I found this picture while I was looking for something else. That’s sort of the way I make pictures, on the way to some place else.
The funny thing about the picture is that the subject doesn’t exist. Not anymore. It was a designer’s idea as part of the landscaping of a new venue.
The venue is all angles and made of metal. I suppose bamboo made a nice counterpoint, but the it was planted on the hottest side of the building in really dry soil.
I photographed it the day it was planted. Two weeks later the bamboo was dry and starting to die. Two weeks later there were broken stalks and little more.
Eventually the landscapers got around to clearing it and planting something else. Some of it succeeded. Most did not because they planted it too close to the artist driveway. Big touring trucks rolled over it again, again.
o, while I was working on this post I was listening to a new record by Los Lobos called, “Native Sons.”
It’s all covers.
That doesn’t sound great does it?
But, in their hands the songs are better than the originals. Better yet, I can sing along to most of it.
I can’t sing the two Spanish songs which is my fault for listening to my teachers in high school. They said take Latin. It’ll be fun and prepare you for college.
I never once used Latin in college, but I could have spoken Spanish in a lot of places.
Sometimes pictures aren’t really about things so much as they are about what they make the viewer feel. I was playing around with layering when suddenly I smiled. This picture was on my monitor. It helped me feel lighter.
I was talking with a friend of mine about what art in general did for the viewer. We’ve all long known that the viewer makes the meaning no matter what the artist does. The viewer brings his or her entire life to a piece of art.
I have an idea why I like this picture. It’s a fantasy. With my dreams lately this picture just pulls me into it. The yellow on the bottom half of the picture doesn’t hurt. Yellow is a brightener in more ways than one.
Yellow ink is how printers who work on big commercial presses brighten an image without being overt. Yellow paint is a sure way to brighten a room. The yellow color spectrum is known to brighten people’s moods.
And, the blue?
It’s in the right place in the picture. It feels like it’s in space. It’s a good place for the eye to wander to after looking at the heart of the picture.
I could say this picture is almost perfectly designed except that it wasn’t, at least not be me. It just sort of fell into place.
That’s how I know it’s right.
I made this picture from three different layers.
The first is the bare beaches of a tree that has not yet shown its new leaves. The sky was milky with a light overcast so it made a great background.
The balloons were added next. I wanted them to be the subject of the picture rather than the branches, so I dropped the blacks out of the branches and worried about the color of the balloons.
Next came those floating globes of light. They were created out of whole cloth using an app that I rarely use. It’s a little too much except in certain cases like this one.
Once everything was assembled, I fine tuned it and I was done.
All the yellows of the day. There’s a song with that line in it, but I can’t remember it. Not Kodachrome. That was “greens of summer.”
There’s a little place by the sidewalk that I can be sure to find dandelions. Every year. Right about now. I don’t know about you, but they make me smile. Once they start blooming I know spring is here.
Along with wildflowers, we set the clocks aside early this morning. I don’t know who got the idea that it had to be done at 2am. Nobody I know does that. It’s either before bedtime, or when they stumble in the door after a Saturday night out.
Since very few people go out right now I suppose it’ll be the former. Or, maybe I should just speak for myself. Maybe that’s all I should do. Heh.
This is another of those scenes that I photograph every year. At least this time I found a different way of looking at it, and a different way of editing it.
That’s something, at least.
And, it’s a nice Sunday picture.
Stay safe. Stay mighty. Have a good thought for the person who taught me this. She’s very sad. A death in the family.
Johnny’s Garden. That’s what it reminds me of. The name is a title to a Stephen Stills song.
The story as I know it goes something like this. After his big success with Crosby, Stills and Nash, he moved to London and leased Peter Sellers old house. Or, Ringo Starr’s house. It came with a gardener. You can figure out the rest. Either that, or he watched a movie with about the same plot.
With Stills, you never know.
I saw the scene. I found a way to photograph it a little differently than I had in the past.
It was in development and editing, where it really took off. That’s the entire story of my own Johnny’s Garden.
I wrote a fairly long post about me. I think I went a lot further than I intended. So, here I am writing something entirely different. It’s about teaching and letting go.
Many of my posts are purely about photography. My intent is to teach even if I don’t expressly say that. Sometimes, I teach by example. Sometimes, I tell you how I did something. Sometimes, I talk about theory and philosophy.
Hopefully, something strikes your fancy and you try it. Maybe you’ll ask more about how, why and what I did. Sometimes, I see a picture that looks just about like something I posted or talked about. I just sort of smile.
All of that is humbling.
I learned a lesson yesterday from some folks on Facebook. I was reading comments on a group page. If someone disagreed with another a big fight ensued. They attacked each other personally. It made me sad. The people in this group should be pulling in the same direction. Of course, disagreements happen, but throwing the kitchen sink at another person never helps.
Whenever you offer advice to another person, keep in mind that it is their life. They can choose to follow your advice or not. In either case, give your thoughts freely and walk away. You’ve done your best. For you, that should be good enough.
The picture. This is what happens when a cool front chases slightly warmer air. First, there is rain. Then comes wind. More rain. Then beautiful blue skies appear with brilliant white puffy clouds cruising through. My approach is to shoot directly into all that brightness and let the foreground fall into silhouette, making a dramatic graphic shape.
You may be inspired by the thought of making a fall picture. You may go about it in a different way. How cool is that? Your brain switched on and then clicked again. You made your picture.
I participated in a couple of events today, so I’m a bit late posting. No matter. Those that I honored are late every day. Or early. Depending on how you look at it.
After a quick scan of Facebook, I saw about a million posts of flags. And, crosses. And, memes. So, as usual, I wanted to do something a little different. I offer these flowers to our fallen heroes.
Two things about service member heroes. Today’s honorees are the only ones who you can legitimately call heroes. It is for those who died in combat. I’m still amazed at the numbers of posts that want to thank a vet or a service member. There are days for that. Today is about those who never made it home. Full stop.
“Daylight again. Following me to bed. I think about a hundred years ago.
How my fathers bled. I think I see a valley. Covered with bones in blue.
All the brave soldiers that cannot get older. Been asking after you.
Hear the past a calling. From Armageddon’s side.
When everyone’s talking and no one is listening. How can we decide?
Do we find the cost of freedom. Buried in the ground?
Mother Earth will swallow you. Lay your body down. ” — (Daylight Again & Find the Cost of Freedom) Stephen Stills
The Picture. Morning at the National Cemetery at Marietta, Georgia. It was established in 1866. It is closed to new burials — unless one has been previously scheduled — because it is full. The owner of the land, Henry Cole donated the land for use by both the Union and Confederate forces. That was not to be. Both sides declined. Eventually a compromise was reached. There are remains of 10,312 Union officers and soldiers interred here. And, the ones who came later. The Confederate Cemetery is about a half mile away. It was established in 1863. The remains of some 3,000 Confederate troops from across the southern states are buried, there.
The songs. Stephen Stills wrote “Find the Cost of Freedom” first. It became the ultimate concert closer. When Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young), closed with this during their encore set, you knew the show was really at an end. They would sing the song and very softly say “goodnight.” Stills wrote “Daylight Again” well after “Find the Cost of Freedom” as sort of a prequel. The two songs eventually became one.
For the past few days, we’ve had nothing but storms. Rain. Wind. Humidity. Truth be told, we haven’t really seen blue skies very much over the past few weeks.
Today came. It always does, doesn’t it?
We went outside to begin a morning walk. I knew it was sunny. What I didn’t know was that a cool front followed that big storm. I stepped outside. Temperatures in the mid to high 60s. Nice breeze. Dry air. No rain. No humidity.
Ah. What a day.
This is going to be a partially written off week. First, the storm shut us down. No electrical power. Now the beautiful weather is going to shut us down. Who really wants to work on a day like this? I know that I don’t. That leads me to a story. Once, in my newspaper days, I called my boss and told him I couldn’t make it in today. He asked, “Oh, aren’t you feeling well?” I replied, “I feeling too good to come into that place today.” He answered, “Have a great well day.”
There you go.
I have lots of very good storm pictures. Maybe I’ll eventually get around to showing them to you. Maybe not. I do know this. Showing them to you today would only confuse you. And me.
Have great day. Wherever you are.
Oh. In case you are wondering. I don’t usually carry dslr cameras when we walk. This is an iPhone picture. I don’t know if that matters. It doesn’t to me.
So. I couldn’t take it anymore. After being house bound for just a few days cabin fever set in. I just had to get out of the house and make a few pictures. Luckily, my head cleared a lot and I felt better than I have in days. She did too. In fact, she was mumbling something not so pretty about the house under her breath. So, off we went. As much as I like working in New Orleans, I wanted to head to the country. I wanted something a little different. And, once you get outside of New Orleans a few miles, you leave the funky Caribbean third world country in which we live and are magically transported to the deep south. Everything changes. You find yourself in farm country. Or, in some very industrialized area. But, it’s all rural. You find yourself slowing down a bit. You take your time and you eat in gas stations. Well… sometimes. When we finally got hungry, we found an ancient grocery store. It was sort of a combination grocery store, hardware store and fast food restaurant. It is so old that it had wide wooden planked floors that were worn shiny from all the people who shopped there over the years. Even though it was sort of late for lunch, the counter lady was happy to feed us — as long as all we wanted to eat was po’boys. That was just fine. I’m glad that’s all she could make for us. We ate two of the best po’boys made anywhere, at anytime, by anybody. I was ready to split a third. That was, until we realized we probably be parked in a ditch somewhere sound asleep. Nothing like eating too much for lunch.
The day. Wow. It was wonderful. A big storm moved through the area yesterday and last night. The air was clear. I’d like to say it was crisp too. But, with the temperature in the high 80s and the air being very humid, nothing is very crisp. However, the day was sunny. And cloudy. And, there was a little rain. All in one. That made a pretty special day. So special we stayed out for about six hours even though we planned a short, maybe, two-hour day trip. And, we feel pretty good so we didn’t tire ourselves to the point of making ourselves sicker. I’m pretty sure it did us some good.
The picture. Well, I’m sort of teasing you. It captures the feeling of being on the road. Yes. Even for a day trip. It’s one of my usual drive by shootings. But, it’s a good lead into the rest of the pictures which I’ll publish over the course of the next week. Oh yeah. It’s brand new.
In case you are wondering, the green belt on the left is the levee. To the left of that is The Mississippi River. The road is State Route 18, also known as River Road. By the way, there are two River Roads. One is on the Eastbank. This one is on the Westbank. If you ever get down this way, you should drive them. Aside from the rural-ness of the area, it is also plantation country. Many of them are still standing and are restored.
So. I went out looking for one kind of picture. I came back with this. What’s a young photographer to do? Or, an old one. For that matter. The picture? Walk around and find it. When I did. I made a few frames. 158 to be exact. I got my shoes wet. And, I almost slipped in the mud trying to get to the picture as I envisioned it. This is an example of the old saying, “If the picture isn’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” Robert Capa said that. I won’t tell you what happened to him next.