The Bayou Boogaloo yielded some pretty cool images. More than I originally thought. Just a lot of luck I guess. This one was a lot of fun to play with. The darker and cleaner I made the image, the more interesting it got. But, when I saw this woman, I think I saw this version of the image in my head. So, I worked for a while in post production to achieve the look that you see. In many ways it takes me back to the late 1960s or early 1970s. It reminds me of work by Pete Turner, or Michel Tcherevkoff from that era. The really cool thing is that there are a lot more interesting images from this take. They are all very different since there was so much stuff going on. Stuff. That’s a technical term. I’ll show you some more. Soon. Like tomorrow. And, the next day. And, the day after that.
Here’s a secret about me. Clowns scare me. I don’t know why. But, I’m not the only one. Lots of people are afraid of clowns. They tell me.
So. While I was wandering around yesterday’s Bayou Boogaloo, I happened upon a clown who was making balloons. At first I sort of just walked by until I heard her tell an adult to get back in line or the child who was with the adult would not get a balloon. Huh? Happy clown, eh? It all came rushing back to me. Clowns are scary creatures. I don’t know when this started for me. But, it did. So, I made a bunch of tight portraits with the intention of making a scary clown. The top picture is how I see things. The bottom picture is how the clown looked in real life. Even in real life, she’s a little scary. Or, not just very happy to be working in the hot Louisiana sun. Who knows? And, quite frankly, I don’t want to know. That would mean actually talking to her. That would be scary. That’s a little tongue in cheek. But, you get the point.
The picture. Well. The top picture. Lots of post production. All sorts of experimentation in OnOne. I finally settled on a combination of “grunge, “Holga style” and a little bit of “soft edges.” I think it made my point.
One more thing. Clowns really do scare me.
We took a break today and went for a sweat. Oops. I mean, we went to Bayou St. John in Mid-City to enjoy The Bayou Boogaloo. The weather was hot and just turning into that nice summer humidity. So. A sweat. In many ways, it’s a locals mini-Jazzfest. Music on three stages. Great food. Cool arts and crafts. And, there are a lot of allied businesses like vets, animal hotels, various green services and the like showing off their stuff. It’s great fun. And, very, very crowded. Even though it’s really just an overgrown neighborhood event, it draws people from all over the city, state and maybe even the world since I over heard a woman say that she was happy that she came down from Canada to attend this. Best of all, it’s free. Well, entrance to the event and the music is free. The food isn’t, but it is certainly priced well. For reasons beyond our control — like we slept late — we had breakfast and nothing more until about 3pm. Luckily we found pulled pork, a brat, sauerkraut and potatoes plate for a very reasonable price. $12. It wasn’t the usual festival sized portions either. We shared one order. And two bottles of water. And, a shot of bourbon. But, that’s a whole other story.
Anyway. These are Mardi Gras Indians. They are Big Chief Victor Harris, Spirit FiYiYi and, not in these pictures, The Mandingo Warriors. Yes. They can sing. Really sing. I’d tell you how I made the picture, but you know how I did it. I worked close and used my magic lens. No real post production was needed. No sharpening, no color correction. Just a little of darkening the edges to move the subject forward.
As anybody who reads Storyteller knows, I’m big on working from my car if need be. I’m also big on telling you not to try this at home. Anyway, I usually make these kinds of pictures on the way to or from something. I don’t usually publish them unless they start piling up on my desktop. In many ways, you are benefitting from my housekeeping. Or not. You might not like any of these pictures.
That said. I made “River Road” on River Road. The real River Road. Even though we don’t live out that way now, I like driving it, especially at dusk. Unless you are stuck behind some kind of heavy truck, the drive is really nice… either inbound or outbound from New Orleans. “Life on the Street” was made somewhere in the Upper Ninth Ward. It really isn’t as bad as it looks. Funny, how a little motion adds so much drama. “Lower Ninth Ward” was made… guess where? It’s one entrance onto St. Claude Avenue. I pretty much like the lines and the blue sky. Finally, There is “Looking Back.” I used to make pictures like this a lot. But everybody started doing it. Now I only do it if the content is excellent in the mirror and in the background. Or. If there is some kind of great light. I really like this light. I didn’t have to do very much to the picture to make it that way.
A nice Friday picture. It came pretty easily. I though that I could make a nice artistic statement. It was very simple. And, I had been looking at it for days without really seeing it. Sometimes that’s just how it is. This came after being lucky enough to hear The Dalai Lama talk today. It was a pretty amazing day. One of the coolest things to learn about him is his sense of humor. He told us that if we didn’t want to do anything about climate change then we didn’t have to… but it might be a good idea to move to higher ground so we could at least enjoy our new ocean view. A young girl asked him what his favorite New Orleans food is, to which he replied his favorite food was the food that was offered to him wherever he was at the time. Perhaps the most important thing that was not meant to be funny was also pretty simple… talk to each other.
As the saying goes, “when the weather turns bad, the pictures get good.” So it does. I don’t even like walking on Bourbon Street. It’s crowded. The people are partying and have been for a long time. Maybe too long. Every sort of huckster, scam artist and two-bit dealer plies his or her trade here. It’s mostly a street filled with cheap dives and bars that cater to the tourist trade. I can’t think of very many locals who go here. Most of us have no reason to do anything but cross this street at some corner on our way to someplace else. But, there are nights when the skies open and rain pours down. You know. Almost that sideways kind of rain. That’s when I head to Bourbon Street. All the glowing neon reflected in the wet streets makes it a sort of adult Disneyland. Sometimes, I get very lucky and somebody with an umbrella races by. Those people who do are usually locals who are prepared for Southeast Louisiana’s spring and summer sudden downpours. All the rest? They just get wet.
The picture? Easy. Slow shutter speed and try to shoot at about f5.6. The rest just happens in front of me. I didn’t have to do anything. Just stand there. In a doorway.
Here’s one more picture of The French Quarter at night. Depending on the season, I like to take photographic strolls through The Quarter from about 6 to 8:30pm. That’s during spring, summer and fall. For winter light, I’m usually wrapping it up by about 6pm. That’s kind of too bad because I like to work in winter. Because? The quality of light varies greatly by season. Unless, there is rainfall and cloudy conditions, summer light is my least favorite. Even as dusk approaches, the light is whiter and sort of chalky. In New Orleans, or should I say Southeast Louisiana, my favorite light comes during winter. It contrasty, more golden or yellow and lower in angle. Better shadows. More contrast, Richer blacks. Bolder color. Of course, once nightfall comes, it doesn’t matter. Does it?
The Street? The upriver end of Royal Street. I like it there. It’s quieter and usually most of the people that I run into are locals. We actually take a few momens and chat with each other.
Well. I did again. One of the things I like to do is take a stroll through The French Quarter around dusk. The last time I did, I made two new friends and connected with a couple of people who I don’t see very often. That didn’t happen this time, but I made a few good pictures. I think this is one of them. It says a lot about The Quarter,
Maybe as important, I found a new way to use my post production tools without really ever having to open Photoshop. This may not seem like much, but it gives me another option away from that software which is undergoing some serious changes in how you can buy or lease it. In short, for the photo-inclined among you, I did the initial work in Lightroom and the rest on the computer desktop using OnOne. I’m sure a lot of true Photoshop gurus do this all the time, but for me this is huge. This changes everything… Oh yeah. I see The French Quarter as an almost Disneyland around dusk, so I gave the picture a little enhanced glow and warmed the sky up some. Hope it works for you.
After the shock of yesterday’s shootings, I decided to make a pretty picture. This flower came out of our garden. That’s all I have to say about it. The really cool thing is, aside from some slight sharpening and minor color adjustment, it’s as I saw it.
Sad day in New Orleans. 19 people were shot or wounded at a second line parade celebrating Mother’s Day. I always wondered where the next mass shooting would be. Now I know. New Orleans. Home. I suppose that it could have been a lot worse. There were around 400 people either walking in the parade or watching it pass by. And, most importantly, nobody died. So. I’m not much in the mood for a new picture. In fact, I’m very sad. I went through a lot to return here after Hurricane Katrina. I knew what I was getting into. But, still… This one is a picture of my mom and grandmother that I made about 30 years ago. My mom was about the age that I am today. My grandmother was about 86. I think. The fog of time, you know.
Anyway. I posted this on Facebook since a lot of my friends where doing the same in celebration of Mother’s Day. My apologies to those of you who are about to see it for the third or fourth time today. I made this picture when I was a young photojournalist. It was published in the newspaper for which I worked at the time. It’s been used in various publications well over a hundred times. Even though I understand why, that sort of usage always continues to amaze me. It’s just a family picture. My family.
And… my grandmother passed that year or maybe the next. My mom passed in 1996. After a few years, like most people, I recovered. But as I get older there are some days when… it all seems like yesterday. It reminds me of an episode of M.A.S.H — for my foreign or younger readers — that was a seminal television show about US Army combat surgeons during the Korean War. It had dramatic moments masked as a comedy. It last aired as a new series maybe 35 years ago. Anyway, during this particular episode one of the doctors, Frank Burns was going crazy because his girlfriend got married to someone else and nobody at that base liked him. He was harmless, but unlikable. In order to calm him down, Radar (the company clerk) called his mom and told him that his mom called him. That calmed Burns down. He sat down and talked to his mom. When the company commander thanked Radar for doing that, Radar replied. “sometimes a guy just needs to talk to his mom.” Today was one of those days.