This picture is very different for me. As I wrote in my hub blog, making pictures in mid-day is very rare for me. With high sun, and white light many pictures just aren’t very attractive. Working at the ends of days is much better for me. Golden light, long shadows and a little darkness make the picture more interesting to me on a lot of levels. But, when you are taking a day trip sometimes you have to work where you are. So I did. I just had to find a slightly different way to do it. I started think, albeit very briefly, about art that I like. I like Edward Hopper’s work a lot. In fact, I’ve made a couple of “Nighthawks at the Dinner” influenced images over the past couple of years. Although there are no people in this picture, the strong lines and graphic shapes remind me of his work. This bit of mental processing probably took me less than 10 seconds. I more-or-less saw these shapes, my brain whirred and I pressed the shutter release button. I’m not sure how well the image works, but I am sure that it doesn’t look like your usual I-was-there kind of picture. In case you are wondering, these two semi-restored buildings are located in Edgard, Louisiana. That’s on River Road on The Westbank. That’s The Westbank of The Mississippi River.
So. I couldn’t take it anymore. After being house bound for just a few days cabin fever set in. I just had to get out of the house and make a few pictures. Luckily, my head cleared a lot and I felt better than I have in days. She did too. In fact, she was mumbling something not so pretty about the house under her breath. So, off we went. As much as I like working in New Orleans, I wanted to head to the country. I wanted something a little different. And, once you get outside of New Orleans a few miles, you leave the funky Caribbean third world country in which we live and are magically transported to the deep south. Everything changes. You find yourself in farm country. Or, in some very industrialized area. But, it’s all rural. You find yourself slowing down a bit. You take your time and you eat in gas stations. Well… sometimes. When we finally got hungry, we found an ancient grocery store. It was sort of a combination grocery store, hardware store and fast food restaurant. It is so old that it had wide wooden planked floors that were worn shiny from all the people who shopped there over the years. Even though it was sort of late for lunch, the counter lady was happy to feed us — as long as all we wanted to eat was po’boys. That was just fine. I’m glad that’s all she could make for us. We ate two of the best po’boys made anywhere, at anytime, by anybody. I was ready to split a third. That was, until we realized we probably be parked in a ditch somewhere sound asleep. Nothing like eating too much for lunch.
The day. Wow. It was wonderful. A big storm moved through the area yesterday and last night. The air was clear. I’d like to say it was crisp too. But, with the temperature in the high 80s and the air being very humid, nothing is very crisp. However, the day was sunny. And cloudy. And, there was a little rain. All in one. That made a pretty special day. So special we stayed out for about six hours even though we planned a short, maybe, two-hour day trip. And, we feel pretty good so we didn’t tire ourselves to the point of making ourselves sicker. I’m pretty sure it did us some good.
The picture. Well, I’m sort of teasing you. It captures the feeling of being on the road. Yes. Even for a day trip. It’s one of my usual drive by shootings. But, it’s a good lead into the rest of the pictures which I’ll publish over the course of the next week. Oh yeah. It’s brand new.
In case you are wondering, the green belt on the left is the levee. To the left of that is The Mississippi River. The road is State Route 18, also known as River Road. By the way, there are two River Roads. One is on the Eastbank. This one is on the Westbank. If you ever get down this way, you should drive them. Aside from the rural-ness of the area, it is also plantation country. Many of them are still standing and are restored.
Well. I thought we were getting better. But, if chills aches and pains mean we are getting better… It’s a virus. I doubt a doctor’s visit will do much so we’ll have to tough it out, lay around and drink lots of water and do next to nothing. If I was feeling better that would sound great. I’m lazy at times. But, enough whining. Let’s talk about these pictures.
After the Federal disaster that was Katrina, New Mexico sounded great. I’ve been traveling there for 30 years. Okay, let’s make a big move. It’s dry and drier. For the first couple of years it was fine. It was healing and comfortable. But boredom set in. We came back to New Orleans every chance that we got. It was time to come home. Everybody knew it.
But, while we were there we had us a real good time. I made a lot of pictures. But, not the kind of pictures that I usually make. I lived one of my many philosophies. Make pictures where you are. Not where you want to be. So, that’s what I did. I’m not a nature photographer. But, I played to be one on television.
So. These pictures. The Sandias are a mountain range located east of Albuquerque. They are the next highest range to The Sangri de Cristo Mountains which are near Santa Fe. In the summer, they aren’t quite so interesting. But, winter changes everything. The light is wonderful, powerful and strong. It has a low angle which just pops the color out of wherever it is hiding, as it did with these pictures.
Sunset in The Sandias. I was standing on a low ridge in front of the mountains. I kind of stayed very patient thinking I might have a great sunset. Or not. I got nervous and made some earlier pictures as a sort of backup. I put my head down for a minute and — BLAMMO — the sun lit everything up from below the lowest cloud band. I had to work very quickly.
Winter Night. Luck and a tripod. And, being in the right place as the moon rose through the clouds. It was really cold that night. I worked with one glove on and one glove off. No fun. And, very lucky. Working that way is a sure way to fail.
Sandias From Above. I saw the light as I was landing at the airport. I photographed that right from my seat through thick plexiglass.
So, that’s it. I’m starting to get a little cabin fever. Feeling better or not, I’m going to make some new pictures later. I have to. That’s how I was made.
Still sick. But, I think we’ve turned the corner. Typical cold. A week to come. A week to have. And, a week to leave. Anyway… more poking around in my files. These images aren’t as old the images were in my last couple of posts. For one thing, they weren’t made on film. They were produced digitally. That changes things… a lot. I think. I’ve had this discussion a couple of times today. I really do think that film has a more organic simpler look. To me, no matter what I do with digital images there is a cleanliness to them that almost borders sterility. Yeah, yeah. I know that for most uses film ain’t coming back. Probably in 98% of the images made today are “captured” digitally. But, film does have its uses. As I was reading about the old film v digital discussion, I was surprised and happy to find out that some of the really big time and name photographers use film for special projects and clients. So. There is that.
If you want to learn a lot more about how I think photographically and about these images in particular, please go here http-::raylaskowitz.hubpages.com:hub:The-Nature-of-The-Thing-Not-All-Travel-Imagery-Is-Urban That’s my Hub blog. It’s a lot more “how-to” than Storyteller, which is me just chatting with you. A lot more fun for me… anyway.
So. We are still sick and getting sicker. But, that’s okay. It feels like your classic summer cold. I may have peaked and I think I might start getting better tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. When my head is clear and I’m not coughing, I’ve been looking at older work. I’m not sure to what end, but it’s been a lot of fun. I’m able to review older images and think about what makes them good, better and best. Or, just junk. I’ve also been able to look at my progress over the past few years. Few being about 25 years. Depending on my mood, either I think I was a better photographer when I was younger, or I’m getting better as I age. Either is fine with me. I just don’t want to remain stuck in one place.
Anyway. These pictures. First, the only post production that I did on any, or all, of them was to clean things up and make the images a little closer to what I saw in my mind’s eye when I pushed the button. As far as each of the images go, Chicago, Santa Cruz, New York and Santa Fe. That’s where I made them. Oh, one more thing. When I say old, I mean old. These are all scanned from film. I think that the scans are great. Big 60 meg things made by a lab in New Orleans called Moldaners. Can’t beat the quality and can’t beat the price.
Still not feeling well, so it’s back to the files. Even though I’m very happy to be home in the green, luscious Southeast Louisiana, I sometimes miss the desert. There is something clean about it. Pure. The light is powerful. The colors pop. It’s just as hot. But, oh yeah. It’s a dry heat. As opposed to our wet and soggy heat. I friend of mine sent me a short comment for yesterday’s desert post. I said something like we or dry heat, it didn’t matter. He said, “It matters.” Yeah. The difference is like getting out of an oven and stepping in a steam room. I guess it matters. At least being here, my skin has a nice healthy glow as opposed to the days when I lived in the high desert of New Mexico, and my skin was taking on a nice lizard like feel.
Anyway. And, so on…
These pictures were made at various times and in various places.
Like a Painting was made in Joshua Tree, California. It is truly one of my favorite desert places. Usually, if Southern California has had a somewhat wet winter, the desert near Joshua Tree just explodes with colorful desert bloom.
Winter Light was made in Northern New Mexico, as I was wandering around north and west of Taos. Another favorite place.
Golden Light was made at Vasquez Rocks which is in the California desert between Antelope Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley in a mountain range called Sierra Pelona. You know the area from many movies and television shows. The rocks themselves have been called “Kirk’s Rocks” since they were in so many episodes of Star Trek.
I know. I know. I said I was taking a break over the long weekend. Big plans and all that. But, two people around here caught colds. It’s kind of funny. The older I get, the less I like being around crowds. Now, I’ve figured out one of the reasons for this new phobia. The last two times that I had to deal with crowds I caught something. The last time it lingered for a long while because I was traveling. Not this time. I’m sitting it out. But, that bores me. To tears. So I started poking around in really old files. I found this picture that I made on a book assignment. The place is Death Valley. California. The time of day is my favorite. Late afternoon heading toward dusk. As I recall the picture was made in mid-spring. That’s good. This part of the world is known to reach a high of 130 degrees in the summer. It was hot when I was there. But, it was manageable. It certainly wasn’t 130 degrees. Oh yeah. It’s a dry heat. Like that matters.
Something for a long weekend. Something bright. Something yellow. With a little help in post production to make it look painted and framed. Long weekend. Unless a picture jumps up in front of me, it’s time for a little break.
New Orleans is a funny place. Here’s an example. When I was a very young guy, I learned where the sun rose and where it set. But because of the way New Orleans is laid out, you never really know if what you learned in grade school is true. The city moves. Seemingly. Well, even though it is built on a swamp, the city really doesn’t move. But, the streets curve to accommodate the curves in the river. Streets start and stop. They change names. They change directions. Not really. But, one way streets turn into two-way streets and then reverse direction. So. When I made this picture, my back was turned to the river. That would be to the west. So, they say. But, the big square building in the background is positioned to the north. So say all manner of maps… digital or paper. I might not be the smartest person in the city, but I know that the sun doesn’t set in the north.
Or… does it?
This is New Orleans. After all.
The picture. I like it. It surprised me. Once again, I was on my way to some place else when the light got really good. So what could I do? I cut across two lanes of traffic, making a couple of taxi drivers very nervous and I got out of the car and made a few pictures. The picture also illustrates the funniness of New Orleans again. Where have you ever seen a picture of New Orleans that looks like this? Usually, you see really old architecture. You see buildings that are very unique to the city. But, these buildings and this street could be anywhere.