Asit shall be.

T

here is a lot of talk about water, especially in the West. Climate change is creating havoc, not only with heat, but with fire and the use of water.

In New Mexico the famous acequia system that provides water to farms has all but dried up.

In California farmers are deciding which crops to grow and what livestock to raise because they have no water.

In Nevada, the water that is backed up into Lake Mead at the Hoover Dam is as low as its been since it was originally filled. In the 1930s.

Meanwhile, the fire in Oregon has turned the skies of New York City gray. The pictures look great with a big bright orange sun up against a deep grey sky. But, pictures can be deceiving. How is that hurting the people of the city?

There are wildfires all over the west.

if we want, we can return to the heat. This’ll make you hot.

The West Coast was broiling a couple of weeks ago. In Death Valley, the highest temperature ever — 135*/F — was recorded one day. In Las Vegas, which is hot enough on a summer day, temperatures of 116* were recorded at 10 am.

If you can’t tell, this stuff is scaring me.

In Louisiana things seem to be normal. If anything, we are having a coolish summer with lots of rain. Of course, the minute I write that, the temperature will rise by ten degrees and the humidity will climb to numbers unknown.

If we don’t want to put our children in hell, we’ve got to get on this.

Now.

Droplets.

T

echniques and stuff. See it, photograph it, develop it, publish it.

There. Now wasn’t that helpful?

Truthfully, I made this in New Mexico, during a spring thaw.

I photographed it with a huge aperture, probably F 2 or so. That’s why there is such a tiny depth of field.

That’s all you need to know.

The rest of this side is about me. It’s about nostalgia. The pictures I’ve been publishing are of my past.

I’m not motivated to make much new work. You know why.

But, I am very nostalgic. I think I’m seeing the past fairly clearly.

This may be time to add to my pile of work.

Over the past few years some people are saying… Wait a minute. That sounds strangely like the words of the president who shall not be named.

Some of my friends have suggested that I write a book. My response has been fairly standard. “I have nothing to say.”

I’m thinking as this stuff rolls around in my head that maybe I could do it. Maybe it’s about me and what I’ve learned along the way. Maybe, you read about me. But you expand it to you, or something more general.

After all, that how most movies are made. Focus on a particular subject as a symbol for something greater.

O

h yeah. The picture to the right. More water. It was made in southeastern Louisiana. I added it because it was there.


Looking for something.

N

ew work. It’s been a little while. I took myself for a walk. I went to a little park that has benches, sat down and took some time for myself.

The bench that I sat was our favorite bench. It belonged to the all seeing dog, Sophie Rose. I don’t know what it did for my recovery process, but I started seeing the little things.

So, I made these pictures and a few more. Then, I went to the doctor. No worries, it was just a wellness check. I passed with semi-flying colors.

When I returned, I made more pictures. Just because. Because I believe in a little routine and doing something photographic every single day. That’s how you get better. That’s how you get good.

I haven’t been doing that lately. It shows.

I’ve been reading about photography as a healing an recovery tool. If for no other reason those of you who are photographers should make pictures, or do something photographic every day.

Do you?

T

here is really nothing to these pictures. They are simple. They are about trees. They are about nature. They are about rebirth.

Rebirth is important to me right now.

There is a little post production going on in both pictures that are very different processes.

The top image is light, sunny and playful. The bottom image is darker, more moody.

Of course nature helped a lot. Light comes and goes and comes back again especially in the summer.

Nature helped my creative process.

One day.


On a summer day.

T

echnology is never my friend. We’ve long had an Audible account. I thought I might like to listen to a book while I work.

After all, podcasts and a book being read is about the same thing. Along comes Apple. Between their normally high rate of paranoia and the slowness of their server I’m almost done working on the computer.

Gee, thanks a lot Apple.

I suppose for me, technology is disappointing. It’s always oversold. It doesn’t deliver what the provider said that it would.

WordPress is a case in point. I write something complaining about it and I receive replies either in the comments or in email about how much the block system sucks. I’ve managed to make it work for me, but this blog is simply designed.

Every time they make a change I start looking at alternatives.

Back to Apple. Okay, now Audible is downloaded and ready to go, except…

Apple wants me to subscribe. I already subscribe. There is absolutely no place to enter my credentials without paying for a new subscription. Here’s another app that is going bye-bye.

Oh, the picture. I’ll discuss it on the other side since their is almost no technical issues.

A

s I wrote on the other side, there is no technology to discuss.

I will say that for the first time ever, my photograph didn’t need any kind of help in post production.

Now, here’s the interesting thing. Amazon found it along with a small section from the take in which I made the image.

For the life of me, I cannot remember where or when I made the picture.

It must be age.

I always remember my pictures, and probably yours. I have a very good visual memory.

Oh. I still wanted to listen to a book. So, I clicked on the app on my phone. I’m listening to a Stephen King book.


Sugar magnolia blossoms blooming.

Magnolias. I love them. They are big, bold, white and fragile. I suppose a lot of spring flowers are fragile. All of the pinks, magentas and purples are done for now.

Aside from their obvious beauty, I suppose I like flowers because like life itself, flowers are passing, somewhat fragile and shine for a while.

You think I’m going to write about life don’t you?

I’m not. I have nothing to say about life. In fact, I’ve come to one of those times when I’ll have to let my photographs do the talking because I have nothing to say.

I guess yesterday’s battles wore me out. Musical Miss and I went around and around about the inner workings of the music business as it relates to touring and playing live. A project may have been compromised. And, after thinking about it, I’m not sure that I can complete three books on deadline. On any deadline.

Those books, there’s at least a year’s worth of work on each of them.

Between both careers, I could be booked for the next five or six years. A few year ago that would have been great, but that will just about account for the rest of my working life. I’m not Joe Biden. I don’t want to work in one of the world’s hardest jobs until I’m in my mid-eighties.

I guess I had something to say.

Sometimes I wish that I was a more complicated photographer. I’d have something to write about on this side of the page.

But, alas, I’m a simple photographer. Even when I did something like I did yesterday, it’s nothing compare to what really good Photoshop drivers can do.

I do what I do because I don’t have the patience to do the little fiddly things that you must do in a studio, either in the real world or on the computer.

I liken myself to a Zen photographer. I like to clear my head of distracting noise and just react to whatever is around me.

That’s how this photograph was made. I saw it. I pointed. I pressed the button. I was done. Even post production was a matter of doing a couple small things.

That’s me. That’s how I am.


Almost like summer.

The long way home, that’s what we took. Really, really, the long way home. I’m not sure we found what we were looking for, but we found other things. We found the peace that comes with sitting under big trees. We found quiet. We found comforting greens.

After the long year that we all had, I’m happier finding these things than I am for finding a favorite restaurant is open or knowing that live music is coming back.

Those things matter, but in order to enjoy them you’d better be fairly whole emotionally and physically. Luckily, throughout the lockdown we did walk the dogs. Granted, they were exactly speed walking but we were walking.

We also ate fairly well. There wasn’t much eating of junk, nor did we eat easily accessible fast food. We actually cooked at home. We do normally, but we made a point of it.

That point was driven home today, when I saw a photographer whom I don’t know all that well walking ahead of us. From behind, it looked like there were two and a half of him. I’m not being mean. It’s just what I saw.

So, now that hope is back and some people think we are turning the corner we probably should take care of what we didn’t do while we were sitting around.

More importantly, we shouldn’t be stupid. Now that the CDC finally said that six feet really wasn’t enough and that the virus lingers in the air inside or out, we probably should take a few precautions.

Yes. I know that most of us who have been vaccinated probably stand a very good chance of not catching the virus. And, if we do it will likely be a mild case. But, what about those who for some reason or another — about 70% of the population currently — come in contact with us? Was if we pass it to them and make them deathly ill?

How would you feel knowing you accidentally did that?

Give me the greens of summer sang Paul Simon. It’s still spring, but close enough.

I like the way greens look in spring or in early summer. Down in Southeastern Louisiana, by mid-August the greens look washed out. By September they are limp. That lasts until fall which starts late.

So, pictures like this delight me. They are magic, not taking away from someone in this house who thinks music is magic.

Making this picture was easy but…

You really need back lighting to make it work. See all those light green leaves in the background? Without them this picture would be dark and foreboding.

I’ll leave that for Halloween.

After making the picture, a little work was needed in post production and viola, I was done.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Use your brain. Look after each other. Enjoy all the peaceful greens.


All the spring colors.

What a storm. First the phones went off. Tornado warnings. Get under the sink or something like that. First, came the lightning. Big bolts. They lit up the entire sky. For that milli-second, you could see everything. Then the thunder started. The loudest, longest rolls of thunder I think I’ve ever heard.

Then, the rain fell.

Fall doesn’t begin to describe it. Water fell in sheets. The wind caught up and blew the sheets sideways. The yard and streets flooded in minutes. It didn’t matter wether the sewer pumps were working or not. Nothing could keep up with this.

I would have made pictures. Lord knows I like violent weather. But, I was a little busy securing things.

All of this started at about 3:50am. It lasted until well after 4:30am. When the rain started to fall lightly, we all fell back asleep.

At about 8:30 it was dog walking time.

Wow! The air was clean and clear. It was warmish, but there is no humidity to speak of. With all of that magic how could I not make pictures?

So. I did.

This is the one. The promise of a great of a great day. The magic of a huge, violent storm. The wonder of the new day.

That’s how it was.

The best pictures are about feeling, not just subject matter.

My post production was intended to do just that. Bring out what I felt.

This picture isn’t reality. It’s what I saw and felt. It’s how I’d like you to feel. Smiling. Happy. Hopeful.

My feelings are about the wonderful day ahead. The pure light. The clean air. A kind of glow in the light.

With my studio post work, I hope that you came to the same place that I did.

If you did then I succeeded.

Two more things and then I’ll move on to figuring out my printer issues.

It’s been a long time since I felt this way. At least 13 months. I have to tell you, it feels very, very good.

I found a Springtime play list on Spotify. It’s a lot of fun until…

“Hurt” by Johnny Cash started to play. I couldn’t move fast enough to scroll down.

I love Johnny Cash’s music. But, “Hurt” is performed in a way that will make you cry.

It’s about a man at the end of his life who has lost everything, even his cherished wife who died earlier that year. It’s hard to listen to even when you are in the mood for something like that.

How is that a springtime song?


I keep saying that I really should work with a real camera rather than a cellphone camera. This picture is a great example of why.

This picture needs about no depth of field to help those tall wildflowers to stand out. There’s a way to do it in the phone, but it takes along time to figure it out. Even when you do, you really can’t see what you are doing on the LCD in almost any kind of bright light.

I’m not sure why I haven’t, except to say that I seem to moving in some sort of sludge. Simple things take me days to complete. Complex things, well let’s just say I have a couple of framed prints that have been sitting on the floor for at least a year.

I read in The New York Times that this is not unusual. Many people, meaning a majority of people, are going through something similar after a year of lockdown and working from home.

I must admit to some confusion because I always work from home, or in a hotel room or something like that. I suppose for me it really means the freedom to move around the city easily. And, the freedom to travel.

I don’t know.

Here’s an example.

It took me until just before noon to have a coffee, do my stretches, lift light weights, and walk the dogs. This would normally be a two hour routine starting at about 8 am. For some reason, I’ve been sleeping an hour later, but still that shouldn’t slow the whole routine.

I don’t think it’s a result of the time change. For me, that lasts about four or five days. We are well beyond that.

Afternoons, when I really should be working a full speed, usually turns into the malaise of completing anything. If the truth be told, my afternoon’s work should take a few hours. I’ll be lucky to complete one task completely.

This has to stop.

This is not a great picture by any means. It is a teaching picture.

I wrote on the left hand side that the picture needs almost no depth of field, something like f 2 or f 2.8. That would have cause those tall wild flowers to pop out of the frame.

The color is also weird. I couldn’t get it back to where it should be. I reworked a brand new frame. Same thing. Wash, rinse and repeat.

I’m pretty sure the color fidelity would have been much better using a mirrorless or DSLR camera.

A friend of mine got into a discussion about resolution. She thinks her Nikon Z6 produces more resolution than a phone. That’s the only thing that’s not wrong with this picture.

The very fact that you can even see those tall wildflowers tells me that.

What you can do with a DSLR is focus more carefully even if you are using autofocus. And, you can see what you are doing in any kind of light.

That’s important.


The season.

To everything there is a season. And a time for every purpose, under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to weep. To everything, there is a season. And, a time to every purpose, under heaven.

If you celebrate, Happy Easter.


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.