The rain falls. It stops. It starts. It stops. It starts. You know how it is.
Maybe not. For instance, if you live in California you declare a state holiday when two drops of rain fall. I’m not making light of that. It’s serious. Or, if you live in Western desert states. Here, summer is the rainy season. Like most subtropical places. You get used to it. You keep an umbrella in the car. You keep another one in the house. Maybe one in your office. Or, wherever you work. Like that.
For me, that also means I take a lot of rain-oriented pictures. Especially right about now. I change how I focus. I change the background scene. I find better stuff in which to stand in front. But, I do what I can to photograph rain. Sometimes, it’s about wet pavement. Or, reflections. Sometimes, it’s in the details. Like the devil.
This picture. You know me. From the front seat. Either from the driver’s side. Or, the passenger’s side. Some people say that I’m “driven to take pictures.” They don’t know how true that is… sometimes.
This is another one of those pictures. A picture made on my way to some place else. There are three things to know about it.
Even when rain isn’t falling, dark storm clouds add a large amount of drama to the picture. The light is wonderful.
Mardi Gras beads always fade to silver. Around here, with our extreme weather, they fade very quickly. These could be from this year. In February. Or, they could also be a lot older. I doubt that.
This picture was made in Central City. Look at the colors of the buildings. Amazing. When I say that new Orleans is a third world Caribbean country. I mean it. For better or worse. These paint jobs are for better.
I’m not going anywhere. It’s just getting to be fun.
Second line season is over until around October when things cool down and rain stops falling every fifteen minutes. There will be a second line in August for Satchmo Fest. Louis Armstrong’s birthday. It’s in Treme. Just about everybody comes out. Multiple brass bands. The hosting social club. A few Mardi Gras Indians. Jazz fans from all over the world. The parade is fairly short. The weather is very, very hot.
This parade. Uptown Swingers. It rains every year somewhere along the parade route. Sometimes, the water pours down sideways. In buckets. It wasn’t quite that bad this year. But, still…
Anyway. I’m glad for the break. I’m not so sure about next season. We’ll see.
In case you are wondering. These pictures were made with one camera body and one lens. A 24mm. Pancake. A little tiny thing. On a bigger looking body. In order to fill the frame you have work very close. You have to become one with the parade. I guess you could say that I did that.
A little inspiration.
My writing usually comes from something that I’ve read or saw a day or two before I publish a post. Whatever new information I picked up spins around in my brain for a bit and comes back out in the form of a few comments on Storyteller.
Normally I write about whatever is on my mind then I talk about the picture. I’m going to reverse that. You’ll figure out way. I think.
This is one of those pictures that I made on the way to someplace else. In New Orleans. On the street. At this time of year, hurricane season is upon us. Even with no major storms lurking in the gulf, it is still the rainy season. It is still monsoon season. The weather changes hourly. No. Make that every fifteen minutes. Or, five minutes. First, it’s hot. A little wind blows. Rain falls. The humidity breaks. Then it gets worse. Then the cycle repeats. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I ran into a friend of mine. A fellow photographer. He was soaked. I said, “Man, you look hot.” He replied, “I just got rained on.” I replied to that, “Oh, so you are evaporating.” We both laughed. That’s how it is. You’re soaked from above while you are standing on one street. Cross the street and you are soaked from below.
That’s how this picture came to be. One street was soaked. From above. I saw the blossoms that had been knocked to the ground by the hard rain. Oooh. Oooh. Oooh.
The picture would never have been this dramatic if the pavement wasn’t darkened by the rain. The blossoms would not have been on the ground. And, the picture wouldn’t exist if I didn’t have a camera with me. At most times. Everywhere.
As National Geographic photographer Sam Abell once said, “When the weather turns bad, the pictures get good.”
Never forget that.
This is a symbol. An icon.
There’s been a lot of debate in The United States about symbols, flags and meanings. It started with murders. In New Orleans, it has gotten strange, with the mayor wanting to remove statues. Some people are cheering. Others are appalled.
This picture isn’t about any of that. I’m not getting into it. The real issues have devolved into well, nothing. Just yelling and screaming. This picture is about ways of making what could normally be a boring subject a little more exciting.
This is a bronze religious statue. You could use a flash and light it up. You could also make a strictly documentary picture, showing exactly what you saw. You could wait for people to move into the frame.
Some of that takes a little time and patience. Some of that takes technical skill. All of them are reasonable options.
You could walk around, look at the light and take no pictures until you see what the light is really doing. In this case. I took the picture through temple candles, focusing on the subject using a very shallow depth of field. This made the picture a little moody and a little mysterious. All those out of focus circles? The proper term, I guess, is bubble bokeh. I just think they are a kind of out of focus specular highlight.
What do I know?
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