We even moved Halloween to an earlier day. It didn’t help. We did our little rain dances. Big storm coming. It was too late. That didn’t help. Nothing could. Nothing would.
We brought out our voodoo practitioners. Bitten. We brought out our social aid clubs. Chewed on. We brought out our Mardi Gras Indians. Eaten. We brought out our Mardi Gras krewes. You don’t want to know. The brass bands? They are still marching. To a very different beat.
New Orleans is now a zombie city. We are in the hands of the walking dead. Where is Rick when we need him? I think he’s headed to Virginia. Like that’s gonna help.
Seriously. Have you ever noticed? All this zombie stuff takes place in the south. What’s that about?
So. They changed it. They changed Halloween. That’s right. Many Southeastern Louisiana parishes changed Halloween. To Tonight. That’s Right. Friday, October 30th. They did it in Orleans Parish. Really, that just means it will be two nights of careening around.
Halloween is not a legal holiday. So the change is really just a suggestion. A strong suggestion. But, who wants their children trick or treating in a heavy storm? Rain blowing sideways. Wind roaring. Children banging on front doors. Instead of yelling “trick or treat,” joyfully, they’d be yelling, “Please, mister, let me in.”
I’m pretty sure that in party central, the French Quarter, people will still be rolling around drunkenly, in the streets. Their treats will be different. I’m not touching tricks. A bunch of clubs on Bourbon Street just got busted for that. They are closed down. But, they are allowed to open for the big masked holiday. This is, after all, Halloween. And, New Orleans.
The picture. I saw it. I took it. I posted it. It’s not where you think it is. You can tell that because there are some golden leaves.
A picture of fall that didn’t really change. It looks like summer. Or, spring. Maybe not winter.
One thing did change. The way that I work. The geniuses at WordPress have now forced me into using their new method of formatting a post. I didn’t like it when they first made these changes. But, I managed to work around it. It seems that I can’t now. And, I hate it now. I’m a guy who never uses the word hate. It’s a little word that means way too much.
But, this? It’s not picture friendly. It’s not design friendly. I can’t see what the post looks like. And, I certainly don’t think that I can post multiple pictures. I think this started when I added that PayPal button. I asked for help because the WordPress directions aren’t all that clear. I think the so-called Automattician helped me out. More than I wanted. Oh, and they helped me a couple of days after I actually struggled through the work.
That said, the PayPal button is for a special project. But, feeling the way that I do right this minute, I may be coming to the end of my days with WordPress.
The picture. Just point the camera into the sun and shoot. That’s all.
Oh. One more thing. Se that word? Automattician? That’s a WordPress word for the programmers and coders who work for WordPress. Their very own spell check thinks it’s misspelled.
Like any good artist when somebody comments that it’s “too bad the picture isn’t sharp,” I have no choice but to publish another one. One that shows even more speed. More motion. More blur. One that is even less sharp.
What else could I do?
I learned this technique from musician Neil Young.
I read this story. I forget where. Once, when he was very young and new on the musical scene his manager couldn’t come out to his concert. So, he sent a junior manager. That probably wasn’t a great idea. Most musicians tour to support a newly released album. Young was no exception. He played his new songs. The audience didn’t know them so they didn’t react. Not positively. Not negatively. When he went backstage during the intermission he asked his fill in manager, “Mister Manager what do you think I should do?” His manager replied, “Play something they’ve heard.” So, Young went back out and did that. He played the same new song that he’d played maybe 45 minutes earlier. He still got no reaction so he played it for the third time during the encore.
There you have it.
“It’s too bad that your picture is too blurry, but your writing saved it.” This person said. Well, here’s another picture that is even more blurry. Oh, and by the way, I’m not a writer.
I’m sorry. I just couldn’t resist. I’m playing. Mostly. I’m not even sure this new person is following Storyteller. He or she probably hasn’t seen much of my work. And, doesn’t have a blog. Just a place to comment via Gravatar. With a picture of a dog instead of a human portrait.
The picture. Yes. You knew I’d get around to it. It was made at an even slower shutter speed than the one I posted earlier this week. Even so, you can see the driver fairly clearly. And, the streaks of light are really nice and clean. It was made with a 16mm lens, so I’m fairly close. But, not that close. After all, I’m not crazy.
Isn’t that what the 1950s and 60s was supposed to be about? A dream. This picture is about symbols. Icons. And, the one that I cobbled together.
Remember a few weeks back? When I discovered the Cadillac Farm? When I was supposed to be photographing a jazz funeral?
I didn’t show you all of the pictures I made. I never do. I reckon only a small percentage of a scene that I shoot is worth publishing in any form. That’s electronically or on paper. After all, didn’t the great Ansel Adams say if you made ten good pictures in a year that you had a great year?
Besides, I’m lazy. It’s a lot of work to post — oh, let’s say — twenty pictures on different social media. A least it is if you do a first cull, a second cull, first level post production and a finished picture.
I think it’s better to start with your entire take, cull it down to about ten percent. While you are doing first level post, cut that first edit down by about 50%. At most, that’s what you show. Not only can you spend the proper time working the pictures, but you only show your best work. And, you have pictures with which to tinker and play.
That’s how this picture came to be. It was a second level leftover. The RAW files showed the fins and some distracting background information. By the time I was finished playing around, I created a picture that makes a couple of statements.
First, it’s about the 1950s. That big fin does it every time. Then, it’s about freedom. That’s what white puffy clouds classically symbolize. And, finally. The chrome Cadillac logo is missing. In its place is a rusted and chipped background where the logo used to be. You can say a lot about that. One thing that comes to mind quickly is the death of big, huge iron cars. With that comes the relocation of big American businesses to foreign shores. I’m just getting started.
I’ve been too a lot of places recently. I really haven’t seen anything that came close to the Autumns that I remember. This has been a trend for the past couple of years. But, this year is the worst.
According to friends around the country, it’s been pretty much unseasonably warm just about everywhere. That’s toned down the brightness of normal fall color changes. You need at least one cold snap. I’ve hardly seen any bright color. Anywhere. I’m sure there are places I’ve missed. I saw some bright color online from New Mexico. Where I used to live.
There’s something about streetcars. I enjoy photographing them just about anywhere in the city.
This one happens to be zipping along on St. Charles Avenue. This would be the one that I would catch if I commuted somewhere. And, didn’t want to drive. For a while I couldn’t take the St. Charles streetcar anywhere without major complications. Nobody could. Constant construction saw to that.
Currently, St. Charles Avenue sort of makes a double “S” curve and cars cross the tracks twice while the construction is being completed. But, at least rail riders don’t have to get on the streetcar, get off, get on a bus, get off the bus and get back on the streetcar. That added a lot of travel time anybody’s trip. And, if the bus was hung up in traffic… well, you get it.
About streetcar pictures. I like to show motion through blur that is enhanced by slow shutter speeds. This picture would probably be about ISO 100, 1/4 second at f5.6. I could check the data, But, it isn’t that important to me. I’ve been shooting like this since well before the time of never-ending meta data. I can stick my finger in the air and know certain exposures.
I’m not exactly sure this is an accurate picture. I doubt any streetcar every travels much faster than about 20 mph. For a passenger, it’s a nice slow and steady rolling ride. It’s relaxing. That’s not the way I photograph them. My pictures make the street car look like it’s traveling about 100 mph. Rocking. Rolling. But, a streetcar frozen in time looks a little boring to my eye.
You thought I forgot. I just know it. You thought I forgot that we are headed into a huge holiday. At least in New Orleans. Yes. It’s big everywhere. But, it’s huge in the city. That figures. We mask for everything. We think voodoo is a thing. We think cemeteries are haunted. All of them.
I found it when I photographed the second line that just about put me down. The big one that began in Terme, wound through the 7th Ward and ended up back about where it started. I saw the picture while I was parking. I crawled back to my car and tried to photograph it. But, between hurting a lot and the light being in the wrong place, the picture didn’t work. It didn’t work for me. It certainly wouldn’t have made you happy.
I went back to the scene of the parade and photographed this door again. I took my time. I worked the scene. Now, I’m much happier about it. I met a couple of neighbors who told me that I should return for the big night. When the whole street is decorated for ghosts, goblins and zombies. That’s one of the big benefits of really taking your time. You get to meet people. Some times that works out very well. This did. They didn’t want to be photographed just then. But, they said that I would be welcome to take pictures when they were dressed for the big orange and black night.
The picture. This is a lesson of persistence. Keep at it until you make the picture that you saw in your mind’s eye. Sure, you can help it out in the digital studio. Sure, there is plenty that you can do in post production. I do that all the time. But, the base photograph is always good on its own. That’s where I like to start. As they used to say in the computer world. GIGO.