All the warm colors.

H

ere’s the deal.

When I sit down to write this stuff I am at peace. A few minutes later I am as agitated as I can be. WordPress makes this so. I’ve pretty much had enough. I’m going to try an end around.

That’s different from a work around.

I don’t want to do any more work arounds. They are really a waste of time. Instead, I’m going to take up WordPress on their offer to use one of about ten different website templating companies. Some are free. Some are a hybrid. And, some are expensive.

Basically.

Very basically, you overlay their template on the WordPress blocks and work there in any way that you’d like depending on which software you choose. I can actually make this blog look like a website. That’s always been the goal. I cannot achieve it using the current blockhead system.

Working this way you don’t have to be a coder as you do working directly with WordPress if you want to do something creative. You just drag and drop as you do with some of the website in a box companies.

Stay tuned.

Watch me melt. Or, not.


Square tree in the mist.

Starting the week in peace is the way it should go. Busy is fine. Chaos, not so much.

Unfortunately, Mondays are generally chaos. All of the people who didn’t need or want something last week, want it now. Immediately. At once. On their deadlines.

That’s been happening. A lot as the world starts to wake up again.

I’ve gotten a little smarter as I’ve gotten older — some would dispute that — and I schedule projects in realistic time.

When blowback hits as it always does, I ask the complainer if they want the picture good. They say, ” I want it great.” My reply is simple. “Another day.”

Sometimes that what anything takes. Another day. To test. To rework. Te experiment. To sleep on it. When it’s ready, it’s ready.

After all, I’m not a photojournalist on some skin tight deadline. I create stuff. Sorta. Well, most of the time. Oh, okay. Some of the time.

I think that’s how it goes with a lot of our tasks. We try to do two or three of them at one time. You know, multi task. How does that go?

I don’t think we are built that way. Our minds don’t work that way. I can think on a number of levels at once, but when it’s time to actually do the work I need to focus. On one thing. At a time.

How about you?

Trees in the sky. I want them to pop. It’s not necessary for everything to be sharp.

So, the softening technique seems to be the right tool for this approach.

That means that some of the work is done in Snapseed and imported into a big machine so I can also use OnOne. I do that even if I made the original frame with a big camera.

Often times, the only thing I need the heavy duty software is to implant the metadata. I can do everything else in Snapseed if need be.

This is about the last time that I’ll be able to photograph bare branches until next winter. I made this picture a few days ago. Walking by it a few days later revealed some little leaf buds on it. Spring.

That’s good. Time may be flexible but nature isn’t.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. You all know the rest. Enjoy all of your time.


Time is lost.

All the time in the world. That’s how numbers felt early in the pandemic. It was flexible. It stopped and started on its own. Many people felt that way, especially people like me who lost both businesses in the short term.

Timelessness did produce one huge thing. People got creative. People experimented. Some folks even found out that we didn’t need to work according to hide bound procedures.

New found creativity produced something else. Offices emptied out, some never to repopulate again. Mass transit systems were not overflowing, which caused an issue with monetary support. This list is endless.

Importantly, at least for people who like music, small venues closed their doors. Others just flat out shuttered. Not only have people lost their livelihood, but music will have a hard time recovering.

Small venues lead to medium venues, which lead to sheds, which leads to arenas which lead to stadiums. Bands learn how to be, how to talk to an audience, how to deal with hecklers.

Want proof?

The Beatles. You may have heard of them. Do you think they arrived at Shea Stadium fully formed without starting small? They played church events, they played high schools. Then, they started playing clubs like the famous Cavern Club. They went to Hamburg, Germany, where they played four shows a day, six days a week. Hard work. Young men learning.

When the time was right, they broke out.

That’s how it works. Sure, a band can build an audience via streaming. They can go out on the road and play. If they start out too big when they weren’t ready they can burn out. They’ll lose confidence and fans will lose patience.

They say a building is only as strong as its foundation. Well, there you have it.

Watches. A long time ago my dad thought that he wanted to repair watches. The work was precise but it wasn’t physically demanding. He took classes. He did a kind of internship. He stopped. I have no idea why. I was too young to even notice.

I have all of his watch making tools and broken watches. I started photographing them a long time ago. This is one of those images. It is a tiny file so I hid what I could and called it art.

As you know, I’m getting bored with nature. I’m also not inclined to be around other people. I may start photographing his tools and watches again.

Hopefully, I’m a better photographer than I was 15 years ago.

This picture looks stretched and contorted because the file is just too small. I can fix that next time around.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Don’t waste time, it’s all we have.


The sound time makes as it passes by.

I slept really late for me. After a pretty bad Saturday, I awoke at a little after 10 am. The house was already very busy. Dog food was making. Laundry was washing. Breakfast had been eaten.

After Friday nights horrible news I was convinced that I would be really out of sorts for a couple of days. I wasn’t. The sleep did me good.

I’m actually sort of peaceful.

Yes. I’m worried about how RGB’s seat will be filled. If the Republicans rush to fill this seat after blocking Obama’s choice they will be as fake as I’ve always thought them to be.

If Biden should happen to win, I would fully support the idea of packing the court. After all, fair is fair.

All I know right now, is that we have to work as hard as we can to prevent 45 from winning a general election that is about six weeks away.

I’m not talking about just the presidency. I’m talking about down ticket candidates, like the senator from Kentucky. He needs to go.

I’m also talking about state leaders right down to some city councils.

Enough is enough.

Nature’s way.

The picture. That’s what you came for. Right? This is a case of being outside at the right time. It’s also a case for running as fast as I can with my metal hip and impacted spine.

It’s also a case of photographer’s luck. Five minutes either way and I would have missed this.

I’ve seen post storm skies in the past. Often they are dramatic. Because of the way that I work at home, I often miss them. Sometimes, I just don’t have the right angle to see what the sky is doing. Sometimes, I just forget to look.

This time I had the angle and I remembered to look.

I didn’t have to do much in post production. I did darken the picture to bring out the colors. I did not have to bring the them up artificially. Nature really did her thing.

A small victory in a year of massive defeats.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your damn mask. Enjoy every boiled crawfish.


Don’t wait till the break of day.

The better of me.

I went through a battle yesterday. Of course, battles these days don’t mean what they once meant. It was almost eight hours on the phone. By the time that I was done I wasn’t sure if I won or lost. I think that I won. I’ll know in a couple of weeks.

I’ll let you know.

It’s nothing to really worry about. I’ve been in worse battles. Ones ,that when they were over, you were happy to be in one piece.

So.

Let’s talk photo discussions

There are two fairly acrimonious fights going on in two very different photography groups. In the photojournalism group, old guys like me who believe we are reporting news and should not stop making pictures to ask for consent. Our pictures are our truth. The other group believes that we have a moral imperative to ask for permission.

It seems that they photographers who believe in consent are all younger men and women. It seems to me that ageism has raised it ugly head, especially in light of their comments.

In the other group, which is one of the Andy Flak groups there is a discussion which might be worse. Andy is a the worlds greatest photographic cheerleader. It’s the same sort of allies, young against old, men against women. Unfortunately for the group and me, it’s gotten to the point that one group is made up of progressive reformers. You know the ones. You’d like to support their theories and actions, but they are so damn unhumorous that every inch is a slog.

I have a friend like that in New Orleans. When I’m not hurting I have a blast when I’m photographing New Orleans cultural events. You know, the Mardi Gras Indians, second lines, and Mardi Gras, itself. Every time that I see her out on the street, she is frowning or looking very unhappy to be there. Luckily, I know her off the battlefield (that’s what the Indians call it) and she is funny as she could be.

I haven’t been jumping into these discussions even though I have about 40 years of experience not only making photographs, but managing photo staffs, working with in the industry to affect change, and speaking out for artists rights.

Then it happened. A woman called out another poster as being sexist for saying that she didn’t have a sense of humor. Since when did humor become equated with gender? Musical Miss has a brutal sense of humor. So does my sister. When they are together you don’t dare walk through the room in which they are sitting. If I have to walk through that room, I just say that “I’m sorry,” even though I didn’t do anything. I keep going.

All I can say about that is don’t get two little women together. Settle down. It’s not what you think. They are both 5’1″. They admit to being little.

Anyway.

I responded to this woman fairly aggressively. I rarely do that on social media. It follows you. I wanted to know how humor became sexist. She replied with a long kind of academic post. I replied very simply, “Those who know, don’t talk. Those who talk, don’t know.”

At the end of the day, both groups want a seat at the table. Just don’t call me an old white colonialist to get it.

That is very disheartening to me. I always thought that at my age, I wouldn’t make so many pictures. Instead, I would teach and help new, younger photographers to grow and be the best that they could be. I get to do some of that here. I suppose I get to compete with them. You know what the say. Young fox, old fox. Old fox always wins.

The picture

This is the last flower image processed with my own recipe. As I said to one of you who commented on another picture, I just stick my camera (or phone) into the center of things. I didn’t say that I let auto-everything doe its thing. I guess that I should have.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every lox and bagel.


Until the end of time.

Until the end of time.

That’s what this picture feels like. I made the post production match my dreams. I really need a city to do this properly. I have some old cityscapes that might fit the bill.

Some dreams I have, eh?

They say that dreams are about some unsettled issue, or an answer to a question that you didn’t know you were asking. In my experience, unsettled issues are always part of life ,so I think it’s the unanswered question. I still don’t know the question.

Mostly, I till don’t know why the interpretation of my dream seems so bleak. I have some ideas, but I’m not ready to share them.

Anyway.

The picture. It started out as one of my power line pictures. I added another, flopped them and started in the sky. The original sky is perfectly pleasant. Along I came to destroy it. I worked back and forth a little until my vision became a reality. I made one version that took the changes beyond this. That’s a picture for another day. That’s truly until the end of time.

 


More like a summer dream.

Like a dream.

Summer arrives like a dream.

Even though we are five days from Summer Solstice, and the longest day of the year, those of us who live in the south have had summer-like weather since some time in May. We had a few cooler days, but for the most part we feel the heat of 90 degree days. And, we are moist from the humidity.

Even though I seemingly jumped the gun, I didn’t. You understand.

The foreground of the picture is composed of summer weeds and leaves. It is photographed against a background of almost pure bokeh. The out of focus part of the picture. Everything is backlit.

That’s it.

I made a picture of a dream.

I think.


Changing time.

Time. It’s really all that we have.

The changing of seasons reminds us of that. In some places it sort of comes like a knife slicing through butter. In other places, it lingers for weeks until it finally sneaks up on us. The leaves are gone. The air turns cold.

That’s what this picture is about.

One day my dog was sniffing in the grass. The next day she couldn’t find the grass. Now the leaves are gone. The grass is brittle with cold. Some grass is dead. Some is hardy and will make it through most of our kind of winter. It doesn’t smell the same to her.

I don’t have the sense of smell that she does. But, I can see. That’s what I do. I see. I react. I push the button. I come back to the studio. I try to help you to see what I saw. To feel what I felt.

Sometimes I’m successful. Often I’m not.

That’s the way it goes.

It went that way for me yesterday. I received an email from the folks who run the black and white contest. If you recall, I offered them one of the best pictures of my career. The black and white version of Big Queen speaking to the media with photographers surrounding her. I’d like to report that it won something. But, no. It wasn’t even considered for anything. One of the best pictures of my career wasn’t good enough for anything.

What does that say about my career?

As you know, I’m going through some soul-searching. Some of it is about technical issues like websites, blog sites and how to best access my archives. Some of it is about me. My work. My continued work. It is true that I have earned a good part of my living from my pictures. I always wonder if I am sort of a fraud. If it came too easy.

A few days ago I mentioned that writing this blog on a daily basis came easy to me. I talked about my mental and emotional practice. It may come easy because it is all worthless. Often, the trial of doing anything equals the quality. Maybe, I’ve been fooling myself. And, you. Maybe not.

I don’t know.

The black and white contest posts the winners today. I’ll have a look. Maybe I’ll look and laugh. Many of these contests are popularity contests. Some are not. We’ll see.

Oh. One more thing. If I want to make WordPress the sole provider of my work, that’s easy. A few mouse clicks and I’m done. I’m done with Squarespace and GoDaddy. What remains to be seen is if I’m able to turn Storyteller into my commercial site with the blog as part of that. I’m very capable of learning. I believe life-long learning is the key to staying young. It may even curb dementia. On the other hand, I don’t want to be forced to do anything. I’m too old for that silliness. If I have a choice between learning to code for WordPress and — oh let’s say — playing the guitar, the choice is fairly simple.

By the way. Spell check wants to turn GoDaddy into Gordy. Hmmmmm.


After a storm.

A friend of mine said that music exists in a time and place.

He wrote that as part of an acknowledgement to the death of Marty Balin. Who is he, you might ask? He was one of the founders of a seminal band in the middle 1960s. They were called in various incarnations, either Jefferson Airplane, or Jefferson Starship. They were way ahead of their time. Today, probably the only two well-known songs that you never hear on radio is “White Rabbit” or, “Somebody to Love.” You might know the Starship’s work a little more.

That got me thinking.

Pictures do the same thing. They exist in a particular time and place. If you went through almost 50 years worth of my work you’d see style changes. You see my move from black and white film to color film photography and finally, to digital color capture. You’d also see something more important. You’d see the change in my subject matter.  And, the pictures would reflect me. Me, at a certain time and place. Because, all art is autobiographical.

That’s the truth.

Now, in my time, I’ve legally retired from my business.  The Feds were informed. My health insurance changed. They are starting to give money back to me. Money that I’ve earned over the years.

That doesn’t mean I’m done.

The biggest news is that I’ve managed to secure a two book deal. With a real publisher. Without the angst that so many of my writing and blogging friends seem to feel. It was fairly easy for me because if you do this work long enough people seek you out. And, I have no expectations.

Some authors tell me that they’d rather self-publish so they control their work. Control is overrated. Distribution is king.

Without the help of a real publisher very few people see your work. Sure, you can build a community. That’s why so many writers blog. It’s also why WordPress is primarily a writers framework. That, for WordPress, is where the money is.  It’s also why any publishing success within that framework is limited. A few people break out, but note that word. A few. Near as I can tell, less than 1%

All of that written, I have plenty of work to do.

In a few days I’ll be invited to show my street work in a gallery show. I have three smallish stocking stuffer books to complete. Those need to be finished by the end of October, for potential Christmas sales.  And, there is the huge issue of my archives. I’m building a mechanism to easily locate my best work, my best seconds and thirds. That is my estate. You know why.

That’s my story.

I won’t stick to it. Things always change.

The picture. Oh, I made it after a bunch of storms passed on a day when we had to dodge rain drops in order for dogarito to get her walks in. If you look deeply, you can see the reflection of the sky, of trees, but not of me. The rest was easy. Mostly, I darkened the image to bring out the colors. That’s it.

I’m listening to Jefferson Airplane. Even though I’m writing, I have to pause as images of my youth come into my mind. Man! I miss those times and those people.

Unfortunately there is something to any old saying. You can never go home again.