All the blues and greens.

B

efore you ask, and I’m glad that you might, I’m good. I’ll stay on the lookout. As they say, no news is good news.

B

ack to my band of the hour. I’ve drenched the house in their music. They are very, very good. They may be one of the few “new” bands that I’d actually go see. They are touring, so you never know… as long as I don’t have to be in the audience.

A

bout that. You know that with my CLL I cannot build any immunity from my vaccinations. That limits me and that doesn’t make me very happy.

Well, well, well… along comes a new drug called Evusheld which combines two monoclonal antibodies. It is given in two injections.

This could be a game changer.

Isolation stops. Street photography returns. I can actually be around people that I don’t know well. You have no idea how happy this makes me. Now, if I can just get my oncologist to prescribe it. I don’t know why he wouldn’t. But, doctors, you know?

B

lue and green. I like how the colors work together. I like the shapes that are found in this photograph. They are jagged like broken glass. You never really know how pictures combine when they are layered until you see it. That’s why there is so much back and forth when I make this kind of art. It takes some time.

Just like many things I suppose.


Driving, photographing, waiting.

A

nother drive by shooting. Well, sorta. I was waiting for the light to change looking at the traffic in front me. I had an ah ha moment. I turned off the windshield wipers to let the rain water accumulate. When there was enough water I made a few pictures. The light turned green and down the road I went.

As some of you know, sometimes I put the camera on the dashboard while the car is moving and let it do its thing while I have both hands on the steering wheel. But, never in the rain. Too many bad things can happen. I need total concentration.

I started reading the news today. All of it was bad. Really bad. Sure, news organizations report bad news. But, this is extreme. My biggest fear is the new variant. I can see how this is going to go. I really don’t want to live in my self imposed lock down forever.

I see something else too. Remember how some people attacked Asians because they thought CoVid19 is a Chinese infection? Well, this variant apparently started in South Africa. Think about the ramifications of that.

Racism to numbers unknown.

This is a chance to show each other and the world what we are made of. Likely, we’ll show everyone that we are made of gutter trash. At least Trump isn’t president with the ability to stir things up.

I think we need to stay cool, think before we act, and to always stay mighty.


On the inside.

The greatest story ever told. Maybe not the greatest, but very close. I’ve been looking for more upbeat thoughts. I heard one yesterday. A friend of mine said that his wife had stage four cancer. Note that word. Had. Usually at that point it’s all over but the funeral.

Not this time.

Somehow she was given the wrong chemo. Somehow. Mistakes are always made in hospitals. Some of them life threatening, some not.

In this case the mistake produced wonderful results.

After months of fighting this thing, her scans showed no trace of cancer. What was predicted to kill her was gone. Chemo treatments will continue for about a month to make sure that her cancer stays gone.

In 2020, with everything beating us about the head and shoulders, this is truly a miracle. My friend was so happy that he told people that he didn’t know. It put a smile on their faces, just as it put a huge smile on mine.

Hopefully, it’ll put a smile on yours.

The picture. If the picture looks more like spring than autumn, that’s because it is a picture of spring. I wanted something light and happy to match my words. Sorta. It’s an older archive picture. I made it durning my days if living in New Mexico. This rooting around in my archives has reveled many images that I’d forgotten about.

You’ll see more tomorrow. Something about roads and New Mexican light.

There is a trick to this picture. Expose for the dark leaves so that the back leaves are blown out and made pastel. Once you’ve done that everything falls into place.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your masks. Enjoy every burrito.


Black and white study.

As a young man I studied all of the classic black and white masters. Weston. I read his diaries. Adams. I learned his exposure system. Strand. I studied his composition. The list goes on.

That’s what we did back then. No. We didn’t copy them. Instead, we looked at their works in books. We went to museums. If we were lucky, one of their shows appeared at a local gallery. So, we went.

Today, it’s a little different. You can find everything you want online. That’s good. And, bad. It’s a great reference point, but you can’t see the texture of the print. You can’t see the depth of shades of gray from pure white to the deepest black.

For so many new photographers seeing the work online is good enough. Worse, they are told by a lot of online photo gurus to “fake it until you make it.” That would be fine, but what they are really saying is “find a picture that you like and copy it.”

That runs across the grain of everything I was ever taught. I was taught to learn from masters, apply it to your work, but make it YOUR WORK. I’m pretty sure that copying an exact work runs counter to copyright law as well. But, that would mean the image was fairly complex with clearly defined characteristics. Most of what new photographers are trying to copy is fairly simple. Work that anybody could do.

The picture. I saw the rock laying in between the roots of a Texas Live Oak. I never arrange subject matter. I’m fairly sure the rock didn’t just happen that way in nature. Somebody, likely a child, put it there.  No matter. That’s how I saw it.

I also saw it in black and white. It’s been a long time since that’s happened. I work in color. I see that way. Not this time.

I’ve long said that Storyteller is an experimental place. With its new redesign, two of the four days work has been in black and white. Hmmmmmm.


Shadows make the picture.

Sticky days and very hot nights.

I’ve noticed that I don’t see a lot of my neighbors. There’s a good reason for this. Everybody is tired of our super sticky days. With the last storm, the humidity has increased to almost unbearable levels. I call it a four t-shirt, three shower, day. They stay inside where the air conditioners are working overtime.

Whew.

So. I make pictures where I can and get excited thinking about fall-like weather. A time when I can roam about without feeling like I’ve been through the rinse cycle.

In a way, that’s what this picture is about. I saw it. It didn’t look like much the first time that I passed by. But… the next time, late afternoon shadows were encroaching on the scene. The picture turned interesting. Now it was ready. So was I. Yes. I helped it in post production. Everything needed to be deeper, richer and glowing.

That’s the photography lesson for the day. Be patient. I suppose that’s the unspoken lesson every day. You know. Study, practice, study, practice, study… that’s another way of saying work hard at what you do and be patient.


Graphic shapes in nature.

Shapes.

In nature. I could try to make the same ones. I wouldn’t come close. It’s best that I just make photographs of what I see. And, show them to you.

This is a walking picture. With the dog who sees things. The light was wonderful. Strong and low, with deep shadows. I stopped and made the picture. What else could I do?

There isn’t much more to say. The picture says it all.

Except.

You knew I had a little more in me.

I haven’t made a picture like this in a long, long time. I haven’t really seen this way in many moons. Once upon a time, a young designer called me “The Dean of Clean.” That’s how I saw. How I made pictures. Even how I design. I see to have gotten away from it a little bit. Since I’m reworking my website yet again, it’s time to remember who I am. Clean design. Not too many pictures. Certainly not enough to overwhelm the viewer.

Minimal. On point. Clean. Clear.

 

 


The pool needs cleaning.

The picture really isn’t about the pool. Or, the water. Or, even the leaves. It’s about the shapes and the color. It’s also about what I did in post production.

Debra at http://breathelighter.wordpress.com found my cropping interesting. So, I thought that I’d talk about it. A little.

When I was a young photographer, back about 150 years ago, I mostly worked with Kodak Tri-X black and white film. Like many faster films of the era it was grainy and lacked resolution. We learned to crop in camera so that we didn’t have to crop and enlarge in the darkroom. Later, I moved on to color transparency film. Slide film. While there were some great films at the time, most of us would agree that it was better to fill the frame with the subject that you wanted. Cropping radically wasn’t usually a good idea.

Along came digital photography. Originally, file sizes were small. Then they grew. Bigger. Bigger. Bigger. At the time, the digital gurus mostly talked about image quality.  Of course, somebody figured out that if you had a huge file size, you could crop when you didn’t succeed in the field. For many consumers that meant their shooting got sloppy. And, sloppier. And, even more sloppy.

In addition to machine gun spray and praying, many people didn’t really pay attention to the subject. After all, they had a bazillion pictures from which to select, AND they could crop in on the subject.

Arrrrgh. You know what I’m going to say about spray and pray. I’ve said THAT about a bazillion times. But, cropping. I think that you should fill the frame with you intended subject. You might have to trim the edges if you work in an uncontrolled environment like the street. Besides, from a quality standpoint, when you crop to get to the subject the picture looks flat.

Or.

You could make a very radical crop as I did today and yesterday. I do that mostly out of a need to shape the page. Digital or print, sometimes the page needs direction. And, given that WordPress isn’t really a photographer-friendly place I sometimes need to game their system and make pictures big. Real big.

By the way. This picture. It started out as a horizontal frame. Not only did I radically crop it into a vertical picture, but I flipped sideways and upside down so that so that the stairs lead to the water, which lead to the leaves. I would not do this with a photograph that was more “real,” as in a human being or a recognizable scene.

There you have it. A little lesson for today.


Reworked ornamental cabbage.

It’s one of those things. It was inspired by the local newspaper, which I rarely read. And, by their website, which I read daily. There was a piece about “seeing food differently” in their food section. It was about a photographer who takes close up pictures of fresh food. He is, apparently, making a splash in New Orleans. It’s big time art.

Oh boy. Wow.

I did the same thing about a decade ago when I lived in New Mexico. I stuck some lights on the end of a macro lens and made close up pictures of fresh food for a stock photography request. They weren’t licensed for much money per picture, but they did sell in volume. You can find pictures similar to them in every stock photography library around the world. Just Google them. You’ll find thousands of them.

Either those of us who took them were well ahead of our time. Or, the young millennial reporters don’t know very much. And, these kinds of pictures are art to them. I’ll go with the later since I’m pretty sure they haven’t studied enough about the history of anything to realize that there is very little new under the sun.

One would think that this would give artists of my era a head start. You’d think that. But, no. Many millennials are also ageist as hell. It’s like the work we did years ago never even existed.

Oh well.

Speaking of age. I’ve just gotten older. Today. On November 21st. Yep. My birthday. For a while, birthdays didn’t matter. This is not one of those big years. But, for some reason this one seems to matter. I have an idea why…

The pictures. The bottom one is very close to the original take. It didn’t need much help because I lit it properly in my studio/kitchen. The top picture is one of my current experimental approaches to making photographs worse. It’s more-or-less how I see things now.

Oh yeah. In case you are wondering. You can’t eat this cabbage. It’s called an ornamental cabbage. No matter what you do, it is as bitter as can be. But, it is very pretty. After I photographed it, I planted it in the ground. It looked great. It probably still does.

As it really was.


Looking West.

Sunsets.

Everybody loves them. Me too.

But, I don’t often photograph them unless there is some special quality to the light. There are a couple of reasons for this. For most sunsets, I’d rather just enjoy them. And, look at them, often thanking my lucky stars that I’m on the planet at the same time the sunset came into view.

The second is more earthbound. Everybody shoots sunsets. Google sunsets. You’ll see. I’d like to try to do something a little different. Usually that happens in nature. I have very little to do with it. But, I can pick and choose.

Finally, if the sunset looks pretty good, I turn around. That great dusky, warm, yellow and red light is illuminating something. Maybe that’s the best picture. Of course, you have to be in a place that interests you.

Sometimes I’m not. Mostly, I’m not.

Then, I look for a graphic shape to be a counterpoint to the light. That’s what I did this time. Since the picture isn’t about the tree, I let it fall into silhouette rather than trying to open it up and allow the details to emerge. It became an arrow pointing to the real subject.

The sky.