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In the golden light.

After the storm.

In the first hours after the rain stopped, the dogs needed to walk. So did I. Then the rain started again. And, stopped. And, started. For almost two days. That was mixed with wind. There is nothing like looking at poodle and cocker spaniel ears floating in the wind.

To me freshly washed air is wonderful. It sparkles. Shines. Even if it is a little humid. While we walked, I made pictures. When we got home I processed them, layered them and tinkered with them. All on my phone. I thought that I would do everything on my phone including tag, copyright, watermark and post them.

That was not to be.

WordPress completely changed the interface on my phone. I have no idea how to use it. I should have known something was up when earlier in the day, I couldn’t switch between comment and like pages. That usually means they are working on something.

Quite frankly, I don’t have time for these constant unannounced “improvements.” I went back to posting on my main machine. It’s better anyway. The screen is about 100 times larger so I can see what I’m doing. And, if I can see my work as I do it, I don’t have to talk to some customer service agent who tells me to code it “like this.” Unlike a twenty-something helper, my life is about pictures and art. Not living on a computer 19 hours a day.

Anyway.

These are layered pictures. The bottom one is a little more subtle. Mostly, there is just a sort of depth added to the image which you can see much better if you open it. Remember. Big. I like big. A top picture is about the first sunlight we saw in days. Happy sun. Happy sunlight.

The funny thing about all of this is that every time I think that I want to join the modern millennial world, I run into something like I did today. It reminds that new and disruptive doesn’t necessarily make things better. Sometimes — mostly — it makes things worse by lowering the quality across the board.

That’s enough of that. Enjoy your day. Outside.

Shades of pink and blue.

Junk Magic


Tramps through the flowers.

Junk Magic.

I borrowed that from a record album title, which in turn was borrowed from a saying about places that are mostly junk and forgotten. But, have a special and maybe magical, feel about them. Like neighborhoods in New Orleans.

First, the tropical storm. I have no idea what it’s doing upriver. I started this morning by reading a long piece in the New York Times about a musician called Craig Taborn. From there, I decided to play his music. And, take the dogs of their first long walk in three days. So, I haven’t read the news. And, that feels pretty good.

That said, we are very windy, but bright and sunny with some white puffy clouds. It’s windy enough to make the cockers and poodles look like they are flying because their ears were lifted from their heads and fluttering straight out. They kept looking at each other as if to say, “you look silly,” and “it takes one to know one.”

I made the base picture on Mardi Gras Day. The main subject is the Krewe of Zulus and their sub-krewe, the Tramps. That base picture has been exhibited and is the permanent collection of the Jazz and Heritage Foundation, which is the funding arm of Jazz Fest.

The rest of the imagery is just background components that I found along the way. Sometimes walking the dogs. Or, with the dog who sees pictures. I blended them, as usual.

I made a couple of new images yesterday when I got outside in between the rain drops. I’ll show them to you in the next few days. They represent a first for me. Not only did I make the pictures on my smart phone, but I did all the layering and finishing there. And, tomorrow I’ll publish them here straight from the phone. I’ve done bits and pieces of this in the past. But, this is the first time that everything was made on the most portable of platforms. Something I can carry in my pocket. I suppose that until I download them into my archives and stock collections, they exist nowhere but on my phone and in the Apple Cloud.

As you know, I’m not the biggest fan of this method of working. But, it’s likely the future and it’s happening now. I may not use the technology for most of my work, but I should know how to use it, when to use it. And, when not to use it.

 

I Thought…


Trombone and a portrait.

Yes. I just thought.

I thought, that I’d better post last night and schedule it for today.

Because.

The storm hasn’t even officially made landfall. But, we’ve had strong winds and rain since about 1 pm yesterday afternoon. It may never really get stronger this far down river. But, you never know. Besides, you know how OCD I get about not missing a day. Last year, I took a few weeks off in July. By the end of that time I was pacing around waiting to get back to it.

Anyway.

If we have power in the morning (Remember, I wrote and scheduled last night), which I fully expect, I’ll update you on the weather. If not… well, at least you get to see a picture. And, I’ll be back when I can.

UPDATE

I promised you an update if there was power. There is. It is currently 10:15 am. The rain stopped for about an hour and there was just a slight breeze. Rain began to fall a few minutes ago. According to NOAA, we are well within the storm range, and Cindy remains cyclical. Wind should not be a problem since it has died down some on the ground and in the air. But, rainfall might be a problem, especially further upriver. We’ve had rain for almost the last two weeks, mixed with a couple of days of sun. The ground is super saturated.

Dance, Not Dance


Out on the Westbank.

Super Sunday on the Westbank.

No. Not the West Bank in the Middle East. The one in New Orleans. I mention that because I’ve had the question asked of me. You just never know.

I made the base picture — a Mardi Gras Indian Wildman — a few years ago, when I had the energy to photograph two second lines and a piece of the Westbank Super Sunday, all in the space of about four hours. Luck was with me. I made no wrong turns. I found a good parking space three times. Normally, I’d make ten wrong turns and have to walk about a mile because parking was tough.

The rest of this image was layered from more contemporary work. Once again, I started on my smart phone and finished on my main machine.

You’ve all been very kind. You seem to like this new approach. I’m not as confident as you are.

I am starting to miss actually documenting things in the manner of a photojournalist. Life on the streets is rough and getting rougher. There were three shootings yesterday resulting in two deaths. This seems like a broken record with me, but it’s scary.

They are happening in places that I wouldn’t expect. In fact, in a space of 24 hours last Sunday there were 8 shootings resulting in two or three deaths. That included a shooting on I-10 near Treme. Some of the comments on NOLA.com were hysterical, like this one. “You don’t even have to be in New Orleans to get shot, you could just be passing through.” Or, “New Orleans, so many options to get shot.”

Oh.

If I disappear for a couple of days, no worries. With luck I won’t. It just means I’m without power. I could cheat and use my phone to post. But, I try to conserve battery power in after storm days.

A fairly strong tropical storm called Cindy is about to make landfall. Luckily that will happen further up the Gulf near the Texas – Louisiana border. We should be on the outer bands of the storm. Strong wind and some heavy rain. Maybe around 4 to 6 inches.

By the way. The last storm named Cindy was twelve years ago. It was the first of three storms that year, the most famous of which is Katrina. Cindy was originally classed as a tropical storm, but was reclassified as a hurricane, mostly for insurance purposes.

Just sayin’.

Into the Green


Breaking through to another place.

Another day. Another experiment.

I wrote yesterday that I discovered a number of images that would work well with some of the background pictures that I’ve been making.

This is one of them.

In the picture’s metadata I added Mardi Gras Indian. That’s so people might find the image on a Google search. He is really a member of Skull and Bones. Another culture-based krewe. No worries. I added Skull and Bones too.

I’ve been learning a lot about how to make what amounts to a new kind of portraiture for me. A lot of it has to do with colors. Either both pictures — or all three, as in this case — have to have complimentary colors. Or, they have to be totally contrasting. Anything in the middle gets muddy and usually doesn’t work. At least not to my eye.

Me? I like this picture. It’s all about nature. Preserving it. Protecting it. Becoming one with it. I guess I see my new portraiture in two ways. The images are portraits. They are also illustrations. They also accomplish one more thing. They are more closely aligned with how I see color. Bright. energetic. Powerful.

If you try this at home, don’t follow exactly what I do. Yeah, sure. Use the techniques I’ve been discussing. But find your own way. Make your picture. If any of you try this, I’d love to see your work. I am always amazed at how many ways there are to do a thing.

If I Knew The Way


Into the mystic.

Sometimes when you take all the twists and turns in image making that I have, people don’t quite understand. Some might not like the work. Some may want a little more straight photography, because Storyteller is — after all — a photography blog. First and foremost.

I do read what you write. A friend of mine suggested that I shouldn’t. That I should do whatever I want. I should be old enough and mature enough to let everything roll off my back. I do. To a point. You know what Dylan said about that. “You Gotta Serve Somebody.” Besides, my friend is retired. I’m not. Thankfully.

I listen and read because, among other things, it helps me find work.

Even when I do this weirdness, it catches the eyes of people who can offer me work. They see this work and wonder what else I do. They look around. Pretty soon we are talking. And, working together.

That just happened. That answers my questions to working the streets of New Orleans. Even though I won’t be home. Again. It won’t be far. And, I can stay in one place. On a beach.

Anyway.

A number of you have suggested that I should keep going in this direction. I will. I’m having fun with this. I thought that I was running out of material. But, as I was working on this picture my brain kicked in. I could see all sorts of potential in pictures that I haven’t touched. So, there we go. A little pressure was released yesterday and my mind is clearer.

Besides.

I do the base layering on my phone. You have no idea how short a six-hour airplane ride becomes when you are completely focused on something else.

Or, sleeping.

It does catch the attention of passing flight attendants. One reminded me that I shouldn’t use my phone in the air. When she saw what I was doing she was happily surprised. I was in airplane mode and working with apps. She was impressed enough to tell the other flight attendants what I was doing and that it was okay. They came over to see the work. One took my business card. We’ll see.

In this day and age of rage about everything, especially air travel, I think it’s a good idea to tell the good stories too. Besides, domestically, I fly American. They’ve always been good to me. I helps to have a lot of miles. Yeah, yeah. I know the rich get richer. I earned whatever status I have. I travel to go to work. Besides, if you read people who know about these things, there is no telling how many years I took off my life by flying too close to the sun.

The picture. The base picture is of a portrait I made of a man hanging out in Central City. The other components are bits and pieces of flowers and spring blooms that I made somewhere along the way. As I wrote, base blending is done on my iPhone using Snapseed. I go as far as I can using that app. When I get ready to finish the picture I switch to OnOne on a big machine. That’s just me. The picture is pretty much complete when I’m done on my phone. You know me. Tinkering is my middle name.

Happy Father’s Day to those near and far.

 

Until the Colors Flow


Blowing the trombone.

I used to say that when I was working really well that I could hear music in my head. Musicians that I know say that when they are playing really well, they see color and images in their head.

I suppose that this image is the combination of both. And, my attempt to get music and vision out of my head and into a format that you could see it.

That’s probably what all art is, except I don’t know that for a fact.

The picture. Three images; layered, adjusted and enhanced. That part of the process has become fairly simple. It’s the selection and culling process that keeps it very interesting. For me. Hopefully, for you.