Red, red, red.

Red.

They say in design school that if you want to make your readers or viewers happy use warm colors rather than cold. So, that’s what I did. And, a red rose. For love.

The picture is simple. It is a macro photograph. A real one. I saw it. I stopped. I made a few pictures. In fact, you’ve seen another version of this in some of my layered images. This one took very little post production. Nature did the rest.

Some virus notes. No statistics. No bad news. Just a few observations.

I saw a couple of folks shopping in their PJs. At least PJ bottoms and a house t-shirt. You know the ones. They are really ready for the rag bag, but they are so comfortable that you never put them there.

A lot of people stopped combing their hair. For the first week or so everything was unique. As we entered in the third week, people gave up or just don’t care. I’ve a had a number of online meetings. At first, people looked like they were dressed for work. Now? Not so much. Some people look like they haven’t shaved since stay at home rules were put in place. Some of them, like me, may have started with some kind of chin hair. Now, I’m really close to having a full beard.

At least I get dressed. And, wear pants.

Then there are groceries. I have no idea what motivates people. One day there are no paper products at all. I’m not sure why people are buying everything. How many fancy dinner napkins do you need? The next day, those shelves are restocked. But, other shelves are empty. Why, oh why do people need every potato chip in New Orleans?

And so it goes. And, goes. And, goes.

Stay Safe. Look after others. Wash your damn hands. Keep your distance. Wear a mask in public. Enjoy every piece of sushi.

 

 


Out making groceries.

Morning glory.

Maybe I should be out and about in the morning. Pictures made then are usually a lot of fun. I usually have things to do then. Not the least of them being taking the all seeing dog on her morning walk. Maybe I can work around that.

Here’s a morning picture now. This one came after we parked in the grocery store lot. I made two reasonably good pictures there and one that is of the time. You’ll eventually see all of them

All the news that fits.

Covid19 rages on and on and on. In some American cities it may peak toward the end of April. New Orleans is following New York’s path, but only two weeks later. That means that we are nowhere near the midpoint. The rest of this week should get interesting. May you live in interesting times is the worst possible Chinese curse. We are cursed.

It seems that a lot of people are going through some kind of reevaluation of their lives. I’m no exception. I awoke this morning counting all the places that I’ve lived. There are a lot. I use to write it off to making career moves. Now, I just think it was caused by personal stupidity.

My career cost a lot. People, cool places, family. It’s harder to regain any of those things the older that you get. I could go further, but I’ll just depress myself.

On a positive note, I always had a lot of fun. I did get to see a lot of very different locations. I did get to participate in some great events. I met some interesting people. I am coming up to my 50th high school reunion. Many of my classmates grew up in Southern California and there they stayed. That’s great for some people, but it’s likely I would just have gotten bored.  I’ll never know.

Stay Safe. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Care for others. Enjoy every po’boy.


Wonder.

Just give me one good season.

So sang John Prine. The singing mailman. A national treasure. He’s got Covid19. He’s been intubated. He’s 72. He’s beaten cancer twice. He’s been through chemo. He’s been radiated. He’s probably got even more underlying issues. His family asked from prayers last night. You know what to do.

I was feeling pretty down last night. I had this feeling that I wouldn’t come out on the other side of this.

Until.

A friend of mine sent an email saying “open now.” Luckily, it was about two minutes old. I read it and joined a Zoom meeting. One of the lead doctors at Columbia University Hospital was hosting it. The hospital is a 1200 bed leading research hospital. There is a team who takes data, spins it around and provides practical information.

There are four main points. You don’t have to get sick if you follow them.

  1. Keep your hands clean. After you touch anything that isn’t in your own circle, hit yourself with Purcel.
  2. Keep your distance. Covid19 doesn’t live in the air. You have to be hit by droplets. Or, if you come in contact with an infected person and stay too close to them for about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Keep your hands off of your face. The virus enters through your, mouth, nose and eyes.
  4. Masks are really not needed for protection unless you are going to spend time with an infected person. They really serve to remind you to keep your hands off of your face.

There’s a lot more, but most are examples.

This doesn’t mean we are safe, but if we follow those four rules, there is a high probability we might be.

One more CV issue. Our grocery store opened even earlier for us oldsters. 7am. For some reason I awoke at about 7:15. Out the dogs went. Out we went. There were about ten people shopping in the entire store. We bought everything we needed. But, if you wanted paper goods, no joy. We didn’t need anything. We don’t have toilet paper dreams.

The picture. Layered again. Three different images combined into one. It took some time to get things tinkered in the right direction. You haven’t seen the individual pictures. You will.

Stay safe. Care for one another. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Enjoy every burrito.


Seeking stasis.

I had a really weird thought.

That’s nothing new. Most of my thoughts are weird. I’ve said in the past that nature always seeks stasis. Nature does not determine the rightness or wrongness of a thing. She just wants balance. When something gets out of equilibrium, she solves it. It may take time, but balance is restored.

Do you see where I’m headed with this?

I have no idea how CoVid-19 began. I don’t think anybody understands it. The prevailing theory is fairly simple. A human ate some tainted meat from a wild animal which was purchased in a wet market in Wuhan, China. There really is no one to blame except that I would never think to eat pangolin meat.

For sure, the conspiracists are out in force. I read that some of the black community thinks the whole thing is a plot to kill them off. Even if a cure is developed, they won’t be taking it. Because, you know, the government will be injecting them with poison that will finish the job. Back up the stupid train. Nobody intentionally wants others to die.

All of that said, what if nature wants more stasis? Mankind isn’t exactly earth friendly. What if nature needs to kill a good number of us off? What if nature thinks we are killing the planet and wants to get our attention in a dramatic way?

That’s no conspiracy theory.

Nobody is plotting to kill other people. It’s just a thought. It’s similar to something I said to my neighbor a few weeks before the virus became a pandemic. I was joking, but something happened that questioned my faith in man. I said, “God said, you people suck. I give up. Just watch this.”

Think about that.

And, consider this. We are no longer out and about. The whole planet has more or less shut down. The earth is healing. Slowly, to be sure. But, it is healing.

The picture. It’s just me trying to find my own artistic stasis. A balance point. It’s me creating art from a number of layered photographs. Or, at least, trying to. I still wish that I had the talent to paint.

Stay safe. Care for each other. Enjoy every sandwich.


Twinkle, twinkle…

It started with an email.

Wolf Kahn passed a few days ago. He was an artist. He painted like I wish I could paint. I’d never heard  of him. I read this obituary. He was an American treasure. Where  the hell have I been? I know about some artists, but not him.

That evolved into a discussion of the one thing that drove him. His work. He had a vision and he stuck to it for almost 75 tears. I poked around. I went to his website. I went to gallery sites. Sheesh. His calendars sell for between $40 and $75. There are almost no lithographs except for those made for a show. His work starts at an affordable price, may $400, but don’t let that fool you. Most of his work starts around $25,000 and rises from there.

Make no mistake. Money isn’t everything. In fact, at the end of the day, it might mean nothing. But, it means that collectors value your work. It allows an artist to support himself, his family and maybe some others.

The email discussion moved on. It was about changing direction, pivoting as they call it today. You are supposed to be nimble. You are supposed to be quick. Seems to me that pivoting around and around is just chasing the almighty dollar. No vision, no intent, no dream, is needed.

My friend didn’t pivot but he changed the direction of his career. I really never changed my direction. Still, we pretty much ended up in the same place. I cannot speak for him, but I can for me. That’s what the title of this post is about. How much time did I waste? That I still waste?

Hmmm.

I know I should keep moving. I’m actually a little frustrated that I have to stay at home because finally, when the chips seem very down, I have ideas. A lot of ideas. Oddly enough, they are pretty good.

How about you?

Stay safe. Care for each other. Enjoy every sandwich.


Reaching to the sky.

We went grocery shopping this morning.

Old folks time is from 8am until 9am. Most people followed the six foot rule. Some didn’t. Some looked like they didn’t care. There was enough of what we wanted, but many shelves were bare. Given that I was about the 30th person in the store, that meant the store didn’t get the deliveries they needed. Luckily, we have plenty of toilet paper.

We have never shopped so quickly. Between the lack of some products and the lack of people, shopping took 20 minutes from door to check out.

Back to toilet paper. None to be had. I still don’t get it. As a friend of mine said, this is a respiratory illness, not a field trip to Taco Bell.

We are finally under a mandatory order to stay inside. But, the lists of what you can do is longer than the list of what you can’t do. The biggest don’t do is congregating. But, we can walk, walk our dogs, go to the grocery store and so on.

That’s the CoVid19 story from the swamp. For today.

The picture. I’ll be damned if I can remember the name of this flower. I’m sure one of you will know. Somebody told me that it only grows in a sun tropical climate. No. No. No. When I was growing up in Long Beach, California my family grew them in what amounts to a side yard. In fact, they looked more healthy than these do.

All the rest. See it. Frame it. Push the button. Almost no post production. Mostly, I was trying to retrieve the detail in the flowers which was lost because the light meter read the shadows.


Beauty in endings.

The news from the virus world keeps getting bleaker and bleaker.

I’m afraid to read a story in The Washington Post about how the economy turned terrible seemingly overnight. It used to be that there was a big difference between what happened on Wall Street and Main Street.

Not this time.

Small businesses are crashing everywhere. Most have only about three months of cash reserves left. Many have less than that. Once they are gone they are never coming back. It’s possible someone could build something new on their ashes, but who knows if anyone will be in the position to do that. Not quickly, at least.

In New Orleans, the the Louisiana Music Factory closed. It was unclear in the article that I read if it was temporary or forever. It was more than just a record store. It championed local and regional musicians. Many musicians  played their brand new albums from a small stage inside of the store.

We also lost a man who was important to the second line culture. Ronald Lewis passed yesterday. The virus got him. He was 68. Before you ask, yes, I knew him. I’m pretty sure that everybody knew him and that he knew everybody. I am very saddened knowing that he will not be sent home properly. There will be no jazz funeral for him. We can’t congregate. And, six feet?Try six inches.

We have been asked to stay home except for doing essential things, like grocery shopping or picking up medicine. There are also certain professions that are essential. Mine is one of them. I can make pictures of a locked down New Orleans. I have a couple of clients who have reached out. I’ll do what I can. I’ll take no chances.

A friend of mine called today. He reminded me that we can’t think too far into the future. That we should only do what is in front of us. I forgot that. Me? The guy who comes from the tradition of one day at a time. Sometimes, you just need to hear it from somebody you know and trust.

The picture. I said that I would publish  bright, happy pictures. It struck me that there is beauty in passing. Without it something new cannot be born. Especially in nature. So, in its own way this picture is beautiful.

Stay Safe. Take care of each other. Enjoy every sandwich.


Details in the high grass.

Day Seven.

I work from home a lot. If I’m reading tweets and comments in Facebook correctly a lot of people are already on the path from craziness to lunacy. They don’t like being home. They are finding out a lot about themselves, their spouses, their children and their pets. Mostly they don’t like each other. Because of busy lifestyles they rarely spent a lot of time together.

There are a lot of unintended outcomes for what people are learning. One, that scares the hell out of a lot of people, is the potential for abuse. There are various  resources and places that someone in fear can turn to. I just don’t know if they are available right now in the season of the witch. That’s song, by the way.

The second might make you chuckle. Boredom leads to sex. Arguing leads to makeup sex. Look into the not too distant future. Let’s say, look nine months into the future. You get it. Quarantine babies. Lots of them. Quarantine Babies. What a great name for a band.

Let’s take this in a more positive direction.

We are getting to know each other a little better. In spite of being told that groups of ten are too many people, and that we must stand at least six feet apart, we are getting to know each other a little better. The earth is starting to heal. For instance, in Venice the canals are clear. The trash is gone. In Beijing, on of the most smoggy cities on the planet, the air is starting to clear.  Even in New Orleans, Bourbon Street is clean and actually smells pretty good.

Eventually, I’ll get bored. I’ll start photographing in places like The Quarter and around our neighborhood. This is the kind of work I can’t let pass me by.

Going grocery shopping has gotten amusing.

I ordered some N95 masks. Healthy people do not really need them, but everybody thinks they do. I just joined the crowd. Joining crowds is pretty rare for me. We also have rubber gloves. Mechanics gloves. They are a little thicker than surgical gloves. The masks are dark gray. The gloves are black. All I need are dark sunglasses and I can go into a grocery store and demand some guy’s 48 rolls of toilet paper. Or, his chicken. Or, eggs.

Anyway.

The picture. I don’t care many times we are told to stay inside, the dogs don’t understand that. They need walks. The need fresh air. They need sunshine. For that matter, so do I. So does everybody. I see no problem walking around as long as I don’t come in close contact with anybody else.

We, the dogs and I, came upon this scene. It didn’t look like much until I framed this composition in my mind’s eye.  It became about spring. Rebirth. Restoration. And, maybe about the future. Our future.

Be safe. Take care of each other. Enjoy every sandwich.

 


Sometimes in winter.

Bold color.

That’s what I promised you and that’s what you’ll get. Today is day three of our thirty day pause. Luckily, there is so much to do around this place, so much to read, so much to watch and so much organizing of my archives that I doubt anybody will get bored.

Eventually, we’ll have to sneak out for groceries.

We appear to be self sufficient, but are in a place to help our neighbors and community if they need it. That is so important. And, around here there are so many very elderly blue bloods that I’m sure someone will need something.

So.

For now, we are good. I hope all of you are too. It’s an eye opening thing to realize that I don’t have to explain the feelings or how we are responding because this is global. It’s universal. Hopefully, this will make us realize how alike we are, rather than to drive us further apart.

The picture. See it, photograph it. Unlike yesterday’s picture, this image needed nothing right out of the camera. I did add a little glow to it to make it a little more gauzy and romantic.

Oh yeah. I almost forgot. Music. We have so much music that we couldn’t listen to it all in a lifetime. But, I’m finding music that I’d forgotten about. Now, that’s really cool.