Looking like fall.

Simplicity.

A fall picture. It could be too simple, except that the leaves and the clouds form a nice bow-like shape in the upper middle of the image. To be honest, I’m not even sure that I saw it when I looked into the sky and thought, “yes, that’ll work just fine.”

It’s a kind of photographer’s luck, which is starting to mean if you put the work in, look for pictures, and practice a lot, you’ll make pictures.

I tell my traveling friends this all the time. I say that they should stop waiting for a trip to take a snap. I suggest that they should just walk around their neighborhood and photograph their world. That is, unless their world is made up of fast jets, massive cruise ships and cheap hotel rooms.

I doubt that’s right.

But, I really dislike taking pictures on a trip or assignment and starting out cold. Or, a little rusty. I do best when I’ve been practicing, which is kin to music practice. Would you enjoy listening to a concert when the musicians weren’t well rehearsed? Or, rooting for a sports team that didn’t practice before they took to the field?

It’s the same thing with pictures. You must practice to get to the good stuff. That takes time. As it should. It’s also why I’ve been critiquing myself. I haven’t been wandering around looking for pictures. I write some of that off to the heat. It’s no fun dripping into the lens. I also write some more of that off to physical issues. I don’t always trust myself not to fall down. On a good day I’m great, but sometimes a good day turns marginal.

I find ways to work around both of those. It’s just not as frequently as I’d like.

And, so that goes.

Advertisements


Looking into the blue.

Blue sky. Gentle white clouds.

This picture was made on the day of the “big” temperature drop. The changing weather was pushing the clouds from white puffy to whatever these are called. It looks like they were broken apart, stirred by some giant with a big spoon.

That’s how I see them.

I needed some kind of point of reference, so I added a parking lot light. Its leading lines re-enforce the direction in which your eyes move. Or, at least, in the direction I want your eyes to move. Up.

This is going to turn into a little political commentary. It won’t be a rant. But, you can stop now and enjoy the picture.

Our wise and stabile genius decided, on a whim and after a telephone call, to abandon our long time allies. The Kurds. They fought along side of U.S. troops for a long time. Almost a decade. By doing that, he put our troops in harms way. He allowed Turkish troops to brazenly kill Kurdish fighters and civilians. The Kurds, in order not to be slaughtered, made a deal with Syrian national forces. By the way, the Syrian government is supported by Russia.

From day to night in a weekend.

That’s the abridged version of the past week.

U.S. troops are cut off on every side. It’s likely they’ll have to be extracted by air. This, after being shelled by Turkish forces and being ordered to retreat.

Where I come from, you never leave anybody behind, including your allies. You return fire if you are being attacked for no reason. And, you make damn sure that you have the support to retreat in an orderly manner.

How did all this happen?

The U.S President who shall not be named made a gut decision. You know, the chosen one. He consulted no expert counsel. He relied on just his gut, which he says knows more than expert’s brains.

And, what a gut it is.

Fueled by a steady diet of fast food, it’s ballooned up to at least ten normal guts. It’s flabby, fat and flaccid. It doesn’t think. It just reacts.

Between this, and all the issues being investigated in congress, the steady rolling back of laws that protect us, and the denial of climate change, we — in the U.S. — live in hell right now.

In the old days, just three years ago, I didn’t think about the president on a daily basis. But, today there is the steady sound of boots on our ground. I hear trump, trump, trump.

Happy Monday.


In the shade.

“Give me the greens of summer.”

So, said Paul Simon. I wonder what he would think about the greens of fall. Because we live in a swamp and have two growing seasons, we do get new foliage growing at what is an odd time of year for the rest of the country.

This is an example.

The rocks are in a pile as a flood deterrent. They’ve been stacked for a long time. Nature had her way with them. Stuff is growing over them, around them and they are collecting moss. This moss won’t help you find your way, unless you are digging into the earth to… China.

Green is the color of rebirth. It’s peaceful. Quiet. That makes green pictures a great Sunday offering.

Sunday.

The day of second lines. Yes. I’m going. this one is The Prince of Wales. It rolls on a wide street. It rolls for a long way. Lots of pictures lurking there. It’s one of my favorites to photograph because there is room to move, room to work. The day is cool. The parade starts at 1pm, which for today is the hottest time of day. About 82 degrees.

That’s nothing.

It’ll be a lot of fun. You should be here.


Into the light.

Finally. Fall.

A look at morning image made as the sun peeks through the golden leaves of Autumn. As a wise man once said, “If you want better pictures, stand in front of better stuff.” That is so true. I would add to that, have some patience. Wait for the light you want, no matter how long it takes.

I once worked with a former National Geographic Society photographer who was known for his desert work. His trick was to get to the place where he wanted to work. And wait. And wait. And wait. For days. Sometimes weeks. For the light he wanted. He reckoned that since you can’t control nature, you might as well control yourself.

There is another approach. Know the place in which you are working. Make yourself available for the light and whatever else you want in the picture. The first time I thought about that was during my days in Hong Kong. At the time, as a western expat, I made one of the best collections of pictures in a foreign place. It wasn’t due to extraordinary skill. It was due to just being there. When I think back to that time, I realize that I wasted a lot of precious moments.

I try not to be so wasteful now. Even when I’m not working for a client I try to be photographically productive. Hopefully it shows in the work that you see.

The picture. You know what I did. F8 and be there. I didn’t do so much in post production because I made most of the picture in camera. I darken, sharpened, and brought the color out a little. Nature did the rest.

One more thing. I posted the black and white version of this picture on Instagram. If you want to see that version, please follow me there.


The end of time.

Until the end of time.

That’s art. Once you make it, the art lasts. It will out live you and me. I suppose that’s one reason to make pictures. To make paintings. To make music. Or, to make just about anything else that you can think of.

It’s a legacy.

I suppose that’s one reason to keep pushing. To keep plugging away. To experiment. To grow.

At least it is for me.

Oh sure, I can make pictures for clients and friends. I can do the expected because that’s what I’m expected to do. That pays the bills. Feeds everyone. Puts better kibbles in the dogs’ bowls. Note: They don’t eat kibbles. They eat homemade dog food. Food that is better than some humans eat. That’s sort of weird, but they are all healthy. That matters.

Anyway.

The picture. The original picture was pretty cool on its own. I just had to experiment. I had to tinker. And, play. I tell you, I want to be a painter. But…


Bookend.

Bookends.

I made this picture during the last dog walk of the day. Yesterday. I don’t usually chase sunsets. How could I not photograph this one? Admittedly, I used a small bag of tricks to enhance the clouds. It’s small because you have to be careful. While you are messing with the clouds the trees go wonky.

Here’s the real news of the day.

Pants. I wore pants for the first time since late April in New Orleans. The long promised, and longer awaited, cool front arrive last night. The sky is a little gray and leaden, but I’ll take it. The dogs loved it. I already went for two very long walks with them this morning. I haven’t seen them walk so fast since, well, April. When it’s hot for us, it’s hot for them.

How long, you ask?

The temperature will rise to the mid-eighties by Friday and then dip again, well below today’s weather for the weekend. This means I can finally work in comfort rather than dripping and cursing.

That’s the story from this land of swampy nod.

It’s a really big deal.


Mysterioso.

Into the mystic.

There is one place that the dog and I walk. It is by turns, moody, swampy, and beautiful. It was at sunset, beautiful. For sure, it’s not purely nature. There is a water feature built into it. That just adds to the feel. In high summer when the humidity is at its highest, the area is downright scary.

Not so much now.

Even though it is not so moody right now, you’d better watch where you walk. Along with the usual suspects of frogs and a billion lizards, there is the occasional snake and opossum. No worries though. If you don’t bother them, they’ll ignore you. Besides, the snakes aren’t anything nasty. A rattlesnake was roaming around another walking route. People feared that rattlers were making their way into the city. Turns out that the snake escaped from its owners fish bowl. If I were a snake I’d want to be free too.

That is one of those things that we call “very New Orleans.”

There are all sorts of events that we term that way. A guy had his car broken into. He had his car door open on the street side while he was waiting for the police. Another car came along and took off his door, making his already bad day, worse. The driver of that car got out of it and fell down. Dead drunk. That’s some New Orleans stuff right there.

A few months back, while checking all the water outflow tunnels, the water department found a crippled and battered car. You might remember me telling you that. It turned the car was lodged in the tunnel for fourteen years. It was a Hurricane Katrina car. Fourteen years of no reviews or repairs. Now, THAT’S some New Orleans stuff right there.

Finally, I want to photograph a big second line later today. After a month of no rain, the skies are dark, heavy with rain clouds. My weather apps agree. Rain today. More New Orleans stuff.

That’s the story from the swamp on this fine Sunday.

 

 


Into the light.

They say.

Never photograph directly into the light. I say backlight is good. I say direct light into the lens never ever hurt a digital sensor unless you leave the shutter open for a very long time.

They say.

A cool front is moving in on Sunday. And, another one will follow on Monday. This will lower the high temperatures down to the low 80s and the low temperatures down into the high 60s. I say prove it. It’s 96 degrees out there.

There’s nothing I can do about the weather other than to whine about it. There is plenty I can do about not shooting into direct light, like show you this picture.

The sky is white. There’s a reason for it. I was trying to expose for the shadows as the light was streaming into the front of the camera. I even had to use a light pinstripe border to keep the image from bleeding into the page.

But, yes it can be easily done. Out there on Highway 61. Wait a minute. Another song lyric is bleeding into a blog about pictures. I’ll give you a dime if you can tell me which song and who wrote it.

Anyway.

I claim that this is a fall picture. See all those little red leaves? That means it’s a fall picture. Trust me. It is.


You can’t eat them.

Nice, low golden light.

That’s what I saw when I was outside. I needed a subject and there wasn’t one. Until I looked closer. A lot closer. Even those these berries look fairly large in the picture, they aren’t. They are about the size of my pinkie fingernail. Except that they are round.

I don’t really know what they are, but I wouldn’t eat them. There are no edible naturally growing berries around here that I know of. Go across the lake and it’s a different story. There’s a whole festival dedicated to strawberries. We do plant and grow them, but we buy strawberry plants at a nursery.

Besides, this photograph isn’t really about the berries. It’s a study in light. It’s about how light shapes subject matter in a picture. For instance,  you can’t see the whole berry in the darkest areas, but you can see how they are shaped by light. Your brain fills in the rest. It’s called rim light. You can see it in natural light or you can create it in the studio. I don’t think that photo editing software will help you with this. It has to be made, or found, in camera.

That’s the picture. Sure. I helped it in post production. I made it sharper. I darkened it a bit. And, I warmed the light a little.

It’s Sunday. I don’t wax about anything all that much. Have a good rest of your weekend or first day back to work. Or, something.