It’s Hot from March to Christmas…


Talking to the band.

Talking to the band.

The title isn’t quite right.

It’s going to be 35 degrees as I write this. Yesterday was tax day. Normally, it’s pretty warm by now. It was last weekend. Then a storm blew through. Rained as hard as I’ve seen it in a long time. Side ways rain. Big heavy drops. Wind blowing. Loud thunder. Bright lightning. Then the temperature followed the big drops with its own drop. 82 to 35 degrees.

This picture was made over last weekend. French Quarter Fest. Big regional and local musicians play for free. Me? I like the pick up bands who play wherever they can. You saw one yesterday. The graphic picture. Of a tuba. From above. That picture was made on one end of Jackson Square. This one was made on the other.

Today? A different tuba player playing in a band made up of people looking for a gig. They sort of just gather and play. They are a little older than the band I showed you yesterday. So are the instruments. I’m not exactly sure of the age of this instrument, but it’s held together with electrical tape. The musician? He’s telling the drummers to tone it down. They were playing too loudly. He couldn’t hear himself or the rest of the brass play.

I like this tuba. It’s beat up. It’s held together with tape. Part of the brass is turning green. It’s dented. Faded. It needs polish. But, it still works just fine. Reminds me of this city. New Orleans.

Son of Rhythm, Brother of Blues


Graphic Bucket List Picture

Graphic bucket list picture.

This is a picture I’ve wanted to make for a long time. I usually work close. With a 16mm lens. From the front. I like to see faces. I’ve long thought that a tuba makes a great graphic shape. I lucked into this picture. A kind of photographer’s luck. Again. I photographed The French Quarter Fest. On assignment. The kind of assignment I just really like. The creative brief said something like,”photograph your impressions of the event.”

Two things about that.

I really dislike crowds. The Quarter was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it. I worked around that.

I like to work the margins. My dislike of crowds really helped with that.

Yeah. Yeah. Dis, dat and de udder. Yat talk. Brooklyn talk. Both the same. Both different. I live here. I was born there.

Back to the picture. We walked to a location that I wanted to use for an overall scene of the festival. It’s almost impossible since it winds throughout the streets of The Quarter. This would be just a representation. I went to where the big gun is located. A cannon. Not a Canon. There they were. A brass band. Below me. They weren’t on any stage. They were working for tips. On the street. They could really play. The music was wonderful. So was the angle. Directly over head. You see the result. Like it?

 

Time After Time


Nature always wins.

Nature always wins.

Nature always seeks stasis. That means, over time, nature always wins.

Believe what you want. Build a dam. A levee. A floodgate. Without massive expense, overbuilding and constant maintenance, nature wears you down. Or, nature strikes with an amazing amount of ferocity. Think of a hurricane. Think of a hurricane called Katrina.

Katrina caused the levees to break. When the levees broke, 80% of the city was flooded. The levees broke in 52 places. If you watched the city flood on CNN, you only saw four major breaks. Trust me. There were more. Many more.

Today as I photograph the city I’m encouraged. The number of broken, abandoned and shattered buildings is under control. The number has dropped from over 60,000 to around 35,000. When I find a house like the one in my picture, they are the exception, not the rule in most neighborhoods.

There are reasons for some houses looking this way. A family member passed. The owners are still — almost nine years later — struggling with Road Home funds. The house was under-insured. Issues like those.

You usually can tell if one of those things happened just by looking at the property. The house might look like the one in my picture. It even has its original Katrina Cross. It’s fading. But, it’s there. The lawns are mowed. The trees and bushes are trimmed. Often, a neighbor will come out and ask you why I am taking pictures. Usually, after I introduce myself. Offer them a business card. Tell them about my project. And, make sure they know that I lost a house to the storm, they start telling me stories. We talk for a long time. We part as friends. Maybe that happens everywhere. But, more so in New Orleans. I think. We just like to talk. To find our commonality.

And, nature?

Even though the lawn is neatly trimmed, look at the chain link fence. That’s all you need to see.

Oh. I worked this house pretty hard. If you’d like to see more, please just ask.

Magic City


Magic hour with St. Louis Cathedral.

Magic hour and The St. Louis Cathedral.

Magic hour.

Magic place.

There are days. And there are days.

Some are not great. Some are great. Some are magic.

Today was magical.

We went to the French Quarter Fest. It’s a free event. Free music. And, great food. The music was local. Our local music is national or international. The food was local. Our local food is world-class. It wasn’t free. But, it wasn’t expensive.

For me, today’s adventure was work. But, my work is… well, you get it. It’s play to most people. I take pictures of stuff that catches my attention and I’m lucky enough to make a living doing it. For almost 40 years. I will say this. I truly dislike crowds. I’d say that I hate crowds. But, I don’t hate anything. That four letter word just seems so huge to me. The Quarter was as packed as I’ve ever seen it. It was more crowded than Mardi Gras. For some reason it didn’t bother me. I guess I got caught up in the magic.

From the front. St. Louis Cathedral during magic hour.

From the front. St. Louis Cathedral during magic hour.

These pictures. Hmmmm. My luck is holding very well. Three assignments in three days. All very different. That means I need a little recovery time. It means that I won’t immediately do the post production on the images I just made. Not to worry. You’ll eventually see some of them. I like to keep you up to date. I try to keep current.

So.

I took a trip back to another magic night. It was a night when the light was creamy. Soft. With a nice color to it. My work is all about that magic light. Those magic moments. Not every time, but many times. These pictures are from a night like that. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you’ve seen the bottom picture. But, I thought it packaged well with the top picture. And, my new friends haven’t seen it. Yes. I used a few tricks in post production. I sort of mellowed the pictures some. I softened them. I turned down the contrast. Doing that caught the magic that I felt. That’s the other thing about my work. I try very hard to photograph my feelings at the time.

Modern Times


Huey P. Long Bridge, linking the east and west banks of the Mississippi River.

Huey P. Long Bridge, linking the east and west banks of the Mississippi River.

I just love this bridge. It’s the Huey P. Long Bridge. It was completed in 1935. By the Kingfisher, himself. It’s been expanded a couple of times since then. It connects the east and west banks of The Mississippi River. It was the first bridge built in Louisiana to do that. It pretty much ended old-fashioned ferry service.

I love trains. Mostly passenger trains, but freight will do, especially if the cars have repeating shapes.

I love great light. Especially the kind of light we get after big storm. Or during a storm.

I love River Road. It’s like driving on a country road even though you are in the city. There is a River Road on both sides of the river. Sometimes it’s called The Great River Road.

I love walking on the levee which is to the far left of the picture. I used to walk on it a lot when we lived out that way. One day, I’ll do a bucket list sort of thing and walk for many miles, maybe from New Orleans to up near Baton Rouge. At the speed I walk these days, that’ll take me about a month.

I love making pictures. You already know that. Making this one was easy. It’s one of my drive bys. My long-term readers know about that. For my new friends, ask me. I’ll tell you.

Yellow


Yellow flowers and an artist studio.

Yellow flowers and an artist studio.

More about yellow.

More about this place.

Once again, a scene from Central City.

For those of you who have been around for a while, you might remember seeing this house last spring. I photographed it from the front. Dead center. It was covered in yellow flowers then. It is covered in yellow flowers now. It is spring.

This time I got a little lucky. I learned something about the house. It’s not a home. It’s an artist studio. A pretty good artist works there.

And, yellow?

I learned more about that too.

It’s uplifting. Hopeful. Cheerful, Happy. Fun. We learned that last night.

Tonight I learned that yellow is also about original thought, inquisitiveness and new ideas. Perfect for an artist studio.

This picture? F8 and be there.

Rebirth (Spring)


Rebirth in a once abandoned place.

Rebirth in a once abandoned place.

Spring. Rebirth. Central City.

Symbolism. Icons.

Yellow. Optimism. Cheerful. Hope.

Green. Balance. Harmony. Growth.

After two years of working in Central City, I see change. For the better. Mostly good. Maybe this picture sums it up more eloquently than I could ever write. That’s fine with me. I’m a photographer who scribbles sometimes. Not a writer who takes pictures.

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