here is a period in my life when I liked to make very closely focused pictures that are akin to macro photography.
That period started about twenty years ago and continues to this day. Some period, eh?
For me, this work is something like a palette cleanser between other, more gritty subjects.
Of course, I’ve been trapped lately.
Eventually that will change, but nobody knows when or how. When it does I’ll be chasing all over wherever I am, making pictures of anything, of everything.
Because, that’s my magic. My way of contributing. The thing that I know best. These days I feel old, but i’m young. The age thing will go away once I make magic, with light and color.
Then there’s musical magic.
As I write, I’m listening to an album called, “One Night Lonely.” Mary Chapin Carpenter did a live streaming show from Wolf Trap. There was no audience except remotely. It’s her and her guitars. She doesn’t talk, but she plays for two hours.
She’s doing the same thing that she did when I rediscovered her when she was playing songs from home.
Like James Taylor, she’s doing what she did back then, bringing me peace. We could all use a little bit of peace just about now, right?
his picture is about seeing. For sure, the yellow caught my attention. But, the details took some seeing. Or, luck. Photographers luck.
You make that kind of luck by being there. By being present. By focusing. And, by emptying your mind for just a little while.
I have a routine to do that. I’d tell you about it, but you may want do it differently. There is no one way. There is no right way. There is no wrong way.
We’d get bored if we did things the same way as other people.
I see so many derivative pictures on all social media. There is a saying among new photographers, “Fake it until you make it.”
That’s a saying from AA for newly sober people who are struggling to do what sober people do until they understand it.
It applies there. It shouldn’t apply to someone making pictures.
Stop copying. Stop faking. Start experimenting. Start being you.
You’ve heard it before. Stop and smell the roses. I did that. I also made this photograph. It’s my version of art.
I made it soft, dark and velvety. This image makes me want to touch it. No worries. I didn’t. I like to make pictures, not touch things.
Which brings me to this. Somehow.
The CDC issued a new directive. No masks with few exceptions as long as you have been vaccinated. This confused me and just about everybody else including some very highly thought of doctors.
For some reason I’ve lost my faith in the CDC. This directive just doesn’t sound right. Until Orleans Parish relaxes the mask requirement, I won’t be walking around barefaced.
Ask The New York Yankees about this. They have seven staffers and on player isolated because of positive tests after being jabbed. They call it breakthrough contagion. Call it whatever you want. It means that there is no certainty of anything pandemic related.
It seems that everybody is rushing to open up far too quickly. I have a bad feeling about this.
Meanwhile, on Facebook, everybody is cheering.
The damn block system won’t let me edit to fix typos. Damn is not really the word I’m thinking of but this is a family blog.
If this keeps up, community or not, WordPress is going to drive me away.
Get close I always say. Fill the frame I always say.
I took my own advice and did that. I worked so closely that the purple background is really a bit of another rose.
After that I made sure to keep a little separation in processing.
There you have it. A rose.
Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty, Wear your mask, Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Ignore the CDC. They’ve become politics over science.
Does this ever happen to you? You see something in a dream and then, there it is in real life. That’s how I came to make this photograph.
My dream was weird and wild — as they often are — but toward the end as I was waking up I was enveloped in this purple cloud.
That’s all the I remember of the dream.
The final scene got stuck in my head. While we were out walking I started looking for a purple flower, something that I could photograph closely.
Two days later I found it.
I actually worked it as if I were photographing something for an assignment. I made a lot of pictures which reminded me of something a friend of mine said. She was on assignment for a regional magazine. They wanted one picture. She said, “So, of course I took 300.” I replied, “That’s all?”
You know me. No machine-gunning. No spray and pray. Work deliberately until you know that you can’t do anything more. Work until your explorations can go no farther.
I didn’t make 300 pictures to get to here.
Stay safe. Stay mighty. Be patient. Don’t get stupid. Listen to scientists. Enjoy all the purple.
This photograph. This very one. I really like it. I could see this on our walls.
I told you how I found and why I was looking for it.
Here’s a how I processed it.
The picture is soft and delicate right out of the camera, er, phone.
It was also pretty purply as a RAW file.
So, all I had to do was make sure that it stayed soft and sort of gauzy.
To do that, pull the structure slider back rather than push it forward. That action is the same on Snapseed as it is using OnOne.
That’s the same way that I soften skies to make subjects in the foreground.
If you recall, I just sort of figured it out. You also know that I discover “new’ things about ten years after everybody else did.
I look at the work of a lot of painters. They’ve been doing it for decades, maybe centuries. I just didn’t know it.
Maybe if I would have taken those art appreciation classes seriously.
Between friends. Friends who are photographers. We talked about this and that. Then, we started talking about how we move from the photographers that we are to the photographers that we want to be.
We are all photo veterans. We probably have about 175 years of experience between us. We all seem to want to make pictures that are art, but our individual art. We are still figuring that out.
Then, I read a long Instagram post by a photographer who is a mentor. He was reviewing a book. Every picture was soft. The pictures were a little sharper than mine, but they gave the subject matter a very artistic feel. He loved it. I loved it.
The one thing that I’m sure of is that try as I might, I can’t make you see what I saw and feel what I felt. Your view is your view. You gain that by your years of experience. I can influence it a little, but that’s about it.
The search within continues on. I believe my word for the year is learn. That sort of slipped by the wayside in 2020. I know you know why.
I worked with my baby Leica throughout the summer. Since I wasn’t photographing enough with it I just saved the summer on one card. I finally processed it this morning.
These pictures were made earlier in the summer.
First, I did what I always do and made normal work. I started thinking about how I could change things up. I used manual focus. I intentionally let these three picture go out of focus. Of all the images that I made at the dusk turning to dark night I like these best.
This picture is not part of my summer collection. It does show a summery plant. Foxtails. They only catch my attention when the wind is blowing. That also makes them a little hard to photograph. Timing is everything. Hand – eye coordination is everything. Seeing what’s happening in the background matters too.
That said, this picture really and truly is the result of luck. Photographer’s luck. Don’t think I’m being overly modest. It takes years of practice. It takes the ability to see. It does take some hand – eye coordination. It takes some mechanical skill. Photographer’s luck is really just shorthand for all of that.
Which brings me to last Sunday’s mini-rant.
It started again on Facebook.
The author in question books are not selling well. She changed one cover in order to stimulate sales. Now, the cover and the content make no sense when paired together.
This thread lasted all afternoon and jumped to another thread, where she mislead the commenters by asking if indy books made a difference when they selected a book. That was never the question. I did say that for the most part I found many indy books poorly written and edited. I wouldn’t know that unless I started reading them. I don’t judge books by the cover. Our moms taught as that when we were about five years old.
Rather than beat this horse to death and tell you about every reply in the thread, let me tell you that her last statement was the most telling. She said that she thought that authors who were paid advances and had all the marketing support a good publisher can offer, weren’t all that good. I wanted to reply, “Jealous much?” I didn’t. Instead, I posted this.
“All art is autobiographical.” “All meaning is made by the viewer.”
This little project may come to a quicker end than I originally thought.
I have no idea what this means to me. I’m fairly certain that it’s not autobiographical. It’s a little peaceful. Neither my work or I, thrive on a steady diet of this. I’ll work toward building a little portfolio of this gentle style, but it’ll have to be dovetailed with other work. Personal or professional.
Even with this picture, I did a little tinkering. Not so much that you can tell. But, the first two images of the series just looked too muted to my eye. So, I brightened things up. Just a bit.
You know that saying? “Sometimes the hardest part of taking a picture is getting there?”
Well. We didn’t get there. We ate too much heavy Russian food. “It’s a Wonderful Life” was playing on the television. Everybody was full. Happy. Very lazy. Nobody felt like driving 50 miles upriver to look at the bonfires. Besides, it was like 72 degrees at bonfire time. What kind of winter is that?
Sheesh, we turn our air conditioners on to celebrate Christmas. Instead of pristine quiet, we have the rattle and hum of running motors.
So. I walked around the neighborhood and took pictures of where I live. I’d love to have a white Christmas. With snowy pictures. But, I live in a semi-tropical place. Besides, if I lived in a cold climate I’d just complain about shoveling the driveway and slipping on the ice. It’s always something.
These are the pictures that found me. Gold. Blue. Pink. No white.
Yesterday the high temperature was just above 80 degrees. The humidity is way down. The air seems crystal clear. Except in the morning when a lot of fog was floating around. All of that is great.
But, it makes me lazy.
I was supposed to take more pictures than I did today. Mostly, I just wandered around the yard taking pictures and playing with the camera. Little experiments. Little tests.
These pictures came out of the camera about looking as you see them. No big modifications in post production. Mostly, just a little clean up. You know that I’m not one of those guys who proclaims, “I DIDN’T USE PHOTOSHOP” like it’s a badge of honor. I use all the tools available to me. I just wanted to see if I could do this stuff in the camera simply by manipulating the settings. Remember I make RAW files. I don’t use the camera’s JPEG settings which deliver a pretty well processed picture.
I did that. Everything in camera. Using the onboard camera tools. And, my brain. My biggest fear is concerns software that compresses pictures for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. It’s like using a three-pound mallet to hammer in a tiny finishing tack. Generally, it flattens and darkens the picture. That’s why I make pictures as bright and energetic as I do. By the time those sites compress the color and contrast it looks about right when you finally see the pictures on your computer screen.