Spring. Storms. Sideways Rain. That’s what we have in Southeast Louisiana, You see them coming. You do whatever it is you are doing. When they turn really bad you seek shelter. Or, you just keep going.
I knew this storm was coming. My smart phone told me. Yap. Yap. Yap. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. I could see the dark clouds gathering. And, here are the first splatters of raindrops on my car’s windshield. In the background you see an oil refinery. Yep. We have a lot of them on River Road as you drive on either side of the Mississippi River. Visitors and tourists often forget that once you get outside of New Orleans, we are an industrial blue-collar kind of place. We are the South. New Orleans is sort of a Caribbean third world country. It’s very different when you get less than ten miles away from the city in any direction.
It’s morning as I write. It’s very dark. The weather folks are calling for at least three inches of rain today. Of course, they’ve been known to be wrong. A better question is, how often are they right?
We’ll just see.
I couldn’t stand it. I just had to go make pictures even with another impending storm. Over the years I’ve become a Louisianan. Go about your business when you hear storm warnings until the storm actually arrives. If it’s not too bad, just keep doing whatever you were doing. If it turns sporty, find a little shelter. As I told a friend of mine, you never really get wet in a rainstorm until your underwear is soaked. Another friend suggested I shoot decrepit flowers. That friend is my first friend’s wife. Maybe they are in this together.
There you have it. Decrepit flowers on an old bar’s stoop. Judging from the amount of beer cans in the trash, I’m guessing the bar is still open. I have no idea why these flowers are where you see them. I found them that way. Honest. I was actually drawn to something across the street. I walked over to the bar because it was one of those corner structures that I like so much. When I looked down…
Eventually I continued upriver, got caught in the big storm and kept working. You’ll see those pictures later. This week. Honest.
I’m getting to the place where I’m getting very low on pictures that I want to show you. That’s not to say that I haven’t been working. But, I’m shooting pictures for all those book projects. Standing alone they don’t always make sense. They need to be hung together in some kind of story form.
It’s spring. Time for a little spring cleaning.
I realized that I’d never shown you these pictures, so here we go. Dancing Part Two.
While I was trying to upload them to Storyteller, WordPress said. “Nope. Storage too full.” I was expecting that, so I went into my files and cleaned out the extra stuff. Boy… let me tell you. I started this blog on eBlogger, many years ago. When I transferred the published pages it appears I transferred everything including pictures that were just saved via Google. Some that were never intended to see the light of day. That made my housekeeping easier. I also removed huge files, which was my way of doing things early on. I also removed anything that was remotely duplicated.
Why am I telling you all of this?
I suppose I’m really addressing the photographers among you. WordPress gives us a pretty good amount of free storage. No complaints there. But, learn from me. I didn’t really make any mistakes. Blogging is really just a process. You learn as you go. The biggest take away is to Just keep your stored files cleaned up and up to date. You know. Relevant.
I’m still trying to decide if I should delete just about all the picture files from WordPress. Every image is stored twice on various hard drives and in clouds — actually six times total. Twice as a RAW file. Twice as working TIFF. Twice as a finished TIFF. I don’t save jpegs made for Storyteller except on WordPress servers. They are generally too small do much with.
They are a nice record of the blog. But, the blog itself is that. The pictures will live on in the published pages.
Whaddy’all think? Should I clean out all the back files? Or, should I just leave them until the next time I need more room?
Wow! Spell check truly hates the word I just made up. “Whaddy’all.”
The levees that border the Mississippi River are huge. They aren’t what you are thinking when you hear the word levee. These things are wide at the top and broad at the bottom. There is a pathway on the top that bikers, runners and walkers share. Dogs share it too. Sometimes service and maintenance trucks and the Levee Police drive along it as well. It’s big. It’s a great place for an evening stroll, even in the summer.
The picture, itself? Oh, you don’t want to know. Long time friends of Storyteller know that I have no problem with drive by shootings. With cameras. Not guns. In this case, it wasn’t much of a drive by. I was stuck in late afternoon rush hour traffic. The average speed was probably 3 mph. When I took this picture, the average speed was zero. For about five minutes. I just rolled down the driver’s side window and stuck my camera out there. That’s the story.
Earth Day. Yes. I know. I’m a day late. It’s just that I wanted to actually take the picture on Earth Day. I’ll just have to start planning better. Next time, I’ll take the picture, go into the studio, do the post production and post. But, that seems like the same everybody else is doing. Go to an event, take a picture using a smart phone and post immediately… to prove you were there. Or, are there “right now.” Me? I’m slower than that. Besides. I was enjoying a pretty spring day in my backyard.
Just a few more pictures from Sunday’s Ole & Nu second line parade. It’s all about the joy. All about the celebration.
A quick reminder, although I’ll be photographing whatever I see, second line parades are on hiatus for the next two Sundays while Jazzfest takes over the city. They will return on Mother’s Day, May 10 with Westfest — The Westbank Indians Super Sunday — and the Original 7 second line. I have to think about attending Jazzfest for even one day. You know I like music. There are plenty of pictures lurking about just waiting to be found. But, you may not believe this, I really dislike being in big crowds.
Yes. The reason.
Photography lesson 2,365,897 and 2,365,898. Street photography. Documentary photography.
I see that there is a big discussion on Photo District News about a photographer team who stopped in a small town in West Virginia. They were practicing is what a lot of people call “Poverty Porn.” Stop into some poverty-stricken place and take pictures of poor people and things. There’s all kind of porn these days. There is the porn that you think of when you hear the word porn. There is food porn. You know, when people with smart phones just have to document their meal and post it somewhere. There is little kitten and puppy porn. The list is endless.
These two documentarians from Massachusetts driving a Volvo, (How stereotypical is that?) pulled into a little West Virgina town and started taking pictures of the town’s children without so much as a hello or asking if anybody minded. Short story. Things got so out of hand and potentially violent that the state troopers were called and had to escort the photographers past the county line. True enough, it does take two to tangle. The crowd demanded the photographers images. But, still…
Here’s my take.
In New Orleans, we call it presenting yourself. I make the kinds of pictures that I do of social club members and Mardi Gras Indians because I’m a known quantity. I’ve taken the time — over a period of three years — to introduce myself around. And, even if I’m unknown to the subject I always smilingly ask if they mind. I always say thank you afterward. Sometimes, in this digital age, I show them the picture on my cameras LCD. Today’s picture is an example of what happens when you do that.
This cat had no idea why I wanted to photograph him, but nodded okay. I tried to explain the background, but he wasn’t sure. I showed him his picture on the LCD. Now he got it. He started posing and smiling. We parted by shaking hands.
Today I was going to write advice to newer photographers. I was going to write something about not standing across the street and taking secret pictures with a telephoto lens. I was going to write about not sneaking around and taking pictures. I was going to say that the minute you point your camera at somebody the entire scene changes. So, you might as well work closer, talk to your person of interest and let him or her know that you mean no harm and that you are just talking pictures. I was going to say that if you have a business card give them one and promise to give them a print. Then, keep your promise. Always thank them.
But, then I read the PDN story. I thought to myself “those photographers are just rude jerks.” Generally, I always have my photo brothers backs. Not this time. They claim that they do it all the time and the 99% of the time nobody says anything. So what? That doesn’t make it right. Sure. There is no expectation of privacy in public place. That’s sort of the legal phrasing. But why can’t you just do the right thing and be human.
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