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Time After Time

Dancing in motion.

Dancing in motion.

Mardi Gras 2017.

I learned two things. Rust never sleeps. I took most of the time on the scene to knock the rust off. I may photograph second lines on a weekly basis, but this ain’t that. When I finally get rust free, hopefully I’ll arrive at my second bit of understanding. You have to get so used to the ebb and flow of the parade season that you get a little bored and into another kind of zone. Then you can see. Really see.

I’ll show you more of this take on Tuesday. There are a lot of pictures. I used up all my tricks in one night just trying to make an acceptable group of images. For tomorrow, get ready to see dogs. Lots of dogs.


I’m off the Krewe of Barkus in a few hours.




You Know That Saying?

Spring colors.

Spring colors.

That saying. The one that goes something like this. “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Yeah, well.

This post was supposed to be Mardi Gras parade pictures. The predicted rain fell. Almost all night. You know that wouldn’t stop me. But, the sniffles, sneezing and mild coughing did. I thought, “Oh no, not at the very beginning of parade season.” So, I stayed in. No parades for me last night.

Dawn broke bright and sunny. The temperature was warmer. I felt much better too. Hopefully, I was feeling the effects of spring. With all these pretty blooms all around there is a lot of pollen in the air.  The rain washed the air and it probably washed my sinuses as well. To make sure, I took a Claritin — which is what works best for me. I feel fine as I write.

Tonight I have a choice. Traditional parades, uptown. Or, the Krewes of ‘titRex and Chewbacchus, downtown. You can image  — just from their names — that they are a little “different.” For the past few years I have been working downtown. Since I didn’t work last night, I may reverse that. The biggest issue is parking. There are two daytime parades that I never photograph. But, the folks who go to them usually stay for the next two which makes parking for the night parades a little challenging. To say the least. I’ll flip a coin at the last-minute. And, call Uber.

This picture. My apologies if you follow me on Instagram, or on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook. You may have already seen this picture. I always intended for it to be an Instagram picture, but I really do like it. And, it’s a day or so old so I thought I would share it with y’all.

I was walking a couple of the dogs when I took it. So guess what? It’s an iPhone picture. I have no idea of the technical specs except to say it sure does make weird files. The files are something like 48 x 36 inches, but at 72 ppi. If you uprezed that to a normal file at 300 ppi, that total file size would be huge.



Watching’ People Sashay



“We all going crazy, while jamming and having fun.” — The Treme Song, John Boutte.

A little last look at last Sunday’s second line. CTC Steppers.


Two Mardi Gras parades tonight, which will either be postponed due to weather, or, I’ll be working in the rain. You know what I say about that. “When the weather turns bad, the pictures get good.”

I was corrected about not going to the French Quarter this weekend. I forgot. The Krewe of Barkus rolls, er, walks on Sunday from Armstrong Park through the Quarter. How could I forget? The dogs around here have been grumpy for the past couple of weeks because they are getting fitted for pirate suits. The parade is pirate themed. As Jerry Seinfeld once whined, “I don’t wanna be a pirate.” Neither do they.


The pictures. Kind of the usual. See the picture. Take the picture. A lot less post production than yesterday’s picture. I really didn’t like how various social media sites handled the compression.

Leading the line.

Leading the line.


Out on the Weekend

Dancing out of the door.

Dancing out of the door.

Another Sunday. Another second line.

This time it is the CTC Steppers. With everything being normal. Or, as normal as these events ever are. The social clubs danced. The brass bands played. The people walked. And, the photographers took pictures. In the normal way. With everybody getting in each others way. But, that’s the joy of it.

This is the last second line until after Mardi Gras. You’ll see pictures from this second line today and tomorrow. If the mule doesn’t kick the bucket and the well doesn’t run dry, you’ll see Friday night’s Mardi Gras parades on Saturday afternoon or night, depending on where you live.

I doubt that I’ll venture into the French Quarter this weekend for any reason. Not only does the Mardi Gras parade season begin, which means a flood of tourists. But, the NBA All-Star game is held this weekend. This means even more tourists. Everything turns expensive. Parking lots that normally charge $10 will charge at least $25 for the day. Parking on the Quarter streets will be very limited. My “secret” spots in the Treme will be taken. Uber will convert to surge pricing. Using them for two miles may cost about $37. Hotels will mark their rates up by at least 250% and will want a guarantee of at least three nights. Restaurants. Ho, ho, ho… that’s why I eat where I live. Uptown.

The picture. Close to the ropes. I tried real hard to keep the general scene in the picture with a little glimpse of a semi-decisive moment. You know, his eyes. Post production is limited, but I’m working on making my work a little more cinematic.

Go to the Mardi Gras

Little lights.

Little lights.

“While you stroll in New Orleans
You ought to go see the Mardi Gras
If you go to New Orleans
You ought to go see the Mardi Gras
When you see the Mardi Gras
Somebody’ll tell you what’s Carnival for
Get your ticket in your hand
If you wanna go through New Orleans
Get your ticket in your hand
If you wanna go through New Orleans
You know when you get to New Orleans
Somebody’ll show you the Zulu King
You will see the Zulu King
Down on St. Claude and Dumaine
You know, you’ll see the Zulu King
Down on St. Claude and Dumaine
An if you stay right there
I’m sure you’ll see the Zulu Queen.”

—  Go to the Mardi Gras © 1959 Professor Longhair recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s Studio

That’s all there is to say. I feel it now. In my bones. In my head. In my soul.

The picture. And, the song. The picture was easy. Find it. Stand there. Wait for passersby to pass by. And, push the button. Very gently.

Normally, I would not mention the studio. But, Cosimo Matassa’s Studio was legendary. Everybody who was anybody in New Orleans recorded there. If you believe what I believe about the birth of rock n’ roll, you know that Fat’s Domino recorded the first rock n’ roll song there while a major hurricane was blowing outside. Today, the studio building still exists. It’s a laundromat.

One more thing. The guitar player on this song. Dr. John. The Nightripper. Still recording and touring the world relentlessly. Think about that. He recorded this song 56 years ago. He’s still going strong. Desitvily.


The Space Between Events

Sitting, waiting.

Sitting, waiting.

Another one.

A picture made on the way to someplace else. This time, I was walking on Bourbon Street near Jean Lafitte Blacksmith Shop, which is really a bar. I was waiting for the action to start. And, looking for a picture or two. People were wandering around everywhere. On the sidewalk. On the street. In the patio. In the bar. A few minutes earlier, while I was looking for a place to park, I passed this same place and noticed four people posing for a group shot. In front of the bar. They were all naked. I’m willing to bet they were tourists. They would never do that at home. They would do it in my home.

That’s the thing.

During Mardi Gras we have this terrible reputation of hard partying and nudity. Women baring their breasts for beads. The partying might be on us. But, the public nudity? Nah. Those are tourists who will do anything for a 19 cent string of beads.

Our local women. Never. If they wanted a bead (that’s what we call string of beads), they’d say, “Gimme a bead or I’m coming up there to take one.” We are tough down here in the swamp. Or, they wouldn’t even go to the Quarter during Mardi Gras. They couldn’t be bothered.


I saw this guy sitting in his window. Across the street from Jean Lafitte’s old place. He was ignoring the hub-bub and reading. I took a couple of pictures with a longer lens and thought, “Nah, I need to work closer.” I always think that. I asked if he minded. He didn’t. And, I took this picture.

Thank you for all the compliments about yesterday’s picture. A friend of mine who has a lot of advertising agency experience sent me an email that said something along the lines of that agencies would have art directors, and assistants, and lighting and all that stuff… and I just stood on the corner and waited.

That’s what I was taught to do.

Often, when I show up to an advertising campaign shoot, I drive young ADs and CDs crazy. I have one small bag of gear and an assistant… usually a friend who knows cameras, but who needed a little time off and a little cash in their pockets. His or her job is mostly to get in the way of the “creatives” while I work with the talent (models and props). Afterwards, when the “creatives” see the pictures they are gobsmacked. “Oh my God, these pictures are soooooo good.” Their reactions have more than convinced me that bringing tons of gear is mostly a selling tool, not a technical need to make the picture.


Across the Street From Easy Street

Down on the corner.

Down on the corner.

I was standing on the corner of Fifth and Vermouth when I saw this scene. Nah. That’s a line from a Tom Waits song. I, however, was standing on the corner of Ursulines and Bourbon Streets. In The French Quarter. On my way to the Krewe du Vieux parade.


I saw this scene. It’s a cross between a Tom Waits song and Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks at the Diner.” I just had to take this picture. It needed to be a little lonely feeling. So. I waited. For cars. For passersby. For a lone dog. Then it happened. A clear view. I shot like crazy. Like mad. I framed the picture a couple of different ways. This is the one I like best.

This always happens. Pictures on the way to some place else.

In theory, I’m out and about these next two weeks photographing all things Mardi Gras. But, then I stumble — literally since our streets are the worst — into something that I like better. Obviously, I get distracted easily.

The picture. By now you’ve figured out that I found the scene. The technical details are simple. Using the new magic lens, the 18 – 105mm, handheld. I used auto ISO, auto shutter speed at f 5.6. That’s about it.