One stop shopping.

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his is the kind of place that we saw on our drive to Natchez. That’s Mississippi, in case you were unclear on it.

Stopping at little places like this were one of the reasons the drive too so long. This place was closed. The drive would have taken longer if it had been open because the owner would talk to me and I would start a longer conversation.

If you want to take pictures in unfamiliar places that’s how you do it. Talk. Talk. Talk. Let them know that you aren’t a threat in any way.

Make your picture, thank them and move on.

Do that 15 or 20 times on a trip and it adds up to real time. On the other hand, it’s worth it. Meeting new people is always worth it. And, you may learn something about the place you are photographing.

It may not be historically accurate, but who cares? We do it for the stories we can tell. And, for this blog. Well, I do anyway.

And, then there was lunch.

We read about a legendary cafe tucked away between Highway 61 and the river. We knew the crossroad, but that’s all. It took some poking around and looking because the cafe was located in the middle of a trailer park.

That’s also the joy of this kind of travel. Even though the hangries were approaching, we had fun finding the place and eating. The food was really good. Sort of southern home style cooking.

Imagine that. Southern home cooking in the South. What’ll they think of next?

S

ince there is no technique to making a photograph like this one, other than what I wrote about talking to people, I thought that I would talk about yesterday.

I went to an appointment with a new oncologist. There was nothing wrong with the old one. I liked him a lot. But, he retired.

I kind of grilled him about the efficacy of my vaccinations as oppose to what my CLL did to them.

He looked very carefully at my blood work and saw something encouraging. My hemoglobin numbers look almost normal.

So, in the next week we are going to run a detailed panel just looking at that. If it is as we hope, there is a chance that I don’t have to stay locked down, or at least I don’t have to be quite so strict because if the hemoglobin is near normal then the vaccine will work to a point.

Have a good thought for me.


Artists of all dsiciplines have been coiming to New Mexico for years. Most will say that it for the amazing New Mexico light. Some of the best light comes during the late winter when storms roll in and out with great frequency.

T

here are days and there are days. On the day that I made this picture I needed a little solitude.

A group of photographers gathered in a coffee shop. I looked out the window and couldn’t believe what I was seeing, the most wonderful pre-sunset in a long time.

That’s saying something because New Mexico is the land of great sunsets.

I said that I was going to chase light and asked if anyone wanted to come. The other photographers looked at me like I was crazy.

One of them followed me out and said that he’d have to go home to get his camera. I asked why he didn’t always carry one because we live in a land of incredible light. He didn’t quite know what to say except that he only used his camera on planned excursions.

I hit the road and made five pretty good pictures. I made small work prints and brought them with me to the next meeting in a coffee shop. The other photographers were amazed.

That cause them to change. They probably still aren’t prepared. And, they still make tropes.

I guess it must be the photojournalist in me. I make those kinds of pictures too, but as a way of warming up. But, then again, my landscape work doesn’t look like anybody else’s work.

I’d probably make more money if I took the easy way, but what would be the fun in that?

I’d lose myself in the rush to cash.

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here are a few technical challenges that I’d like to discuss.

They aren’t really in post production except for a little clean up.

Instead, they are in the making of the original file.

First, comes patience. I found the location. Then, I waited for something to happen.

Without that little touch of red from the car’s tail lights there would be no counterpoint to the isolation.

The actual exposure was easy. By this time of day the light is relatively flat and lacking extreme contrast.

My post production mostly consisted of using a subtle glow filter which gave the clouds a mild 3D effect and separation from the main scene.

Of course, I didn’t do that when I first developed the RAW file. As I recover these pictures I’m reworking them to my current look and feel.

It’s just like playing a song a different way live than a musician does in the studio.

A wise musician once said that after playing the song 500 times on stage, it finally taught him how to play it.


It’s late and you’re tired.

You know how you feel. You are out on the road, traveling somewhere. You’ve been driving for a long time. Your body has finally achieved one with your car and the road.

Your brain is on remote. It’s a good thing that there isn’t any traffic because your reaction time is slow.

The scenes in front of you blur into one. Time becomes elastic. If you eat or drink it all tastes the same. No need for a good cafe. You won’t taste the food.

That’s what this picture is about.

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 of the road.

What does it mean to travel?

I suppose it depends on why and how.

This picture assumes you mean by car.

To be successful I simply laid one picture over another, sucked some color out of it, added some grain and there you have it.

I think it works.


Out on the road.

This is one of those days when the picture has nothing to do with the topics. In fact, I have two subjects that I’d like to discuss.

But first, this is a road on the back side of the Sandia Mountain Range, making it slightly northeast of Albuquerque. Often, search for a PAD meant taking day trips. I enjoyed it. I met some interesting people and ate some real New Mexican food.

Here we go.

Police shootings. While one trial was going on another police shooting occurred in Brooklyn, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The same city. The police department says it was a mistake. The officer meant to tase him rather than shoot and kill him.

There is the case of the active duty U.S. Army lieutenant who was stopped for a minor traffic infraction. He was gassed and handcuffed for no real reason. Later the nastier of the two cops let him go after threatening him if he spoke about it. That is becoming a civil case.

There’s more, but I haven’t read about them except for this. While responding to a complaint of excessive noise two police entered a side yard, rather than ring the doorbell, of the house where the noise was coming from. A twelve week old puppy emerged from the shadows. One cop shot and killed him.

That’s the news as I know it. I’m not going to rant and rave. I’m going to say two things.

If you are so scared while you are performing your job, you need a new safe job. How do you accidentally pull a gun when you are reaching for a taser? Fear. How do you shoot a puppy when he was just defending his turf? Fear.

I can’t really speak to what the cop was thinking when he gassed and handcuffed a soldier except to say the video should what I thought was racist cruelty. The cop didn’t look fearful. He just looked mean. Find another job.

This stuff has gotta stop. Speak out.

Social media. This too, is not a rant. Instead, it’s a discussion of things that have become painfully obvious.

Social media is, for anyone who does business, a necessary evil.

Facebook is like a telephone book. You have to be there. Twitter is useful for local groups like NOLA Twitter or for fast breaking news.

Instagram is important for visual creatives although many posters turn their posts into words.

I don’t see LinkedN or WordPress as social media, at least not in the way I do about the previous three.

What I see in the previous three social media is they lost their helpfulness.

There are way too many fights, mostly of a political nature. Everything becomes political or worthy of being cancelled. Everybody has lost their sense of humor.

Instagram has become derivative and filled with wannabe influencers looking to be seen.

What to do?

I can’t really leave them, but I don’t have to post much.

Facebook and Twitter readers see my pictures because they are distributed from Storyteller.

Whatever I post on Instagram is automatically distributed to Facebook.

I do have to “like” others work on all social media, but I don’t have to comment. After all, “liking” builds your base, not that any of my bases are very large.

In many ways, I’m just going to fade away.


Louisiana Sky

Time. I’ve been saying that it’s lost its meaning. That it just seems to flow. That its numbers are meaningless. That the only way to mark time is by listening to nature. I still believe that.

In my heart, I know time is getting short. We are a little over four weeks to an election that may very well determine our democracy. That will change the course of the entire world.

It’s time. To dig in. To work.

For me it is also time to call the ghosts, the long gone gurus and the long passed masters. We need the cavalry. The ancestors need to come riding into the fray and change the balance.

For me, it started yesterday.

Here’s what happened. We were walking the dogs. Not just the all seeing dog, but all of her brothers and sisters. We arrived at a little pocket park. They like going there mid-walk because they can sit on the grass, roll around and play. They can do this at home, but this is a new place.

There are two benches there. We sat on one. On the other bench were three youngish women, maybe in their late twenties or early thirties. On white, one brown, one black. The future. The future that is now.

We said hello, and I realized it was time for “Songs From Home,” Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Sunday morning mini-mini-concert. We played it on my phone.

I think that MCC is feeling the way I am. She called on a living master, calling his song one of the best songs that had ever been written. She played Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changing.”

Covers are covers. She played this one straight. Her voice was clear and powerful.

Listening on it on my phone meant that it was loudish. The three young women stopped talking and started listening. I held my phone so they could see too.

Afterward, they asked who the singer was, and what was the name of the song. I told them the backstory. About a time of change that began in the early 60s and lasted for almost a decade. I also added that we blew it. We had a chance and we dropped the ball.

We all introduced ourselves. As the old one, they asked me what I thought.

I said, “I’m old now. I may have one more fight in me. But, it’s your world now. Make it a good one.”

Art. I’m not really sure there is a real definition of it. The closest I can come is what John Lennon said about his songs. When he was asked what his songs meant, he said, “whatever you want them to mean.”

I think that applies to whatever we classify as art. Art is whatever you want it to be. You don’t have to be what we commonly call an artist.

You could be a mechanic who feels the car. Or, a baker who feels the flour.

You can’t say that these people aren’t artists. Convince me otherwise.

Many people call me artist. It’s a mantle that I’ve long resisted. I take pictures of whatever I see. I do that when I have a job. That’s what I get paid to do.

In order to test the theory of my artistry, every once in a while I experiment with a photograph.

I made this picture while we were on a test road trip. I pointed my camera out of the passenger side window. Passenger side window. Note that. I wasn’t driving. We were just rolling along River Road on the Westbank.

I liked what I saw. So I pressed the button. When we returned home I let the take marinate. When I started culling my work, this picture popped out at me, not for what it was but for what it could be.

I started tinkering. I tinkered some more. I kept going on two software programs. Out came this picture.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your masks. Stay healthy. Enjoy your time, it’s shorter than you know.


Way Out West.

Morning fingers.

Hopefully, I stopped the first post before WordPress posted it. We’ll see.

I’ve been rooting around in my files, looking for unseen pictures. You know, lost pictures. Same thing happens in music except now original masters are lost forever because a UMG (Universal Music Group) storage facility burned to the ground. The list of musician losses is heartbreaking. This happened almost ten years ago. The facts are just emerging now.

Same thing happens with photography. I lost just about all my slide film archives to Hurricane Katrina. Even the few images that were salvageable stank from that murky flood water. Luckily, the good material had already been scanned and traveled with me. Still…

The work that I am starting to post now, is from portable hard drives that also traveled with me. I haven’t seen it in a long time. You’ve never seen it. I started digging around in the old archive for images that will be used in a couple of projects. And, started finding some pretty interesting pictures.

This picture is not one of them.

That doesn’t mean that I can’t like it.

I did what I call contemporary post production on a RAW file. This picture is very salable. Since I’m trying to build passive sales for me, and eventually for my estate, this is just one more thing to stack upon my pile of stuff to do. This won’t get done in a summer. If I can market about 20 of these old — but classic works — every month, I’ll build a nice collection of revenue producing images.

This picture. I-25. Near Santa Fe, New Mexico. I saw a little exit with a slight grade so I got off the interstate and found a good vantage point. I waited for the right trucks to pass by. That contemporary post production that I mentioned? The finishing touch is to use a setting called glow and bring the radius back to almost zero. The sky turned all soft while the subject remained sharp and silhouetted.


Way out on the road.

I haven’t been out this way in a long time. Usually, it’s for a vet trip. Or, to buy technology.

The weather has been incredible, so I thought that I would take a drive along River Road. I needed a little break from what has been mostly inside work, so off I went. It was peaceful enough. As you can see, there was no cars in either direction. There were no cars behind me, allowing me to make som drive by pictures.

This is one of them. Yep, there is serious post production going on here, but that helps you to feel what I felt with the sunroof open, the wind blowing through my hair and music playing on Spotify.

Yes. I still have hair. A lot of it.

Anyway.

I told you about my chef buddy’s situation. It’s a big enough deal that there are follow-up stories in both local newspapers. I wish he hadn’t said as much as he did. I hope he recovers.

That said, I hope we all recover from the issues ailing my country. There is a lot of hope riding on the year 2019. I truly think that things will get worse before they get better. That doesn’t mean we should pull apart. If anything, we should pull together closer. We need each other whether it’s just for advice, or to cry one each other’s shoulder, or for a helping hand. That’s one of the lessons of last year. It’s something we have to learn and remember.

Make America Great Again has a lot of meanings. I don’t like what the red hat means. I do like the thought of the potential of communities springing up that can help one another. In Hong Kong and, I think, in Great Britain, there are transportation octopus cards. It means you can use the subway, the bus, the tram and trolley systems with one card. You pay to fill the card up and off you go. I like the thought of octopus communities. We aren’t all allied closely, but certain strands link us from one community to the next, allowing a free flow of aid, defense and communication. Hopefully, that could be free of internal politics.

Of course, I’m dreaming.

When more than two people are gathered together politics raises its ugly head. But, you know what they say. “Go big or go home.” Besides, we need this now. The current administration seems hellbent on leaving us on our own at almost every level for stupid reasons. Think about it. Stupid financial management cost many of us at least 12% of our retirement funds. Now, there is a move to reduce Medicare and Social Security benefits to make up for the debt caused by lowering taxes on the rich. In one way or another, this current government thinks it’s a good idea to steal my money. Okay. Fine. Let’s take care of ourselves. It’s either that or buy a lot of bullets and start a revolution. Except, I don’t believe in violent governmental overthrow. I’m like John Lennon. Give peace a chance. Or, at least give a peach a chance. And, eat it.

Oh never mind. I’m just having fun with words.

Oh. Redesign part two. I make things to hard sometimes. I tried to build a page using the newer WordPress software. I’ve never liked that. I use the old version. Sure enough, all I have to do is enter from the administration panel and I can work in the same way I did pre-redesign. Press the preview button, or the schedule button and the software does the rest. Learning. See? I’m learning.

 


Over the mountain.

“I lit up from Reno, I was trailed by twenty hounds, Didn’t get to sleep that night

Till the morning came around, I set out running but I’ll take my time

A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine, If I get home before daylight

I just might get some sleep tonight, I ran into the Devil, babe. He loaned me twenty bills

I spent that night in Utah, In a cave up in the hills, I set out running but I take my time

A friend of the devil is a friend of mine, If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight

I ran down to the levee, But the Devil caught me there, He took my twenty dollar bill

And he vanished in the air, I set out running but I take my time

A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine,  If I get home before daylight

I just might get some sleep tonight. ” — Jerry Garcia, John Dawson, Robert Hunter (Grateful Dead)

From a  song I like called, “The Friend of the Devil,” because it speaks to this place. I-80, just east of Reno, Nevada on one winter morning as I was headed toward Utah after stopping by the military cemetery at Fernley, NV.

The picture. I made it through the windshield as I was going about 80 mph. I dressed it some in post production. I even added a running frame to it.


Another version of the same place.

I couldn’t help myself. As pretty as yesterday’s version of this picture was, I had to take it to the limit. One more time.

This image is the result.

I replied to one of you yesterday that I made a new version of the picture. I also said this location is not far from the old nuclear bomb testing sites. Maybe that thought inspired me. I don’t know.

I’m going to change things up a bit for May. I really haven’t been producing enough new work. So, I’m off to do that. Not actually making new pictures eventually drives me crazy. I’m not sure how I’ll present them. I’m not sure if there will be heavy post production or not. I’ll let the picture tell me that. Maybe, you’ll see a couple of versions of the same image. Process. From start to finish. Who knows?

This picture. Most of you saw yesterday’s picture. It was kind of pretty. I worked on it again and made it kind of evil. Foreboding. Scary. I dunno.

Which do you like?