Out of the blue and into the black.

A calming effect.

Looking at the moon on a night like this one is sublime. For me, it’s calming. It’s peaceful. It’s quiet. It’s certainly early enough in the night sky that even the witches aren’t around since witching hour is nearer to midnight.

Technically speaking, this is an interesting picture. I made it with my smart phone. The phone’s sensor over exposed the scene, so the only real work that I did in post production was to darken it. That bought out the color and  gave shape to the moon. One point to note, the moon wasn’t full. It’s moving just enough to make it look that way.

The more that I look at it, the more I think we have come to a point were “computational photography” is catching up to the DSLR, Mirrorless and Rangefinder cameras. For sure, it isn’t as technically perfect as it could be, but the technology is moving in leaps and bounds. My phone is last year’s model. I wonder what improvements have been made to the latest version. Of course, I won’t know that unless I borrow a phone. We try to keep our phones for at least three years.

In case you’re wondering, my semi-rant of yesterday did bring about some interesting reactions, both here and on various social media. Some were worried that we are further fracturing. I agree. Most were favorable to my point of view. One person wrote that she’d read that millennials lack of serious work ethic comes from knowing that they have a big pay day when we pass. I’ve never read that, but it’s worth investigating.

Me? I’m taking my cash with me. I’ll need it to pay the Devil to turn on the air conditioning. Heh!

For my part, I probably shouldn’t have verbally slapped those kids around so much. On the other hand, as long as a Boomer said it, they didn’t want to listen to reason. Hopefully, they’ll learn. We need each other.

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The heart of things.

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

The End. The Beatles.


Royal purples.

Pixeleen.

That’s the title to a Steely Dan song. It seems to be more about digital photography than music. But, what do I know?

I saw this flower. I almost passed it by. I’ve photographed pink flowers all summer and even before. I had an idea. Yet, another vision of what could be.

I returned to the portable studio in my hand. I went to work. I couldn’t quite get there. I used an application I rarely use. Voila`. I had it.

This image is as I saw it in my head as I pressed the button. This has been happening lately. I have an idea for a complete picture, make the basic file and fulfill my idea in the studio. That’s what is supposed to happen. It took a long time to get there.

One more thing. One more nitpicky thing. Voila`. It sounds like walla. I keep seeing people write it as walla. People. Take some French lessons.


Fully purple.

Summer flowers.

The rain brings out the best in them. Makes them glow. Makes them sparkle. Makes them shine. That’s everywhere. Doesn’t matter where in the world you happen to find yourself. Especially in The United States, where most of the country finds themselves in a horrible heat wave.

Or, in New Orleans, where another storm flooded the streets. Three inches in about 30 minutes. They say that the pumps can’t keep up with the rain. Or, that the water has to reach the pumps in order to be pumped.

Huh?

That’s what pipes are for.

What that really means is that the entire city has to be re-piped. Given that it took almost four years and a billion dollars to replace a few blocks of pipe, that’s probably not realistic.

Instead.

We probably should learn to live with water. Like the Dutch do. Greenways. Permeable surfaces. Water features. Flowing man made streams. A way for the water to flow rather than pool. A way to capture rain water rather than pump it into the lake or the river.

Will we do it?

Probably not.

There isn’t enough vision in New Orleans. There aren’t very good leaders. The leaders are voted into office for the wrong reasons. Then the graft starts. In New Orleans, it’s a generational things. It’s a racial thing. It’s a gentrification thing.

Eventually, the city will sink into the swamp from which is born, a victim of subsidence, land loss and climate change. Won’t matter to me. I’ll be long gone.

A bit of housekeeping. Or, should I say, complaining? A rant?

A person who sometimes reads Storyteller came to a post via Facebook. At first I thought that she was trying to compliment me about my pictures and my words. I tried to humbly say that I can barely write in the English language. It went on from there. She wrote something about my big head. WTF? I can barely type without 100 typos in a paragraph. Write? Not me.

Sheesh. Some days I wonder if I can photograph.

It kept going on. I gave up. I am so twisted around the axel that I have no idea what she was trying to say. So, I downloaded one of her books from Amazon. One of the two books that some publisher scooped up. Maybe I could learn something about her that would clarify her comments to me.

The publisher says they don’t understand its low sales. I do. It’s unreadable. Right from the start. The book starts in the middle of a scene. What? How did the story happen? No backstory. Clunky writing. No beginning, middle or end.

I don’t know that much about the publishing world, but I do know something about the music industry. They are kin. A record label’s job, like a publisher’s job, is to fine tune the product. They design an attention drawing cover. They market and publicize the hell out of it. Hopefully, they blow it up.

But.

Two things. One is timing. That’s fairly unpredictable. The other is excellence. The content has to be  wonderful. The reader or listener knows when something is good. They tell their friends. Word of mouth spreads the good word.

Bottom line. Content – Marketing – Distribution.

Bottom line part two. She confused me with her comments because of the same reason I couldn’t read her book. She’s not a writer. She’s probably good at selling. That’s how she found a publisher. Still, they make her do most of their work.

Which leads me to a general observation. The internet set about to democratize  and disrupt everything. It’s caused entire industries to crash. Anything creative —  photography, music, writing, all of the arts — has been overrun with people who “think” they are creative.

In order to break through, they give away or sell their product for next to nothing. Most of these people aren’t creative. Many of them are just derivative. How many vampire books do we really need? How many books about mentally challenged people do we need? Or, historical novels that feature a bare chested beautiful man as the main subject?

Even if we really needed them, we couldn’t begin to read all of them, just as we can’t listen to all the poorly played, produced and recorded music.

Photographs? Don’t get me started. The worst thing to happen to wannabe photographers is Instagram. You can’t find the good work in the deluge of crap.

Most of these people don’t have the talent or the grit to really pursue and artistic life. They have partners or spouses who pretty much subsidize their lives. While I don’t believe in the “starving artist,” I’m pretty sure most of these folks are just looking for something to do because they are bored.

Are you one of these people? I don’t know. Put it to the test. Will buyers pay the proper rates for your work? Will the publisher or record label market you properly? Will they get your product in stores, in agencies, or on the radio? Will you get to do a late night talk show? Will you get reviews in high end media?

Then, you’ll know.

Either way, you’ll learn something. If it’s not what you want to hear, either you can keep trying (that really sorts out the wheat from the chaff) or you can move on.

Some rant.

I’ll get killed for this one. I don’t care.

This picture. It’s like most of my pictures. I stand in front of better stuff. I saw it and I pushed the button. It’s easy to me. I’m the real deal. I’ve done all of what I suggest to you. I’m battle tested.


Flowers in her hair.

The thoughts came to me in a dream.

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.


Extra special.

Flowers. Summer flowers. Two flowers in one.

I found this delicate little white flower. I made a clean version of it. I decided to play nature and added a pink flower to it. That’s how this picture came to be.

It was just that simple.

Since the flower was above her height, the dog who sees stuff didn’t help.

And, speaking of dogs, if you are on Twitter, please follow Keith Olbermann. The one time political commentator and always sports analyst has been doing something new. He tweets to save dogs who are in kill shelters. He says that dogs teach you all you need to know about essential truths. Those of us who follow him, usually save about 12 dogs a week through donations and retweets. You can help too.

That’s it.


On early morning walks.

It’s only love
It’s only love
You know how it feels
Feeling is easy
I know
When I was young
When I was young
You know
It was real
My heart was open
But now
I know
I know
I know
I know better
I’ve been shown
The other side
And now I see the way
Things are
It’s only love
It’s only love
You know how it feels
Feeling is easy
I know
Feeling is easy
I know
Feeling is easy
I know

— Melody by Anoushka Shankar, Karsh Kale, and Guarav Raina. Lyrics by Norah Jones

Easy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Walt Disney Music Company, Universal Music Publishing Group, A Side Music LLC D/B/A Modern Works Music Publishing

Man. All those publishing credits. And, you think I’m crazy?

Sunday. Either a day of rest. Or, a day of fun work. I think the later. Especially after yesterday.

When we were are out roaming around running errands, I always carry a real camera. Jokingly, I say I do that in case a second line pops up.

Well.

One did.

A four lane blocking, jazz funeral with a brass band and the old fashioned carriage drawn by a mule. There was no way around it, so I parked and made pictures.

The photo gods were talking to me. They were saying get off your butt and get back to work. They asked what would Chef Chase say? Oh, I know, I know. Hand raised in the air trying to catch someone’s attention.

“Pull up your pants and get to work.”

Uh huh.

Unless the world falls in, I’m back on the street today and tomorrow and whenever. Once thing did float through my mind. While we are all about mourning our local heroes, we are forgetting that life and death goes on. The second line was for a Zulu. An honored member of our community. On any other Saturday, there might be ten of fifteen photographers making pictures. There was only me. By accident.

Think on that for a while.


Into the purples.

Friday flowers.

There. Maybe I’ll start something.

Spring is really upon us. You know how I know? My daily viewers have dropped by half. Rather than think y’all were mad at me, I poked around. A lot of the blogs that I read have a much lower readership as we crossed into May.

So.

It’s either better weather and people aren’t staying inside as much. All good.

Or, along with removing spell check, WordPress is messing with the math again, making it harder to find some blogs. Very bad.

This is typical with all social media. A while back, before people really started to distrust Facebook, they admitted to changing certain search parameters. They admitted that they were experimenting with us.

Social media has become ubiquitous. Most of us need it for something. To show artistic work. To keep  in touch with friends. To find long lost friends. The list goes on and on.

It may be worse than we think. In a long piece written in The New York Times, the former co-founder of Facebook admits that all sorts of staff can read our PMs. Ever wonder how something you wrote in confidence ends up being in an advertisement on Facebook, or worse being in an ad someplace completely unrelated? That’s your answer.

I have no reply. The co-founder suggests breaking up Facebook. I’m not sure what that’ll really do. Sheesh. There are rumours of some kind of penalty for Facebook. A fine. $5 billion dollar fine. That’s a drop in the bucket for them. I suggest something a little stronger. Prison terms for the people who want to make us their products and make money from us. Five to ten years for starters. No possibility of parole. No digital devices. Oh yeah. General population. No fancy federal country clubs.

If I sound angry, I’m not. I’m resolute. It’s time to take back our lives. From everybody who seeks to control us. The real problem is simple. We gotten used to these easy ways to communicate. How do we replace them?

The picture. Photograph it. Process it. Carve it up in post production by removing as much of the mid-tones as possible and see what happens.

I’m excited. I was able to get back to the old abandoned railroad cars that I once photographed along while back. There are more of them now. Some old Southern Railroad steel passenger cars have been added to the mix. The baby Leica got a workout in the light rain. The camera and I had fun.


Purple day.

Ah yes. Purple. Purple Furble.

I don’t know why that old joke came back to me. Back in the old folkie days, when songs were heard in a haze, a friend with whom I grew up heard the wrong words to a song and said, “Oh wow. Purple Furple.”

This may be due to “learning.” As I wrote in any earlier post, the koan has opened me up to a lot of things. Including bits of memories of things still to come.

This is all very interesting. We’ll see what becomes of it.

So.

The picture. I made this picture a few weeks ago. I let it sit because it was too similar to others I had just posted. While it sat, I played. I made some extreme experiments. More extreme than this image. When I got all the way out there. I reversed course and headed back. This image is the result.

If you were to ask me what steps I took, you’d have me a disadvantage because I let the picture lead me. I don’t write down what the picture and I did. I save each step. I suppose I could post a whole lot of little pictures if someone insisted. I’d rather not. After all, had you lived back in the 1880s you wouldn’t ask Van Gogh each step to his paintings.

Wait. I’m not comparing myself to Van Gogh. That would be a big stretch on my part. Besides, I have two ears. Still.

That’s it.

Parade season — the real one — not all those downtown walking parades, starts tonight. This continues, with a few breaks, for the next ten or so days when we all end up on the streets for Mardi Gras Day. Wish me luck. Right now, I feel pretty good. My back and hip seem fine, or as fine as they can be.

The dog food is almost cooked for most of those ten days. The dogs are nagging me for a walk. So…