Summer rain leaves droplets on the leaves.

S

ummer is our rainy season. We had an amazing amount of rain this month. They said we had five times the normal amount of rain for a July. That’s something for us because July is very wet.

The constant rain gets a little bit tiresome, but it does yield scenes like this one. It’s a combination of nature and magic.

Look at those reds. Those blues. Those purples. Those colors are something aren’t they? They look like fall colors except that it’s July.

It’s all about the water.

I’ve written a lot about the lack of water in most of America. We don’t have that problem. We have another problem. We have too much water. We don’t take drought seriously. When we talk about it, it’s after ten days of no rain.

It’s a matter of perceptions.

Those of us in the Gulf Coast States don’t think about the lack of water when we should be thinking about how to distribute our water to people living in the west.

It’s a funny thing. I was thinking about all of the infrastructure proposals and I haven’t seen anything about water issues. Nothing. Zero. Zip.

Well, I have a proposal. Let’s move some of our unneeded water west. A series of giant pipes might be cost prohibitive, but maybe not. Not if we want fresh fruits and vegetables.

Or, maybe there’s another way. I’m not the smartest person in the room but others are. It’s time we start thinking about this. It’s time for those smart folks to get going.

After all, we all get thirsty.

T

his picture didn’t take much post production. I made the picture as I saw it and added a bit of color that the sensor couldn’t seem to see.

But, I only added enough color to make the photograph look like the scene that caught my attention so that you can see it too.

I had to be careful because these rich blues, reds and purples are some of my favorite colors. My natural inclination is to take them too far.

That’s the trick sometimes, knowing when to stop. Maybe that’s the trick with everything in life. Knowing when to stop.

I dunno. I’m just thinking out loud.

Maybe I should stop.

O

ne more thing. You knew it. I couldn’t stop.

Seriously, after a lot of thought, I’m staying here on WordPress.

The basic community building theory is what’s most important. I know a lot of you here. I can’t build that again, because it’s only taken me eleven years.

There’s more too. It’ll take a lot of time to build anything. Time is short these days. Time is expensive. No matter how you use it.


One night, lonely.

O

nce, when I used to live in Asia, I traveled around the world to Denmark. I left Singapore exhausted and beaten down by a very rough press check.

My press checks were never rough. I know enough color theory and the art of making compromises when I couldn’t manage everything on the page the way I wanted.

We printed either 8, 12, or 16 pages to view. Or, we printed a certain number of pages at the same time so that when they were folded and trimmed they formed a section of a book. The trick is to make sure the color was what you wanted on, let’s say page one and page eight.

This press check was grueling because it was a co-production with a small sports agency based in New York. They thought we could print one of those big pages, send it to New York where they could make changes, maybe even substituting pictures.

Nonsense.

We’d have been printing the book for a month. Normally, that’s about a three day job.

So.

I went forward without sending them anything. My press, my call. I said they should call me in a couple of days.

When are you going to send the first pages they asked? The book is done I replied. The yelling started. The screaming started. I just listened. Finally, they settled down. I asked if they were done. I also said that if they started in again, I’d dump the whole thing in The Sea of China.

They threatened to call my boss, not realizing that I didn’t have a direct boss. But, I did have a president. Did they actually think that I’d go off half cocked with out making sure my back was covered.

Boy. This is a long set up.

I left Singapore for Denmark. We flew to Switzerland and then to Denmark. When we landed in Switzerland the flight attendant apologized, saying that she tried to wake me, but I was in such a deep sleep that she decided to let me sleep. Good call. She found me something for me to eat while we were on the ground.

When I finally arrived at what would now be called an Air BnB, I was about dead. I turned on the television to keep me company. The only channel that I could understand was a music channel.

I saw and heard it at about the same time.

There was the lead singer wearing long dreads, and leather fringe jacket. He was jumping around and looking happy. It woke me up.

The singer was Adam Durwitz. The band was Counting Crows. The song was Mr. Jones. You’d have think back to the mid-1990s to remember it. It was a huge hit from their first album. I still listen it to this day.

Finally.

S

o, that was a long story wasn’t it?

Just as well.

This side, the technical side won’t be near as long.

I saw the light from my studio. I was a little late. So, I did what I could.

I went to my go to location and started making pictures.

When I started looking at them while I was editing I realized that I didn’t know what was doing.

Figures.

This morning I couldn’t make an espresso to save my life.

I dropped the capsule on the floor. I picked up and dropped it again.

The basket was full so I emptied it into small trash can where we put recyclables. They fell on the floor.

I washed the basket.

I added more water. While I was pouring it into the machine the hatch that covers the water fell back in place. The water flowed all over the counter.

In what world do I think that I can make pictures?

Anyway.

I did some post production magic and made something that is intriguing.

At least I managed to repair all of the noise that was in the sky.

Now, do you want me to tell you about making breakfast?

Sheesh.


Apparently, that huge internet outage affected WordPress since I can’t seem to organize anything this morning after not be able to even logon to the site.

So.

I’m late. Late to posting. Late to the party. Late for the sky.

Anyway.

I was going to say that there will be some changes made. That’s song lyrics, but for the life of me I can’t remember which one.

Timing is everything. A website in a box company sent me an email yesterday. They’ve imrpoved everything. Even their best plan is half of what WordPress charges me. If I wave one of my degrees around I can get a 50% discount off of that.

Since I’m semi-business driven this all sounds good. Still one problem remains. I cannot take all of you with me simply by transferring my reader list. The only way to do it is to transfer you by hand. I think we’ve discussed this in the past.

The good news is that even though I have a large group of followers, the real readers list is about three percent of that. I can hand entire that by email.

It’s a lot of work but I was just reading a nice article about making passive income. Once you get the basic work done you might earn some money. But, the basic work is really work and time consuming. You just have to decide if it’s worth it.

It’s worth it.

The picture. It’s just another of those that I made when I could start seeing again. Not much to it, just a lot of detail. Enjoy.


Smell the roses.

You’ve heard it before. Stop and smell the roses. I did that. I also made this photograph. It’s my version of art.

I made it soft, dark and velvety. This image makes me want to touch it. No worries. I didn’t. I like to make pictures, not touch things.

Which brings me to this. Somehow.

The CDC issued a new directive. No masks with few exceptions as long as you have been vaccinated. This confused me and just about everybody else including some very highly thought of doctors.

For some reason I’ve lost my faith in the CDC. This directive just doesn’t sound right. Until Orleans Parish relaxes the mask requirement, I won’t be walking around barefaced.

Ask The New York Yankees about this. They have seven staffers and on player isolated because of positive tests after being jabbed. They call it breakthrough contagion. Call it whatever you want. It means that there is no certainty of anything pandemic related.

It seems that everybody is rushing to open up far too quickly. I have a bad feeling about this.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, everybody is cheering.

The damn block system won’t let me edit to fix typos. Damn is not really the word I’m thinking of but this is a family blog.

If this keeps up, community or not, WordPress is going to drive me away.

Get close I always say. Fill the frame I always say.

I took my own advice and did that. I worked so closely that the purple background is really a bit of another rose.

After that I made sure to keep a little separation in processing.

There you have it. A rose.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty, Wear your mask, Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Ignore the CDC. They’ve become politics over science.


Purple, just a royal color.

I remember, I remember.

Those words almost brought me to tears this morning. There was a piece in The New York Times sports section about Johnny Bench.

For those who you who don’t follow baseball, he was a Major League baseball player. He was a catcher for the Cincinnati Reds. He was probably the best catcher in history.

Catching is a hard job. You work in a squat. You are involved in every pitch of every game. In a close play at home plate other players tried to knock you down. And, you are supposed to be able to hit.

In other words, Johnny Bench is a tough guy.

He’s in the baseball Hall of Fame along with a number of other players with whom he played. Being a catcher allowed him to get to know a lot of players. You talk at the plate sometimes. It’s a fraternity of sorts.

This last year has been brutal for all of us. It has been very brutal for MLB, and the living Hall of Fame of players.

Ten of them died.

He spoke about each of them. When he got to Tom Seaver — a world class pitcher — he said that he was very nervous catching him the first time because he was Tom Seaver.

Tom Seaver passed this year.

Then he got to a point where he talked about his feelings and he said, “I remember, I remember, I remember.”

It broke my heart.

The late musician John Prine, another victim of CoVid-19, wrote a song called, “I Remember Everything.” When he passed it broke my heart and about a gazillion other musicians and fans hearts.

He won a Grammy this year for that work. Some where in the universe I know he smiled his crooked smile.

The main story in the Times was about never being able to reach herd immunity. There are a lot of contributing factors, not the least being that about 40% of the country don’t want the vaccine.

Combined with other issues like a mutating virus, economic conditions, and temporary surges many scientists believe this will never end, that the best we can do is manage it.

One scientist went so far as to say that he believed that it will take about two generations to manage it to the point that it will be like getting a common cold.

I was taught that a generation is 40 years. Many people say 30 years. It doesn’t really matter. Reaching that point will take somewhere between 60 and 80 years.

That’s something to look forward to.

This is especially important in light of what I just wrote. Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient. Enjoy all the purple.

Well, that left hand column was something. It took a lot out of me to write.

This side won’t be anywhere near as compelling.

Luckily, the dominant color is purple. I like purple. It’s the color of royalty. It’s a Mardi Gras color. I used to wear purple shirts.

This picture was edited fairly straight forward in post production. I really didn’t add much color. I just darkened things up and added contrast.

That’s an old approach. People used to say that I added too much saturation.

No, I didn’t. I just brought out whatever was there in the first place.

Oh yeah. Of course, I sharpened it. I had two ways to go. I could edit it as you see it, or I could add a lot of glow and make it soft and fuzzy.

One more story.

The war against working photographers is heating up.

A photojournalist, documenting the number of tortoises in a place where the sand of the beach was being eroded at a very fast pace, ran into a self-proclaimed speaker for the group who was working there.

She demanded that he leave and destroy his files. He left but didn’t destroy anything. Most comments were in his favor citing the usual legal findings.

I didn’t say anything. If I had, it would be along the lines of what I would have said to the woman on the beach.

I have looked at her and said, “Ma’am, this is a public beach. You have no authority over me or anyone else.”

Apparently, she was pretty aggressive. If she continued with me, I’d have concluded like this, “Ma’am step back and away from me,” In my most low but authoritative voice.

Then, without warning, I’d call the local sheriff.


Into the purples.

Play time. That’s what I needed. Play time. So, I took some, both here and there.

The weather turned coolish after a massive storm. That made it wonderful to be outside. I think the entire south was hit from West Virginia to The Gulf States.

Anyway.

I made a few pictures of spring flowers and thought that would be a good way to end the business week.

And, speaking of business.

Yesterday’s troubles with the legendary David Alan Harvey have not simmered down. This time the fight comes from photographers who don’t know him but think what happened to him wasn’t fair.

They are posting under #justice for david alan harvey.

They seem to forget three things. There is no crime. He was part of a cooperative and as such they can do whatever they want. He resigned.

This is one of those times when those who don’t know should be quiet. When has that stopped anybody since the dawn of the internet?

The same thing is starting to happen in the defense of that moron who killed eight people in Georgia, of whom all but one were Asian.

I’m starting to read from the blame the victim crowd that they worked in massage parlors, that his religious beliefs drove him to do it, and last but not least, from a sheriffs deputy that, “He had a bad day.”

Murder is murder. End of story. That guy committed mass murder, killing eight innocent victims.

I don’t know about you, but I have bad days. I don’t go shooting up a city.

And, the world turns.

We found these little purple and magenta flowers. Instead of getting close I stood back.

They sort of exploded in development so I thought, hmmm.

Let’s see what happens if I layer them.

I did that.

They exploded some more and I stopped right there. I adjusted color and contrast and viola, there they are.

The thing that seems to be very important to the composition is that bare branch coming out of the white area and heading straight to the top. It gives the picture some needed weight.

I got in a little tussle at a store today. Some guy didn’t want to wear a mask. In the end, he stayed in the store… wearing a mask.

Because of that, you get punished.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your damn mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Enjoy every purple.


I saw this in a dream.

Does this ever happen to you? You see something in a dream and then, there it is in real life. That’s how I came to make this photograph.

My dream was weird and wild — as they often are — but toward the end as I was waking up I was enveloped in this purple cloud.

That’s all the I remember of the dream.

The final scene got stuck in my head. While we were out walking I started looking for a purple flower, something that I could photograph closely.

Two days later I found it.

I actually worked it as if I were photographing something for an assignment. I made a lot of pictures which reminded me of something a friend of mine said. She was on assignment for a regional magazine. They wanted one picture. She said, “So, of course I took 300.” I replied, “That’s all?”

You know me. No machine-gunning. No spray and pray. Work deliberately until you know that you can’t do anything more. Work until your explorations can go no farther.

I didn’t make 300 pictures to get to here.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Be patient. Don’t get stupid. Listen to scientists. Enjoy all the purple.

This photograph. This very one. I really like it. I could see this on our walls.

I told you how I found and why I was looking for it.

Here’s a how I processed it.

The picture is soft and delicate right out of the camera, er, phone.

It was also pretty purply as a RAW file.

So, all I had to do was make sure that it stayed soft and sort of gauzy.

To do that, pull the structure slider back rather than push it forward. That action is the same on Snapseed as it is using OnOne.

That’s the same way that I soften skies to make subjects in the foreground.

If you recall, I just sort of figured it out. You also know that I discover “new’ things about ten years after everybody else did.

I look at the work of a lot of painters. They’ve been doing it for decades, maybe centuries. I just didn’t know it.

Maybe if I would have taken those art appreciation classes seriously.


Much further in.

Sometimes, it’s worth the time to look inside. Of anything.

I’ve been looking inside myself since mid-lockdown. We have no need to go there today. Looking inside of things that may be near and dear to its is another matter entirely.

For me, that really is only three things. Photography, art, and music.

For sure, family and friends matter as much or more as those external cares. They are for another day.

Photography and music are in about the same place. Earning a living is harder than ever because of disruption and democracy. Just look at Bandcamp or Instagram. There are so many people who want to enter some kind of creative business that they have diluted the production pool to the point that it takes a curator to find anything worth listening to, or viewing.

It’s worthwhile to say that there may be some gems lurking in pile of music and photographs but finding them isn’t easy. It’s also true that everybody deserves a chance. It’s even truer that everybody deserves to be paid properly.

That’s the catch.

Newbees have no idea what their work is worth so they give it away for pennies. WordPress even recommends a site where all the pictures are free. Modify the picture and you can lay your copyright on it.

Huh?

Musicians have always been poorly paid until they reach the higher levels. Even then there is a fight over percentages.

I wish I had some idea of what to do. The genie is out of the bottle as they say. It isn’t going back. Some of my friends have turned their careers into something else. One is trying to make pure art. Another is sort of becoming a photojournalist in Mexico. He has one particular story in mind.

That’s all good. They’ll probably grow. But, then what? Is the work they are making a sort of placeholder for something else?

That’s what I feel like I’m doing. Projects and Storyteller aside, I have no idea of my REAL way forward. Or, if there isn’t even one.

I make a good living doing my musical thing. I haven’t seen much for it in the last year. For sure, that’s a pandemic thing. But, nobody knows when it will start again. Sheesh. Blue Note is offering 20% discounts on music that has barely been heard yet. They have to make some return on their investment.

Where do I go from here and now?

I was thinking about a grocery store. People need to eat. Right? I have no idea how to run a grocery story. That shouldn’t stop me. After all the people who decimated my industries didn’t know what they were doing.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Follow all the rest and don’t get complacent. Enjoy all the things you love. Everyday.

That wasn’t a rant. Dammit. That was a state of my life as it relates to my work. I truly have no idea what’s next.

I do know that I’m very tired and bored of making pictures like these.

Oh sure, they document the seasons and nature in Southeastern Louisiana.

Scroll through my archives for the last ten years. The pictures repeat themselves. Not once or twice, but for every season that I’ve been back. Forty seasons.

Yes. I documented the culture. I photographed every second line during my first six years here. I photographed every Indian event I could find. Don’t get me started on Mardi Gras.

A photographer whose work I am very fond of, photographs long projects. They are usually three of four years of production. He was asked how he knows a project is finished.

When I start repeating myself was his response.

I’ve been repeating myself for years. Even the cultural pictures are blurred to me. All I see are the changing colors.

I’ve been putting off photographing my project. I have a hard time understanding why I am doing it. For myself isn’t an answer. What could it bring to the world is really what matters?

Maybe I should take my own advice. My buddy in Mexico wrote me a long email about his project. He was talking about magazine pieces, books, gallery and museum shows, grants and on and on.

No worries. He’s capable of making the pictures.

My answer was short and to the point. “Forget all of that. Just make the pictures.”

Good advice. Maybe I should take it.


Then, they floated away.

Come down in time. That’s what Elton John sang back in 1971, when my life began. Or, something like that.

There are moments that truly amaze me. I had one of those today. I received a letter that said my checks could no longer be sent to me because they didn’t have my address. Okay. But, at the top of the letter there was an address. Mine.

Before you ask.

Yes. It came from the federal government. I tried to call them. They are closed. I forgot.

It’s Veterans Day. Before I forgot to do this, for all of you who served, thank you for your service. For all those who served in Vietnam, welcome home.

We watched a movie last night called “Outpost.” It was about a distant firebase in Afghanistan. It was an army compound. Whenever something fubar happened, one soldier would say snarkily to another, “And, thank you for your service.”

They know, as I do, “Thank you for your service,” has become very empty. Most people say it without thinking. It means something. Or, it should.

And, that’s the story for today.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your gloves.

What the hell is that thing? I know that’s what you are thinking.

It’s a couple of flower blooms. You know the drill. I tinker with this stuff until something emerges.

Not this time.

A few weeks ago I published a picture of a truck that was all mist rolling down the highway.

A friend of mine really liked it. He said that I should stop talking about paintings and the like.

He added that no matter how we try, digital is digital. It is its own art form. Stop apologizing.

I took that to heart.

I made a picture of some tiny pink flowers that seem to bloom whenever they feel like it.

It was slightly soft, so I thought why not this one? I did my usual tinkering. I sent it to him.

He replied that it might need some color in those white “blobs.” He meant flowers.

I did that. And, that’s what you are looking at.