark


S ometimes you can’t sleep. But that was okay because I slept too much the night before. While I was laying there my past came into view. Both good and bad memories. I intentionally forced the bad ones away. Who wants to try to fall asleep with bad things in mind? There were a lot of […]

L

ost in New Mexico. Not really, those mountains are the Sandias and I’m in Albuquerque.

I made two good pictures while I was on I-25. For some reason — likely my normal lazy state — I never did anything with this one.

So, y’all are seeing it first.

The other one.

Above is the other good picture I made while I was driving in my car.

Photographer’s luck, that I even made these two pictures, but also that I didn’t die in a fiery crash.