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In the Pouring Rain


Driving in the pouring rain.

Driving in the pouring rain.

Storms.

Around here, it’s a way of life. Especially in the summer. If you are out and about, likely you will drive in the rain starting sometime in June through maybe September. You get used to it. You change your windshield wiper blades a lot. This is my version of what it was like to drive through Uptown on Tuesday.

The picture. Yes, I’m starting to shift a little. Organically. Without trying. It seems that I’m moving from documentation to something that is a little more impressionistic, or minimalist. I’ve also gone from having some sort of shooting block to working almost every day. I’ve also sort of shifted my usually approach to color a little bit. All good.

A quick bit of housekeeping. I’ve been exceptionally busy the last couple of days. With pictures. With family life. With dogs. Especially dogs. So, I’ve managed to accumulate about 198 (“about,” he says) of your emails in a day in a half. Yes. I answered everything that was pressing. Now, I’ll answer the important emails. Yours.

 

When the Weather is Wet


After a lot of rain.

After a lot of rain.

Rain. Lots of it.

I’m not complaining. We can always use more rain. Besides, it’s summer. Our rainy season. It’s also humid and warm — not hot — which makes everything grow. For a few months of the year we live in what amounts to a hot-house.

During my first year in Louisiana I asked one of my neighbors, an old Creole man who still spoke French as a first language, what I should plant. He replied, anything. Everything grows here. He was right. I planted tomatoes, peppers and some herbs. The only thing I did was separate and thin them. I didn’t water them. I didn’t fertilize them. I just let them grow. By the time they were ready for picking, which is different from ripe, I had so much that I couldn’t give them away quick enough. Sauce was made. Salsa was made. And, still tomatoes and peppers kept coming.

That’s how it is down here.

That’s also what happened to these bricks. Wet, wet and more wet. Moss grew. Just like anything. It’s fair to say that nature made this picture. I just saw it, pushed the button and did a bunch of post production.

Minimalistic


As minimal as possible.

As minimal as possible.

Since the flower didn’t seem to help yesterday, I thought I’d move to more Japanese style of work in honor of the people who died or were wounded in Tokyo.

Yes. This picture is very minimalistic. Very Japanese. Very Asian.

I don’t say that without knowledge. I spent some nine years of my life — six years total — commuting back and forth to Hong Kong. Six years total refers to the time I actually lived in the city.

Since I worked to various deadlines, I often had small chunks of time free. Not enough time to go home to The United States. But enough time to travel all over the Asian continent. I absorbed many of the differences between Eastern and Western design style. You see that sometimes in how I photograph buildings. For example. In the West, we approach composition in one way with the corner of the building being the fulcrum between a long and short side. You can see two sides of the building. It follows the Rule of Thirds. In the East, often the building is photographed head on (from the front or side) and placed in the lower end of the composition. Or, sometimes to the far right, far left or even the top. It too follows the Rule of Thirds. In a different way.

So.

The subject is placed in the extreme third of a picture if you follow the Rule of Thirds or Golden Mean. Why? The Golden Mean may have a mathematical formula but it is based on nature. For lack of a better word, it’s natural. And, flowing. Your eye is comfortable moving from place to place in the picture. Both Eastern and Western styles are valid design philosophies. Just a different way of seeing.

Design nerd enough for you?

Me? You see it in my pictures. Main subjects often placed towards the bottom or side. With stuff going on in the background which is out of focus or a kind of bokeh. Another Eastern term. A Japanese one.  It’s well overused now. It’s a description of an out of focus background area, not a photographic style.

Yes. Those years living in Hong Kong and traveling to many places in Asia influenced me greatly. I’d like to think I’m better for it.

Dream in Blue


Another memorial.

Another memorial.

I love waking up to read of another mass shooting in the United States. This time in Fort Meyers, Florida. Since only two young people were killed — and 17 shot — it’s not huge news. Even though most of the wounded are very young. It has already fallen to fourth place on my news feed. Of course, over the weekend, there were attacks all over Germany and Afghanistan and Iraq.

In New Orleans, we had our usual Monday morning scorecard. Just like baseball, before all the data came into play. Hits, runs, errors. Except in New Orleans, its, shootings, stabbings and murders.

Scary? Tiring? I suppose. I just seems that we are getting used to it. It seems like none of these killings stir many emotions now. It’s more or less the new normal.

So…

Peaked inside an open door
“Looked around, don’t know what for
Way too bright, could hardly see
Oh no, can’t believe it
Oh yeah, could almost see it
In a dream in blue
I flew around with shiny things
When I spoke I seemed to sing
High above, floating far away
Oh no, can’t believe it
Oh yeah, could almost see it
In a dream in blue
In a dream in blue
Sock it to me one time
Woke up laughing in my bed
Silly smile stuck on my head
Am I real or still in a dream
Oh no, can’t believe it
Oh yeah, could almost see it
Oh no, can’t believe it
Oh yeah, could almost feel it
In a dream in blue
In a dream in blue.”

— David Hildago & Louis Perez/Los Lobos from the album, “Kiko.”

Looking Down. Sometimes.


After the storm.

After the storm.

Look up. Look down. Look all around.

Or, as some people call it… being situationally aware. Every one of these pictures was made within a few days of each other. Usually after a storm rolled through. I probably could have made these with my smart phone since that always goes everywhere. But, I’ve been a little old school these past couple of weeks. I’ve been carrying a DSLR — mirrorless — just about everywhere. I think I make some people nervous because they aren’t used to seeing that these days. If they ever where. Doesn’t matter. Currently, I still think a camera’s larger sensor makes better files than a phone’s itty bitty sensor does. That’s not to say some good images can’t be made with a phone. They can be. And, they are. It’s really just my preference. And, really. It’s only a matter if time.

Enough of that. It’s a never-ending discussion. At the end of the day, use what you got. What makes you happy.

But.

These pictures. I was just walking or running errands and they sort of found me. The bottom right picture — reflections — is what caught my eye when I took yesterday’s summer picture. Of the tree. I don’t know if it works or not. But, I thought that you should see it. It is part of my work for the week. If you open it, you can see a lot more detail.

In the Summer


Summer tree.

Summer tree.

I make pictures in the weirdest places.

I took this one in the parking lot of a strip mall where I gone to run a couple of errands. At this point, I should say that I really don’t see myself as a nature photographer. I just sort of make it up as I go along.

Anyway.

We had one of our usual summer hour-long torrential downpours and I guessed, correctly, that everything would be washed and even the air would sparkle without its usual summer heaviness.

It did.

So I took some pictures. This one was almost an afterthought. I photographed what I thought that I wanted to, and it wasn’t really working. I was standing pretty much under this tree and looked up. I thought, “what the heck” and pressed the button a few times. This picture surprised me. I jumped off the screen while I was reviewing the images.

Of course there is the weather. Severe summer heat. Everywhere. Not just in New Orleans. Apparently, the country is in some kind of dome. A heat dome. Like the thunder dome, only worse. Or like Stephen King’s story called, “The Dome.” A dome even occurred in the Simpsons. None of them were good things. And, to make things worse, corn crops are sweating adding to the humidity in the Midwest. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

Apparently, the worst is yet to come. According to NOAA, which is the national weather service that meteorologists use and the guys whose weather brief prior to Hurricane Katrina said something like, “There is a powerful Category 5 hurricane coming which will result in death, disaster and severe suffering,” the entire country with the exception of a strip of land in Washington State stay will stay hot. Luckily, they also said that it will cool down soon. In October.

October? Soon? Huh?

I say November. Around Election Day in The United States. That’s when the political hot wind will finally stop blowing. For a while.

Signs, Symbols & Stuff


 

Lone Star in black and white.

Lone Star in black and white.

Signs and Symbols.

That’s what we see. Every day. But, they become ubiquitous. We stop seeing them. Sometimes, when we take the time and have a little stroll, we start to see — really see — our surroundings. And, sometimes we don’t.

I made these pictures while I was waiting for my buddy to arrive. I just walked around because I am an impatient sort. So I walked. And took pictures of whatever I saw. Here and there. This and that.

The pictures. The lone star is a little weird because it’s not the traditional colors of a Texas flag. Two pictures are fairly easy to recognize. Then there’s that sort of Batman like symbol. I have no idea what that little piece of graffiti means. It just took the picture.

One more thing. About cropping. If I really thought about it, I could have cropped the image called, “Red, White & Blue. Twice” and framed the stars and bars with the with brick-red, blue and white of the door frame and made it an entirely new picture.  Oh. I guess I d think about it.