Inside out.

W

hen I awoke, I was feeling confused. Something was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.The feeling passed. I let it go.

It came back when I started working. I still couldn’t place it.

I played some music. Music is magic. I takes me to other places. It inspires me. It centers me. And, if I’m lucky, it clarifies my thoughts.

That’s what it did.

I don’t know why I selected an album called “Age of Miracles,” by Mary-Chapin Carpenter. The backstory is complicated. It was her first album after leaving Columbia. It was her first album after she recovered from two pulmonary embolisms. It was the first album after her divorce.

I don’t listen to it often because she seems confused. She’s trying to break free of her country reputation, yet she falls back on it. She does sing one of the saddest songs in the word called, “I have a need for solitude.”

But, it caught me. I realized what I was missing.

And, it made me very sad.

I’ll work small to larger. You’ll understand. And, you’ll understand this picture.

I miss Sophie Rose terribly. We have other dogs, but Sophie chose me. I was her person. I feel like I let her down. I know that I didn’t. After a lot of reading, it’s very possible that she had been coming to her end for couple of months. It was just her time. But, that may give me a pass, but it doesn’t feel like it.

Then, there is my CLL, a blood cancer. It likely will never do anything terrible to me. But, it limits me. My CoVid-19 vaccinations do nothing for me. That means, no festivals, no second lines, no Indian events, no Mardi Gras.

If that isn’t depressing enough, we are back to wearing masks because our infection rate, like most of the country has grown by about 150%

Being in my condition of combined illness, sadness and depression makes it very hard to work. I can’t seem to let a picture find me and I can’t work. I have all sorts of projects that could take the rest of the year or more. You’d think I’d be excited to get started.

What do I do? I sleep.

When I finally start my day, I find everything to do but work.

In a word, it sucks.

I wish I knew the path. Maybe I’ll get lucky and stumble onto it. I doubt that. It’s bigger than letting a picture find me. It’s all of me.

Writers give advice about being authentic. Is this authentic enough?

F

or us, down in the swamp, late summer is already approaching. It’s gotten hot. It’s turned dry.

Stuff is dying.

I took a walk with a couple of the other dogs. They need walks too. I was looking for a picture. Or, was open to letting one find me.

No pictures because there is no color. The flowers die in the heat.

It’s also hard to stay motivated because after five minutes you are too hot. After ten minutes your shirt blooms with sweat.

The dogs felt it too. They were ready to turn around after they did what they needed to do.

So, that’s the technique. Walk until you can’t. Make a picture of whatever you see and return home.

The picture suits my mood.

In that way, I suppose I was successful. Or, not.


Winter purity.

On the first day.

I saw this.

I thought the contrast was wonderful. I almost din’t push the button because in its perfection it seemed a little common. I thought that anybody could make this picture. But, will they? I think the photographers travel way too far to photograph something similar. I’m lazy. In my doddering old age I suppose that I don’t like traveling as much as I used to. At least not for this stuff.

Besides, there are thousands of photographers who crowd all the choice photo sites. Have you every seen the picture of Yosemite where an amazing yearly natural occurrence happens at the falls? It’s called firefall. The low sun lights up the falls so that it looks like streaming fire.

That scene done well is marvelous. However, take a few steps back and look at what’s going on. There are hundreds of photographers climbing over each other try to take a picture. Even without something grand occurring once a year, most National Parks are just slammed with people, especially in the summer.

Ugh.

Double ugh.

I’d rather break new ground and find something that few people have seen so that I can show you something new and a little different. Sometimes it’s mundane, like the subject of the picture. Sometimes it’s a little more. Hopefully I can help you to see and feel what I saw at the time. This is what I call a little picture. I’ve been a fan of little pictures for a very long time.

Oh, yet again I can’t figure out the space-time continuum. I thought yesterday was Sunday. Lo and behold I found out it was Wednesday.


Twenty-Nineteen.

The year that was. The closing year of the end of a decade. Ups. Downs. All arounds. This year wasn’t as great photographically as it could have been. That was pretty much my fault. Between physical issues and a general lack of motivation I mostly produced a lot of faux nature pictures. Some where better than others. Some are found here. My biggest natural successes were trees. They are well represented here.

I did manage to make some of  “my” pictures. I photographed second lines and Mardi Gras Indian events. Those are here, too.

The one link between nature and a kind of photojournalism is that I work the same way to make both. I walk. I see things. I make the exposure.

As far as my version of nature pictures goes, most them were made in a healthy way. The dog who sees stuff and I went for walks. Despite my physical pain we managed to walk three miles a day whenever I was home. That’s good for me and her. She’s a sweetheart. Because she’s a cocker spaniel she’s as funny, loyal, and affectionate as she can be. Cockers are notoriously stubborn. She is too. She thinks nothing of standing in the middle of the street with me in tow staring down a car just daring the car to come closer.

There are 12 pictures here. You know why.

There are a few more days left in 2019. There are a few more days left in the decade. I’ll make and post a few pictures between now and then. But, for the most part, the year and decade are over for me. This is the strange in-between time. I mostly use it to clean up yearly messes and plan the new year.

 


Cold air and a warm patio umbrella.

Winter seems to have arrived a few days early. Everywhere.

That gives me a chance to make some of my favorite kinds of pictures. Bare trees. Faded blue skies. And, a feeling of cold.

That’s one of the tricks they teach you early in photography and in commercial press printing. If you want your snow scene to look cold add a little bit of cyan. Just enough to give the viewer the feeling of cold, but not enough to overpower the picture.

That’s about it for a Friday. I’m sure that you have plenty of last minute holiday stuff to do that is much more important than reading blogs.

Bare winter like trees.


Autumn sky.

In the morning.

The air was lighter. The sun was clearer. The shadows were longer. That’s what I felt and saw. That’s the picture that I made just a few hours ago. Today.

I made it at the end of a walk. The light wasn’t great until the moment I saw this scene. I tried a couple of different compositions, but this one did it for me. I saw it as a painting the from minute I pushed the button. So, that’s how I treated it in development and post production. It’s a little magical, but it hasn’t crossed the line.

Now, as I often do.

The rest of the post isn’t about the picture.

When I was a young guy I started my musical journey by listening to the Beatles, The Rolling Stones and other bands of those early times. Along came Cream. Wow. I never heard anything like them. Apparently, I was hip for a 14 year old. I bought their first album and kept building from there.

Cream was Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton. Three super stars in their own right. Jack Bruce passed a few years ago. Eric Clapton will turn 75 next March. He’s planning some extensive touring next year after a couple of years of relative inactivity because of physical issues. Ginger Baker was 80. Earlier last week, his family said that he was in critical condition in the hospital. They asked for our prayers.

I knew right then that the outcome wouldn’t be good. When you are 80, have a number of physical ailments, being in critical condition isn’t a good thing.

Ginger Baker passed yesterday morning.

His drumming was inspiring to a couple of generations of rock drummers. Yet, at his essence he was a jazz drummer. He explored African poly rhythms. He could play with anyone, yet he made his name with Cream and the very short lived super group, Blind Faith.

Ginger Baker was also outspoken. He was cantankerous. He could get angry at the drop of a hat. Clapton once said that when Cream was playing their best live music, it seemed like a musical fist fight between Baker and Bruce. It often scared him because of its violence. And, he was life long heroin user. That may have contributed to his death. But, I don’t know. He was 80 and sick. But, never frail.

Once there was three. Now there is one.

Yesterday was hard. These guys are aging before our eyes. Most of my musical heroes are in their late 60s or 70s. They made the music of my life’s soundtrack. You know the rest.

Ginger Baker 1939 -2019 RIP

 


Fall flowers.

They said the weather would turn cold. They said that we’d get fall colors. They said the humidity would drop

Hahahahahaha.

Yesterday, election day, the temperature dropped to a brisk 82 degrees. The humidity? Let’s just say that I changed clothes three times. Just like in the dog days of summer. Then, the rain fell.

Wet. Hot. Humid.

Great late fall weather. In November. Our Thanksgiving month. My birthday month. At this rate there will be spring flowers for my birthday and on the table along with a turkey. Sheesh.

The picture. A “what the dog saw”  picture. I think she was a little confused. Spring smells in the wrong season. Anyway, she found the flowers. I just pushed the button. Not just any button. This smartphone’s camera can be used in an old school way. I am able to set f stops and shutter speeds. I am able to adjust the lens. And, the megapixels? More than my first couple of dslr cameras. After testing, I realized that I can make a print larger than 20 x 24 inches. While that may not matter when it comes to my professional cameras, it spells the coming end of starter and bridge cameras. And, that is where the money is for camera manufacturers.

Photography is changing. Yet again.

Happy Wednesday.

 


The blue hour of dusk.

The quiet time.

Dusk. Blue Hour. A great time to photograph. An even greater time to just be. I went outside not thinking that I’d even take a picture, but the light — oh, the light — was amazing. So, I made a few pictures of some favorite subjects of mine. Trees. Sky. A little golden light tucked in among the branches.

There’s a problem with this.

As I review my archives I come to realize that I have been repeating myself. Again, and again and again I tend to fall back on comfortable subjects. To the point of boredom. Of myself. And, very likely you.

That may be the issue. Even though a lot of bloggers say their numbers are down, it could be that my numbers are down because you know all of my tricks. If you have seen some version of my pictures than my words probably feel similar too.

I’m not sure how I can change this. But, I do know that I claim Storyteller to be a place of experimentation. I’m not doing much of that. Experimentation isn’t just about photo processes and techniques. It’s also about subject matter. Most of my work hasn’t been very fresh.

I’ll see what I can do about that.

 


Taking our minds off of all the news.

Storms to the east. Fires to the west. A liar up north.

I don’t know about you, but I need a break. From the news. From thinking about prepping for the next three potential storms.

That’s what this picture is about.

Rain poured down at night. By morning, the sky was bright and clear with just a few white puffy clouds. The all-seeing dog and I went for a walk. She decided that sitting was in order. We found a bench. I sat on it. She sat on the grass. I looked up and saw this picture. I pushed the button. We sat a while longer. When we got home, I headed to the studio where I tinkered with it and helped it to glow.

That’s what I wanted. A bright, glowing picture that reminds me of  1930s Art Deco posters.

 


A little tribute from nature.

I keep reading and hearing that summer is almost at its end. That most schools are back in session. And, forget baseball. It’s football season.

Some of those things are correct. They are set according to a calendar. Summer isn’t over, at least for us, not by a long shot. Around here the end of summer starts to arrive around late October. Maybe not even that soon. The humidity of summer may drop. But, the days are hot. Last Halloween people were roasting in their costumes. That makes for grumpy trick or treaters.

For me, around here, summer comes to an end when the night temperatures drop in the high 50’s or very low 60’s. Last night, the temperature was 79 degrees at midnight. See what I’m saying?

I suspect that people all over the country are saying that summer is almost over because it’s been very hot every where. They are hopeful. They need and want a break. They want cooler air. Colder air. Even snow sounds good right about now.

That’ll eventually happen this year. But, various weather services are predicting this kind of very hot weather will occur for the next five years, whether or not you think that global climate change is a thing, or not.

There are the doom and gloom types — some of which are highly thought of academics — who believe it’s way too late to reverse course. One thinks that we have ten years left as humans. He said that when the polar ice caps melt, food production will drop to nothing and you can figure out the rest. All those apocalyptic movies that you’ve been watching on Netflix? Well…

Take action folks. Some of the major deniers are our leaders in the swamp that will never be drained. Not our swamp which is real and about nature. But, the political swamp in Washington D.C. The one that is unreal and about greed.

Vote.

The picture. It’s a what the dog saw picture. She saw it. She walked by it. Circled around it and came to a place about a foot away. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. I saw it. Even though I’m trying to stay away from these kinds of picture, this one caught my eye. There is some post production going on. I wanted those pine needles to be clean and sharp, so I did that. That helped with the water droplet on the flower petal as well.

That’s it. Happy day.