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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
For thirty days.
You’ll learn something. About making pictures. About yourself.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I stumbled upon a cluster of houses in the 9th Ward that were abandoned after Hurricane Katrina. And, have never been restored. At least I think I was in the 9th Ward. I came to this place from the Saint Roch neighborhood and wound through some back streets.
I turned down this street and was stunned. BAM! Just like that.
In all my poking around the city, I have never seen nature just take over a group of buildings like it did here. Interestingly, I just read a piece about Kudzu and how it has pretty much overtaken the entire South. Even though most of us think of New Orleans as being a third world Caribbean country, we really are in the South. It looks like Kudzu won.
That also explains why I published so many pictures. You know me. I’m minimal. I think less is more. But, sheesh. These houses blew me away.
No. I don’t go inside. I am fairly fearless when it comes to entering abandoned buildings. Especially smaller ones where I can pretty much see through them from end to end. But, I could not make my way through the dense growth.
I think I’ll go back. Twice. Once, when the light is lower. And, again towards the end of winter when most of the leaves will have died. I’d like to see what’s really here.
One more. From the collection, “What the Dog Saw.”
Morning light. Twice. We go out at around 7 am and again, at about 9 am. This picture was made during the later walk. Too early and the light is too low and dim. Too late and the quality of light loses its glow.
And the dog? She stood patiently while I took the picture. Oh, and there is one more walk around dusk.