Drifting.

Drifting. Floating.

It’s pretty much the same thing.

Air. Water.

Does it matter?

It’s gentle.

A good way to start the week.

I made the picture on Sunday. You’ll see it on Monday. Either way. It’s the beginning of the week. For some of you.

I’d tell you more. But, what’s to tell?

Enjoy it for what it is.

But.

For technically inclined.

I’ll tell you a bit about the post production. If you’re old, like me, you’ll know. Back in the good old film days, we used Polaroid film much like we use an LCD today. We took a picture with a Polaroid camera to check the framing and lighting. It was hard to check the exposure. Then, we used a film camera to make the real photograph based on what we saw.

We usually threw the Polaroids in the trash.

Some smart art photographer realized that by pressing the wet Polaroid film onto a piece of art paper you could transfer the image to the paper and make — you guessed it — art. It was tricky. The pressure had to be correct. Timing was essential. Usually you managed to make one out five transfers close to the way that you’d hoped.

It fell out of vogue.

Now you can do it with editing software.

That’s what I did.

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Spring skies.

I looked up.

I liked the sky. It needed a subject. I framed that lone tree into the picture. I never saw the sun. I knew it was there because of the bright highlight in picture. But, the sun didn’t show up in the LCD.

When I developed the image, there it was. A little, tiny circle in the highlight. I helped it a little by toning down the highlight. That’s it.

I was lucky. The sensor saw what I couldn’t. It’s very hard to use a LCD in very bright sunlight. That’s why I mostly use the eyepiece.

I could tell you that I’m a cynical guy. That I always try to look beyond false truths.

Not today.

I’ll save that kind of post for the weekdays.

Instead, I’ll look at a book that just arrived. Not a photo book. A children’s book. Written by Julian Lennon. The oldest son of the late John Lennon. I bought it through his sales agent. Jules signed it.

How cool is that?


Into the sky.

Spring’s rebirth.

A seasonal cycle. Now you see it. Now you don’t. We are at a seasonal point that you can’t help but see it.

If you look at Facebook, the keeper of all infinity, your pages will start filling up with spring flower pictures. It starts around now and lasts for a while as our friends in the snowy north start to awaken from their winter slumbers.

Makes me smile.

Since I only look at my threads on various social media twice a day, I wasn’t aware of the melt down of Facebook and their related sites. Apparently, it got so bad that Facebook had to go to their competitor’s site and tweet about the problems.

So many people were frustrated by the whole thing.

As I said to a friend of mine, it was the best day in a long time. No alerts. No emails saying that somebody commented on one of my pictures. No pop ups from Instagram telling me somebody likes something. Just a pleasant day. A lot of work got done. Not just by me, but by a lot of people.

I suppose the young lady who has a big following, and is an influencer on Instagram, and whose mom was arrested for bribing a USC official in that huge scam was upset. While she lying around on the president of USC’s yacht.  She couldn’t make money while it was down.

Damn.

Funny thing about her. She doesn’t care about college. She makes really big bucks using Instagram. That’s her job.

I’m willing to bet that she hasn’t taken the time to look around and see a place like the one in this picture. Sure. She gets outside. For big deal stuff. But, little stuff?

I’m pretty sure that I’m having more fun seeing stuff like this, than any of the people who were busted. Before they were busted. They seem like a miserable lot. They are too busy cheating.

Many people are blaming the parents, coaches and some colleges themselves. They claim that the kids probably didn’t know anything about it. Yeah. Right. That’s why little miss was cruising around on the college president’s yacht.  Of course the kids are culpable.

One more thing.

I don’t know about you. But, I paid for my schooling. Every time. At every university. I didn’t cheat to pass tests. I didn’t claim to be anything that I wasn’t. I just worked hard.

It’s amazing.

How a pretty spring picture could bring all of that up. It shouldn’t. I’ve known for a long time that the game was rigged. Every game. With every kind of rigging.

Anyway.

Look up. Look down. Look all around. In front. Behind. To the side. See what you see. Make a picture. Make another one. Keep making pictures. Until you are done. If you are really good, it could take you one picture. Or, two. If you are like me, maybe 15 or 20. But, I like to explore the scene. I don’t machine gun. No point in that.

You might make a picture like this one. Or, not. Or, a better one.

But.

There is no competition. Unless it’s with yourself. As they say, help a brother out.

 


Into the night

Another super moon.

I thought these things only happened every so many years. We seem to be having them every few months these days. I’m sure it has to do with the angle of the earth’s rotation, but still.

Not everything has to be super. To me, this is just a big clear moon. I’ve been tracking its rise for a week or so. I’m lucky that I did. Full clouds tonight, from any number of locations. That, and big winds and storms. Another storm blanketing more snow on most of the northern states.

So.

We seem to live in the age of big descriptive adjectives. Everything is bigger and better. I read something about a band. Apparently, their P.R. folks wrote it. By the time I was done reading I was convinced they were bigger and better than The Beatles.

I never heard of them until I read that copy.

Granted, I’m old school, but tell me about them in simple terms, post a link to some of their music and let me decide. Maybe they are the best thing since The Beatles.

Speaking of music, I suppose letting me hear new music (to me) is one reason that I like Spotify. They release something called Discover Weekly. No comments. Just about twenty or so songs. Save what you like. Explore the band’s music. Forget the rest.

And speaking of technology, why oh why does this happen? It’s only Google. One day, I’m humming along. Everything opens and closes fine. Everything is fast. Everything works. At night I put my machine to sleep. All good.

The next day.

Nothing wants to open. Google freezes. Rebooting Google won’t help. By then, it’s starting to affect the computer because it’s slowing everything down. That requires a computer reboot. Apple computers take forever to do that. That lengthens my work day. Oh, and it drops my homepage layover.

It’s always something.

The picture. As I mentioned, I’ve been following this moon for at least a week. It’s fairly simple. See it. Frame it with something that gives it context. Make as many pictures as you need to find the right balance of sharpness. A shutter speed of about 500th/sec and about an f-stop of about f8 does it for me. Somewhere in there. Because. You want to freeze the moon’s motion. And, you want some depth of field. That’s hand-held (in a pinch) or on a tripod (ideal). I’m always working in a pinch.

There is some post production going on. Mostly to bring you to what I saw at the time, with the sun just below the horizon line.

That’s it.

If you’re in a place to chase the moon tonight, have fun.

 

 

 


Like someplace else.

An experiment.

I play around like this every now and then. I make pictures in post production by stacking two or more images. I looked at the picture in yesterday’s post and decided that I wasn’t quite done with it.

I worked on one of those pictures where I pointed the lens up to the sky while framing it with bare tree branches. When I was fairly happy with the results, I added yesterday’s seed pod picture. I placed it in the background and away I went.

You are looking at the result. This was inspired by a burst of creativity. Or, by sheer boredom. I’ll get back to you on that one.

What I really did was take another break from reality. I turned off the news. I only responded to tweets about art. Same with Facebook. Today, when I returned to my usual haunts, I found that nothing had changed. Twitter is still a house of horrors. Facebook is boring because the usual suspects keep posting the usual things. I am enjoying my new NGS connection. People talk about pictures there. They offer constructive criticism. And, they are kind.

I think that’s where you’ll see more of me in the future. Of course, I live here. At Storyteller. On WordPress. And, a little bit on Instagram. These places are interesting. And, they are still fun. Kind of.

In rethinking my rethinking, I came up with an internal question. How much social media is too much social media. The wise folks who claim to know something about building followers say that you should tweet about once an hour. They say that you should post at least five times a day in Instagram. Same with Facebook. I don’t use any others, but I imagine that it’s about the same on all the rest.

If that’s true, I’d better hire somebody to do this. I have other things to do. Like make pictures for all of those places, for clients, and for me. Then, there’s the personal stuff… the really important stuff.

I don’t think that I’ll be hiring anybody soon. It’s important to get my work seen. But, still.

That’s my ramblings for today. I’m not sure why this occurred to me after almost eight years, but thanks for being here. You are a big reason that Storyteller still exists.


A winter sky.

Drifting.

A winter sky. A little branch of something not dormant. A little bit of peacefulness. That’s what I saw. That’s why I made the picture.

It seems that it’s time for a little shift. At least here. On Storyteller. I’m in an odd place.

Tonight, I’m going to photograph one of the first parades of the Mardi Gras parade season. Chewbacchus. With that name you can imagine what it will be like. It’s a walking parade. A downtown parade. A hipster parade.

Let’s hope that I’m motivated enough to actually go. I could tell you about the difficulties of working in The Bywater. Parking. Broken streets. That stuff.  As a wise friend once said, “sometimes, the hardest part of taking a picture is getting there.”

That should cover my whining excuses.

Anyway.

You don’t need a lesson in making this picture. It’s a simple picture. A graphic picture. See it. Frame it. Push the button. It’s a test. I’ll tell you more about that later.

From the fine world of housekeeping.

I finally found a way to sell pictures without creating what amounts to another website. And, with the ability to price my work at the right rates. It’s called The Darkroom. After reading and testing, I think it’s going to be very cool. I’ll add the link somewhere on this page. After that, it’s just a matter of clicks for you. You can look at the work and have it delivered to you anywhere in the world. Even Texas. That’s a joke.

Your photographic art will arrive in a matter of days. Hopefully, you’ll like it. Hopefully you’ll like the pictures with which I start building my collection.


Japonica blooms.

New Blooms.

Wait. What?

It’s winter down here. Just like it is throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Our winter is fairly mild. We get a few sub freezing days. Not that many. We’ve had a long streak of cold fronts and gradual warming for the last month or so. Normal for us. In a few weeks, the weather will turn mild and stay that way. Until mid-May when summer arrives.

That’s the weather report.

My neighbor thought that these blooms were early. She thought they meant a hot summer. They could.

But.

I divide seasons by events. Normally, Mardi Gras falls in February. Sometimes, it’s very early. This year, it’s late. The first week in March. Even when Mardi Gras is early, when I walk to the streets where I like to work during parade season, the Japonica trees are in full bloom. Some flowers may even be starting to die.

These blooms mean nothing when we talk about summer weather. On the other hand, I was surprised when I shouldn’t have been, when I read the baseball’s spring training begins in three weeks when the pitchers and catchers report to camp.

Thank God.

Pro basketball means nothing to me. Football, just a little more. But, baseball? That’s a whole different story. Baseball is about life. The season is long. It stretches from very early spring to late fall. It has its ups and downs. You learn how to deal with adversity over the long-term. Events play out over many months rather the short 17 week season of football. It’s slow. You can think about it. You can study each game. You can learn from your mistakes. If you are watching it at home, on your television or on your computer, there is enough time during the natural inning breaks that you can go into the kitchen and get one of those things you like to eat or drink. It also means that for many of you, the cold and snow is coming to an end. Although the early games played in late March and early April can get a bit cold. So too, towards the end of the season and certainly during the playoffs and World Series.

You came here for pictures. Most of my pictures are about life. You can figure out the connection. Yes?

This Japonica tree is one of the few things that I haven’t documented around here. I see it changing every spring. I think I’ll get to it in a couple of days. It’s one of those scenes that I know I can come back to. It’s a picture in my pocket. That goes on for a few weeks. The flowers are gone. Oh well. Next year.

Not this season.

I photographed it when I first saw the little pods that contain the flowers. That picture went to my Instagram feed. This is the second picture from the Japonica series. I’ll keep doing it until the flowers fall to pieces.

They say that you should live in the moment. That moment is today. This hour. Those few minutes. Live those when the present themselves. You won’t go wrong.

Learning.


Before the big red moon.

Before the big giant red wolf moon. And whatever else.

This picture is representative of what our skies looked like down here in the swamp. Something, huh? I made it during a break in the big football game. That’s all I’m saying about it, except to say that Stephen Colbert lead with it on his show. He continued to use the video of the illegal hit whenever he talked about incompetence. And, he doesn’t really follow sports.

That said, I saw a lot of red moon pictures on various social media. Aside from taking a picture of the red moon, the picture that I liked the best was a picture of a piece of pepperoni stuck on a window. It was funny. It made a point.

Taking pictures of any moon may satisfy your need to document it, but there is no context. It’s just a red thing in the sky, no matter how sharp you make it.

Contest is important. Seriously, the best pictures of the moon to my way of thinking, is one that has something that you can relate to. For instance, I saw a picture made from a cliff. The city lights were below and a person was in the foreground. That said a lot to me. I saw a couple of others that were that were about the same. I knew that in New Orleans I didn’t have a great view from wherever I worked, so I made the best picture I could much earlier in the moon rise.

That’s kind of the big take away. Make the best picture you can within what natural limitations occur. In my case, I really have to figure out how far to walk without feeling too much pain. When I do, I stop and take a break. Maybe, it’s for coffee. Maybe, I just sort of hang out and wait for a picture to appear in front of me. Usually, after a few minutes of sitting I’m good to go for a good while. Then I stop again if I need to. That’s for me. Most of you don’t have my photographer’s condition. I’m pretty sure my work in the old days, when we always carried too much stuff, is a big cause for what I feel today. I often quote Neil Young who said, “The things that make you are will kill you in the end.” He’s right. At least for me.

Speaking of Neil Young, a friend of mine mentioned in an email that I didn’t mention the passing of his ex-wife, Pegi, on Storyteller. My feelings are a little private, as are most of the people in this house. Let’s just say this. Pegi was like an aunt or other mom to many people who worked with her. Not only was she a good musician working in her husband’s shadow for 37 years, but she founded the Bridge School for severely learning impaired children. She and Neil founded the Bridge School Benefit concerts that ran for around 30 years. Neil has a big Rolodex from which he invited musicians who he wanted to hear play. It was considered a huge honor to be on that stage. Musicians, played acoustically and they turned around from the audience from time to time to play to the school’s children who sat just backstage facing the crowd. Some of those shows were hair-raising. David Bowie turned around to the kids and played, “Heroes.” Buffalo Springfield reunited there. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young reunited there at a time much like today, when everybody thought that they’d never play together. Neil chased Norah Jones around the stage trying to get her to play guitar around his guitar.

Memories.

Anyway.

Pegi. Long May You Run.


They said it would come.

The big, huge moon.

I made the picture earlier in the night because I knew that I would have no position to make it when it turned red and wolfish. I usually don’t chase these events down, but I had to. I needed to cheer myself up.

Because. The NFL playoffs were yesterday. If you recall, I said that it didn’t matter who won. I was raised in Los Angeles and live in New Orleans. Those two teams were playing.

Man. Was I wrong.

I started watching the pregame ceremony. I watched Jimmy Buffett sing The National Anthem. Memories started flooding into my head, my heart, my soul.

I remembered moving here. I thought about how I left with Hurricane Katrina hot on our heels. And, how we came back year after year for various events. I finally couldn’t stand it. It took awhile, but we finally returned. That was hard work. We’ve been back for seven years. I may complain about the swamp, but for better or worse, this place is home. We have another house in the north. We go there to work. That’s about it.

I began to root for the Saints. It was a back and forth game towards the end, when they mounted a drive. A Ram defender committed two major penalties — pass interference and helmet to helmet contact — which would have put the Saints in scoring position. The referee didn’t see it. He claimed. That ended the drive. The game went into overtime. The Saints lost.

The city is angry, disgusted and sad. Probably about half the city was drunk. And, not in a good way.

It gets worse. It always does.

The NFL headquarters called Saints head coach Sean Payton to tell him that the referees blew it. They knew it. The twitterverse exploded. People who don’t normally watch football were howling. A NOLA.com writer who I like reading said that her feed was covered in “f-bombs.” Her husband is one of the lead sports writers who covered the game. He was angry.

Maybe officiating will change. It’s been marginal all year. We’ll see.

I needed to take a walk. Clear my head. The all-seeing dog came with me. A guy wearing a Saints jersey said hi and growled at me. He wasn’t happy. I decided to try to stay away from people. The all-seeing dog is very cute. She can’t go anywhere without somebody wanting to pet her. She was fine just walking with me. Mr. Grumpy. I didn’t want to run into other grumpies.

We turned a corner. Oh my God. That big, giant moon was staring right at me. I made pictures. I did some post production, mostly to clean up the file. This is it.

Seeing the moon and being able to photograph it, helped a lot. Seeing nature like that was stunning. Making a picture is always good medicine. I’m still not exactly happy about the game. But, I’m much better.

It’s hard to explain the team’s relationship with the city. It’s not like most other cities. The Saints were terrible for about 40 years of their existence. They were nicknamed, “The Aints.” People went to games wearing paper bags over their heads. Still, they went.

Along came Hurricane Katrina. The first year during the city’s recovery, they played all road games. Sure, they had home field designations, but they played at LSU, they played a bunch of games in San Antonio, Texas. Sometimes they played at another team’s stadium, but played as the home team.

They didn’t do well.

They started rebuilding. They hired Coach Payton. The signed quarterback Drew Brees. In 2006, they opened the newly rebuilt Superdome against their arch enemies, the Atlanta Falcons. They won. In dramatic fashion with a blocked punt and a score. I remember sitting on our couch in New Mexico, with tears streaming down my face. I didn’t think I would get to see that. When they won the Superbowl in 2009, the same thing happened.

The football team is so wrapped around the city’s recovery that I doubt the two could be separated. New Orleans people are that way. That loyal. Recovery and the Saints go hand in hand.

That’s why today was so painful. The team is great. The players are generous to each other and to the city. We didn’t deserve this.

One more thing. I not a sour grapes guy. If I play hard and win, great. If I lose, I learn and move on. I don’t blame others. This time it’s different. Luckily, the moon was there to help me through it.