I have a friend in Milwaukee who was complaining because his four year old snow blower broke down yesterday. I have friends further east who were just waiting until the big snowstorm reached them. Even in Seattle, where the weather is fairly mild, the streets were tangled by snowfall.
Not down here. Oh no. Not down here in the swamp.
Instead, the temperature yesterday was in the mid to high 70s. The Japonicas are blooming. So are all sorts of new little buds. The squirrels are complaining. I’ve heard bird sounds that I’ve never heard in the past,
Not to worry. Today turned chilly. The rest of the week will be downright cold. Lows in the low 30s. At least cold for us.
Then, around the first week of May, things will heat up. NOLAHeat will come after us until October. If I could think of a place where we could spend our summer, we’d go there. But, every place is hot. Some air is dryer. Some air is moister. But, it’s still hot.
My neighbor suggested that we go to the beach. Do you have any idea how expensive it would be to stay for at least eight weeks? If I were going to the beach — which sounds very nice — I’d like to go to the ocean, not the gulf. I’d rather go to the Pacific, not the Atlantic. If course, beggars can’t be choosers.
Where would you go for a couple of months if you could?
Two days ago, the sky was muddy gray. There was rain in the air. It was, in a word, yucky. Then came yesterday. Wowzer! Beautiful cold air. The sky turned blue. The light was spectacular. It turned even better around dusk.
Cold. Like winter is supposed to be. But, not so cold that you didn’t want to be outside. What a show nature put on for us.
In case you are wondering, I’m ignoring the news. I suggest that you do it too. Besides, it’s Sunday. The New Orleans Saints are playing in the wild card game of the playoffs. What could be better?
Oh yeah. I’m not the biggest football fan. I am a big baseball fan. Only six weeks until the pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Then it starts. Soon after we’ll all be complaining about New Orleans Heat.
It was hidden in plain sight. So small that I had to look twice and break my cardinal rule of photography. I had to move some of the greenery around to photograph the flower. I try never to move or change anything when I make these kinds of semi-nature pictures. I had no choice. If I wanted to make the flower’s picture, I had to be able to see all of it.
Honesty. Full disclosure.
It’s a very peaceful picture. After another week of political craziness, more lies and memorial sadness, I think we could all use a picture that’s a little quiet. Besides, it’s Sunday in the U.S. It’s a Sunday kind of picture.
They are located high up, growing from a sort of ivy that covers a chain link fence. As we enter into September, this is the time of the summer season when most flowers are dying. Green trees look faded. Not these flowers. They are new blooms. I realize that we have year round growing seasons, but they normally start in late February and again in October.
This summer has been more moderate than past summers. The actual temperature has not risen to 100 degrees. The air is a little dryer now, but when it was wet we did have “feels like” days when the combined temperature and humidity rose to around 110 degrees. But that happened early in the summer and it wasn’t often.
It still could happen. We normally don’t start drying out and cooling down until mid to late October. Even then, we have warm days. We rarely have a white Christmas, but sometimes we do have a warm Christmas.
That’s life in the swamp.
The picture. Old school approach. Many youngsters have no clue how to do this even though DSLR cameras and some phones allow you to do it.
I metered very tightly and from the lightest point of the flower. I wanted the flower to have shape and detail. I wanted the background to be dark. The white part of the flower is at least a stop and a half lighter than the darkest areas of the picture. It enhanced the drama and draws your eyes to the center of the picture without much post production. Ask if you have any questions.
I was walking and I saw a balloon drop out of the sky from nowhere. It was sort of stunning. It was so unexpected. I made a couple of pictures. It floated away.
Just like that.
Sometimes, that’s how things happen. It’s up to us to accept them, exploit the moment, or do nothing. For me, the last option is unacceptable.
I’ve had two occasions in the last few days to offer my “wisdom of age” to guys younger than myself. Normally,I don’t think it’s my business, but they asked.
The first guy is very overweight. He had an electrical heart issue. That was fixed. Now, his blood pressure spikes for no apparent reason. His doctor gave him a couple of options. He asked what I thought. I told him it was really simple. He only had two choices. Live or die.
Yes. It’s that serious.
The other guy wants to move really badly. He doesn’t know where. He likes the beach. He is getting older. His life is slipping by. I suggested that he travel some. To see if what he thinks that he wants, he really wants. And, then do it.
This has been going on for years. We’ll see what happens.
Now that I’m old, I see my options fairly clearly. I’m starting to get clarity on a couple of issues. I’ll make up my mind in the next day or so. Then, I’ll do it.
Time is always short. No matter how old you are. Use it. Don’t waste it.
The dream wasn’t clear. It was muddy. Murky. Like something dredged out of the middle of a brackish lake.
Somewhere in there I saw a lot of my life. Not like you do at the end of a life. Little flashes. Bits. Pieces. Parts. I saw people who I haven’t thought about in years. Sometimes we talked to each other. Sometimes, we didn’t. We just passed.
I awoke with this stuff swimming in my head. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. I started thinking about anniversaries. Not like weddings or birthdays. Little things. Like the anniversary of our return to New Orleans. That’ll be eight years on July 8.
Or, the anniversary of scooping up the dog who sees stuff. She’s a rescue. When she came home with us, her person had just passed. She was 85 and had been in poor health for a couple of years. Her person’s care givers didn’t like my dog. They treated her poorly. She was underweight. She was sick. She was scared.
Today, she is happy, healthy, and weighs what she should. She has dog friends, lots of people friends and she’s claimed me. What’s not to like? She’s a very pretty cocker spaniel. She kept the name she came home with — Sophie Rose.
There’s a lot more to write about. Changes. Anniversaries. More changes. I suppose that I’m starting to look back with the wisdom of age. Or, just with age. Likely, that.
The picture. It’s two. The pink flowers are layered over some pure color. You can see it here and there, in the background. I guess, I’m experimenting a little again.
Close enough to see the details. The shape. The various shades of 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.
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.
Like this flower. It fell from a tree. I don’t know its name. That’s rare. While I readily admit that I don’t know flower names, I do know tree names.
It starts blooming in late spring and continues until early summer. Streets, cars, sidewalks are cover in tiny pink flowers. I like photographing them after a rain. They glisten and glow. They stick to everything. But, they aren’t damaging. They are just pretty. Just pretty. Funny, that. If every thing was “just” pretty we’d be far better off.
We had some rain.
The rain knocked a lot of these little flowers off of the trees. The walkway was glistening. Sparkling. The light was getting low so it backlighted this one little flower. I got down as low as I could go and pushed the button a couple of times. I selected another version of this picture. I struggled very hard to make it work. It really didn’t work.
I took another look. This image took about a two minutes in post production. It just sort of “was.” This is the right picture. Work is hard. The process should be easy.
The picture can never be made again. Yes. It was a moment in time. A brief flash. That’s not it.
The dog who sees things stepped on it and crushed it.
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.
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.
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…