Drifting around and around and around.

See what I mean? Worry about not making pictures and you start making pictures. Or, I suppose that the pool needs cleaning.

One or the other.

No worries. After I got done pressing the button, I sent children out to do a man’s work. I tried to tell them it had to be done from above and not in the pool, but who listens anymore these days?

Normally, I’d go off on some tangent about nobody listening to anybody these days. That the state of the country — mass shootings and passengers attacking airline staff onboard the plane — has do to the remnants of a failed president.

Why bother?

Nobody listens to anything these days.

Just as well. There is no privacy online. That doesn’t matter if nobody listens because nobody hears.

That’s fine too. I just keep writing into the wind. I guess somebody needs hot wind.

No technique needed here. Just walk by the pool and realize that it needs cleaning.

But, before that happened I did something really important. I made a bunch of pictures.

I processed them in a way that would make them a little abstract without turning them unrecognizable.

Then the pool got cleaned, from the inside out. After all. the pool needed to be ready for the big Memorial Day BBQ.

Or not.


Blue dreams.

What I saw… in a dream. I woke up with this in my head. Well, not exactly. But, this picture is close enough.

In my dream, I was swimming upward through the color blue in this picture. I was swimming up and up until I broke through the surface with a spray of water and glowing light surrounding me.

I awoke feeling happy and smiling at the thought of my dream.

So.

I tried to duplicate it in a photograph or two. Instead of me rising to the top I added flowers. Blooming flowers.

I wanted to make a happy picture. I think that I did. I’ll tell your more on the other side.

Why do this picture at all? Hmmm. Since lockdown I haven’t really been very happy. It’s one thing to stay home when you want to, but what about when you want to roam about?

I read a piece in The New York Times about ten steps to achieving a kind of happiness and coming back from the brink. I don’t think that I was near any brink, but I wanted to know more.

Of course, the Times made t hard. They were are going to post one step a week. I had a bad thought and remembered that I know how to Google along with about 200,000,000,000 people.

So.

I Googled. I found what I was looking for.

The first step is to recalibrate your thinking. In short, make yourself believe that you are happy. Where I come from we say, “Fake it until you make it.”

It worked once, why not twice?

They say you can’t catch lightning twice. I agree. But this is something different. Maybe thunder.

I’m anxious to see where this goes.

Making this photograph took a bit of thinking before I started.

Normally I experiment along the way.

Not this time.

I knew which two pictures in my current archives might work. If it matters, I made both of them last week.

I worked on each of them then I layered them. They fell into place easily, which means that I’m on the right track.

I fine tuned them. And, I fine tuned them a second time.

The finished picture is what you are looking at.

Makes me smile. Maybe you’ll smile too.


The way it is.

Relaxation.

For most of us the water does it. We get heated up in the sunlight, cool off with a dip in the pool. And, if you are smart you just let yourself float and drift around like this guy. I’ve seen him in the past. I waited and watched, I showed some restraint and some patience. When the time was right, click, click, click.

That’s it. That’s the picture.

Hurricanes and other stuff.

The situation is changing.

Marco has slowed down some. He also appears to be headed to the Texas – Louisiana border at about the Sabine Pass. We may get some wind and rain in New Orleans. The early timing seems to be off as well.

Laura should pass by about Wednesday. The eastern edge of her cone seems to be just passing by the coast of Southeastern Louisiana while heading north somewhere well upriver of New Orleans.

That’s what I know now. At the next NOAA update everything could change. You never know. One thing I learned about is the myth of two hurricanes creating a super hurricane. That’s not true. They bounce off of each other creating a sort of repelling action. That’s a good thing.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Look after each other. Enjoy every turkey club sandwich.


Storm damage. Sort of.

I hesitated to post this picture.

Because?

We are Katrina evacuees and survivors. We know what it is like to be horribly hurt by a big storm. We lost cars. A house. Out buildings. A lot of furniture. And, keepsakes. Somehow I became the keeper of my maternal grandmother’s bible. It survived being brought to this country from Europe. It was 117 years old. Even though the water in the house didn’t reach it, the humidity did. It became what people in the paper industry call slurry. That’s broken down paper that is turned into liquid prior to recycling.

So, when I look at this picture I feel like I’m looking at one of those memes. The ones that have turned over plastic chair and in bold type, and says “we will rebuild.”

Never-the-less, retrieving this umbrella is proving more problematic than you might guess. You can’t pull it out of the pool directly, because it’s upside down and holds too much water. I tried to turn it over in the pool. Still too heavy. My next approach is going to be turning it on its side so the edge of the umbrella is facing up. Hopefully it will sort of glide through the water.

If that fails?

I’ll hire two boys from the neighborhood. The problem with that is finding them. Most of this neighborhood is very special. These kids hire people to start their cars when nothing is wrong with them. I may have to cross the tracks — the streetcar tracks — and head into Central City. Those guys will do it. They’ll work for free, but will expect a healthy tip. Besides, after all the second lines, I know and trust most of them.

One more thing.

I wouldn’t have published this picture at all, but I promised two people on Facebook that I would. One is a high school classmate. An old friend. I can’t let her down.

The picture. What else could it be? F8 and be there.


Cool blue pool.

Summertime.

Sometimes, the living is easy. This was one of those times. I was sitting by a pool when the clouds started dancing around as a seasonal storm was getting ready to pass through.

I couldn’t even see to focus because the light was so strong. I just pointed my smart phone, hoped for the best and pressed the button. Most of my pictures where about what I wanted. Some are just funny.

I cleaned up the picture in post production because there was a lot of debris floating on the surface of the water. I left the yellow leaf to show a sense of scale.

Today’s rant.

It’s not a rant. It’s funny. Well, not so much if you are a working photographer or serious about the art and craft of making pictures. Yet, it may amuse you.

A young woman decided that she is a photographer and was going to open a business. She asked for monetary donations as well as a camera, a photo editing computer and other associated gear. Oh, and she’s never taken a picture.

Apparently, she was turned down by the usual crowd funding sources, and Facebook removed her advertising. So, she went directly to the crowd.

The internet was as mean as only people hiding behind a monitor can be. Petapixel — a super blog — published a long snarky story about it. That was mostly a waste of time.

Most working photographers, like me, didn’t say too much. I must confess that I was laughing so hard at her request and the responses that I almost came to tears. I did not reply. I have better things to do.

I’ve seen people ask for funding so that they can travel. So that they can take a vacation. I’ve even seen people as for help with a down payment for a car or a home. To my way of thinking, if you don’t have the money you shouldn’t be doing these things and asking me to pay for it.

On the other hand, I’ve donated to people who are very sick, have insurance, but the co-pay is huge. Or, to a family whose bread winner was killed in an accident. I’ve even helped to bury somebody.

But, start a career? No. I don’t think so. You can do what I did. Study, practice, work and buy gear as needed. That’s what most of us did. Sometimes we incurred debt, but we paid it off. Sometimes if we had a big assignment which left us with unplanned money, we reinvested it our business. In ourselves.

Granted, I would not want to be starting a photo career now. There is way too much competition, especially at the entry level. New photographers are cutting their rates to get a job to the point where they actually lose money.

They are underselling everybody.

Not only does it kill their nascent  businesses, but it hurts old pros like me. My stock sales are lower even though my volume is higher than it’s ever been.

I won’t lower my creative fees because I sell myself as you get what you pay for — you know, my clients get what they want and beyond. Sometimes, I get called in towards the end of the creative cycle to fix what a low priced photographer broke.

As much as dislike cleaning up a mess, my pay is very good because the creative team is now getting desperate. No worries. I never overcharge. I do make a point to tell them that if they’d worked with me in the first place, the job would be done and for less money.

Guess what happens next time? Either I get the job or I lose it to another veteran professional who I know will do a good job. That’s okay with me. We established a beach head and took back the bidding process.

To wrap this up. Could you imagine hiring the photographer who is asking for gear? What could she bring to the table? Sheesh, she thinks that there are photo editing computers. I don’t know about you, but I use my main machine for everything.

That’s the story of the day. I hope it got you thinking. No. No. No. Don’t even think a bout donations so you can buy gear.

Wait a minute…


Reflections.

I see pictures everywhere.

I make a lot of pictures when I’m walking the dog who sees things, or any of the others. The difference between walking them is simple. She’s used to stopping while I make a picture. The others aren’t.

We have about five general routes that we take. Sometimes, we take a break. Sometimes, we go visiting. Sometime we walk for about two miles without a break. When we get home, she takes a nap. She’s ten and a half years old. She’s got great spirit. She never wants to stop. But, age is age.

I made this picture on one of our visiting walks. It’s actually two pictures. Reflections in a pool. And, one of the few bare trees left this season. Most have grown their full foliage. I decided to layer them because at first glance they seemed to work together. I was right. They did. I inverted the tree. I also made it a lot lighter and more fluid. That made sense since I overlaid it on water.

Before you ask about particular steps, you should know that I do this by trial and error. Mostly, error. When I manage to make the overlay presentable, I work on fine tuning the total picture. I could take five minutes if I’m lucky. Or, it could take two hours if I’m not.

The cool thing about my way of working is that I think I can do it with any two pictures as long as they make sense together. We’ll see. I’ll test that further down the road.

But, for this week.

Spring.


Reflections in Time

The time changed. So did the subject matter.

Even while I was working on Mardi Gras, I had to walk the dogs. Especially the dog who sees stuff. That meant I kept making pictures around our walks. Winter changed to spring. The flowers began to really bloom. The trees began to grow new leaves and drop pollen.

My nose began to itch. Now, I’m fully stuffy. Two Clariton a day aren’t really doing the trick. The best thing we can do at this time a year is stay inside with the air conditioner running. It’s not really warm enough for cold air. But, the second word in air conditioner means the air gets conditioned and unpollinated.

I can’t do that.

There are things to photograph. Worlds to be explored.

I have my books to produce. Some still need to be photographed. Meaning I have to look for the pictures. Then, wait for the right time of day and work quickly. There are Mardi Gras Indian events to photograph. Three in about three weeks. There is other travel.

So.

I anticipate being sneezy until pollen season comes to an end.

No matter.

The picture. I made this image from two other pictures. I layered them and recomposed them as a symbol of my return from the wilds of Mardi Gras. This picture exists on this page and in my mind.

It’s a bright Sunday kind of picture.

Enjoy.

Don’t sneeze.


A little bit of safety.

I was walking by a pool.

Things were floating around. Sort of peacefully. Circles protecting floating leaves. It felt good. So I pictured it. Then I developed it. I post produced it. I cropped it. And, this final picture appeared.

It suits me for today. Only two more days. Back to it.

About yesterday’s post. A good friend realized that I was pretty upset so he reached out directly. He doesn’t think it’s time to pull out of New Orleans. He likes the city. He likes it for what it is. And, for what it isn’t. He’s probably right. I’ve sort of retreated into my own compound. Sort of like being safe at home. I’d better do something about that if I’m making a website about “All Things New Orleans. ” He doesn’t want me to leave. That is very cool.

About the shooting. Apparently, it was gang and drug related. The guys doing the shooting chased their target into the shopping area and he ran into the crowd thinking that he would be safe. He wasn’t. He was just a coward. The guys doing the shooting didn’t care. They just shot into the crowd. When they finally got to him, they just shot him some more. They were idiots.

Of course, there have been calls for ending the violence. For getting the guns, the drugs, the gangs, off of the streets. This happens every time somebody loses a brother, a son, a husband, a grand child, a boy friend.

Just like mass shootings around the country, there is a big hue and cry and then… nothing. At least the kids in Florida are trying to keep their stories alive. They are urging everybody to register and vote.

I don’t have an answer. It’s a multi-generational thing. It’s about living conditions. It’s about poverty. It’s about a lack of care for human life. The mayor is upset. The police chief is urging people not to take justice into their own hands.  One of the victim’s mothers is begging people to stop killing each other.  The beat goes on.

The shooters are still at large.


A little water.

Pooled water.

I ran about 123 errands. I returned just in time to avoid the rain drops. Two hours later, everything was soaked. I took dogarito for a late afternoon walk. I looked around. Everything is growing like mad.

Meanwhile.

Reports from around the country tell me that places are just burning up, either literally or they are just way too hot. It looks like the temperature in Los Angeles will break hot weather records by more than a few degrees. I’m fully in sympathy with my friends in these places. In Louisiana we are used to the heat. We have are ways of dealing with it. Good air conditioning. Lots of cold water. Sno-balls. 28 showers a day. And, grown men wandering around in shorts. Like me.

I’d like to be in a cooler place. There are a few places like that. High in the mountains, for instance. The rest of the country? Hot. Everywhere.

The picture. Less than 10 feet from the door. Sometimes you see them. Sometimes they see you. Heh!