ometimes I forget the work I’ve already done. If you recall I wasn’t posting everyday. That didn’t mean I wasn’t making new pictures and working on others.
I was. And, I forgot about it.
I was looking for something else when I stumbled upon a little group of pictures that I had forgotten about.
This is one of them. Well, three of them to be precise. They are layered and combined. I’ll get to that on the right side.
Questions. I have questions.
After reading the testimony of the former Facebook employee and their crash the other day, I’m thinking about giving up on their products. There’s more to that. Facebook is pushing those of us who post our still photography into posting videos.
I’m not a videographer. I’ve made two videos in my lifetime. They are unedited. One is just a bit of Hurricane Ida as she blew through. The visual isn’t much, but the audio is terrifying.
That said, I’m not posting videos anywhere. That’s not what I do.
The reason to stay with Facebook/Instagram is to show my work. I have a place for that. Right here. Oh, for sure, I get likes and hearts and a few comments. Mostly, from my friends.
Originally, many years ago, I thought that it could be a marketing and sales tool. That hasn’t worked out. So, what’s the point?
I can be found here if anybody wants to find me.
What do you guys think?
he work. That’s what matters. Doing it. Practicing it. Do it for long enough and you might get good.
That’s one reason that Storyteller exists. There are a lot of other reasons, but that’s one of them.
As I wrote over there, this is image is layered and created from three photographs.
There was an adjustment phase because not all of them were the same size or shape.
Once that was completed, I adjust for density first, and color second.
I tinkered with them to sort of smooth them out.
Then, I published them right here, on Storyteller. As if you didn’t know that.
By the way, the title is a title of a song by the same name recorded by Roseanne Cash. Sometimes, I steal — er — borrow things.
I’ve said in the past that I wished that I could paint. Before you tell me that I should try, I have. I have paints. Brushes. Paper. I’ve taken classes. Workshops. One on one learning. I have good hand — eye — coordination. For whatever reason, I can’t paint.
My failure is simple. Like newbie photographers who want to learn to take pictures with “the ten tips that will make you a great photographer,” I want it now.
I want to reach the level of my photographic work.
I forget how many years and how much time I’ve spent being a photographer. They talk about the 10,000 meaningful hours that you put into a thing to get really good at it. For me, that’s just getting started. So too, with most of my brother and sister photographers.
Find your voice. You can get good at a thing from a technical standpoint. You can make pictures that can compete with anybody else’s from a technical and compositional standpoint.
That’s not enough.
There is the emotional and spiritual something that makes your pictures stand out from all the rest.
That’s not limited to photography, although that’s what I talk about.
Think about music. Think about guitarists. Think Eric Clapton and Joe Bonamassa. With all due respect to Bonamassa fans, he can’t hold a candle to Clapton. I’ve watched them play on the same stage. On “Further on up the Road.” Bonamassa is fine. He plays good lead guitar. He plays good fills. He is a technically excellent guitar player. Eric Clapton puts his heart and soul into his work. It shows. He plays lead. He plays fills. He inspires me in a way that Bonamassa can’t. Maybe it’s me. I’ve been a Clapton fan for 50 years. I barely know Bonamassa work. There’s a reason for that.
Back to my work. This work.
This is my attempt at making a painting, when I don’t have the technical skills. It’s my watercolor. The work is done on the computer. There are probably ten versions of it in my archive. This is the one I like best. It’s simple. It strikes my minimalistic chord. I tried other colors. Blue works best. It feels natural. There are trees added to the original image. They wrap themselves around the main tree. I could hang this picture on my walls. I like it just that much.
A time in nature, when greens are still green and summer hasn’t officially arrived.
The time in between.
I am fascinated with Asian art forms. Something Chinese. Or, something Japanese. This picture sort of crosses the border. Between.
Make no mistake. It was a photograph first. I started tinkering with it. I tinkered with it some more. Eventually I went backwards. I made it lighter. Gentler. Almost wispy. I came to this place. I took it a step further. It was gone. So, I back tracked. Here I am. I added a frame because it was drifting all over the screen. I changed my watermark from white because… well, you know.
This is a very early version of my digital experimentation. It’s from a time when I wanted to make a photograph look like something else entirely. Like a watercolor painting. I added some more stuff to it. And, there you have it.
This is old enough that the original exposure was made on film. For me, even the original slide worked because it gave the viewer the same sense that I had at the time when I took the picture. Crowds. Swirling Color. Energy. Motion. And, for a Westerner, a lot of confusion.
Giving the viewer a sense of something. How it feels. Being there. Isn’t that what a picture is supposed to do?
Oh yeah. I bet you want to know where it is. The wet market in Central. Hong Kong. China. I took it from the “Travelator.” The world’s longest escalator. On the way home.
One more thing about the original version of this picture. For a time, it was published everywhere. In travel magazines. Travel sections of Sunday newspapers. Brochures. Even a vertical billboard. I suppose it had an iconic feel to it.
First, you’ve looked at all of these scenes. As photographs. Sure, I tinkered with them. Some. Usually, I would use software called OnOne. It just helps to complete my intent.
Yesterday I receive an email from another image manipulation software called Topaz. I played with their software many years ago before I finally settled on my present software. In both cases, they are simply packaging layers that can be created in Photoshop. I can do some of that. But… it’s really time-consuming. And, as an old friend of mine once said, “Photographers are painters in a hurry.” Who has time to keep building layers by hand? Sheesh.
Anyway, Topaz created some new software that supposedly recreates real brush strokes in all sorts of styles. You can use if for free, for a month. Cool. I thought. I’ll test it. Because… well, you never know.
It’s pretty easy to use. Pick a style and just push a button and the software reads and responds to whatever it “sees.” But, that got boring really quickly. Besides, I had absolutely no control over anything. That was, until I noticed this odd looking button that had a slider Icon. I pushed it. The whole world opened up. Or, something like the whole world. I pretty much could modify anything within a certain genre of painting. So, the first picture started out as a representation of Van Gogh’s style. Then I messed with it. Now it’s a Van Gogh-Laskowitz. Well. Mostly a Van Gogh.
I’m still not sure about it. Whether I really like enough to pay for the software when my 30 days are up is questionable. Even if it is the greatest things since sliced bread, I’m not sure how much I’d use it besides to amuse myself. I’m pretty certain that I don’t have any professional applications for it.
Well. If the truth be told, this image is ALMOST the last picture I made in New Mexico. As I recall, the move to New Orleans began on a Tuesday. By the previous Saturday night, I was feeling a little blue about leaving. Even though I had gotten a little bored living there, the state had been good to me. It provided a calm and healing atmosphere to recover from the chaos of Hurricane Katrina. But, it was time to go. I needed to make one more picture before I left. So I turned on the music real loud and drove out to Los Volcanoes Road. It had become my go to place when I wanted to make a “country” picture. And, it is only about 12 miles west of Albuquerque on I-40. Short drive to a far place.
Anyway. I had one of those nights. I made a number of good pictures. This is actually the first of the last. This is how dusk looked when I arrived at my place. I’ll show you that last picture tomorrow.
I think what I like most about this picture is the sky. In New Mexico you can see rain falling from far away. Often, the air is so dry that the rain drops you see in the sky never hit the ground. What else? The picture looks like a water color and I didn’t “help it” in post production.