The wheel.

T

his is it. The very first one. The very first experiment in layering. I made this picture in 2010, in Albuquerque, New Mexico on my kitchen table.

According to the EXIF data, I made it with an iPhone 4, in December. That means the weather was cold and there may have been snow on the ground.

Normally, that’s not a good reason to stay indoors. Albuquerque doesn’t get that much snow so the city doesn’t own the usual snow plows. Often, you get trapped indoors until the snow starts to melt.

Anyway, I must have been a little bored so I did some experimenting. I’ll get into that on the right hand column.

The subject matter is two items. An indoor fern and a box with watch parts and a razor blade.

For a while my dad played with watch making. He thought that he might like to do that as a job. He’s like me. Either he didn’t have the patience or he lacked really fine motor skills.

So, he gave it up and put watch parts, repair tools and some broken watches into a tool box and into the closet it went. Many years later, I found it in the same closet.

I didn’t do too much with it until that cold December. I opened the tool box and thought, “Wow! I could something with this.”

So, I did.

W

hen I started working on this picture, I had no idea where I wanted to go. For sure, I didn’t know what I was doing.

I know why I photographed the watch parts. I have no idea why I photographed the fern.

Anyway.

Somehow an idea formed in my brain that I could use both of the pictures together.

I didn’t know it, but that was the start of my adventure with layering.

As I recall, I didn’t do much of it for a long time. I started playing around with archive images.

Before I knew it…

This layering is relatively simple. Layer the fern over the watch parts. No adjusting because I didn’t know how to do it.

I did do some finishing work using OnOne yesterday, but that’s it.


Indian.

The stuidity must go on.

Who in their right mind designed these grids? You cannot even do the simplest of designs with the block(head) system. Where I come from pictures don’t float around on white space for no reason. Pictures stay about a pica apart. I know. What’s a pica? It’s a small measuring unit. It comes from when you actually had to print ink on a page.

I’m pretty sure that from now on you’ll see one picture from me a day. It’s not that some subjects don’t need more images. It’s that I’ll be damned if I’m going to throw away everything I learned in school and in the real world to accommodate some new kind of nothing.

At the end of the day, if WordPress can’t give me some relief, this will be the issue that drives me away.

I have a comment from one of you to which I haven’t yet replied. Essentially, he said that the page looks terrible in Reader which may or may not be the way most of you see Storyteller. I rarely use Reader, but I’m an old guy. That said, it comes down to whaddya want from me? I didn’t design this stupidity.

Pictures

Before I discuss them, why oh why does the first letter of a word move to the back of the word when you use a drop cap. Leave the damn thing where it supposed to be. In the front. Pictures is spelled p-i-c-t-u-r-e-s, not i-c-t-u-r-e-s-p.

Whew.

Once again this is a test. It shouldn’t be a test of the design, but rather the pictures. These older pictures have a new life, except that I’m really not sure how the color palette looks on humans.

What do you think?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Keep your distance (Think motorcycle rally at Sturgis, which has given the U.S. 250,000 new cases of the virus). Enjoy every waffle.


Like a painting.

A little experiment.

I was building my new and improved website and I was uploading a lot of pictures. That took some time. To help pass it, I started playing with older pictures. You might not recognize it, but you’ve seen this picture in the past, when it was bright magenta.

I started in one direction and realized I hadn’t used a couple of photo editing tools in some time, (time is a reoccurring theme today) so I started tinkering with them. Eventually, after many, many attempts, I arrived here. I added the frame and that’s how you see it.

Uploading and downloading large batches of RAW or Tiff imagery, does take a little time (There I go again) no matter how new and powerful your machine may happen to be. I like to fill it, (time) by doing something else. In this case, I was more-or-less practicing and experimenting with image modification software.

But, once upon a time…

I used to play a lot of computer games. I wouldn’t call myself a gamer, but I wasted a lot of time. One day the lightbulb went off. “Why not do something more meaningful,” I thought.

So, I did.

I started teaching myself Photoshop. It has a really steep learning curve. Some say it takes about five years to learn completely. Once I started I realized it wouldn’t take five years because there are some things that I’ll never do. It did take a while.

Doing that gave me the basics and a little more to understand what I was doing. Eventually, I started using a new software package called OnOne. It couldn’t develop RAW images back then, but that was one the company’s big goals.

Once OnOne became a potential RAW developer I left Photoshop and Lightroom behind. Who wants to pay $9.95 per month for the rest of your life?

Today, my workflow is simple. I download and cull in Photo Mechanic and finish in OnOne. You can use both of them forever unless you want to upgrade. Actually, Photo Mechanic upgrades are free.

Oh, Photo Mechanic is software that a lot of photojournalists use. It’s fast, easy to use and you can edit a big take in probably less than 30 minutes. I lot of my friends suggested that I try it. I kept putting it off, until one day…

I should listen to my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


A range of motion.

This wasn’t today’s picture. At least it’s not what I planned.

I thought that it was a little too bleak for a Sunday picture. I read a lot. Especially on Sunday morning when I have a little more time. I probably shouldn’t do that.

There was a story that appeared on Twitter with a link back to it. I know. I know. Twitter. It may be one of the meanest places on earth.

I followed the link.

What I found made me horribly sad. The story was about a ten-year old boy. A cute little guy. He had a butterfly bandage over his eye. His lips were swollen and cut up. He had been bullied in school.

That’s bad enough. What happened next was truly horrifying.

He killed himself by hanging.

Where does a ten-year old boy get the knowledge of how to hang himself? Sure. You might see it on the tube. But, you don’t see the technique.

A whole host of questions came to mind.

Where were his teachers? Where were his school caregivers? Where were his parents? How does this stuff happen?

I stopped reading Twitter. I stopped reading news stories for today.

We’ve got some errands to run. I’ll watch some baseball. Yankees baseball. Eventually, I’ll recover. For today. There’s always tomorrow. Hopefully, I won’t get stopped in my tracks again.

The picture.

That’s why you came here. Even though we’ve had some glorious spring days, there are others that are cloudy and a little bleak. Today is one of those days. There is rain in the clouds. It’s about noon as I write, and the temperature is at its high of 49 degrees.  No wonder the dogs are lazy. They don’t want to go outside. But, because I publish every day, I have to make a picture. In this case, I made the original picture. Then I removed the color and made it black and white. I layered it over the original color image. And shifted it slightly. You are looking at the result. A bleak picture. One that suits my mood. Today.


In the neighborhood.
In the neighborhood.

Wandering around. Again.

I made this picture on a day when a storm broke. When the heavy clouds were lifting and the scene was getting a little bright, sparkly and shiny. It’s a cemetery in Uptown. For those who are keeping score, it’s a Jewish cemetery.

But.

This post isn’t about the subject. I like working in cemeteries. Just about everywhere. You already know this.

No. This post is about the next step in mobile image processing. This is about processing RAW files on whatever your portable happens to be. Apple made a big deal of saying that their iPhone 7 or 7s — I forget which — would be able to shoot and process RAW files. But, you had to download software (an app). And, the software isn’t ready yet.

Oh.

I don’t care what Apple does. Eventually, they may change photography again. Just as the smart phone pretty much killed the mid-market point and shoot camera, this might kill the consumer market for dslr cameras. At least for most consumers and some prosumers. But, not for those of us who make our living from our work. I could not imagine showing up for a job and saying to the client, “this is what I shoot with,” and holding up a phone. I guess some younger guys do it. But, I’m not a younger guy.

Anyway.

That doesn’t mean I won’t use the portable tools that are found on an iPhone or iPad. For instance, Snapchat. With their latest upgrade, they added RAW processing. Now we’re talking. For now it’s complicated. For instance, I took this picture with a dslr. I uploaded it to Apple Photos, which for me is another form of cloud storage. It appears on all my computers. From there I processed it on Snapchat, using their RAW processing engine. They also added text in that upgrade. So, I added my copyright symbol and I was done. Since I really do like working on a big computer, I just picked up the finished picture from the Apple Cloud. And, here it is.

I suppose that once the software is available for the latest iPhone the process will get easier. Shoot the picture on the phone. Ignore Apple’s RAW processor and just work in Snapchat. Who knows? A technology win.


On the sidewalk outside of Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop.
On the sidewalk outside of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop.

Outside of Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop
Outside of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop

Experimental. These two pictures are even more experimental than usual. I made them as sort of a test. Why would I do such a thing? Well, I could go on and on about pushing the boundaries. About trying to learn new methods and uses of our ever-changing technology. But, all of that would be just words. The truth is, as with many things, it’s about money. You know. Follow the money and that’s where the truth lies. That sort of thing. I’ve had a number of potential clients ask, through on of my agencies, for pictures that look like Instagram pictures.  Oh great. Just great. I shoot very rarely with my iPhone because I think of it as a sketch pad and not as a tool. And, I’ve tested Instagram but don’t really understand the point. Yeah, yeah. I know a lot of talented photographers use it to build audience share. I suppose I should do that too. But… Well, for one thing, it has yet to be proven how audience share translates into business or sales. For instance, a musician can have a million “likes” and still sell six records. So?

Anyway, I was returning from someplace else, when I thought, “why don’t I try to make a higher quality version of the basic Instagram premise?” Thinking to myself can be dangerous. Sometimes. So, I sort of blew through the crowd standing outside of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which is really a bar. Then I turned around and it did it again. I kept walking. I held the shutter release button down while keeping the ISO pretty low. I made a total of three passes. The young man and woman in the foreground of the bottom picture figured out what I was doing and just sort of held their poses. Thank you.  Then, I did some post production and you see the result. I’m not sure if it’s Instagrammy enough. But, It’s a start.

Why not just shoot with my i-Phone and use Instagram? Two reasons. The first is their contract and TOS is odious. They seem to think that they own the content that a photographer makes. That’s not going to work for me. Two, I just know what’s going to happen. Some client will use a picture like this online and it will be fine. Then, he will want to use it on a print product like an advertisement. And, the finished work just won’t hold up. There won’t be enough pixels. There won’t be enough of anything to enlarge properly. Yeah. That’s pretty old school. But some quality issues never change. You know. GIGO. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Oh yeah. The place. Lafitte’s Blackshop. Jean Lafitte was a pirate who hung out if the gulf, pirating things. Somewhere down near Barataria. There is even a little town named after him. He helped General Andrew Jackson win the War of 1812 by teaming up with Jackson in The Battle of New Orleans, which was really located in Chalmette in St. Bernard Parish. He used to make his way up to New Orleans to work in his so-called business. A blacksmith shop. This blacksmith shop. Or, so legend has it. But times change. And so did this building. It is now. — wait for it —  A bar. Once it was old and run down. It looked the part. New owners came along and turned it into the Disneyland version of the original.  It was popular with tourists once. Now it is popular with a hipper, younger crowd. I guess the new owners achieved their goal. As I wrote to a friend in an email. Life is change. Change or die.