Blathr Wayne Lorentz

What is Blathr?
Showing blathrs with the tag “Photography.”

Giddy up

Friday, November 24th, 2023 Alive 19,204 days

The sun sinks dramatically into the Gulf of Mexico

I took this picture while in the Gulf of Mexico last month. I find it special because of its beauty. In my world, it was a unique moment in time.

To anyone else, itʼs just another sunset. One theyʼve seen thousands of times in hundreds of magazines, TV shows, paintings, web sites, and more.

Our ability to capture and reproduce the magnificence of nature has also desensitized us to nature. I am fortunate that I can look at this photograph and not think “Great, itʼs a sunset.” But instead, I can remember a moment in time when the sun and the clouds and the sea and the breeze orchestrated a feeling of giddy awe inside of me. A web page has never been able to do that.

❖ ❖ ❖

Technology canʼt make us eternally free, because technology isnʼt eternal

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2023 Alive 19,152 days

More and more, it seems that the promises of technology have fallen flat.

When we started building all of this, we really thought we were changing the world for the better. We had these visions that the work we were doing would usher in the Age of the Expanding Man — when people would be free to explore their humanity in new ways, while machines handled the grubby details invisibly behind the scenes. Steely Dan summed it up in the song International Geophysical Year:

On that train of graphite and glitter
Undersea by rail
Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
More leisure for artists everywhere

A just machine to make big decisions
Programmed by fellows with compassion and vision
Weʼll be clean when their work is done
Weʼll be eternally free, and eternally young

Clearly, that didnʼt happen.

We wired all the worldʼs computers together thinking that access to infinite knowledge would lift people out of poverty. Mostly, it made the already rich people even richer. Social media was supposed to unite people in peace and understanding. All it did was divide us into angry tribes. We transitioned our movies and music to digital versions thinking that would bring the best the world had to offer to the masses. Instead, most of it was lost; and what remains is controlled by a few giant corporations to be doled out in dribs and drabs, sanitized, censored, and selected by a computer to ensure maximum profit.

Technology canʼt make us eternally free, because technology isnʼt eternal.

People who enjoy old technology continually struggle with degrading discs, leaking capacitors, and the inability to find parts to fix their machines. And while their hassles are readily dismissed as problems of their own choosing — like someone who chooses to drive an antique car — everyone has family photos.

Which, at long last, gets to the point of this screed: The illustration below.

Viktor Knudsen
What should be Stephansdom in Vienna
What should be the Aragonese Castle in Ischia

The first image is a photograph of my grandfather. Itʼs over 120 years old, and looks nearly as good today as it did when it was taken.

The second image is what happens when I try to view a photograph I took with a digital camera 25 years ago. The bits have degraded to the point where itʼs not viewable, even on period-appropriate hardware. Few of the files on the disk show up anymore, and those that do are so full of errors, they canʼt be displayed.

The third image is what happens when I try to view a photograph I took with a digital camera just 10 years ago.

The printed photograph is still viewable 110 years longer than the photos from my Sony digital camera. And while there is a never-ending list of ways that the metadata can get stripped out of a digital photograph, the metadata for the printed photo is written on the back, and will be there for as long as the photo exists.

The folly is that we, as a society, have rushed to build a digital world without thinking about what weʼre doing. There is a persistent mantra of "technology is good" and "digital is better." But thatʼs not always true, in ways great and small.

What Iʼm trying to do in my life is to pick and choose which new technologies are worth integrating into my human world. Thereʼs no reason we canʼt live our lives with a reasonable amount of technology, but mixed with what we already have to enhance our lives, not to overpower our lives.

A light switch works every time. Asking Siri to turn on the lights does not. Therefore, Siri is a novelty, not an enhancement. So Iʼll turn on my lamp with my fingers, and look at my photographs on paper, while other people are free to stay locked in endless software updates and Googling solutions to the tech problems they have chosen for themselves.

❖ ❖ ❖

Peak nerd

Saturday, September 2nd, 2023 Alive 19,121 days

It took me a while, but I finally managed to buy each of the original cartridges released with the Atari 2600 in 1977.

The sticking point was Star Ship. It took almost a year for one to show up on fleaBay for under $50.00. My budget was $5.00. So when one finally appeared, I was all over that Buy It Now button.

To mark the occasion, I put them in a stack on the dining room table, and took photos which I then turned into i-device wallpapers. They look pretty good on my iPhone. I haven't tried them on an iPad yet, but I made them with plenty of space around so that they'll work in both portrait and landscape on an iPad.

iPhone X screenshot of Atari cartridges pile
iPhone X screenshot of Atari cartridges in a helix

You may notice that the screenshot with the cartridges arranged in a helix has squiggles where the time should be. This is because on weekends, I don't want to know what time it is, and iOS doesn't allow one to remove the clock, so changing it to a language I can't read is almost as good.

It's also not possible to remove the date bar, but I can replace it with the weather, which is less awful than seeing the cold, bony hand of time scratching across the top of the screen.

The original wallpaper files I created are here:

❖ ❖ ❖

Book ʼem, Danno

Saturday, August 19th, 2023 Alive 19,107 days

A panoramic view of Kaboom Books

This store has a wide selection of books.

❖ ❖ ❖

♫ Jump back, whatʼs that sound? ♫

Saturday, March 11th, 2023 Alive 18,946 days

A Panamanian flag waving in the breeze

I havenʼt seen Van Halenʼs Panama video, but I suspect itʼs more compelling than this.

❖ ❖ ❖

Stealth marketing

Thursday, March 9th, 2023 Alive 18,944 days

Social Media Beach in Cozumel

You know how mid-tier cities desperate for attention create little signs or murals or plazas just so that people will take photographs of themselves and post them to social media and give the city free publicity? Carnival wins this game.

At Carnivalʼs cruise port in Cozumel, Mexico there is a small white sand beach. It is conveniently located right at the end of the pier that the tourists use to get off the ships.

It has a perfect little row of perfect little palm trees and perfect sand in front of perfect blue water, and the perfectly massive profiles of Carnivalʼs cruise ships in the background.

Thousands of people take pictures there each year and post them online without realizing that itʼs a marketing campaign. The stealth equivalent of those giant photo frame props that second-rate cities place around town to let the vanity-afflicted know exactly where to stand in order to get the perfect picture of themselves for social media.

Carnival deserves a big fat “good on you” for doing a great job with this guerrilla marketing technique, and pulling it off at industrial scale. It couldnʼt have been cheap to execute, and certainly demonstrates extensive vision and cooperation between departments within the company.

Carnivalʼs social media beach
❖ ❖ ❖

Thursday, March 9th, 2023 Alive 18,944 days

❖ ❖ ❖


Thursday, March 9th, 2023 Alive 18,944 days

The moon rises over a calm sea
❖ ❖ ❖

Shapes and colors

Thursday, March 9th, 2023 Alive 18,944 days

Flowers hang in front of a kitchen window
❖ ❖ ❖

Itʼs a bathroom wall

Thursday, March 9th, 2023 Alive 18,944 days

❖ ❖ ❖

“Paging Liz Taylor, white courtesy phone…”

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023 Alive 18,942 days

A blurry photo of Falmouth, Jamaica

I like to take pictures of generic street scenes when I travel. When I look back at the pictures later, they very often help me remember a place more vividly than a photograph that's focused on a monument or a building or a bird.

Blurry photographs of Falmouth, Jamaica

However, it appears that I'm not all that interested in cleaning my lens before I take pictures. Most of my Falmouth photos were ruined by a smear of sunscreen on the lens.

Didn't anyone ever tell you to make sure your optics are clean?

— Kent, Real Genius
❖ ❖ ❖

Looks grate

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023 Alive 18,942 days

Security grates

Security doesnʼt have to be ugly.

❖ ❖ ❖

Horizontal ships

Saturday, March 4th, 2023 Alive 18,939 days

Sunset off of Galveston Island
❖ ❖ ❖

Nature's bathtub

Monday, February 6th, 2023 Alive 18,913 days

A Tom Sawyer-grade swimminʼ hole in the woods
❖ ❖ ❖

Reflecting on politics can make you blue

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023 Alive 18,907 days

Houston City Hall at night
❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, October 17th, 2022 Alive 18,801 days

Sunset reflected in 609 Main
❖ ❖ ❖

Atlantic City can't get a break

Friday, August 19th, 2022 Alive 18,742 days

Looking for a fine collection of photos depicting Mozambique, Italy, Japan, and the Middle East? Just search Adobe Stock for “Atlantic City, New Jersey.”

❖ ❖ ❖


Sunday, August 14th, 2022 Alive 18,737 days

Picture of a Chinese city in the Apple Maps entry for Midland, Texas

Crowdsourcing used to be all the rage in the tech industry. It was a way to get content for your project for free. Use your automation system to ask enough people for content, and some small percentage will happy oblige. The problem with crowdsourcing is quality control.

If you let anyone contribute anything, anyone will contribute anything. I once built a crowdsourced system for people to share photographs of landmarks. A significant percentage of the photos contributed were people standing in front of a camera holding up their resumes, presumably hoping that someone searching for a photo of the Berlin Wall might magically hire them to write code in India.

In the example above, we see the result of two levels of folly. Getty Images allows anyone to upload photographs to its system in order to sell those pictures to other people. That's the crowdsourcing. Then Apple outsourced photography for Apple Maps to a bunch of entities, including Wikipedia, TripAdvisor, and also Getty Images.

The result is a photo of a city in China among the photographs that are supposed to depict the West Texas city of Midland.

Never trust content you don't control.

❖ ❖ ❖

I can see my luggage from here

Tuesday, August 9th, 2022 Alive 18,732 days

Houston Hobby airport from the air

Flying over Houston Hobby Airport (HOU). Much improved over the last time I flew from there.

❖ ❖ ❖

“Try to look like you're on skag”

Friday, July 29th, 2022 Alive 18,721 days

Have you ever noticed that if you search for “doctor patient vaccine” in Adobe Stock, 90% of the fake doctors injecting their fake patients are using the same technique that a junkie uses to mainline skag? Have these photographers never received any kind of vaccine ever in their lives?

❖ ❖ ❖

Laser focused

Sunday, July 24th, 2022 Alive 18,716 days

Antoinette staring directly into your soul

I thought I was being all clever, using my phoneʼs camera flash to see what was making that noise in the dark.

It turns out, I donʼt want to know.

❖ ❖ ❖


Friday, July 1st, 2022 Alive 18,693 days

A rain-dappled leaf in my garden

It rained last night, so this morning, I can be an artsy-fartsy photographer in the garden.

❖ ❖ ❖


Saturday, June 25th, 2022 Alive 18,687 days

Yellow flowers sprout from a bush of unknown provenance

This morning, one of the bushes in my garden decided to surprise me with yellow flowers.

Good bush.

❖ ❖ ❖

Thursday, June 2nd, 2022 Alive 18,664 days

The Texas Medical Center, from the 19th floor of one of the hospital towers
❖ ❖ ❖

Paper or plastic?

Monday, May 23rd, 2022 Alive 18,654 days

The inside of a plastic bag

I put my camera in a plastic shopping bag. As I was wandering around, the camera took some pictures. So now I know what my stuff sees when Iʼm carrying it home.

❖ ❖ ❖

Chocolate rain

Sunday, May 22nd, 2022 Alive 18,653 days

Downtown Houston seen from Amtrakʼs Sunset Limited

White Oak Bayou creeps along in front of the downtown Houston skyline. One of nearly a dozen individual skylines that Houston offers. Itʼs funny that way.

❖ ❖ ❖


Monday, May 16th, 2022 Alive 18,647 days

A woman celebrates on the roof of my parking garage

A young woman celebrates graduation by throwing her cap into the air from a car that my Uncle Eddie would have driven in the 1970's.

His was better because it had curb feelers. Hers is better because itʼs in pristine condition in 2022, while his is probably rusting away at the bottom of Gravesend Bay.

❖ ❖ ❖

All hats, no cattle

Sunday, May 15th, 2022 Alive 18,646 days

Cowboys on the roof

It was just this morning I was thinking that I donʼt see so many cowboys in Houston anymore. Then, just before lunch, a clown car full of them drove up to the roof of my parking garage and belched out a whole passel of dudes.

Those are not lampshades in the foreground. Those are the kinds of cases that are used to transport big-ticket cowboy hats on planes. There are cowboy hats that cost more than a MacBook Pro.

❖ ❖ ❖

Twinkle twinkle

Friday, April 15th, 2022 Alive 18,616 days

Downtown Houston at night
❖ ❖ ❖

Discovery “Green”

Friday, April 15th, 2022 Alive 18,616 days

Discovery Green

Discovery Green at night. You canʼt see the park for all the lights and buildings, which is mostly true durng the day, as well. There is a trend in modern park design to over-build in order to make a single park everything for everybody. The result is that very often, as in the case of Discovery Green, it ceases to be a park and is transformed into a playground for adults.

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, November 8th, 2021 Alive 18,458 days

A vacant lot in The Heights

Even in Houstonʼs hottest neighborhood, thereʼs no shortage of urban decay.

Or people to take pictures of it.

❖ ❖ ❖

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 Alive 18,445 days

An airplane avoids an Anish Kapoor sculpture
❖ ❖ ❖

Pile it on

Saturday, September 25th, 2021 Alive 18,414 days

A weathered piling

Time and tide conspire to turn a piling into a cylinder of art.

❖ ❖ ❖

Right purdy

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021 Alive 18,361 days

Sunset from a Walmart parking lot in Fort Stockton, Texas

Meanwhile, in West Texas.

❖ ❖ ❖


Monday, May 31st, 2021 Alive 18,297 days

An early morning moon over Las Vegas

Couldnʼt sleep this morning, so I took the new lens out to the balcony. I didnʼt bring the tripod because I didnʼt want to wake everyone in the house. Next time.

❖ ❖ ❖

That red spec is the Desert Truckster

Saturday, April 24th, 2021 Alive 18,260 days

Death Valley, as seen from a hill in the Pahrump Valley Wilderness

My wife bought me a new lens for my camera for my birthday. Seems like a good excuse to visit Death Valley again.

❖ ❖ ❖

Red dawn

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021 Alive 18,256 days

Sunset over the Rainbow Mountains

Sandstorm sunset.

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, April 19th, 2021 Alive 18,255 days

Darcie taking pictures at Crystal Springs in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
❖ ❖ ❖

Ram tough

Thursday, April 15th, 2021 Alive 18,251 days

Bighorn sheep in Valley of Fire State Park

If this is what rush hour looks like, you may be in the Valley of Fire.

❖ ❖ ❖

Slippery When Wet

Thursday, April 15th, 2021 Alive 18,251 days

A road through Valley of Fire State Park

This is either the Long and Winding Road, or the Yellow Brick Road, depending on your age and taste in popular entertainment.

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, April 12th, 2021 Alive 18,248 days

A day in the Valley of Fire with Darcie.

❖ ❖ ❖

Dye, you egg! Young fry of treachery!

Friday, April 2nd, 2021 Alive 18,238 days

Easter eggs submerged in dye
❖ ❖ ❖

Like nothing at all?

Monday, March 15th, 2021 Alive 18,220 days

Annie sniffing a flower

I wonder if a daisy smells the same to her as it does to me.

❖ ❖ ❖

Moody much?

Monday, February 15th, 2021 Alive 18,192 days

Sunset over the Rainbow Mountains

Thereʼs nothing like a good sunset to make you understand the vastness of the desert, and how insignificant you really are.

❖ ❖ ❖

A peak performance

Friday, February 12th, 2021 Alive 18,189 days

Sunrise illuminating the Rainbow Mountains

Sunrise was a little bit different today, so I broke out the good camera. I'll have to do some processing on it to get out the grain, but it's OK for this hour of the morning.

The clouds are over California. The mountain in front is Griffith Peak (11,063 feet), and the one in its shadow is Charleston Peak (11,916 feet).

❖ ❖ ❖

Frame job

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021 Alive 18,180 days

Sunset over the Rainbow Mountains
❖ ❖ ❖


Saturday, January 30th, 2021 Alive 18,176 days

Annie in silhouette

“Does this sunlight make me look fat?”

❖ ❖ ❖

Drink it in

Friday, January 8th, 2021 Alive 18,154 days

Sunrise between two buildings

The planet has moved into that special alignment which allows me to see the sunrise for a couple of weeks each year.

❖ ❖ ❖

Friday, March 6th, 2020 Alive 17,846 days

Right now, in preparation for our move in two months, Darcie is using a vintage Polaroid to take pictures of each pair of her shoes.

Itʼs pretty much the most Darcie thing Iʼve seen in a long time.

❖ ❖ ❖

Sunday, February 24th, 2019 Alive 17,470 days

The Valley of Fire

I took the Hasselblad out to the Valley of Fire today. My main lens is just about toast because so much sand gets into it on these trips.

❖ ❖ ❖

Sunday, February 24th, 2019 Alive 17,470 days

The reds of the Valley of Fire, as it actually often appears to the human eye, which is hard for people who live in humid places to understand

When I load photos of Valley of Fire into programs like Lightroom, they automatically crank the color down 15 notches because the programmers at Adobe in Seattle canʼt conceive of a place that isnʼt as humid and grey as where they live.

❖ ❖ ❖

Saturday, January 12th, 2019 Alive 17,427 days

Darcie trying to take a picture

Am I in the way of your picture?

How about now?

How about now?

How about now?

How about now?

❖ ❖ ❖

Thursday, January 10th, 2019 Alive 17,425 days

Darcie stalking a dead car

Here we see the elusive Yellow Haired Picture Snapper in her native habitat. Letʼs watch as she stalks her prey.

❖ ❖ ❖

Saturday, January 5th, 2019 Alive 17,420 days

My telephone identifying the neighborʼs cat as a dog

I guess if I never take pictures of dogs, my phone has no reference point to work from.

Perhaps it thinks “Dog = ugly cat.”

❖ ❖ ❖

Spitting images

Friday, October 12th, 2018 Alive 17,335 days

Darcie taking pictures of the Mittens in Monument Valley

You know that adage about “Donʼt use all your film in one place?” Neither does Darcie.

❖ ❖ ❖

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 Alive 17,332 days

Darcie in a cigarette machine

I really really wanted to rescue Darcie from inside the cigarette vending machine, but I was fresh out of quarters.

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, October 8th, 2018 Alive 17,331 days

West Mitten Butte and Merrick Butte in th early-morning sun

Today I learned that my Hasselblad has a sunrise mode. Who needs Photoshop?

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, October 8th, 2018 Alive 17,331 days

Mitchell Mesa, on the Navajo Nation

Mitchell Mesa at sunrise looks like a Apple wallpaper.

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, October 8th, 2018 Alive 17,331 days

Darcie taking “one last picture” at the Monument Valley Inn

Getting Darcie to leave the hotel was like trying to pull a six-year-old out of Disneyland.

❖ ❖ ❖

Sunday, October 7th, 2018 Alive 17,330 days

Rain in Monument Valley

If it doesnʼt rain where you live, rain on vacation is entertaining, not annoying. Or at least thatʼs the lie I keep telling myself.

You can sometimes salvage a bad weather photography day by going black-and-white.

❖ ❖ ❖

Saturday, October 6th, 2018 Alive 17,329 days

A puddle in Seligman, Arizona

I was reflecting on something yesterday. But it may have just been the Ripple.

Darcie hates that joke.

❖ ❖ ❖

Friday, October 5th, 2018 Alive 17,328 days

Williams, Arizona

Meanwhile in Williams, Arizona…

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, August 6th, 2018 Alive 17,268 days

The installation of a photo opportunity

And then there are days when you show up for work and the city is installing 40-foot-tall light-up neon showgirls on the sidewalk. This city is a slave to Instygram.

❖ ❖ ❖

Sunday, June 24th, 2018 Alive 17,225 days

An abandoned gas station

This service station is just a shell of its former self.

❖ ❖ ❖

Monday, June 18th, 2018 Alive 17,219 days

Waiting for a Double-Double at In-N-Out Burger

The fact that this is the first photograph I took with my new phone should tell you everything there is to know about me.

❖ ❖ ❖

Saturday, June 16th, 2018 Alive 17,217 days

The desert outside Boulder City

Dramatic sky is dramatic.

❖ ❖ ❖

Saturday, June 16th, 2018 Alive 17,217 days

The Best Western in Boulder City, Nevada

I should get an award for finding the one photographic angle that hides each drunken frat boy and their lifted 4x4 behind its own cactus.

❖ ❖ ❖

Saturday, June 16th, 2018 Alive 17,217 days

Reflections upon a motel pool
❖ ❖ ❖