Dark skies.

W

e listen to a lot of podcasts around here. This morning I was listening to The New York Times’ The Daily. The reporter was talking to a viral scientist. It was a pretty good interview until the reporter asked the scientist when the pandemic would end.

She declined to predict that, but did say that because of all the issues we already know about including the politicizing of the virus, anti-vaxers, freedom complainers, and the general lack of concern about masking and potential super spreader events, the soonest the virus could be managed but not eradicated is late 2022 or early 2023.

Think about that. We have another potential 18 months of this stupidity before we even come close to managing this.

In my other world we started cancelling the first two legs of a four leg tour. It’s highly likely that the last two legs will be cancelled too.

The supernutjob fans on Facebook couldn’t understand why. They claimed everything but the truth, including that the star has breast cancer. A legal note will put an end to that.

When I asked who among them could meet entrance requirements of either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test taken within 72 Hours.

I heard.

Crickets.

And, there you have it. They killed a concert tour and their fun.

Morons.


Bits and pieces.

W

hat remains, indeed.

Clean up continues while I wander around taking pictures. In this case, pictures of floating leaves in a pool that had already been cleared of a lot of storm junk, which brings me to the topic of junk.

When you are sitting around in a hot house at night with little to do because it’s dark and there’s no power, you think.

Most of those thoughts turn strange. Some make no sense in the light of day like ”if I ever get out of here I’m going to kill the first rock I see.”

Huh?

What did a nice rock ever do to me?

Some thoughts make sense. Here’s one now. When I first began my journey on Storyteller, I was advised by people who know more than me that consistency is important. So, I posted every day.

Why?

After taking a storm enforced break, I came to the conclusion that no longer makes me happy. So, I’ll post when I have something to say since it turns out that many of you come here for my words as much as my pictures.

That in itself strikes me as strange but what do I know?

Very little it seems.

Enjoy every sandwich.

.

,


Once upon a time.

H

ere it comes. Hurricane Ida blowing through the gulf. She is expected to make landfall in Louisiana around 2pm on Sunday, August 29.

Something just walked up my back as I wrote that. A kind of chilling thing. A kind of dread.

Because.

August 29th is the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall at Buras, Louisiana.

I had a bad feeling then, and I have a bad feeling now.

According to the NOAA map and cone, at this time it should actually hit about 75 miles north on a line with Baton Rouge. That can change hourly. The barometric pressure is about 1002. By the time IDA arrives the BP will be in the mid to upper 800s.

There will be a very high storm surge since that time of day will host a high tide.

That should not affect us. That’s because we bought this house in a place that has never flooded in NOLA history. It’s located on very high ground; 6 feet above sea level he wrote with a large dose of snark.

We are getting ready, but we are always mostly ready. The last thing we’ll do on Sunday is close the storm shutters.

We aren’t evacuating because of CoVid-19. What good will it do to leave a place that might get damaged to end up on a place that could kill me?

I’ll post again on Sunday. It’ll be short and mostly discuss current storm conditions.

B

elieve it or not, this is a Hurricane Katrina picture. I made it the next summer after the storm.

I came back to sell our New Orleans house which has been flooded by four inches of water that came through a door in the service area.

floor If the people who did the add-on would have built it to the rest of the house’s height, our home would have stayed dry.

But, they didn’t.

I wanted to have a look around. I made my way to The Lower 9th Ward, a place that was flooded by 14 feet of water and is sacred ground because so many people died there.

I was looking for a landmark house. Seeing it would tell me where to to turn.

I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t there. A stand of bamboo took its place.

Nature always seeks stasis.

I

want to talk about one more thing. Mental health. After the storm and the heavy destruction about 85% of the returnees were on some kind of mood stabilizer. Every one and anyone.

Most of us stopped using those meds because we had, in the words of many psychological practitioners, “Situational Depression.”

Nobody thought about our next phase of mental upset. PTSD. Anybody who has been through an extreme trauma can suffer from it. It doesn’t just affect former military personnel.

It manifests itself in different ways. A photographer I know tried to commit suicide by cop. Thankfully, he’s known about town. The NOPD knew him and talked him down. Drinking reached an all time high in a city that is perpetually drunk. There was a very high divorce rate in the first couple of years after the storm.

On the other hand, when we ran into each other for the first time after the storm we’d greet each other with hugs, kisses and dancing in the streets. And, that was just the men.

Me? Only a kind of PSTD plagues me every year about this time. I start getting hyper vigilant. I start checking our storm plans. And, I start getting clumsy. For a big guy I’m pretty light on my toes. In the house, we all are.

Ha!

Let’s talk about today. I started to make espresso. We have big plumbed thing that is a PIA to use so we bought a little Nespresso machine. I noticed the water tank was almost empty. I filled a measuring cup and started to pour it into the tank. I missed it by that much and the water ended up on the counter and floor. I dropped two full cups of espresso on the floor. I went upstairs and walked into a wall. That wall has been there since we lived into the house. And, so it went.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow.


The summer wind blew through the grasses of the season.

A

nother weird week. It seems like death is following us around no matter what we do.

I suppose that’s the way it is going to be until we manage the virus and people are able to think again.

I have no idea what killed Charlie Watts. But, it may illustrate something that I’ve long said. Touring is not good for man or animal.

I don’t care how you do it, your body pays for it. I don’t care whether you drive from show to show in a van and sleep on somebody’s couch or fly private and stay in a private home.

Funny, how a musician proceeds up the ladder. You start by sleeping on someone’s floor or couch. You proceed to cheap motels, eventually moving up to five star hotels and finally back into a house.

This time, it’s a 12 bedroom house in an exclusive neighborhood that a sponsor donated to you for a couple of nights.

Still, jumping through time zones, working an upside down day, eating food — good or bad — at the wrong times, coming down from the adrenalin rush and never knowing where you are, is not good for the body, mind and soul.

Did Charlie’s job play a part in his death? Or, was it simply a matter of aging? Or, was it a combination of both.

Does it matter? After all, dead is dead.

It matters to me. In 13 years I’ll be 80. That sounds like a long time, but where the hell did the last 67 years go?

It happened like a blink of the eye.

It always does.

T

his is my third time around on this post. Once again, the paragraphs locked and no edits or additions could be made.

I did learn something. Up at the top of the page there is a blue “Save Draft” line. Press it and it save the page exactly as it is minus the block edits.

No matter what WordPress claims, the block system is not flexible.

See that white space next to this column?

It came about because I wanted to make the picture larger. It’s a picture that I’d hang on my wall so I wanted you to see a larger version.

That went fine until I tried to build a block there. You can’t. You can’t add another column, or a calendar, or a list of previous posts.

All I know is that programmers are programmers. They have no sense of design or art. It’s all math to them.

That’s why there are so many freelance WordPress coders. The code is so complicated that it takes specialty programmers to create anything different.

Hire one of those folks and guess what? The block system is flexible.

Sheesh.


Out of the blue and into the black.

W

e do it for the stories we could tell, so says Jimmy Buffett, even when we know do that something could end badly. It’s especially true if you are a young teenager. I was 13 or 14 when I did that story telling thing.

I went to a day camp during summer. One day we were taken to a pretty big and wild park. We could borrow or rent bicycles. So, I borrowed one.

All good so far.

We road to a sort of big peak. The ride was gradual, but if we wanted to continue in the same direction we had to ride down a pretty steep path. The chose would have been walk down or turn back. We should have chosen either of those two options.

Oh no.

We just had to ride. Being the biggest idiot among us, I rode first. About 30 feet into the ride I realized there was no braking and certainly no stopping. I made it about 75% of the way down. I hit a surface tree root. I went airborne, then I went side wise, and finally upside down.

I landed on my face.

I was battered and bruised. After a little clean up by one of the camp counselors I looked better, but not much. I was lucky. I could have broken all sorts of parts. I didn’t.

When I got home my mom was horrified. My dad just laughed. He asked if I would do it again.

Yes.

Of course, for the rest of the summer I was called skid face.

Kids can be so cruel.

I was their hero. I did something they were afraid to do.

So there.

A

pologies. If something doesn’t make sense on the other side.

That WordPress programming trick of capturing everything in a block and not allowing editing happened not once, but twice.

If you try to edit, the software deletes whole sentences. The only way to recapture any of it is to revert to a saved version.

But, that only brings your work so far.

So you rewrite whatever you lost.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember sentences exactly. I reconstruct them as best I can.

Do that three times and you have no idea what you originally wrote.

Add to that the newest annoyance, placing the cursor at the start of a sentence even though I intentionally placed it in the middle, and I almost gave up today.

WordPress has to stop this. Even though I said I’d stay here because of the community, I’ll leave if this nonsense doesn’t stop.

I’ll ghost. That’s where I’ll go to a blogging platform called Ghost.


In the air tonight.

W

ell, maybe. I’m referring to the title. After I made yesterday’s picture I got excited and went back out to see what I could see.

I saw the picture you are seeing. Unfortunately, I mostly made vertical images. When I finally saw the totality of the photograph I realized a radical crop was in order.

That’s the version you are seeing.

I just like it’s depth and it feels like I am looking up towards infinity. And, if this pandemic keeps surging it could be a place that a lot of us see for ourselves. Hopefully not.

Which brings me to this. Turn off the news,, all of it. Well, except for sports where I want watch baseball and Formula One racing.

If we continue watching the news at this time in history we will go off the deepest end. There is too much going on, most of it really bad.

This may mean that you ditch social media because everybody and their brother just has to comment on some news item and 2,870,145 other people pile on.

You can’t even get into a discussion about nature without some bonehead jumping in. It goes like this. Comment: “The sky is blue.” Reply: “Well, Biden sucks.”

Enough.

Go hide out for the weekend. Everything will feel better next week.

P

retty soon you are going to give up on me. I keep making pictures that do not require tricky postproduction unless you are feeling particularly crafty.

Once again, all I really did was see it, shoot it.

Expose for the lightest part of the scene and the darkest part will get even darker.

Make it darker in post if you need to. But, it would be better to learn how to make a proper exposure and not need to.

In order to do that, you might want to turn off every automatic function on your camera. Learn how to set the controls after taking just a light reading.

Because.

I have a t-shirt that says, “Everybody is a photographer until…” and an arrow points to the control setting for aperture and shutter speed.

Don’t be one of those everybodies.


Into the mystic.

M

ostly, I say that a picture needs a little post production work to turn into something presentable.

Not this time. What I saw is what you get.

Better yet, I decided to take a little walk because I’m mostly trapped inside. I looked up and there it was. The moon poking through a wisp of white clouds and a bright blue sky backing it.

I made five pictures. That was it. I mostly just moved the moon around in the frame.

When things are right, that’s how my best work comes. Things haven’t been right for many weeks. I listened to a TED Talk by Dewitt Jones. He’s a former NGS photographer who now mostly gives talks. He’s polished and funny.

He discussed his way of working photographically which is to look for the good rather than document or find the bad. I kind of chuckled at that, but thought maybe I should do that. Maybe it would help me get out of this funk.

It did. Making this photograph made me feel pretty good. I don’t know how long this will last, but there’s always tomorrow to make another picture.

T

here is nothing technical to tell you. Just go outside and let a picture find you.

There’s magic in music and there’s magic in photographs. Let the magic come. Let it embrace you.

That’s all need to know.

From a technical point of you, I’ve been trying not to work so hard. I read that there is a new trend afoot.

For years, we’ve been told to capture RAW files. They are like a negative that you can work with in many ways.

Now some photographers are questioning that. They suggest that if you get your exposure down properly you should be able to make .JPEG files that are as good or better than RAW ones.

There is a way to test that easily. Set the capture to both RAW and .Jpeg and see what happens.

I’ll let you know.


Something wild, something yellow.

T

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?

T

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.

That’s good.

We’d get bored if we did things the same way as other people.

So don’t.

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’ll go farther, faster.


Flowers, water, and grass.

U

pside down. That’s what’s happening to my days. I go to bed early, as in early in the morning. I get up late, like around noon. I’m not sure why my body is doing this, but it’s fine with me.

The weather is very hot and humid. Summer in southeastern Louisiana.

Walking during the day is draining. Walking at 3 am isn’t so bad. Nobody is ever out in my neighborhood so I don’t worry about bad guys.

I just have to remember to do the things that are expected, like Storyteller, before I go to bed. That’s kind of the long way of telling you why I’m late.

I mentioned this to friend who suggested that I just go to bed earlier. It doesn’t work that way. All I do is toss and turn for an hour or two.

So, I might as well make the best of it.

Sometimes, I work a little bit rather than read or watch a movie. I have to be careful with that because it stimulates my brain which keeps me awake even longer.

That would be a problem.

A

little magic. That’s what it took to make this image.

There are two images that were layered in such a way that the bottom image almost doesn’t show up.

You’ll be amazed when I tell you what the bottom image is.

It’s pool water that I darkened to the point that it turned greenish black.

Then, I layered those little flowers on top. These flowers, by the way, are smaller than a dime in real life.

I also removed some darkness from the base layer once I had the flowers in place.

That’s all there was to it. Ha!