More and more and more.

L

et me tell you a story.

A little over six weeks ago Hurricane Ida blew through. While her rainfall didn’t do too much in my neighborhood, 155 mph winds did.

They blew down almost every kind of cable and power source. Our power company, Entergy, did the best the they could and had us repowered in about two weeks. Cox followed right behind. They all picked up their damaged goods and cleaned up their messes.

Along comes AT&T. They got their service repaired but picked up nothing. The foreman flat out lied and said they would pick it up the next day.

Nope.

Now comes my calls to their corporate office. Do you know how hard it is to reach an actual human being at AT&T? I lied my way through their switchboard when I finally reached a maintenance and repair division of business accounts.

I reckoned I was trying to get a business account — AT&T’s — looked after. Heh. They said the problem would be taken care of within a couple of days.

Nope.

Yesterday I called The District Attorney of Orleans Parish and filed a criminal complaint. At their suggestion I also filed a civil suit.

Since their corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, Texas, and my attorney’s office is also located there, I filed in Dallas County, Texas.

Nobody wants to go to court there.

I doubt that I’ll recover the ten million dollars in damages I am asking for, but I’ll finally get their attention.

Dumbasses.

All they had to do was finish their job.

L

et me tell you another story. A better one.

I took a stroll in a place that I rarely do.

Look what I found. I found autumn in the pine needles and mud.

That made me happy because we are drifting between the moment of early fall and real fall.

This is when I get really impatient. It’s not cool and there aren’t enough red leaves. t’ll get here soon enough, but until then…

Grumble, grumble, toil and trouble.

The picture is easy. Expose properly and there is no work in post production.to speak of.

There is an interesting thing happening with the block design. Every time I try to do some actual design, the system messes with me so I eventually give up and go back to this kind of page layout.

It’s boring, but at least I can do it.

It’s clean and minimalistic.

That’s good.

For now.


For Friday.

I

started working on this picture so long ago that I forgot what picture I was going to use when it came to publishing this page.

I suppose it’s a leftover of lockdown fuzziness. Or maybe I’m just losing my ability to think and remember stuff.

I’d like to remember important things. Maybe photographs and Storyteller aren’t all the important. Or, maybe they are and should be.

Storyteller wasn’t always that important. I realized through the lockdown until the present that it kept me aware of the date (sometimes) but rarely the time.

I think that’s why many musicians played some version of songs from home. On one day they would check requests, figure out a small set list or song, rehearse and play the song on whatever day they picked.

Some did it live. Some didn’t.

That didn’t seem to matter. They needed to play for people. People were craving anything the approximated any live music.

That worked for a time.

Somehow we all came to the same place. We needed freedom. Eventually, some people gained some. Of course, I’m not one of them. That’s gonna change.

I made my career taking risks. Now I don’t. It’s time to weigh risk and reward and do the best that I can. No. I won’t take stupid risks, but I’ve got to get out and about.

I can’t take pictures if I don’t.

P

eaceful for Friday. I started working on this picture. I wasn’t getting anywhere. I realized that this image would look best in black and white. Better yet, it needed a very light monochromatic color.

I’m not sure how I started working in light yellow tones, but that seemed to be a good option. Besides, I liked what it did to the bare trees.

So, that’s the direction that I started to work. I added some stuff in OnOne, but not much. It was ready when it was done. That’s how it happens sometimes.


Another way.

T

he caption says it all. Another way. I keep reading what a great camera the iPhone 12 is supposed to be. I had better be because it’s a terrible phone.

I decided to test it.

I made this photograph towards the end of dusk. That means I made a time exposure. I wasn’t sure about the first couple of exposures. A little yellow wheel caught my attention. It turns out that it shows just where in the exposure time the camera is working.

I tested that theory.

If you want a sharp exposure let the wheel finish turning. If you want motion, move the camera slightly during the exposure, say about in the middle of the wheel’s turning.

Oh man.

Maybe this phone will be more than I thought it was, which is to say no fun at all.

I’m not a video maker, but I did test the phone during Hurricane Ida. For the fist 30 seconds or so I didn’t know how to turn on the microphone. For the next 30 seconds you can hear what it sounds like. It’s very scary.

Try it sometime.

T

he real experiment was in the camera rather than in post production.

The camera over exposed the scene. It’ll do that when it’s trying to capture detail in the deep shadows.

That’s any easy fix.

It happens with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Digital cameras of all types want to open up the shadows.

That’s great if you are making a RAW file. You have control of everything. Not so much using a smart phone.

In all cases you should darken the file in development. Once I did that all those reds and oranges popped out.

There wasn’t much to do after that.

You are looking at the results of what turns out to be a really important experiment.


Something wild, something yellow.

T

here is a period in my life when I liked to make very closely focused pictures that are akin to macro photography.

That period started about twenty years ago and continues to this day. Some period, eh?

For me, this work is something like a palette cleanser between other, more gritty subjects.

Of course, I’ve been trapped lately.

Eventually that will change, but nobody knows when or how. When it does I’ll be chasing all over wherever I am, making pictures of anything, of everything.

Because, that’s my magic. My way of contributing. The thing that I know best. These days I feel old, but i’m young. The age thing will go away once I make magic, with light and color.

Then there’s musical magic.

As I write, I’m listening to an album called, “One Night Lonely.” Mary Chapin Carpenter did a live streaming show from Wolf Trap. There was no audience except remotely. It’s her and her guitars. She doesn’t talk, but she plays for two hours.

She’s doing the same thing that she did when I rediscovered her when she was playing songs from home.

Like James Taylor, she’s doing what she did back then, bringing me peace. We could all use a little bit of peace just about now, right?

T

his picture is about seeing. For sure, the yellow caught my attention. But, the details took some seeing. Or, luck. Photographers luck.

You make that kind of luck by being there. By being present. By focusing. And, by emptying your mind for just a little while.

I have a routine to do that. I’d tell you about it, but you may want do it differently. There is no one way. There is no right way. There is no wrong way.

That’s good.

We’d get bored if we did things the same way as other people.

So don’t.

I see so many derivative pictures on all social media. There is a saying among new photographers, “Fake it until you make it.”

That’s a saying from AA for newly sober people who are struggling to do what sober people do until they understand it.

It applies there. It shouldn’t apply to someone making pictures.

Stop copying. Stop faking. Start experimenting. Start being you.

You’ll go farther, faster.


You’ll never guess the name of this flower.

L

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.

W

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.

W

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?

F

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.