All the blue.

A

s long as there’s a sky turning in the darkness after day… everything worth knowing is in the sound of your old D-35.

I borrowed these words from a song. A D-35 is a particular make of a Martin guitar. It’s fairly rare. Now you know.

I actually didn’t choose these words. They chose me. I was listening to them and they sort of called out to me while I was thinking of what to say about this photograph.

I think it was the moon that caught my eye.

I really didn’t have lens reach that I need to make good picture of the moon so I made it part of the general scene. That’s it. I did what I could do.

When I got it home, I decided darker was better so I did something about it. I don’t consider that much post production so there is no right hand column.

This is a simple picture. Sometimes is simple is better.


Green to orange.

L

earning. Always learning. Practicing. Always practicing. Mostly trying to have fun with the pictures I make. It wasn’t always that way. Pictures were how I made my living. I don’t do that so much now. For sure, I still accept assignment but I don’t go courting them.

That is too much work.

As you know, I’m lazy. Maybe not so much, but if you are busy chasing assignments and all of the rest of the stuff that goes with it, you spend 80% of your time working on business and 20% of your time making photographs.

How much fun is that?

These days, if there is something I really want to photograph for someone, I’ll build a campaign which could take months to come to fruition. That’s really old school, but I’m not looking to be discovered on Instagram. A lot of picture buyers and assignment makers used to troll there. I’m not sure how many of them continue to do that.

A lot of younger photographers still think that they do. At least that’s based on their tags. They won’t tell you a thing about the picture. Instead their tags are directed to various publications. That may be the big difference. Publications still pay pretty much what they did when I was getting started.

Who wants to work for that?

Meanwhile corporate clients, the kind that I want, understand that assignment fees rise just like everything else in a normal economy. They aren’t on IG looking for the next great photographer.

That’s a good thing.

You should earn your way to that level. Photographers shouldn’t be famous because of the number of followers they have or the number of likes and shares they generate. Photographers should be famous for the work they generate over a long period of time.

At least, that’s what I think.


Sun splash.

I

was thinking about the rest of my photographic career when I stumbled upon a photographer called David Carol. What caught my eye was something in his biography.

He said that he was the first Image Bank assignment photographer. The division of Kodak for whom I worked was The Image Bank. The only TIB photographer and staffer was me.

Eventually, I’ll try to get to the bottom of this because it’s akin to stolen valor.

However, after looking at his work and reading about him I don’t much care about his bio because he shoots like I do, or I did. And, his philosophy is like mine. He said, “I don’t photograph homeless people or people who can’t defend or protect themselves. I genuinely it’s exploitative and it doesn’t interest me to do or see. Pick on people your own size.”

The difference between us is he’s published a large number of books and hangs in all sort of galleries and museums.

I ought to be jealous, but I’m not. He spent his time cultivating street photography as art. I spent my time doing just about everything else.

They keep saying that age is just a number. I’m going to test that.

I have a huge black and white archive. You’ve seen the best of my photojournalism in past Storytellers. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I must have ten thick binders. I started to try to archive them when I realized they were organized by date.

Good enough.

But, those images were made the same quirky way that I photograph sometimes. There are probably gems in there that I haven’t seen in years. It’s time to revisit every one of those binders. Or, it’s all a bunch of rubbish.

I’ll find out.

T

his is all technique so you get a right hand column.

I made this picture while I was sitting by the pool, looking up.

The picture is on point. The point being that you’ve seen this kind of image in the past.

I decided to do something about that.

I left well enough alone in Snapseed. But, then I came to OnOne for finishing.

That’s when I went crazy with experimentation.

I aded and subtracted stuff. I looked at a finished image and tossed it in the bin.

I started again.

After more of this experimentation I started to find a thread.

I followed it. I eventually came to the end. That’s the image you are seeing.

I darkened the image. I added fake bokeh. I added that sunburst. I added some glow.

The picture was done.

Finally.


In the air.

A

brand new picture. Imagine that. I went for a walk when the light was right and I started having fun. I just kept making pictures until I was finished, which took a while. I think that I wanted to take the long way home as they say.

The funny thing was that the more I saw, the more I saw.

I think my problem isn’t not being able to see. It’s feeling trapped in place by the current circumstances. I don’t like to be stuck anywhere unless I want to be. It’s one thing being stuck in New Orleans. It’s another to be stuck on St. Barts.

It’s also one thing to know that almost everybody thinks that the pandemic is over when it has years to go and that too many of them aren’t taking any kind of precautions thinking that they are protected by the vaccinations. To a certain extent they are, but there are enough breakthrough infections to make me wonder a little bit

In my case, that doesn’t matter. I isolate myself or I run the risk of dying. So, as I write I’m talking to the Shipt buyer. Because of me, everybody in the house likes not having to go grocery shopping. Don’t get me wrong, they like buying specialty items at a farmers market or a fruit stand. They like going to Hong Kong, the Asian grocery store, not the city.

One of the things that I’ve come to understand is that the pandemic made a lot of us think about how we do things. We don’t always have to be some place to work. We don’t have to travel across the country to have an hour meeting. We’ve managed to find and cut out a lot of BS factors.

On the other hand, shopping from home for bigger products has put a huge stress on the logistics chains, to which most people never gave a second thought. There are ships and containers stacked up at every major port city. In China, or other ports in Asia, there aren’t enough containers or ships to move new product.

This is a pandemic which keeps on giving in ways that never occurred to us. I’m sure that there will be more.

A quick change. When it comes to photo technique I keep writing the same things. Unless I do something out of the ordinary, I’m not going to divide the columns.


Transition time.

T

ransitions between dark and light, the end of the day and daylight is what I look for. Sometimes I’ll wait for that time rather than burn myself out shooting daylight pictures which I’ll never even look at after the fact.

It’s the light. It always the light. For me transitional light is the best light. Dawn or dusk. It doesn’t matter, but I have trouble getting up for dawn light.

As Bart Simpson said, “There’s a five o’clock in the morning? When did they start that?”

This is a dusk picture. It what was made during the blue hour while what was left of the day’s sunlight was reflecting off of the cloud.

In nature’s way, the orange and blue contrast very nicely. It’s no wonder that designers have been using that combination for years. Being a sometimes New Yorker, I think of The New York Mets.

Let’s not go too far down that track because I was born to be a Yankee fan, but blue and white is boring to me.

So.

It’s really about light and color. That is photography, no matter what or who the subject happens to be. Find a subject can be fairly easy. Finding the patience waiting for the light to be right is hard. Very hard.

I used to know a photographer who worked for National Geographic Magazine. He find the place where he wanted to work. He’d set up camp and he would sit. And sit. And sit.

When the light was right he’d wake himself and expose maybe twenty rolls of film and then, finally, he was done with that scene.

Do you have that kind of patience? Well, do you?

I don’t.

M

aking this picture was harder than you’d think. I exposed for the clouds which plugged up the tree.

It’s still pluggy because in order to bring up the clouds I had to darken the entire image.

When I lightened the image a little and now you can see the overly light area in the center. I could have done a couple of other approaches.

But, as you know, I’m lazy. So, what remains is what remains.

I darkened the edges of the picture a little to make it look old school burning and dodging. The kind that you did in a wet darkroom.

And, that’s it.

I’d tell you about working in a darkroom. I’d tell you about the peace it brought sometimes. I’d tell you about the smells. I’d tell you what it was like to watch a photograph come up in the developer. And, how we fine tuned little bits of the unfinished print.

I’d tell you that whenever I get a chance to just walk into one that it feels like I’m visiting a dear old friend.


Evening glow.

T

his post was inspired by a band called Ranky Tanky. They are a Gullah band from the Lowcountry area of South Carolina.

They play a kind of country jazz. I’m always amazed at how many of their songs I know. Songs that were covered by The Rolling Stones and Little Feat. The good news is that both bands always acknowledged their musical roots.

Roots. I think that knowing who’s shoulders you are standing on. That’s another little piece of Storyteller. I haven’t talked about my inspirations in a good long while. (Let’s see if I can write that anymore Southern.)

Maybe I should start doing that again. Whaddya think? I can write about particular artists, or photographers or musicians to authors.

Let me just say that there are only a few photographers who inspire me. Most of them are old now. But, artists and musicians? You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting them. (Southernism number two.)

I wonder why that is.

S

ometimes things that look easy to do are a lot harder than we think.

This picture is an example of that.

It’s a time exposure made on my smart phone. Easy enough, right?

Sure. If you don’t care about the highlights or the deep shadows.

I did everything I could to keep those areas intact. I failed. Either one or the other had to go.

So, I kept the highlights and let the shadows go dark. I tried to hold the shadows, but they lost way too much contrast.

I did the best that I could, which wasn’t enough.

That’ll happen sometimes.


Another fall afternoon.

W

hat a nice warm fall day we had. I’m ready for the heat of summer to go away, but I’m not ready for the cold of winter to arrive.

The light has been especially pretty. I did miss the sunset of sunsets on Saturday evening, but this is the time of year when one sunset leads to another. It’s the time of year that photographers in the deep south cherish.

Maybe I’ll be lucky and make some memorable pictures. As you know, I think it’s less a function of luck than it is being there.

You know. Go outside, walk around at a certain time of day and you’ll get “lucky.” It’s harder now because the other dogs like to walk during the day. The all seeing dog liked to walk around dusk. I miss that dog.

That’s where I have to stop.

T

his won’t take long. Not, that I don’t want to talk with you about pictures. But, there is a reason I ended as abruptly as I did on the left side.

This picture is a result of looking at the wonderful light and thinking, “Oh my gosh.”

You push the button a few times and that’s it. The picture is done.

There is absolutely no post production except for a bit of sharpening.


Light through the window.

M

ore changes. I knew that I wanted to design some kind of gallery. I’ve done it in the past. Good luck with that. Now the gallery template is divided by columns so the images are divided into long thin columns. A casual viewer wouldn’t know what they were seeing unless they they opened each picture.

I suppose that’s one way to get you to spend more time on the page, but it seems kind of funky to me. And, not in a good way.

Anyway.

You can’t keep a good man down, they say. I suppose who they is talking about. Good man, indeed.

Being stuck inside the house has pushed me to look at things a little differently.

T

his is about light. The key component of any photograph.

This just may be a little more focused on light than normal since it is light that makes thee three pictures.

I saw the pictures. Or, they saw me. I pressed the button and that was it.

Editing was simple. Darken the images and make them a little contrasty.

Window blinds at night.

The first thing I noticed was how the blinds carried the outdoor color. I decided that I’d better photograph it. So, I did.

The next thing you know, I was playing with the files and this image is what came of it. I think it’s sort of pretty. It inspired me to make pictures of other things that I might not normally think about photographing. The two pictures, one above and one below came from looking out the window, as the sun was dropping on the horizon line.

I like them. I hope you do too. Who knows what I’ll see next.

No widows, no waiting.

In case you missed a few…

Have You Seen Me Lately?


T his picture was made of a little of this and a little of that. I mean it. There are three pictures in there lurking somewhere. None of them were made at the same time. One was made in New Mexico. One was made in New Orleans. And, one was made in Shrewsbury. The last […]

Darkness After Day


A s long as there’s a sky turning in the darkness after day… everything worth knowing is in the sound of your old D-35. I borrowed these words from a song. A D-35 is a particular make of a Martin guitar. It’s fairly rare. Now you know. I actually didn’t choose these words. They chose […]

It Ain’t Over Yet


L earning. Always learning. Practicing. Always practicing. Mostly trying to have fun with the pictures I make. It wasn’t always that way. Pictures were how I made my living. I don’t do that so much now. For sure, I still accept assignment but I don’t go courting them. That is too much work. As you […]


Maybe, an age of miracles.

H

ave you ever shared a dream? We did. This morning. I woke up thinking ,”Whew, what a dream.” I was thinking about what I saw and felt, when from the other side of the bed came, “Oh my God, what a dream.”

I started talking about my dream and pretty soon she was filling in the parts I was leaving out. Then, we got scared. How is this possible, we wondered? Was this a weird thing or was this the best thing?

Why worry about it? The person closest to me, the one who I adore is able to actually appear in my dream. Well, wait a minute. I was seeing things like I normally would. It was not dream-like. People weren’t just showing up. I was looking and seeing. It was the same thing for her. We were looking for something. We didn’t see each other in this strange land.

Where we looking for each other? Had we split up to save time and distance? I have no idea.

One thing that struck me was the color. It was my kind of color. Bright, bold, contrasty. The scenes were almost cartoon-like. I liked wherever it was that we’d found.

My hope is that one of these nights, well early morning, I return to this place. Maybe this time, we can travel together.

T

he water caught my eye. I just pointed and shot. I repeated that a couple of times, slightly changing the framing and the length of the lens.

The picture at which you are looking is the first one. Sometimes instinct is the driving force behind good art.

I’m not sure that this picture is even close to art, but it’s the thing that I saw first.

It needed a crop to get rid of some clutter. That’s why it’s square.

You know that I’m not a big fan of square crops. I think it displays a lack of confidence by the photographer or designer.

For sure, a group of nine pictures cropped square and laid out as a big square looks very cool, but don’t hurt the photographs.

Never hurt the photograph.