More from the Lake
More from the lake.

I tinkered around a bit.

I actually made a couple of versions a picture from the take that you saw a week or so ago. You haven’t seen this picture yet. Well, now you have. Heh! You know me. I don’t post tons and tons of pictures from one particular take. I’m a minimalist when it comes to image selection.

Anyway. I was just experimenting. I think I like this version best. But, you might have other ideas.

Wanna see the other one?

Here it is.

A little more heavenly.
A little more heavenly.

Which one is better? That’s subjective. Depends on which you like. And, mostly on your intent as much as mine. It seems that, according to various studies and website that I read, the bottom version is a little more contemporary. But, me? I’m a little more colorful. And, a lot more contrasty. Normally. We’ll see how this little experiment goes.

It seems no matter how far I wander I always come back to COLOR. BIG. STRONG. POWERFUL. COLOR.


Young chorale group rehearsing.
Young children’s group rehearsing.

 

Lagniappe.

That’s what this was. A little lagniappe. That’s a Louisiana French word that means a little gift. Or, a little bit more.

This picture is the result of a little more.

I was meeting some friends. We decided to meet at St. Louis Cathedral since it is the major landmark of The French Quarter. It was hot, so I suggested we meet inside since the cathedral is always cool. When I arrived, all these students from different groups were lined up, getting ready to make their way to the altar. Eventually, they arranged themselves  in some formation. Short to tall. Or, maybe by grade. Then they started to rehearse. Sometimes they were a little off. So their director switched an octave around and they sang. Almost like angels.

Meeting in the cathedral was the main event for us. The choir was lagniappe.

From my photographer’s point of view this is a prefect illustration of getting outside to take pictures. If you are having a block — as I was for a while — go outside. Look around. Go some place. I’m sure the pictures will find you.


Talking...
Talking…

It was hot. I already mentioned that.

So. I took shelter in the only place I could find. The semi-shady stoop of a long abandoned power plant. Pretty soon other people joined me. We started talking. Pretty soon a couple of them asked why I was taking pictures. So, I showed them. There are some good things about our constant smartphone companions. Communication is one. Understanding is another. I can show people my world. On a little bitty screen. I did that. As a side note, I’m not even sure you need a big expensive portfolio any more.  You have your entire publicity campaign in the palm of your hand.

On that hot Sunday it was more.

Way more.

They all liked it. They were reading and scrolling. And smiling. I cannot tell you how much that means to me. So much of what I photograph and write is about them. Their neighborhoods. Their culture.

If they like my work that means I’m getting it right.

The guy in the picture — yes, I know his name and telephone number — wants me to tell his story. On Storyteller. That’s humbling. And, after hanging with him for a very short time, I think he has quite a story to tell. So, I’ll call him. We’ll sit on his stoop and talk. He’ll take me around his neighborhood. I’ll make pictures.

Even though it was hot and miserable on Sunday, I’d say being there was worth it.

The picture. Point the camera and take the picture. Show your subject the picture on your camera’s LCD. If he likes it, all is good.

All was good.

 


The stare. The very overheat stare.
The stare. The very overheated stare.

Yes. It was hot. Very hot.

The Uptown Swingers parade was the last second line of the season, so I thought it would be a good idea to be on the scene.

Wrong.

First, the ground temperature — from my car’s thermometer — was 100 degrees. In the shade. I don’t alway trust that thermometer because even the car manufacturer admits that it isn’t always accurate. But, my experience tells me it is consistently low. So…

Second, the parade was scheduled to start at 1 pm. Hot enough. Then it was delayed until 3 pm. Even hotter. Then it was delayed until 3:30 pm. In Southeast Louisiana, that’s about the hottest time of the day.

For a while I sat on the stoop and in some shade of any abandoned electric power plant.  A lot of people had the same idea. Yes. We had a bit of shade and a place to sit but still…

Why do it? Any of it? As musician Jimmy Buffett once wrote, “We do it for the stories we can tell.”

He’s right. I’m telling one now.

The picture. Oh, man. The tuba player arrived at about the same time that I did. There was hardly anybody around at the scheduled time. I thought, “Uh oh, this isn’t good.” Even though he looks like he’s glaring at me, by the time I reached him we were both asking each other for start time information.  Neither of us knew it.

 


American Summer
American Summer

Housekeeping first. I had a big plan for today. On Storyteller. In order to make it work, I needed to illustrate it last week. However, like so many things, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. ” So, I’ll hold that for one more week until next Sunday, when I can do it justice. It’s really a Sunday kind of story.

Instead.

I thought that I would post a summer picture. A real summer picture. A baseball picture. Not an action picture. I haven’t taken one of those in years. But, something that symbolizes a hot summer night. Something sweaty. With passing storm clouds in the background. A Southern night.

Happy Sunday. Or, Monday. Depending on where you are.


Along the Way
Along the Way

You know me. I often make my best pictures along the way. One the way to some place else. I took this picture while we were walking. With my i-Phone.

Let’s discuss this for a minute. There is a group of photographers that say, i-Phone pictures really aren’t serious photography at all. That may be so. But, there are art galleries and some advertising agencies that champion loosely produced i-Phoneograhy. It has become a useful tool.  And, for sure, it illustrates that old saying about the best camera.

Question: “What is the best camera?”

Answer: “The one that you have with you.”

That said, I mostly use it sort of as a sketch pad. I like bigger image files. I like the choice of lenses and stuff like that. And, I like working with RAW files. But, as in all technology, change happens quickly. New iPhones, which are often chasing other smartphones, will have RAW file capability, better lenses and larger image files. Am I suggesting that we all switch to higher power smartphones? Noooooo… All things in moderation. Even moderation.

Oh yeah. The picture. I’m not telling. You tell me. Please. Just know that I didn’t place the leaf in that position.

In my Mr. Spaceman moment, I forgot to title this post. It’s now called Blue and White.


Nature returns.
Nature returns.

Nature always balances things.

At least I hope so.

I made this picture while I was waiting for the second line to start. It’s one of those pictures that I made on my way to somewhere else.

Here’s what you are seeing.

The mowed lawn used to be buildings, as did all the foliage in the background. They were likely falling apart before the storm. After the storm, most of them fell down, or were demolished. The brick wall is actually part of the Sportsman Club, which is ground zero for many of the Uptown Mardi Gras Indians. And, the church steeple? It’s an old abandoned deconsecrated Catholic Church. The church, the school, the living quarters and a good-sized piece of land have been for sale for at least five years. It’s starting to be demolished from neglect.

I kept the colors a little muted today. They say that all art is autobiographical. Make of that what you will.


The corner.
The corner.

Early in the evenin’ just about supper time,
Over by the courthouse they’re starting to unwind.
Four kids on the corner trying to bring you up.
Willy picks a tune out and he blows it on the harp.
Down on the corner, out in the street
Willy and the Poorboys are playin’
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.
Rooster hits the washboard and people just got to smile,
Blinky, thumps the gut bass and solos for a while.
Poorboy twangs the rhythm out on his kalamazoo.
Willy goes into a dance and doubles on kazoo.
Down on the corner, out in the street
Willy and the Poorboys are playin’
Bring a nickel; tap your feet. — John Fogerty & Creedence Clearwater Revival

I like to make pictures that are about the sense of something. This picture sort of gives me the feel that John Fogerty wrote about back in 1970. Oddly, Fogerty is a Bay Area guy. From California. But, he sure captured the feel of the South with this song and so many others he wrote way back then. Of course, he mis-spelled Poorboy. Everybody knows that its po’boy.

Me? You know me. I like to photograph at the beginnings and ends of things. On the way to some place else. I took this picture while I was waiting for the Fathers Day second line to start. I had lots of time to wander around since they postponed the start time for about an hour to avoid a passing rain storm.

Yes. I talked to him. I took the picture. Then, I walked over to talk to him. I showed it to him on the camera’s LCD. He responded with, “Man, that’s alright. Can I get one?” Absolutely.


Keeping cool and dry.
Keeping cool and dry.

Hot. Hot and wet. Hot, wet and humid.

Yep. That’s a New Orleans summer. I was telling somebody in yesterdays comments that eventually you get acclimated to our summer. You have to, because in the words of Rosanne Cash, “It’s hot from March to Christmas.” Besides, our humidity keeps your skin soft and moist. You have fewer wrinkles because the minute you go outside you are hydrated in a global sauna. Heh!

You do find ways of keeping a little cooler and dryer. Typically, my pace slows down. I walk on the shady side of the street. I eat cooler foods. I drink a lot more water. Stuff like that.

This guy, may have found the best of a couple of worlds. The umbrella keeps him a little cooler and on a day like last Sunday when there was intermittent rainfall, it kept him a little dryer. Besides it looks kinda cool. And, it attached to his head. How’s that for fun?