Maybe, an age of miracles.

H

ave you ever shared a dream? We did. This morning. I woke up thinking ,”Whew, what a dream.” I was thinking about what I saw and felt, when from the other side of the bed came, “Oh my God, what a dream.”

I started talking about my dream and pretty soon she was filling in the parts I was leaving out. Then, we got scared. How is this possible, we wondered? Was this a weird thing or was this the best thing?

Why worry about it? The person closest to me, the one who I adore is able to actually appear in my dream. Well, wait a minute. I was seeing things like I normally would. It was not dream-like. People weren’t just showing up. I was looking and seeing. It was the same thing for her. We were looking for something. We didn’t see each other in this strange land.

Where we looking for each other? Had we split up to save time and distance? I have no idea.

One thing that struck me was the color. It was my kind of color. Bright, bold, contrasty. The scenes were almost cartoon-like. I liked wherever it was that we’d found.

My hope is that one of these nights, well early morning, I return to this place. Maybe this time, we can travel together.

T

he water caught my eye. I just pointed and shot. I repeated that a couple of times, slightly changing the framing and the length of the lens.

The picture at which you are looking is the first one. Sometimes instinct is the driving force behind good art.

I’m not sure that this picture is even close to art, but it’s the thing that I saw first.

It needed a crop to get rid of some clutter. That’s why it’s square.

You know that I’m not a big fan of square crops. I think it displays a lack of confidence by the photographer or designer.

For sure, a group of nine pictures cropped square and laid out as a big square looks very cool, but don’t hurt the photographs.

Never hurt the photograph.


So, everything doesn’t turn into fall colors.

W

hat are you going to do for the fall? It took me a minute to realize my friend was asking about autumn, not the fall of the country.

I really don’t know. I know that I won’t be traveling, at least until sometime until mid to late 2022.

I’m hoping that my booster vaccination will give me some kind of freedom. Otherwise, well, I really don’t know. I’ll have to wait until the virus is manageable or I’ll have to balance risk and reward.

I’m really hoping that I can photograph Mardi Gras 2022, if the virus is under control enough so the it really occurs.

I don’t even know about that.

The last Mardi Gras — in 2020 — became a super spreader event. We were attacked in New Orleans for the sickness that spread across the nation.

Of course, nobody knew that the virus was here or that it would spread so quickly. Well, except one person. The always lying 45th President of The United States.

If he did know, that’s one more act that he’ll have to account for when he reaches the pearly gates and is sent south where the devil will reject him because the devil will say, “That buffoon is worse than me.”

I didn’t intend to wander so far afield but he keeps stirring up trouble and losing as he is known to do.

Anyway, I’ll discuss my green fall photograph on the right hand side.

T

oday is one of the better days since Hurricane Ida ripped so much stuff apart.

The region is putting some of that stuff back together, but it’s a slow process.

I suppose that this little stand of green was exposed because the storm managed to take down two trees that were keeping them in shade.

I saw them sparkling in the cooler fall air and low light and figured that I should do something.

So, I did it while never leaving my chair by the pool.

Sometimes, it’s easy. Mostly, it’s not that easy.

Photographers luck. You know?


All the light that matters.

Saturday. The week ends quietly with a simple study of light and color. It’s something that somebody who claims to be a photographer should understand.

Lately, on the socials, I’ve seen a lot of pictures that make me wonder. For every good photograph there seem to be three or four pictures that tell me that we’ve reached the saturation point.

Too many pictures.

I have to think that maybe everything doesn’t need to be photographed. I’ve seen a lot of talk about how glued to our phones we are. I think that for some people their eyes are glued to the phone’s LCD rather than just enjoying themselves.

I don’t know. I’m mostly just sayin’.

One more thought about too many, too many.

Probably 95% of the people taking all these pictures are storing them on their phones. It’s a good thing they are taking so many pictures because their phones are going to fail at some point, or technology will change, or something else will intervene and all those pictures will go poof in the air.

It’s true that some people will connect their phones to a cloud, but what happens when that technology ages? Sheesh, I’ve still got Kodak’s Gold CDs. If I want to open them I have to download a piece of software.The software is free. No one needs it anymore.

I suppose what I take away from this is to make pictures of things that matter, in light that helps the picture, using color that’s beautiful.

That works for me, anyway.

This picture was easy. All I had to do was get up early and take the all seeing cocker spaniel for her morning walk.

We stepped outside and there it was. Wonderful early morning light.

It took me about five minutes to make the picture and a little more in post production, mostly to clean up little things and add the border.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Look after each other.


A study in colorful motion blur.
Life in a blur.

Walking.

It seems that the only pictures I make these days is on a walk, mostly with the all seeing dog. That isn’t working. I’ve been hinting — or, maybe I’ve been clearer than I thought — at not being all I could be right now.

I read a longish article in The New York Times. Basically, the writer reported statistics, not what to do about it. Fully 33% of all Americans are depressed in the age of the pandemic. That’s a lot of people.

The causes? They stretch across a broad spectrum. Things like the loss of a job, the loss of income, fear of getting sick, getting sick, seeing things change so quickly, empty streets of your favorite city, being cooped up for months. The list continues.

I forgot the most important cause. The death of someone close to you when you never had a chance to say goodbye.

For most people, it is situational depression and it’s mostly mental. For another select group time has hardened feelings of depression into something more clinical, more physical. If you think you are on the cusp of this talk to someone. Anyone. Where I come from they say talk to another human being.

Me? I’ve got to make real pictures, with a real camera. That helps a lot. Speaking of pictures…

The Picture.

This is what tells me that I need real pictures. I’ve seen some pretty good motion studies made with smartphones but making them that way isn’t easy for me. I can do them fairly well with a DSLR.

I know where the controls are on a DSLR. The controls on my phone are mostly on a touch screen. My big hands don’t often like that. You’d be amazed at how much video I’ve made of my feet.

There is no post production to speak of. In fact, the more I tried to help it, the worse it got. So, I left it alone.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every scoop of ice cream.


Inside out.

What do you think?

Everywhere. They are everywhere. Pictures.

I made this picture when I went to the hospital. There. That got your attention. No worries. My doctor is based there. I went there for a “wellness” visit.

I was waiting for the elevator and looked out the window. It was storming out there. Wind. Rain. The temperature dropping. By 30 degrees in about six hours. Finally. Some cold weather. Apparently, it’s here to stay.

So.

The picture. I did what I always do. I made a picture. That’s what I meant earlier. Pictures are everywhere. You just have to see them.

Now. THAT takes some practice. Today. Tomorrow. The next day.

Try it.

For thirty days.

You’ll learn something. About making pictures. About yourself.


Under the leaf.

Water.

I read once that the next big war would not be fought over oil. It would be fought over water. I also read that in this time of proto climate change which includes droughts, higher temperatures around the world and extreme weather events, that there will be more immigration than ever. I read that even though the world’s refugees are fleeing oppressive governments and never-ending war, a large component of their movement is driven by climate and lack of much local water.

Think about that. I do.

In Louisiana we are lucky. Although we face the loss of our coastal land on a daily basis, and are known for powerful storms, tropical storms and hurricanes, we have plenty of water. So much so that the City of New Orleans loses something like 90,000,000 barrels of water weekly through our broken pipes and nobody blinks an eye.

Think about that. I do.

We also don’t have much winter. The weather turns hot about the first week of May, gets somewhat pleasant in late October and finally cools down for a few months. The cooler weather’s window is getting smaller and smaller.

Think about that. I do.

Happy thoughts for a Monday morning, eh?

Or, are they motivating?

You pick. Okay?

The picture. The one that got me thinking this way was made yesterday, after one of our short, but powerful summer storms. I just stuck the lens under the leaf and pushed the button. Nature did most of the work. I just cleaned things up a bit.

Nature generally does most of the work.


New birth in nature.

It’s the season.

We talk about summer, summer, more summer and another summer. That’s how it is down here. But, there are phases. We are entering the wet season. The rainy season. Hurricane season. The time when we watch each storm as it forms off the coast of Africa.  Many of those storms don’t amount to much. Sometimes they do. Last year, we were spared. But the folks in Puerto Rico, Houston and Florida were not.

You never know.

Be prepared. Or, at least prepared as you can be.

Most of the time, we just live in a hothouse. Plants grow. Skin stays soft and moist. Walking outdoors anywhere drains you. And, electric bills pile up.

But, the hothouse.

You see scenes like this one. Healthy plants giving birth to more healthy plants. I hate to say this, but some of this is an early warning sign. I’m seeing moss and mushrooms in places that I never did. Summer is starting earlier and earlier. Winter, such as it is down here, is getting really cold. Only for a short time. But, still…

I don’t tell people what to do or think. But, that word. Think. Do it.

 


Frozen and dead.

Nature’s way.

You know that I live in a semi-tropical place. You know that we aren’t built for freezing weather. I bet it never occurred to you that when tropical plants freeze they die. I didn’t ever occur to me until I started living here.

That’s not to say every plant dies in cold weather. After all, everything grows here. There are plenty of northern plants that do just fine. But, the local sub tropical plants?

Ohoooooo nooooooo.

First, they sort of collapse inward, on themselves. Then they turn brown. Then they shrivel. Then they are dead. The plants in the picture are in about the second phase. Eventually, if left to nature, they will pile up and turn into peat, which then will turn into carbon. With enough compression, they will turn into diamonds.  Of course, this pile of leaves and plants has to sink at least 90 miles beneath the earth’s crust. And, it takes at least a billion years for the process to complete itself.

This is no get rich quick scheme.

I never said that nature was fast, only that she always seeks stasis. And, always wins.

The picture. I saw it as I was walking past. Some folks have already trimmed the dead plants as close to the ground as they could. They’ve cleared the waste. If they are lucky, the root isn’t dead. By summer, you might see some small green shoots starting to pop up here and there.

Or.

The root died in the extreme cold. Eventually, someone will dig that up and replant. With luck and water, the new plant will grow. In a few years another deep freeze will come and… oh you get it.

It’s life itself. And, it’s always something.


Rain drops on the window.

There are days. And, there are days.

Yesterday started with a mass shooting in Las Vegas. The numbers kept growing. From two, to 20 to 50, to 58. Dead. And, the wounded. Somewhere well over 500 people. People. Human beings. Attending a concert. Listening to music.

Then there was me. I was right. I should have been a doctor. The osteoarthritis that cost me a hip eight years ago has migrated into my spine. In four places. And, it seems that caused a slight twist to my spine. Or, it is caused by age. I have been referred to an orthopod. My doctor upped my pain meds slightly. And, added one more drug to quiet the neuropathy which is caused by the nerves in my back being pressed by my spine.

Then.

I lead a weird life. I know a lot of musicians. The phone rang. Tom Petty suffered from complete cardiac arrest on Sunday night. Then the rumors started showing up on Facebook and Twitter. Another phone call. No brain activity. So, his life support was disconnected.

And, he died.

And, we cried. For the people in Las Vegas. For me. For Petty.

Funny thing, Petty just finished his 40th Anniversary Tour with three nights at the Hollywood Bowl. He got to play for his adopted hometown fans. He wanted to stop touring and just make music.

We tried to play his music. It just made us sadder. But, one song lead to another and it lead us to another Florida musician. Jimmy Buffett. His music always makes me smile. It did its job again. We are smiling through our tears.

The picture. I know. I promised you scary pictures. For Halloween. But, but, but… I made this picture about ten minutes after I learned that my back was slowly turning into hardened cement. I was walking across this glass enclosed bridge from my doctor’s office to the rest of the hospital, when I saw this picture. I thought, “Oh, what the hell” and pressed the button. I didn’t know that the sky was crying.

Peace.

And, then.

He rose from the dead. Sort of like Jesus Christ on Easter. Tom Petty is alive. Hanging on by a thread. CBS admitted their mistake. So did everybody else. I got my information from a member of his touring crew who was called by a reporter asking for comments. Even though he had no comment, the reporter went with the story. As did just about everybody else.

If you wonder why the media has such a bad reputation, why the clown who wants a crown can attack them and call everything fake news, this is an example. We’ve gotten to the point where legitimate media doesn’t bother to do their jobs. They just run with something an entertainment agency posted on their website.

You’ve got people like me, and like my musical miss, upset as we could be on what has already been a horrible day. Damn. Musicians like Sir Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan were expressing their condolences on Twitter, on Facebook and through Rolling Stone Magazine.

It’s gotten to the point that I have to ask. Who do you trust?

Meanwhile.

The pain meds are taking care of my back. They aren’t getting me high. That’s good. I don’t want to be nonfunctional. But, one of my legs hurts because of the nerve pressure. Trust me. If I have to buy a little scooter to get around, mine is coming with huge speakers. I’ll plug Spotify into them. You’ll hear me coming.

“And, I won’t Baaaack Down.”  — Words from Tom Petty.

And, finally.

At 8:24pm PDT.

Petty’s management announced what we knew was coming. Tom Petty had passed.  The tributes started flowing again. Bob Lefsetz, a long time music industry player and guru, wrote this.

“His death is like a death in the family.”

And, that he knew his post was too long — like this one — but if he kept writing Petty would still be alive to him.

And, that Petty’s music was infused in American life.  He is right. Even folks who are not fans of his music know it. It is just there. Everywhere. And, so…

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not slighting the people who died needlessly in Las Vegas. I cannot wrap my head around that. Why do people kill so many people for no reason we’ll ever know? I’m still trying to come to terms with that.

Storyteller has been updated three times. Usually, my updates are for editing reasons. Not this time. I started writing it after the first announcement of Petty’s passing. My final update was written this morning. It’s the post that never stops. I’m sorry for that. Normally, I’m a fairly concise writer. I guess the events of the day — yesterday and today — are really just too much for me. Or, maybe, anybody.

And so it goes.

RIP Tom Petty. 1950 – 2017.

RIP 59 people who were shot and killed in Las Vegas. I’m sorry that I don’t know all of your names. Eventually I will. We all will.