It’s All Light


The color of the season.

Fall. This is supposed to what it looks like. Bright orange, yellow and red. Leaves on the ground. That’s autumn. That’s fall. A change of seasons between summer and winter. The air cools. It dries out. I’m not dripping wet from humidity. I feel like being out a lot more.

That’s what this picture is about. The wonder of fall.

The wonder of change. The hope of the new year with the changing of the guard. With the first administration of drugs that may keep us from getting sick. Maybe the slowing down the the pandemic which seems to be racing faster.

Maybe the end of a man’s reign of terror that he is trying every way to subvert. I humbly suggest that what he really needs is a granny with a broom. Not only will he get swept out of office, but he’ll get his butt kicked. Thoroughly. That loser.

Not to end on a bad note, so let’s talk about the wonderful colors of this picture. What I mentioned at the top of this little missive. Bold color. Bright color. Happy color.

The picture. I saw it on the ground. So down I went to get close enough to the leaf and far enough away to show some of the background. Click, click, click…

Post production was a little fun. Especially when I applied a border. For some reason, the border function added another slightly askew layer. The picture became even more interesting with that so I didn’t fight it.

On the other hand, the column function is a mess. I like it well enough, but this not what the page is supposed to look like.

One day in the far distant future maybe WordPress will stop screwing around with stuff and leave us the hell alone. No problem for me. I disconnected the payment function. Now they are asking me for money.

Good luck with that.

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

Swamp Grass During Fall


In my swamp.

Since I refer to New Orleans as swampville, I thought that it might be a good idea to show you some of the prettier views of fall in the swamp. I think this photograph fits that nicely.

If you want real wet and muddy swamp land I’ll have to take a little drive. That’s fine except almost every bit of water that is connected to the lake has alligators in it. Even Bayou St. John, which is the waterway that runs through a bit of Mid-City and is separated from houses by a street and a long grass strip, has them now.

I don’t remember them always being there or even in City Park. But, they started wandering into residential places after Hurricane Katrina.

There is a place in the park where one of our dogs liked to jump into the water and mud. She stunk to high heaven when she got home. She got a bath even though dogs like smelly stuff. I would not let her dive into that swamp today.

I have to wonder what happens when a gator decides to leave the water and explore land. The folks who live in that area will be calling The National Guard. Or, most likely, animal control.

You have to remember the history of New Orleans. The first settlers built on a ridge known today as The French Quarter. The land there is dry and fairly solid.

The so-called Sliver Along The River that was the 20% of the city that didn’t flood during Katrina is also on higher, more solid ground.

The rest of the city is reclaimed swampland. That belonged to Indigenous People (Celebrated yesterday, Monday) and wild creatures. It was alligator and snake land. And, just about anything else that wanted to bite you.

To my way of thinking, the return of alligators to places they haven’t been seen recently is another example of nature seeking stasis.

There seems to be a lot of examples of nature’s way these days. We’d better get to work if we don’t want to be the part of the earth that nature removes. 210,000 dead from the virus could be nothing.

Think about that.

Please.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Please remember this pandemic isn’t over yet. Look after each other.

Fall colors. That’s what this post is really about even though I side tracked myself into a swampy discussion.

This is the type of swamp that I can take the dogs to visit. Nothing there will hurt them or me.

If I decide to photograph the kind of swamp that people think of when the word swamp appears I won’t take a dog. Not any of them.

In one go I can photograph swamps and Spanish Moss. I’d better do that. Someone might want it.

This picture was easy to make. The light was open shade, one of the best kinds of light to make pictures like this. I pressed the button and I was done.

The only thing that I did in post production is add the border.

So.

Autumn on the swamp.

One more technical thing. I use an iMac as my main machine. It comes with a “magic mouse.” Batteries need changing every so often. You pop off a little back cover and out they come.

Apparently, when I changed them last time, I reseated the cover almost perfectly. Too perfectly. Now I can’t remove it, even using a micro screw driver to try to pop the button. If you have any ideas I’m all ears.

Meanwhile, I’m using a “magic trackpad.” I forgot all the finger motions, but YouTube has about a billion tutorials.

If you notice there is no photographer information on the picture. I have no clue how to drag and drop that with a trackpad.

First world Problems, I know.

Half The Sky


The speed of nature.

Changes in the weather can be extreme. Yesterday, the high temperature was 86 degrees. Today, we likely won’t get much above 60 degrees. I love it. The all seeing dog will love it. Some weather people are calling it a cold front. Maybe so, but it leads us right into cooler dryer weather.

So.

Fall fell.

We need something joyous. We’ve been cooped up hiding from the virus. We’ve been watching cities burn in the course of extremists pushing aside legitimate BLM protesters. We have an election coming up that scares me. I read a piece in The Washington Post that basically said November will be among the darkest times ever in my country.

I also read something interesting about veterans of foreign wars. The author said that everyone who served in combat served in hell. Eventually, a kind of recovery took place over many years. Hell receded into the background.

The vet who wrote this said that if the so-called Trump base decides to start what amounts to a civil war because their candidate lost, they will put the veterans back in hell. The vets know how to fight and that these wannabe soldiers with too many guns strapped to their bodies will learn about hell. They will learn that humanity disappears in a real war.

After all, the vets swore an oath to uphold the constitution. The far right owe their allegiance to one man. A bad man. One who gets worse with every tick of the clock.

Imagine reading this while eating your Corn Flakes in the morning. I about spit them out.

Is that where we’ve come to?

Talk of a shooting war on United States soil over the results of an election? Are the dark clouds really that dark? Talk of a new surge in the novel virus? Are the clouds getting darker?

God, I hope not.

I’ll have to fight or just leave. I already live in a third world Caribbean city.

Red leaves on a dark background with the sun shining through, illuminating them, is an eye catching display. At least, that’s what I saw.

There is an exposure trick that helps with this kind of powerful backlight.

If you let the meter pick the exposure the entire picture will be washed out. You can fix it in post production, but what’s the fun in that?

Instead, meter for the highlight, which is the red leaves. Get that right and the background goes dark. Not so much work in post production.

There you have it. A bright fall picture. The one that you dreamed of last night.

Stay safe. Stay mighty, Wear your mask. Enjoy every salad.

For the record, I don’t eat any of the food that I suggest that you enjoy. I don’t really like most of it, especially local food like Creole or Cajun things.

All The Same


Christmas in the summer.

Simple.

I kept it simple.

I saw it. I filled the frame. The pressed the button. I made the photograph. I did almost minimal work in post production. And, I was done.

Simplicity is often how you know that you are headed in the right direction. Often they say that anything that is worth doing takes a lot of time and effort. I don’t know who they is, but they is wrong.

Certainly some very worth projects do take a lot of effort, but the ones that really kind of sparkle just sort of flow out of you. Bob Dylan says that. He says his music comes from some other place. So too, with Neil Young.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing my work to theirs. I’m not a fool enough to think that my pictures are equal to their words and melodies. But, when I’m really right and I put some time between making the pictures and editing them I often wonder who actually took them.

I’m certain that some of you understand that.

That sense doesn’t have to remain in the arts. People like Einstein and John Nash worked mathematical equations like they were writing a symphony. In fact, when John Nash wrote his doctoral thesis, it was thirteen lines of a mathematical equation.

Sometimes simplicity is the key. Sometimes not.

You have to be careful. There is a trend toward minimalism. That’s great. That’s simple. Sometimes, I think that it’s forced. And, that is the biggest rule. You can’t force it. It just has to come.

No comments about the picture today. I made the ones that matter at the beginning of this post.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every beignet.

Where Time Stands Still


Endings.

There is no reasoning with a hurricane season.

Most of the lower half of the state is getting prepared. Officials say that if we aren’t done by noon we’ll likely be working in the rain.

Hurricane Marco will make landfall sometime later today. As it stands, it is barely a Category One hurricane. But, the longer he lingers over the gulf he will pick up the hot water there, gaining energy and windspeed.

Hurricane Laura is somewhere over Cuba as I write. She should make landfall over Louisiana on Wednesday. The time is not yet certain. Laura is a tropical storm now. She’ll pick up energy and water as she crosses the gulf. She’ll become another hurricane.

Depending on which spaghetti model you use, New Orleans could be hit twice, not at all, or to the east and west of us.

No matter what happens, we’ll get wet. We may lose power.That is not even a prediction. We always do. I’ll try to keep my phone charged, but if I disappear for a while, no worries. Two storms in a week will keep the power company busy. According to the mutual aid plan there are power companies from all over the southeast already here to support Entergy.

The Picture

It’s the headline that matters. “Where Time Stands Still.” I borrowed that from a Mary Chapin Carpenter song because that’s what it feels like around here while we are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This being 2020 I have terrible expectations.

I made this picture because I thought of it as a symbol for the end of summer. In some places in the North that’s already happening. The weather is cooling off. But, not down here. The temperature will continue to hover around 90 degrees into almost October. If we are lucky.

Even though the heat lingers, the plants and flowers know their place. This little Camellia is saying goodbye. Even the trees which seem to glow a few weeks ago are showing the seasonal shift. The greens have become muddy. Leaves are already falling.

Yes.

Yesterday’s fern was bright and glowing, but they grow all year. The only time they wither and die is durning our few days of extreme cold.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Look after each other. Stay dry. Enjoy every pancake.

Ideas Are Like Stars


Into the red.

Red.

The color of fire and blood, of intensity, passion, desire and love.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe so many people are worn out by the five months we’ve been through that there’s no passion. No intensity. Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe it’s time to put on our pants and get to work. That’s what the late New Orleans chef Leah Chase said after Hurricane Katrina, when people asked her how to rebuild.

In the same sense, we are rebuilding now. Unfortunately we are — as I’ve written earlier — trying to rebuild the house, while it’s still on fire. That may seem fruitless, but what choice do we have? We need the metaphorical house. We need to live. We need to work. We need to just be.

Right now everything is colored by the virus. We need to put it in its place and start to make the changes necessary to adapt to the future. I’m not sure what they are, and they will be different for everybody, but they will be.

That sounds like I’m feeling good. No. But, better. Making photographs will do that for me. So will listening to music. The house has been returned to all speakers pumping out the same music. It is a little disconcerting to walk from room to room and from song to song.

The Picture

It’s a rose. A red rose.

I played with it a lot. I liked it dark. So I went there. After all, you want it darker. Leonard Cohen sang that. It fits the time. But, I want it lighter. We’ve lived in darkness for five months. I suspect that this will be my last dark picture for a while. I had to get it out of my system.

Pictures. They’ve been my life for 48 years. I’ve made a good living from them. I’ve been very lucky. So many have tried and failed.

But.

Things have changed. Many pictures aren’t worth what they were once. Distribution systems are different. Art buyers are different. They don’t expect to pay much. Mostly, pictures aren’t used on paper. They are used on a screen, where there is millions of usages.

The timing might be right.

I’ve long thought that as I got older I didn’t want to hustle as much. I didn’t want to maintain the strictest quality standards that mattered to agencies once upon a time. That’s harder than you think. Most of their quality concerns were based on “what if.”

Even though I need to be outside, I don’t mind spending my time behind a computer making and distributing pictures to all sorts of new methods of getting them to market. The gross sales will be for less, but if the picture works it works. The net could be more because… well, read the next paragraph.

I liken this to music. There is absolutely no reason to need a middle man. Nor, is there a reason to record an entire album at once except as an artistic construct. Mostly, you have to remind people that you are out there. You do that via my least favorite tool. Social media. I know, most of the platforms are data sucks. They want my data. Your data. And, anyone in between. But, that’s what we have. For now. It’s just technology, ever changing, ever moving.

That’s where I’m at. I feel like I’ve passed through something that isn’t done with me yet. At least my head feels like it’s above water. And, that’s a start,

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every piece of art.

Beyond The Wildflowers


Beyond.

Confusion.

I got excited. Our governor said the he and his wife were going on a three day fast using those days to pray and reflect. Nothing else seems to be working against the virus. I thought it was a pretty good idea. Prayer and fasting doesn’t require organized religion. Or, if you prefer, it is done by Catholics, Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews and others that have slipped my mind.

I mentioned it to my neighbor who sits outside on Sunday and reads the Bible since she can’t go to church, not that she went every Sunday.

Her first comment was, “Well, I’m not Catholic.” I replied with what I wrote above. Not to be outdone, she replied, “I don’t need his spiritual guidance and besides I pray for resolution of the virus everyday.”

And, there you have it. The reason that I’m not affiliated with any church.

I do go to church. The church of the holy second line. I haven’t been to my church in a long time. Not since about February when my hurting hip was fixed. I miss it. I miss the smells. I miss the sights. The sounds.

Most of all, I miss seeing my friends.

Many of us have said when this is over we’ll hold the biggest second line anybody every saw. None of us know when that will be. People have passed who deserve a jazz funeral. First line members have passed who deserve the dirge before we reach Lafayette No. 2.

None of that has happened. It might never happen. Or, we will be so burnt out that we never do it.

And, that’s sad.

That’s our religion.

The Picture

It’s a rose. As usual, it was made on a walk. I developed the picture and added a little to it. Then it hit me, why not take this as far as I can go? So, I did.

That’s what you are looking at. A picture whose color has been pulled and twisted. A picture whose sharp features have been softened beyond recognition. A picture that has been inverted. Enjoy it.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. You know what to do. Enjoy every rose that you stop and smell.

Dreaming


Shimmering in dark red.

Well.

I won’t be doing that again, anytime soon. Depending on which version arrived in your mailbox, you were either mystified or confused. Follerer and online friend, Frank wrote a long comment. Every word he wrote is correct. Luckily, I’m sure these block templates are not locked in, unlike whatever we chose when we started. They are available to give you a semblance of creativity.

I suppose once I learn this way of not coding coding, this might give me more freedom. The problem is that the previews don’t show everything. Most of the framework is not available visually. I’ll get used to that, just as long as I can see what’s new on the daily template.

Since I’ve been asked, The all seeing dog is feeling a little better. The pain meds seem to be working. We have to wait for her dental appointment for her to complete her healing. She can hardly wait. I can hardly wait. The other dogs can hardly wait. Everyone else can hardly wait.

On another note.

The picture. My neighbors seem to think that more color is more color. You know me. Normally I would agree. Not this time. We have plenty of indigenous growth in the swamp. Some is quite pretty. The flowers, or wildflowers, that I mostly post are all native to Southeastern Louisiana. These red flowers are not. They came from a nursery.

No matter. They still look good when they are photographed. Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I tinkered around until made the flowers a lot richer and darker than they ctually are. That’s it.

One of the tenants of good page design comes under the heading of conventions. You create your own. One of my evolving conventions for Storyteller using the block system is that every new subject on the page begins with drop cap.

These drop caps are ridiculous. The minute I can figure out how to modify them I will. I may have to do that in the text setting by making the text bigger so the drop cap works with it. We’ll see.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.

I Will


In early spring.

Early spring.

At least it was for us down here in the swamp. This picture was made in mid-February. Before the storm. Before the war. Before the killing era of the virus. It feels like years ago. Time may have become flexible and meaningless, but that translates into some kind long term distortion.

For sure, people with deadlines or a lot of online meetings know the time. On the other hand, if you allow the meeting planner to schedule a meeting via Zoom it just pops up on your calendar. Press the code on your planner and you are taken directly to the meeting. You don’t need to know the date. Or, wear pants.

Since most people can’t focus for more than about 20 minutes in those little boxes, the leader usually sends an email with the goals needing to be met prior to the next meeting. I’m probably like most people. Once I’ve discussed my issues I tend to drift off or find other things to do. I answer email, work on a picture, fine tune my calendar so that I don’t have to look at it for another week. And, find my pants.

Of course, a lot of us can be very productive working from home. Normally, that’s mostly where I work from. I’m used to it. Many newbies to this are having a tough time. If children are in the mix, it triples the problem. Parents are expected to raise their kids, teach their kids, work from home, cook meals and keep the house tidy.

Those of us who are used to working at home have all sorts of tips and tricks. That’s assuming we have to use a clock and a calendar. Even with that, the most important thing to know is when to change from your daytime pajamas into your sleeping pajamas.

And, we might not have to teach our children. And, baby sit them. That’s something I’ve been discussing with my teacher friends. They worry about how parents will manage without having a sort of built in babysitter. I keep reminding them that isn’t their problem. They teach. A couple of their principals agree. Teach. Don’t worry about the rest.

That’s for later, when school becomes sort of normal. For now, it’s a juggling act. As the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months these issues should settle down. That’s good, not just from a short term perspective, but for what will likely be on and off over the next two or so years.

This is our new normal. The virus isn’t magically going away. A vaccine will not be created, tested and properly vetted in less than 18 months. Even that is extremely fast. If our so-called leaders aren’t going to settle down, stop playing politics and get to the real work of leading, the virus won’t be going away anytime soon. More importantly, if we don’t settle down and stop taking chances, it’ll be on “we the people” when the virus keeps cycling through its fifth and sixth year.

The picture. I was sitting outside thinking how nice life was, never thinking that the world was about to turn upside down, when I looked up and saw what you are seeing. I took pains to make sure I kept the picture light and airy.

Stay Safe. Enjoy every sandwich.