For Friday.

I

started working on this picture so long ago that I forgot what picture I was going to use when it came to publishing this page.

I suppose it’s a leftover of lockdown fuzziness. Or maybe I’m just losing my ability to think and remember stuff.

I’d like to remember important things. Maybe photographs and Storyteller aren’t all the important. Or, maybe they are and should be.

Storyteller wasn’t always that important. I realized through the lockdown until the present that it kept me aware of the date (sometimes) but rarely the time.

I think that’s why many musicians played some version of songs from home. On one day they would check requests, figure out a small set list or song, rehearse and play the song on whatever day they picked.

Some did it live. Some didn’t.

That didn’t seem to matter. They needed to play for people. People were craving anything the approximated any live music.

That worked for a time.

Somehow we all came to the same place. We needed freedom. Eventually, some people gained some. Of course, I’m not one of them. That’s gonna change.

I made my career taking risks. Now I don’t. It’s time to weigh risk and reward and do the best that I can. No. I won’t take stupid risks, but I’ve got to get out and about.

I can’t take pictures if I don’t.

P

eaceful for Friday. I started working on this picture. I wasn’t getting anywhere. I realized that this image would look best in black and white. Better yet, it needed a very light monochromatic color.

I’m not sure how I started working in light yellow tones, but that seemed to be a good option. Besides, I liked what it did to the bare trees.

So, that’s the direction that I started to work. I added some stuff in OnOne, but not much. It was ready when it was done. That’s how it happens sometimes.


Like another world.

Finally. It hit me this morning. I am in mourning. Not for the life we all once had. Although, that’s part of it. I’m in mourning for the passing of time. Not, the time that I’ve been discussing. That time has no meaning, no concept these days.

Another kind of time passing. The kind that catches us all in the end. The time of aging. Not so much for me, although that matters. But, for my loved ones. Even the dogs. Especially one dog.

Sophie Rose, the all seeing cocker spaniel is aging right before my eyes. She came to us when she was eight, so she was already a senior dog. She fit right in. She became my walking companion since the other dogs were very happy with one walk a day, in a pack.

She wanted two or three walks a day, just me and her.

That was fine, if not painful. At least until a senior doctor diagnosed the real issue as bursitis.

Lately, instead of going for a morning walk, she goes outside and does what she needs to do and goes back to bed. Mostly, we go for a short walk once a day.

It crept up on me. I looked but I did not see. I got nervous today so I called her vet. For basic things that seems to be what all medical professionals prefer in the pandemic age.

We talked for a good while. He asked me the usual things. She eats her normal amount of food. She drinks her normal amount of water. She seems happy. She doesn’t express any pain. Her droppings are normal.

Everything is good.

He said very simply that she is getting old. If you use the correct way of measuring dog’s age. Twelve years for the first year. Nine for the second. And, seven for the rest. She is about 93.

I don’t imagine that I’ll even be on the planet at 93. So, at that age she is doing fine.

Never the less, I don’t like it. Cockers live from 11 to about 16 years. At 16 they don’t do much but sleep, eat, pee and poop. If she lasts that long of course I’ll love and take care of her. The other dogs will stay near her as a way to protect her.

Now, I’ve made myself sad. I don’t like getting older for me. I don’t like it for those I care for.

There is nothing to be done. It’s nature.

The picture. This should be short and sweet. That dog, the one I discussed in theft hand column, and I started on her walk. We got to my go to place and I looked up.

What a nice peaceful sky. A popsicle sky.

I did what I always do and we walked on.

I did a little post production and posted it here.

Happy popsicle sky to you all.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Don’t travel this week. Enjoy every sandwich.


The sound time makes as it passes by.

I slept really late for me. After a pretty bad Saturday, I awoke at a little after 10 am. The house was already very busy. Dog food was making. Laundry was washing. Breakfast had been eaten.

After Friday nights horrible news I was convinced that I would be really out of sorts for a couple of days. I wasn’t. The sleep did me good.

I’m actually sort of peaceful.

Yes. I’m worried about how RGB’s seat will be filled. If the Republicans rush to fill this seat after blocking Obama’s choice they will be as fake as I’ve always thought them to be.

If Biden should happen to win, I would fully support the idea of packing the court. After all, fair is fair.

All I know right now, is that we have to work as hard as we can to prevent 45 from winning a general election that is about six weeks away.

I’m not talking about just the presidency. I’m talking about down ticket candidates, like the senator from Kentucky. He needs to go.

I’m also talking about state leaders right down to some city councils.

Enough is enough.

Nature’s way.

The picture. That’s what you came for. Right? This is a case of being outside at the right time. It’s also a case for running as fast as I can with my metal hip and impacted spine.

It’s also a case of photographer’s luck. Five minutes either way and I would have missed this.

I’ve seen post storm skies in the past. Often they are dramatic. Because of the way that I work at home, I often miss them. Sometimes, I just don’t have the right angle to see what the sky is doing. Sometimes, I just forget to look.

This time I had the angle and I remembered to look.

I didn’t have to do much in post production. I did darken the picture to bring out the colors. I did not have to bring the them up artificially. Nature really did her thing.

A small victory in a year of massive defeats.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your damn mask. Enjoy every boiled crawfish.


See the sky about to rain, broken clouds and rain.

Locomotive, pull the train, whistle blowing through my brain. Signals curling on an open plain, rolling down the track again.

See the sky about to rain. Some are bound for happiness, some are bound to glory. Some are bound to live with less, who can tell your story?

See the sky about to rain, broken clouds and rain. Locomotive, pull the train, whistle blowin through my brain. Signals curlin’ on an open plain, rollin’ down the track again.

See the sky about to rain.I was down in Dixie Land, played a silver fiddle. Played it loud and then the man broke it down the middle.

See the sky about to rain. — Neil Young — 1974

Rest in Peace — Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Something peaceful.

The picture. I made the image yesterday. The day was overcast with really flat light. The kind that I don’t like. I wanted to find a picture. I wanted one to find me. And, so it did.

I had something different planned for today. But, the news came out of the blue. The thing so many of us dreaded. Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed.

I knew I had this picture. It’s a little special. I helped it along its path.

It’s peaceful. It’s quiet. I can’t speak for y’all but I need it just about now. 2020 has been a horrible year. It continues to get worse.

My quiet time is center myself. I have one more fight left in me. I have to get ready. It’s the battle for the soul of my country. Voting is one thing. We have to make sure that we get out the vote. In every state. You know what they say. “Faith without work is dead.” Let’s not die.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Enjoy all the pierogi.


The thing that I’m looking for.

It’s not really a thing. It’s a person. Me.

I’ve written briefly about my paternal family. I knew the family mythology. I knew what we were told. Every bit of it was wrong or a lie. A while back I took Ancestry.com’s DNA test. I reckon not much is private now and they had the biggest database, so off I went.

I few things were confirmed. Sorta.

One day about a year ago I received an email from a guy why might be related to me. We emailed back and forth for a while. I suppose we both got tired of it. Ancestry.com sent me an email telling me that they found more new data.

I decided to subscribe for six months so I could try to dig into the records. What I found was stunning.

We were told that our grandfather jumped ship and deserted from the Royal Russian Navy after being told to fire on their own people during the first Russian Revolution in 1905. That sounded little too much like The Potemkin Affair, a movie released in 1925.

I discounted it.

I thought that he might have left the country, but those circumstances were a little to close. We were told that he made his way to Hamburg, Germany and sailed on a tramp steamer to Ellis Island where he entered the United States.

Nope.

Somehow he made his way to London where he lived for a little while. He probably got together enough money to buy a ticket on a ship called the Haverford. He left from Liverpool and arrived in Philadelphia in 1910. He met my grandmother about the same time. I never knew him. He died in 1948 at the age of 60 or 61.

Here’s where it gets really tricky.

I thought my dad was an only child. He wasn’t. He had a older sister who was born in 1915 called Ruth Shirley Olga Laskowitz. She lived with her family as documented on the 1920 census. She drops off in 1930. She meets a man called James Albert Miller, with whom she has six children — my cousins.

Again, it gets tricky.

My cousins were born in 1939, 1943 and 1949. I’mm not sure when the other three were born. She and Mr. Miller did not get married until 1962. My cousins are all Millers. Riddle me all of that, Batman.

Mr. Miller — my uncle — died in 1974 on Long Island. Ruth Shirley Olga moved to California where she lived in Cypress, just across the Los Angeles County border in Orange County. We lived about five minute into LA County. We were maybe ten minutes apart. She died in 1990. I never knew her, or heard of her until a little while ago.

Of the Miller family all that is left for me are very distant cousins who call my late aunt, great-great grandmother. They never knew her.

I have no idea why everything was so secret. There is no one I can talk to because they are lost to the fog of time. I wish, when I was younger and my parents were alive, that I had questioned them. But, by then our relationship wasn’t great.

I know where my grandfather came from. I have a pretty good idea where my grandmother came from. I’m not concerned about my maternal grandfather and mother. Their history is quite clear as my aunts and cousins have done quite a lot of research.

I had this big plan to travel to Belarus and a region in Poland that used to be called Galicia. I was going to do it after my big work was finished this year. You know what they say. If you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. Along came the pandemic.

That’s why I’m sad. I’m lost. I’m confused. I’ve lost my mojo. I’ve lost my hope. I feel like I don’t know who I am.

The Picture.

I needed this picture. It’s light. It’s happy. The clouds made me smile when I saw them. We had a huge storm yesterday. A cold and warm front clashed. The booms of thunder made me cringe. By mid-afternoon the storm blew out. When the all seeing dog and I took a walk, the clouds in the picture are what we saw.

I didn’t take very long to make the pictures. I took even less time in post production. Mother Nature did her thing.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every hour.


Adding color to an already bright, happy image helps the reader to feel what I flt. Happy.
Something to make us all smile.

Storms come and go.

This storm dropped a lot of rain. Its winds tore down some branches from weak and dying trees. All in all, it wasn’t as bad as it could be, or the hurricane that so many rumor mongers were posting on social media sites. There was no hurricane. There was even cyclonic winds.

Let’s talk about social media

I wish some people would just shut up. Between fake news, rumors and trolls, most social media is becoming impossible to read. These days, I rarely communicate on any platform except to share photographs.

But, I did get invloved today.

There is a big battle in my former world of photojournalism right now. There is advocacy group that claims to be photojournalists. They aren’t. Most of their thrust is to get non-binary people of all kinds into the forefront of news gathering and editing. They seem to be focusing on print journalism. Most are made up of professors and researchers who have never worked the streets.

A couple of comments.

Do what you want. If newsrooms aren’t diverse enough, go for it. Fix the issue. However, there aren’t many newsrooms left. They seem to be ignoring that.

That’s all good, but they crossed a line for me and many others when they advocated either getting consent from the protesters or blurring their faces.

Huh?

If you choose to protest that’s great. I think you should. But, you are out on the streets to serve a number of purposes, one of which is to generate news. In most cases, they are on public streets. They have no expectation of privacy.

They can’t have it both ways. They can’t raise awareness without being present. I think most of them know it.

Besides, whatever happened to CoVid-19? They aren’t social distancing, but they should be wearing masks. If they are doing that, the notion of privacy — however wrongheaded it is — should be covered.

One more little point.

If you have never worked the streets, and haven’t worked in crowds, you have no idea what photographers go through. Even in my current world, when I photograph New Orleans cultural events, I liken it to being in the middle of a rugby scrum. Until you do that, you don’t know.

As a wise man once taught me, “Those who know don’t speak. Those who speak don’t know.” I’ve focused on this one issue, but doesn’t that sound like all social media?

The picture

I wanted something lighter. I realized that I’ve been posting very dark pictures. I made this picture using a couple of different kinds of post production techniques. I combined elements to make my normal “Need a subject, stick a powerline in the picture,” a little different. Well, a lot different.

While I was looking at the picture, I noticed the reason we have so many power failures. Well, of of the reasons.

Check out the power lines right where they start to curve. Sure. That looks safe. Right.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every taco.


Give me the greens of summer.

Changes. Many changes.

I really messed up some folks today. Here’s what happened. I decided to make some major changes to Storyteller. You can’t see them. The changes are made in the architecture of the site. The WordPress technician and I worked very well together. We knew that he had to fix a bug and that it would take a little time for my archives to port to what amounts to another website.

In the middle of all of that my scheduled post, posted. Some friends on Facebook saw it and tried to open it up. One received a 404 error. The other could read the text but saw no picture. They let me know. I explained the problem. I also told them when the site was really working.

No harm. no foul.

It seems that I can’t get away from the technology of Storyteller. That’s okay. For now.

George Floyd.

Say his name. Remember it.

Around here, after watching the most disgusting video in the world, we are up in arms. I don’t understand how a human being can do that to another human being. How do you plant a knee on another man’s neck and kill him?

You can’t even claim self defense. George Floyd wasn’t armed. He was begging for his life and that policemen murdered him. We know the cop’s name. I won’t give him the dignity of naming him. None. Zero. Ziltch.

I’m sad. I’m sad that my country is in tatters. I’m sad that killing Black people for no reason continues to this day. I’m sad that I even have to comment.

You know, I speak about opportunity. I talk about not returning to normal. Who the hell wants to return to this? Instead, I want to make things better. But, I don’t think we can. We can’t until we fix this level of stupidity.

People’s lives matter. Right now, it’s Black people who are in the hot seat. For now, Black lives matter. Maybe they’ve always been there. We have to atone for my country’s original sin. You know, 1619. I don’t know how to do that. Some say reparations. Some have other ideas. I don’t know. Just do something. Take a first step. We’ll adapt as we go.

I have a friend from high school who posts a lot on Facebook. He thinks that it might by time for another Black Panther group to arise. He doesn’t really want the violence, but he thinks that they could protect their brothers and sisters.

In case you are wondering, he’s a white guy.

Meanwhile musical miss is up in arms. Her sister, who is usually calm, raised hell on Instagram. I’ve never heard her curse. She did today. F-bomb deluxe. Even the dogs are angry. Cocker spaniels really reflect their people’s feelings.

I really don’t know what to do. I do know that we have to do it now. I do know that the man in the hightower has created this environment. How? There is a picture of the killer cop floating around on social media. In it he’s wearing a red MAGA hat.

When did this happen? When I was a young photojournalist we couldn’t even place a campaign poster on our lawns. Same thing about cops. Believe what you want. But, be professional.

How is killing a man by forcing a knee on his neck professional?

The picture.

I made this picture yesterday. I am sharing it today because green is supposed to make you feel peaceful. It’s not working. At least, on me, it isn’t. I hope that it works for you. It’s really an easy picture to make. I just needed the right light. When I got it, I did it. There is pretty much no processing of any kind.

Say his name. George Floyd. Remember it.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


On a Sunday.

A mood.

A quiet mood. A peaceful mood. A jazz mood.

Because it’s Sunday. Because it’s Sunday I was going to photograph a second line. Way out in the Lower 9th Ward. I’ve chased this second line in the past. It’s yielded some good pictures. I even traveled some to get here. Today.

But.

I awoke being into little things. Details. Enjoying the process of tinkering. So, I walked a couple of the four-legged kids. Came back in. I said something like forget it. At least the word started with an “F.” Heh. I’m not a choirboy.

I messed around with this picture. In more ways than just post production. I changed so internal settings that should make it easier on you. It should pop up on your screen, rather than load slowly.  I didn’t know I could do it using this software. So, now there’s more to explore. To learn.

Remember?

Learn is my word for the year. I’m glad it chose me. It has settled nicely into the front of my brain. I think that I’ve been learning about different things at a nice steady clip.

While I worked on this picture, I realized that I needed music. I poked around on Spotify via Sonos. I found a not as well-known Joni Mitchell album that I hadn’t listened to in a long while. “Night in The City.”

Because. It’s a Joni Mitchell kind of day.


Trees reflecting in a pool of storm water.

The day started out good.

Then, it got better.

I got to visit with a lot of neighbors on our dog walk. That’s always good. We returned home and I went to work on this post. I looked outside my window and other neighbors were passing by with their brand new infant. I hustled outside and got to meet a brand new person. If that doesn’t make your day or week, nothing will.

I returned to the studio. I just had to listen to some Joni Mitchell. Between this picture, which is also brand new, and meeting the baby, I had to hear “Clouds.” Now the house is steeped in Joni Mitchell. There could be worse things. We’ll forget about them for today and tomorrow, and maybe Monday.

This Picture. It is brand new. I made it on the way out of the house on our morning walk. It’s maybe three hours old. I’m happy when the picture appears in front of me and makes itself. Better yet, it didn’t require much work. I tried to work on it, but I just made it worse. I retreated. After all, who wants flourescent lime green leaves and almost bright red rocks?

Happy weekend, y’all.