You’ll never guess the name of this flower.

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earn something new every day, they say. I did. I learned the name of this flower from a friend of mine who’s lived here forever.

Care to guess?

It’s an Okra blossom. I never noticed any pods, but even if I had I wouldn’t have known what I was looking at.

I always thought of the bloom as a pretty, fragile, little flower.

But, I never knew what it was.

One of these days I’m going to learn more about flowers than, “This is a yellow flower, this is a red flower… ”

This post has taken all day to write. Business got in the way. Then, Wal Mart got in the way. In an effort to keep me healthy we started using their home delivery service.

It’s supposed to be simple, it’s anything but that. Deliveries go to wrong addresses, the order might not be complete, the driver gets lost while she is standing in front of the gate.

Last night the thing turned weird. Wal Mart sent me two emails saying sorry for the delay, we’ll let you know when it is coming. The groceries are supposed to be here between 7 and 8pm.

Nothing.

Yesterday morning at 6:20 am, they sent me a list of what had been substituted because they were out of stock. This is supposed to mean that the delivery will be made within an hour.

Oh no.

I finally arrived this morning, after cancelling the original order, calling customer service four times and reordering everything. Only 36 hours late.

They forget that customer is king. The CEO of Wal Mart has an Instagram account. Guess what I did? I wrote to him outlining these problems. Then, I wrote to you.

Safe yourself some grief, don’t use Wal Mart’s delivery service.

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alking by, I saw these flowers. They usually bloom during late spring and last through early summer.

Okra.

I suppose if I tell some young millennial chef about it, he or she will use them in place of the real thing.

Hmm… deconstructed gumbo.

There is not much to making this picture. Find the angle, frame the scene, push the button.

Back in the studio, I processed the image and cropped it. That’s what I did. Nothing more.

Sometimes, being simple is better.

That reminds me of an ancient saying I learned at least 150 years ago.

“Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.”

That applies to the many things that we all do.

Ever get in a rush and nothing goes right? Slow down, you’ll get more done.

Getting more done, if you aren’t working until the early hours of the morning, is very affirming.

For people who are like me and are built to work it’s essential.

It may just be the start of pulling me out of this funk. That is, working until all hours of the night and getting things done that I want to get done.


Inside out.

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hen I awoke, I was feeling confused. Something was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.The feeling passed. I let it go.

It came back when I started working. I still couldn’t place it.

I played some music. Music is magic. I takes me to other places. It inspires me. It centers me. And, if I’m lucky, it clarifies my thoughts.

That’s what it did.

I don’t know why I selected an album called “Age of Miracles,” by Mary-Chapin Carpenter. The backstory is complicated. It was her first album after leaving Columbia. It was her first album after she recovered from two pulmonary embolisms. It was the first album after her divorce.

I don’t listen to it often because she seems confused. She’s trying to break free of her country reputation, yet she falls back on it. She does sing one of the saddest songs in the word called, “I have a need for solitude.”

But, it caught me. I realized what I was missing.

And, it made me very sad.

I’ll work small to larger. You’ll understand. And, you’ll understand this picture.

I miss Sophie Rose terribly. We have other dogs, but Sophie chose me. I was her person. I feel like I let her down. I know that I didn’t. After a lot of reading, it’s very possible that she had been coming to her end for couple of months. It was just her time. But, that may give me a pass, but it doesn’t feel like it.

Then, there is my CLL, a blood cancer. It likely will never do anything terrible to me. But, it limits me. My CoVid-19 vaccinations do nothing for me. That means, no festivals, no second lines, no Indian events, no Mardi Gras.

If that isn’t depressing enough, we are back to wearing masks because our infection rate, like most of the country has grown by about 150%

Being in my condition of combined illness, sadness and depression makes it very hard to work. I can’t seem to let a picture find me and I can’t work. I have all sorts of projects that could take the rest of the year or more. You’d think I’d be excited to get started.

What do I do? I sleep.

When I finally start my day, I find everything to do but work.

In a word, it sucks.

I wish I knew the path. Maybe I’ll get lucky and stumble onto it. I doubt that. It’s bigger than letting a picture find me. It’s all of me.

Writers give advice about being authentic. Is this authentic enough?

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or us, down in the swamp, late summer is already approaching. It’s gotten hot. It’s turned dry.

Stuff is dying.

I took a walk with a couple of the other dogs. They need walks too. I was looking for a picture. Or, was open to letting one find me.

No pictures because there is no color. The flowers die in the heat.

It’s also hard to stay motivated because after five minutes you are too hot. After ten minutes your shirt blooms with sweat.

The dogs felt it too. They were ready to turn around after they did what they needed to do.

So, that’s the technique. Walk until you can’t. Make a picture of whatever you see and return home.

The picture suits my mood.

In that way, I suppose I was successful. Or, not.


Wonderful color, wonderful smell.

There’s nothing like Jasmine in the morning. You smell it before you see it. It’s like perfume for the outdoors. It is found all over the South and north until — well, I don’t know.

The little yellow flowers don’t last long so I recommend that when you see them you just stand there and smell your fill.

They may not be there the next day.

Sort of like life.

They say that, “He who hesitates is lost.” How many times do you, do I, have to be taught that?

Think about it. I don’t want to think about it. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve passed up way too many opportunities starting when I was a child. One comes to mind.

But, I’ll leave that alone for now because I’d like to finish this post sometime today.

This reckoning stuff ain’t easy. But, if you want to be free, truly free, I highly recommend it. Just be sure that most of your ghosts are friendly or I’m pretty sure you’ll hide under the covers like I did yesterday.

Actually, I didn’t stay there all day and mostly I was just worn out. The all seeing dog isn’t feeling well. She has a gastro infection. She refuses to take her medicine so I mostly slept with one eye open.

Today, even with very little medicine in her she seems to be feeling better. It makes sense in a way. My oldest family doctor once said that most of us can fight off an infection on our own, but antibiotics speed up the process and we feel better sooner.

We’ll see.

Photographing Jasmine is just about like anything else. See it, press the button.

The trick is to make the picture on an overcast day, or you’ll have blown highlights like I do.

The way that I dealt with it was to add a glow filter so it looks intentional.

They say that, “Garbage in equals garbage out.”

Looking directly across to the left hand column I see they say a lot of things.

I’m still trying to figure out who they is. I see that all the time.

“They won’t do this,” “They won’t do that.”

Who is they?

Oh, never mind. They won’t tell us who they is.

After adding “glow” the picture became simple to edit. So I did that and I present it to you.

Jasmines with no smell.

Ouch.


What do you see?

Yes. What do you see? Pictures like this one take some seeing or you’ll just pass them by. But, you must be careful. You may see the things that you want to see, not bothering with reality.

We all do it.

We do it in relationships. I’m not talking about romantic ones. I’m talking about how we relate to everything.

There are times when you see clearly, but there are other times when you walk away, or look back, and wonder what the hell you were thinking.

I’m in that period of reckoning. I seem to be forgetting the good things. I’m remember the questionable things. I feel like I owe apologies to a lot of people.

There are also things that I can’t seem to see clearly. I remember them but I don’t remember the circumstances or context.

How does that happen?

I must be blocking something out. Usually that indicates some degree of pain. But, I can’t remember the pain. That’s probably a good thing.

I’m pretty sure that this is what comes from having too much time on my hands, driven by lockdown city.

And, that’s another thing. I’ve had my jabs. Today is my 14th day so they are fully effective. There is a big Mardi Gras Indian funeral later today. Between the vaccinations and masking I should be just fine.

Yet, I’m a little afraid to go, to photograph, to honor the big chief who passed at the age of 37.

Self preservation is one thing. But, this just seems ridiculous. I’m a little young, but we all gotta go.

I pretty much told you how I made the pictures. It’s how I make every picture.

See it. Shoot it. Process it. Publish it. Forget it.

See? I told you I was dealing with my past mistakes.

My biggest mistake with my later work is not marketing it in a way that works well with our modern digital age.

I think that I understand the technical processes. But, I don’t understand the emotional process.

I usually laugh at the so-called influencers that are usually found on Instagram. But, some of them earn a serious amount of cash. They travel well. They have fun.

Photographers usually can’t get into that position. For sure there are a few. But, they are usually gear head blogs who find sponsorships from gear makers. Nothing wrong with that, but you know me.

Others sell things to other photographers. Online classes, in person workshops, or some other kind of one on one tutoring. That market is saturated. It seems like half the posts on my Instagram feed are trying to sell me the ten secrets that will make me a better photographer.

If I haven’t learned them by now there is no hope for me.

That’s the state of the digital world right about now.


The season.

To everything there is a season. And a time for every purpose, under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to weep. To everything, there is a season. And, a time to every purpose, under heaven.

If you celebrate, Happy Easter.


Pretty in the springtime.

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.


Another yellow photograph.

More yellow. I don’t know why. I guess during the winter months I like color. Yellow is warm. It’s inviting. In the world of big commercial presses it is used to give “lift” to a photograph. Most importantly, it makes me smile.

I’d like to revisit yesterday’s discussion for just a few minutes. Okay ten minutes.

The person who asked the questions that turned the discussion into chaos is well regarded in the photo community. He’s not a great photographer, but he is a person who raises up photography and photographers. He discusses our work, our projects, our books and what he believes a picture could be.

He can be a little sheltered since he mostly looks at the photo art world, which is often an enigma to me. I had to laugh once when he looked at an old friend of mine’s work and proclaimed how good it is. It is good, but in my world that photographer is a legend.

All of that said, he really never came back to the discussion, which angered a lot of people on both sides of the issue.

I expected a wrap up the next day. All he said was that he didn’t expect such a reaction. He moved on to his next question which was something along the lines of the previous question. Huh?

I thought to myself, “Are you just going to drop a discussion that prompted such emotional responses?”

There are topics that deserve serious discussion despite what I may think of the work of one or two particular photographers. This is one of them.

His next topic, by the way, is about one of my former mentors who has been accused of being a sexual predator by a number of young women. “Young” is important because he is 75 years old. The women in question are in their early twenties. He is in a position of power with the ability to make or break somebody’s career.

Notice the use of the word “former.”

I can’t abide by him.

On to something else. This is easier. I have made it a point to not name names even in a complimentary way. Do y’all think that I should continue that? Even though I learn some things quietly, it eventually gets published anyway.

Experiments. I like doing them. It’s how I learn. Success or failure doesn’t matter to me, as long as I learn.

This photograph is a grand experiment.

It’s layered with the same image just slightly skewed. If nothing else I’ve found a way to control the yellow. I suppose I could perform another test where I layer the same picture without skewing it.

In the commercial printing world that’s called a double hit. An example of that is Coca Cola Red. It cannot be done in one pass. So… a double hit.

I don’t know what you think, but I kind of like this picture. To me it’s about the cycles of nature. And, while nature is patient she is always moving.

That’s it from the right side.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy nature.


A kindred spirit with a stranger’s face. That’s how it starts. A friendship. An album. A project. A life. This photograph.

I keep stealing words from a friend. She’s gonna want a word with me. Eventually. But, not right now. For me, the words are just a good place to begin. That means something to me too. But…

I found these flowers planted near a little pocket park. They don’t belong here. They aren’t native to the area. They are like me.

I got into one of those conversations.

The ones that make me crazy. The ones where somebody who was born and bred in New Orleans says that I’m not from here so I don’t know about things.

Normally I would explain that I’ve lived here for twenty years. Not this time. Since I’ve emerged from whatever funk I was in I’ve been feeling my oats.

This time I looked that person straight in the eye and said, “Thank God for that.”

Try as he might he couldn’t get me to move off of my position. He gave up when I said, “Why would I want to have your inbred southern ways?

The end.

No, not the end. I don’t really feel that way. But, don’t push me. I’m glad that I’ve lived all over the place. I’ve been lucky to absorb bits from many cultures, from many races. I feel at home in many places. I’m from many places. I’ve gotten to know many different kinds of people.

You know. The words that I began with. A kindred spirit with a stranger’s face.

Lucky me.

I mean that.

Yellow flowers in New Orleans. Maybe. But not this shade. Not this bright.

These flowers are especially bright because they are backlighted. That’s what caught me eye.

That’s also what caused such extreme contrast. Little phone sensors just can’t deal with it.

There is an HDR setting. I used it. This is the result.

Oh well. You know what I always say. Perfection is for angels.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Notice all the light.


Something for winter.

Something for winter. Something yellow. Something bright.

The change is coming. In one day. Many of us will be watching it online via the socials. Many of us will be happy.

There are also those who have convinced themselves with no evidence that there is no way Biden could have won the election.

The pillow man thinks that he uncovered all sorts of thing. He brought them to the president who wasn’t interested and suggested that he bring them to the DOJ, who said that’s nice and promptly forgot them.

That’s it.

I’m sorry that the current president won’t even be at the inauguration. He’s skipping out. Heading to Florida. He wants to leave will he’s still president. That call sign, “Air Force One” is important to him. He doesn’t want to fly on a plain old plane.

What a punk.

I know that there is a chance he could be convicted by the senate. I know he has financial and commercial troubles that could choke a horse.

I don’t care.

Let the folks who deal with that stuff deal with it. I want to move forward. That’s what’s important to me. Even though I’m searching for me I know that working to benefit others will help.

So, that’s where I’m headed. To the future. See y’all there.

Bright flowers. Sun flowers. I didn’t even know that they could be grown down here.

Then I read that there are huge fields of them in Mississippi just across the border.

These aren’t them. I have a neighbor who grows everything. He’s got a small greenhouse. He’s got a hydroponic garden. He’s got a regular garden.

There are sunflowers in his greenhouse. I asked if I could photograph them. Obviously, he said yes. In return I’ll give him some prints.

The image is the result of layering. There are five layers of the same picture. Each slightly skewed. Doing this was so easy that I didn’t even have to adjust the picture.

That’s it.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Enjoy the future.