They said the weather would turn cold. They said that we’d get fall colors. They said the humidity would drop
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So many changes. In nature. These trees were still shaking of their winter’s bareness a weeks ago. Now they are full, light green, and glowing in the early morning sunlight.
As I look out of my study window, the branches are still bare with not a new leaf showing. I can’t imagine that those frozen days could kill these trees. They are pretty old. But, you never know. Nature works in funny ways.
Just like life.
The picture. I saw the golden light filtering through the trees. I was having trouble finding a foreground subject that would add a little depth to the picture. I took a couple of steps backward and saw the four trees. Exposing a little more for the light I kept the trees in almost a silhouette. That made the picture a little more powerful. Especially since everything behind is glowing and soft.
As winter shuffles off into spring, the weather gets a bit contentious. One day is bright and sunny. But, cold. The next day, a storm blows in. Humidity reigns. It’s warmer. The rain breaks the humidity. Within a day or two, the weather is back to where it started. Sunny and cold.
That’s the nature of things down here in the swamp. Probably everywhere. I wasn’t always paying attention or observing it.
The picture. I saw the bare trees backlighted against the cloudy skies. Rain was not falling. By the time I was done working the scene a little, big fat raindrops were pouring down.
The dog who sees things and I were soaked by the time we got back to the car. She doesn’t mind baths. She truly hates rain falling on her. I know that. I keep one of her towels in the car, this being the rain swamp. She really likes being rubbed with a towel. All was good.
Most of what you see was done in post production. I thought about making it gray, which would have been fairly accurate. As usual, I tinkered around. I really liked the warm tones and a little glow. It seems to set the scene.
One more thing.
I’m going to give a little workshop on SEO from the point of view of WordPress in the real world. The topic is very important today. As we move away from more and more printed matter, it is essential for the future. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but how do you find the picture?
This is important from a writer’s point of view as well. My writing friends work very hard on marketing. Still, the question remains how do you find their book without being told about it?
In both examples, SEO is important in building a culture. Communities are great. We’ve built a nice one on Storyteller. But, the culture is the thing. That’s where communities come together. That’s where you can sell books, pictures, music, outside of a relatively small circle of friends and few passersby.
My thoughts are on paper. I’m still working them out. In the music world, I’d be starting a long sound check on the day of a concert.
We aren’t used to very much cold weather. This year we had some very cold weather, with temperatures in the low teens. That cold spell killed everything especially our semi tropical plants which are not used to freezing weather. Dead and brown ferns are pretty ugly, so we cut them down to the ground. Nobody dug them up. It was either because we were too lazy or knew that they might likely rebound. I choose the former. We are very lazy.
Nature did her thing. While this little patch of ferns isn’t as full as it was, it’s coming back, Rebirth is here, with bright fresh colors that I like.
And, that’s nature. And spring. A time to repeat a circle of rebirth from a cold, often dead winter. I never fails to amaze me, although I know it well. I just need to be reminded.
The picture. I saw it. I photographed it. I tinkered with it in post production. But, not in the way you think. The new ferns were looking way too neon, so I tuned them back. A little. One thing to take away. If you see the light that you like from one angle, that’s the angle from which to make the picture.
February, despite being a short month, was packed with stuff. Mardi Gras. Second Lines. A jazz funeral. And, of course, the horrible tragedy at Stoneman-Davis in Parkland, Florida. 17 people were murdered, most of them children.
This will stick with us for a long, long time.
After watching the survivors take control, I have a little hope. Young people helped change the world in the 1960s and 1970s. If you trace our history back far enough, you’ll find that many of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, were somewhere between 18 and 22 years old.
Think about it.
For the first day of a new month, I chose to do a little painting. Well, digital painting. It’s a funny thing. Even though I keep telling you that this is a new style of work, a quick scroll of my Google Archives reveals that I’ve been doing this for about eight years in one form or another. In many way, I should be a lot further along in this journey. Documenting things like New Orleans culture seems to creep back in to my days.
I was talking to a colleague of mine, who said that as we move into our sixties and — hopefully beyond — that it might be time to give up the street. Time to move into other phases of our art. Of our craft. Of our business. I suspect that he’s right. For the most part I’ve given up photographing second lines and staying out for hours on Mardi Gras Day. I attributed that to some health issues. But, I’ve worked through most of those. I actually feel pretty good. Today.
That said, I still can’t seem to return to the street. I dip my toes in it. I make a few pretty good pictures. And, think to myself, “so what?” Yes. I know that the costumes and suits change yearly. But, to my photographic eye, the pictures look the same. They repeat themselves. They look dated even when they are brand new.
I’m in the middle of two experiments to help clarify that.
I’m going to photograph Sunday’s second line. Yeah. I know. I know. But, it’s a children and ladies parade. It’s Uptown. I want to see if I can work it in some different way.
Check out Friday’s Instagram post. Mostly I post in black and white. Friday’s image is monochrome and it’s of an Indian. It’s a very different way of doing that kind of post production process. Maybe the trick is to make pictures knowing that the image file is just the very beginning of a much longer process. That even if it looks good in color, there is a different final image.
In either case, you may not see the results. Or, maybe you will. It all depends.
I was looking at my 2018 archives. I realized that aside from Mardi Gras and a few second lines, I’ve been doing the same thing over and over and over… and hoping for something different. For almost two months.
In some places that’s the classic definition of insanity.
I don’t think I’m a little crazy, but being a photographer… well, you know. Heh!
Even though this the same kind of wintry picture I’ve been making, I thought that I’d stretch myself out a little bit and get back to a little more artistic way of working.
Before you ask, don’t. I just kept adding and subtracting until I got to a place that expressed my mood at the time. A little deep. A little dark.
Did you happen to watch the Florida town hall yesterday? The senator — Marco Rubio — got hammered by the kids, by the parents, by the teachers. One parent flat-out told him that he was weak. Yet, he refuses to give up NRA funding because that represent another group. Gun advocates. The representative from the NRA, who shouldn’t have been there at all, doesn’t even want to make minor changes to the laws.
After sleeping on it. I’ve come to this. We need to flip the entire Congress in November. We need to take the power away from the usual suspects in the House and the Senate. Elect new blood that is not yet tainted.
Once that is done, we must repeal the Second Amendment.
That’s radical. It will take a lot of time. The process is long and usually nasty. Sorry, our children’s lives are at stake. Take away the law that the gun folks hide behind and maybe, just maybe, they’ll be safe. Maybe our future will be safe.
If Marco Rubio wants to keep earning the kind of money that he’s used to, about $172,000 a year, I’m sure there’s a management position for him at a hamburger chain out west. He can probably get pretty good health insurance too.