Road Trips
Road Trips

Long ago and far away.

Sunset, golden light and a distant rain storm.

There’s nothing like it.

Happy Friday.

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Sunflowers
The Big Yellow

Something bright. Something yellow. Something happy.

Something for Thursday.

Now, for a little full disclosure.

I confused and old, dear friend of mine with yesterday’s picture. She saw the mountains below the clouds and wondered if we were headed west. To New Mexico.

Nope.

She almost nailed it. Those are not sub-tropical clouds. They are high altitude, thin air, desert clouds. New Mexican clouds. I made the picture  few years ago. Near Taos. I posted it yesterday because I like the picture and you’ve never seen it. In fact, I hadn’t seen it in a long time. Digital files get that way. They have a habit of hiding because you can’t easily look at a slide file. Truth be told, if I never took another picture — like that’s gonna happen — I could probably publish at least a decade’s worth of Storyteller without stretching much to show you unseen work. I’ve been working for a long time and I’ve made a lot of pictures.

As a lot of you know, life got in the way for about the last week. And, almost immediately prior to that, we were out on the road with another project. Even though I normally always have time to take pictures, other things took over last week. There will be some spill over from the past week, but for the most part that’s over. Thankfully. I’m home now and I’ll get back to it.

But.

Before I started roaming around, I had a client request. Pictures from New Mexico. My way. And, they asked, try not to make it easy to place a time or date on them. Evergreen is the publishing word for that. So, I took a portable hard drive and started editing my New Mexico files when I had a little down time. Usually when I should have been sleeping.

Yes. Editing. According to the old school definition. Today, it’s called curating. Culling. Or something like that. I pleasantly surprised myself. There were a lot of cool pictures hiding in those back files. So, I thought, I’d better show them to you as I worked through five years worth of material. You’ve never seen them. You should.

This does two things. It’ll give me a little time to make brand new pictures. I did that a little while I was home for those few days in between trips. The pink flowers, the pine tree and the cemetery were among some of them. Now, I’ll have a lot more time. I’ll also have time to edit the rest of my New Mexican collection and… work on other big internal changes. Maybe, I’ll even get back to two of the book projects. I hope.

There you have it. Enjoy the sunflowers. Yellow brightens up everything.


Clouds
Clouds

“Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all” — “Both Sides, Now.” Written by Joni Mitchell and sung by Judy Collins.

Clouds. Joni Mitchell wrote it and Judy Collins sang it in 1967. Joni sang it in 1969. Both versions are wonderful. The list of musicians who covered it in almost 50 years is amazing. We’ll leave it at that. For the music, anyway.

It was yet another very, very long day. But that journey is just about over. Thankfully. Home in a little bit, or by the time y’all read this.

The picture. Bob Dylan once said in an interview when he was asked about how he writes his songs, “I’m just the conduit.” For this picture, all I can add is “me too.” I’m just the conduit. I have nothing more for you.


The road and the sky.
The road and the sky.

Driving, driving, driving.

Even though that wasn’t the point of yesterday, it felt like it was. That’s what we did. All day. Well… a good part of it.

We didn’t spend a lot of time on little, tiny roads like this one. When we did, I made the best use of them. Stopping for something like this gave us a much needed break from the real business of the day.

You know how it goes. You see something cool. You stop. You turn the music up. You get out of the car. And, take the picture.

You know me. I gave up a long time ago trying to keep power and telephones lines out of the picture. Instead, I make them part it. And, why not? Unless I travel somewhere far from civilization, power lines are ubiquitous. Don’t fight them. Make them your friend.


Out on River Road
Out on River Road

“Ain’t it hard when you wake up in the morning
And you find out that those other days are gone?
All you have is memories of happiness lingerin’ on
All your dreams and your lovers won’t protect you
They’re only passing through you in the end
They’ll leave you stripped of all that they can get to
And wait for you to come back again
Yet still a light is shining
From that lamp on down the hall
Maybe the star of Bethlehem
Wasn’t a star at all”   — © 1977 Neil Young, Star of Bethlehem — from the album, “American Stars n’ Bars”

This about sums up about how today will be. I woke up with the song in my head. Two days in a row. That’s never a good sign.

Today will be about a lot of traveling. Sadness. Respect. Reunions. A little love. Maybe even a little rebirth.

The picture. Do you really even care today? Do I? Oh, okay. There is a little cemetery that you can see from River Road near Kenner, Louisiana. Turn at the road next to it. Drive maybe a half mile and you’ll come to this cemetery. Another cemetery. Unrelated to the one you can see on River Road.

In case you are wondering, Kenner is where the New Orleans airport is located. MSY. Armstrong International. In fact, it’s over there on the far right where the orange sunlight is shining in the sky. It’s an odd arrangement. The airport is located in Kenner, but the property belongs to the City of New Orleans. I dunno. It must have something to do with money. Changing hands. Secretly.

One more thing about today. I always say that the work is the prayer. Not today. The prayer is the prayer.


Leaves, Water, Night
Leaves, Water, Night

… she said. “Why?” I asked in my best Homer Simpson voice. “It’ll only get dirty again.”

Besides, I thought it looked pretty good and needed to be photographed first. So that’s what I did. Then, I cleaned the pool. That was after the dogs barked at me and told me that I’d better listen. They didn’t want any trouble in these parts. It is their pool too. Lord knows, they don’t want any leaves floating around in their water. Dogs who think nothing about jumping into a muddy smelly swamp. Those dogs.

Anyway.

It is probably better to clean the pool at night. The temperature dropped from about 200 degrees to a balmy 98 degrees. That’s the air temperature. I don’t even want to know what the heat index was for the past couple of days. And, one more thing. This is exactly how the summer was ten years ago. Way too hot. The gulf heated up to about 92 degrees. That’s water temperature, not air temperature. Imagine that. You drive to a nice beach somewhere on the gulf coast thinking that you can go for a swim and cool off. You jump in the water and it feels like bath water. In your tub. At home. This allows any kind of tropical storm that happens to find its way into the gulf to fuel up and turn into something nasty. Like Hurricane Katrina. Ten years ago.


Louisiana Pine
Louisiana Pine

It’s been a little rough around here. I don’t have much to say right now. You know why.

If you saw yesterday’s picture, you know that it has about the same quality of light. That’s interesting, to me at least. Because I made this picture and yesterday’s in a different state. Of mind. And location.

Hug the ones you love. Be kind. To everyone. Especially the people you don’t know.


Summer light at dusk.
Summer light at dusk.

Something very new. The first picture that I saw about two minutes after I went out looking around. Luck. Photographer’s luck. Sometimes it happens. Usually it doesn’t. Not that quickly.

The picture. I broke the rules. Into the sun. Heavily back lighted. Very wide lens.

That’s it for today. Enjoy the picture. Enjoy the silence.

The silence didn’t last very long. The bell tolls. They toll for thee… for me. With another mass  movie theater shooting in Lafayette. Louisiana.

Louisiana, the state where I live.

The numbers are shifting. So far three dead. Seven or nine  wounded. Too early to know who was hurt. And, there is strange package in the  shooters car…  news about that later.  All I know is to pray, to make an offering like these flowers, and hang on tightly to your family. It seems that we need a monthly emotional beating to make us feel better… or worse.  When the beating stops.

I’m rambling. Thoughts not fully formed. Tears on my face. Eyes red. Not really grasping the meaning. Realizing that maybe I  never will.

I know one thing. The one word that can save us.

Peace.


Royal Street
Royal Street

This place has been photographed about a billion times.

Everybody stops and takes a picture of it. And, I do mean everybody. That is, everybody who visits the French Quarter and especially Royal Street. This old building just sucks everybody right in.

Even me.

I’ve probably photographed it about 500 times. Or more. In all kinds of light. The trick is to either arrive very early in the day, or towards the end of the day when the light turns colors. If you shoot in the white, bright late of mid day, the place is just an old run down building. If you shoot at the ends of the day or in cloudy and rainy conditions, the place turns mysterious and moody. It looks and feels like it belongs on some run down street in Paris. France. Not Texas.

It also helps if you change angles. Everybody — again, me included — usually photographs it kind of at a kitty corner angle so that the front of the building faces the camera. That’s what I did for this picture. I changed angles. I did a little post production to make the picture a little more moody and… there you have it.