had a lot to talk about. Apparently, it wasn’t that important because I can’t think of any of it.
Sleep on it, they say.
Seems to have worked.
At any rate, I’m back. But, I’m not sure for how long. I tried to switch my extension to the one I’ve had for 30 years. You know, .com. WordPress says GoDaddy has to do it. GoDaddy says WordPress has to do it. I say that I will not renew anything here until I get some help. Some real help. Not some kid who speaks in a language that is very foreign to me.
Failing that, I’m just going to walk away from WordPress. I made a promise to myself with the turning of the year. I’m not doing anything that doesn’t make me smile. Also, my year long koan is “Keep it simple.”
This is a powerful koan. Two of us selected it independently of each other.
Oh. Somethings around here.
I have a new doctor. My last doctor quit. I think. We made peace. I asked him where he was going. He said that he didn’t know. He didn’t have a contract for anywhere. Seems odd.
My new doctor. A funny thing happened on the way to the pharmacy. If you recall, I mentioned that I bombed myself. A couple of you reached out and told me to be careful.
My new doctor doubled the amount of narcotic I self prescribed.
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.
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.
h yeah. The picture to the right. More water. It was made in southeastern Louisiana. I added it because it was there.
My kind of photograph. Lots of big, bold, bright color. I didn’t actually see quite as much color when I stopped to press the button, but I did see the tree reflection. That’s what caught my attention.
You know me. I’m of the opinion that anything can be a picture. Not in all light. Or, at all times of day. You have to be patient. Or, have an all seeing dog. She knows all. Even though she see monochromatically, she can see how the light and shadows fall.
In fact, she stood right in front of this car. Well, SUV. She moved when she saw what I was doing.
I should be somewhere in the picture, but I can’t find myself. Maybe you can.
The big news of the day is that I get my CoVid-19 vaccination today. The hospital scheduled me for my second injection as well.
I don’t think much is going to change for me in how I address the virus. I’ll still social distance. I’ll still mask. I’ll still growl at the person who stands too close to me in the grocery. Or, has his mask way down over his nose.
If I don’t speak for me, who will?
Stay safe. Stay mighty. You know exactly what to do. Enjoying all the seeing.
Seeing and looking are two different items in sort of a continuum. You can look and see nothing. I know a lot of people like that, including me sometimes.
Or, you can look and see. That’s a very different thing. It’s what enables me to see this car and the tree reflections. It enables me to feel the picture.
I think making a photograph is mostly by feel, rather than intellectual or mechanical.
For sure, you have to understand your gear and you have to understand who and what you are as a photographer. But, that’s not directly involved when you actually make the picture. It hovers in the background.
Of course, you have to have another kind of vision when you are developing and editing the picture.
If you do, you might make something with which you are happy.
Yesterday is gone. And, good riddance. It started bad and it ended worse. You didn’t see me here because my Cox modem/router failed. They wanted $75 because I didn’t have customer care. Okay, okay. I have a good idea of what this gear costs.
But, when I said yes to having a technician visit, he or she couldn’t be scheduled for almost two weeks.
Uh, wait a minute.
Off I went to the store. The first modem didn’t do what it was supposed to do, so I traded it for another one. I had the COX gear for so long that I forgot that it is a combination modem and router.
Back to the store I went.
New router in hand, I thought, “ah ha, I’me done.”
You know the saying, “If you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans?” It turns out that also includes making modern digital things work properly.
I called a Cox online tech who was helping me through the installation. It turns out two techs didn’t know what they were doing. Sure, my main machine — this one — was working. Somewhat. Safari couldn’t load a lot of websites, including WordPress. However, I had no signal to our televisions or our phones.
Luckily, there was a shouting mach on celestial television. When that was done I watched the end of a bad football game. And, finally Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone.
I went to sleep early. Midnight. Normally that would mean I’d wake up around 5am. For some reason I slept until 9am.
During that long sleep I had a dream. In it I figured out how to make every work. Maybe.
It came to me that it had to be the router since nothing but the main machine was getting signal. I Googled around for Linksys and found their website. It turns out that they have an app for my phone. I downloaded that, followed step by step instructions and, ALL JOY.
I do have to adjust each machine’s settings but I expected that.
You know how I say that we should let our pictures marinate? Maybe we should do that with all seemingly complicated issues.
Just a thought.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, er, in front of the porch, who’s the best photographer of them all?
Not me, that’s for sure.
I resurrected this picture from the scrapheap of time. I liked it t the time, but I didn’t share it.
Now I am.
I was walking around The Bywater, which is a realtor’s name. It’s really just a section of the 9th Ward.
I stumbled on this scene. I couldn’t believe my luck… until there was almost nothing to show in the mirror’s reflection.
I did what I could and called it good.
You would have seen another picture today, but it got lost in digital space. Likely, you’ll see it tomorrow.
Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Look after each other.
You are looking at the CBD — Central Business District — of New Orleans. The timing was perfect. I made a lot of frames of the scene from the interstate. Even though I’ve been known to drive and make pictures, I had a driver this time.
We were going to The French Quarter.
That’s the oddest thing about living in New Orleans. We can go to the Quarter whenever we want, while people journey here from all points on the compass. We forget how unique that makes us. Of course, many locals disavow the Quarter, claiming to never go there. I used to be one of them.
Not any more.
I talk about photographers luck often. There is more than luck completing the equation. To stumble onto this scene means that we had to be on the interstate. I had to have my cameras ready. And, that I could react quickly enough to make the picture.
One more thing.
I had to put my pants on and go outside.
I have no idea how long it took me to reach this point. Years and years, I think. Reacting without thinking is a Zen exercise. Alone, that takes years of practice.
I was walking the all seeing dog, when I saw this reflection is a water feature that can be found along one of her routes. For some reason it was clear and blue. It was also highly reflective. The bare trees of winter were looking back at me. I made a lot of pictures. I made some with the bank and made some that are much more colorful than this one.
This one reminds of a Van Gogh painting. Of course, his has little cherry flower blossoms in it that really bring it to life. As much as Van Gogh has always been one of my muses, I only recently learned of his fascination with all things Japanese. I have a show catalog that is based on it.
One more thing.
To me, this picture is a bit confusing. It looks upside down. It isn’t. That’s how the trees in the background were reflected. My instinct is to flip it over.
The first day was stormy. It wasn’t a heavy rain. But, it lasted all day and night. The dog who sees stuff wouldn’t go out except to do what she needed to do. The rest of the dogs acted about the same way.
If I wasn’t so lazy I would have gone to the Quarter and made some nice reflection pictures. My agencies would like that. Of course, they way they license images these days it doesn’t really matter. Some agencies are going to a modified royalty free system. Royalty free is a misnomer. It doesn’t mean a client can use a picture for free. It means that they don’t have to negotiate.
Here’s the problem for photographers.
That generally means that we earn less per image. Agency managers say that we’ll make it up on volume. That sounds like the old joke that goes something like this, “A small business loses money on every item they sell. That’s okay, they’ll make it up in volume.” What that really means is that they’ll just lose more money faster.
That’s happening across the arts.
Unless you are well known, or have a long career, or are a shining star, arts like writing, photography and music are so oversaturated that most people can’t support themselves working at their art. This has occurred for three reasons. Disruption. Democracy. Recession.
Disruption and Democracy go hand in hand.
Digital nerds decided they could do things better and cheaper. Sometimes it works. Mostly it doesn’t. Disruptions generally means the products, whatever they are, don’t get better. They get cheaper and worse. Democracy means that the tools to make something are easy to use partially removing the gatekeepers. Once again the the quality declines and the products get cheaper.
When the country tanked in 2006-2007-2008 at lot of people lost their high paying jobs. Some lost their property and homes. Many of those people decided that if they couldn’t make their usual wages, they might as well have fun. What emerged was a glut of wannabe writers, photographers and musicians of all stripes. Most had no idea what it means to be an artist. Even if some of them had the talent, they didn’t take the time to let it mature. They want tips and tricks.
That lead to our current state of affairs.
Too much of everything. Lesser and lesser high quality products being released. And, a general lowering of prices across the board. There is even an agency that doesn’t pay royalties. The photographers license pictures for exposure. WordPress recommends that writing bloggers use them.
This is the long way of explaining why I’m lazy. If I went to The French Quarter in the rain and worked, I’d get wet. I’d run the risk of hurting myself because of my “bad” left leg. I could damage my gear. And, with our great drivers, I could get in a car accident.
I’m willing to risk all of that if i could make some money with my pictures. But, I can’t say that I will. Sure, it’s still fun to do. But, slipping and falling scares me. Speaking of that, after the first of the year I’m going to have “Come to Jesus” meeting with my doctors. My issues need to be repaired, not masked. I don’t want to live this way any longer.
Not so far in the future. Maybe just up to Mardi Gras parade time. Anything more would be wasted because as a not-so-wise boxer once said, “You can make all the plans that you want, but once you get punched in the face all the plans go out the window.” That’ll happen with Mardi Gras plans as well. The minute the season starts, everything will change. I have to be on the scene to understand the plans.
My biggest question is do I shoot what I’ve done for the last seven years and work the start of the parade? Or, should I do something different? What that is, I’m not sure yet. Hopefully, it’ll come to me in a dream, or in the shower.
There is also the yearly question of scheduling a number of events. They need to fit somewhat neatly together. Once I’ve got that clear in my mind and on paper I can fit the rest “stuff” into the year.
That’s another thing.
Although I do my scheduling on a digital calendar, I’m going back to paper for the details. It’s a better way to remember and it just feels better, which is like the debate between digital capture and film photography. They both have their place, but to me digital capture is like working on an assembly line in a factory. Film photography feels crafted and a little more artistic.
The picture. A very early Mardi Gras parade image. It was made on film and scanned much later. I forgot about it because somehow it was filed in the wrong archive. It was lost until I started digging. In those days I mostly worked with Fuji Velvia. Its ISO was 50. It really did better when you rated it at ISO 40. That’s slow. Very slow. That made working at night a challenge if you weren’t using strobes. I don’t use strobe at events like that because unless you hit the light dead on the picture looks way over lighted.
Instead, I would work for motion and ambient light. That allowed me to make pictures like this. The only sharp part of the image is part of a motorcycle wind screen is in the middle of the frame.
A picture like this one is impressionistic. That makes sense because of all the photographers who inspire me, painters inspire me more.
Relax! Let you eyes wonder and quiet your mind with some visual therapy. A picture is always more than you can see. You will also find my own illustrations about things I find funny and interesting. Have some fun, life is short!