Water on a hot day.
Water on a hot day.

What a day.

There were 911 remembrances just about everywhere. The NFL opened their Sunday season with the New Orleans Saints being defeated by the Oakland Raiders (among other American football games) and The Young Men Olympians Social Aid and Pleasure Club walked the first of their two yearly parades.

Why two?

Today’s second line was their 132nd anniversary parade. It was fairly compact and lasted about two hours with no breaks. In two weeks they will walk their normal multi-division, huge and long parade. For me, this was the first parade of the 2016-2017 second line season. There was one a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t photograph. I’ll find a way to be there in two weeks. They were the first second liners that I photographed when I returned to New Orleans after my Katrina break.

I have a lot of projects this fall. I will be busy through mid-December. But, I will find time to photograph as many second lines as I can. This will take some doing. But, what did I talk about in yesterday’s post? Moving forward, moving beyond and remembering those who passed by doing better. Always better.

A little help from a big black limousine.
A little help from a big black limousine.

So. These pictures. Last season I got a little burnt out on the overall culture. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to work on parades, Mardi Gras Indian events or even Mardi Gras. I wasn’t sure why, but my images started looking the same to me. Worse, everybody’s images started looking the same.


What to do?

I got a little inspiration from a Magnum photographer and one time NGS staffer. He was discussing photographing New York City in the immediate aftermath of the towers falling. You know, the worst day. He said that he hadn’t been a news photographer in years, but that he knew he had to document what he saw. It was history. But, he still made his pictures. His way. His vision.

That was hugely helpful.

A little dance.
A little dance.

I decided to work with one camera body. One lens. I used the Sony A 600o. Even though there is a newer version with better specs, the A 6000 is still currently the fastest focusing camera. Especially for street work. It’s light. It’s tiny. And, I can dance in and out of a second line with it. The lens I used is a very short zoom lens. A 16-50mm lens. On a “crop sensor” body it sees about like a 24-75mm lens. Perfect. For me. In my current thinking about pictures. I can work extremely closely and still have a little bit of reach for portraits. A lot of people don’t like this lens. It’s a kit lens. It came with the camera. That makes it junk to them. Luckily, I’m pretty much focused on what I’m doing. I don’t care what a lot of people don’t like.

Look at the pictures. Could a better, more expensive and more famous lens maker have done better? Sure. But, these pictures are just fine.

About the pictures, themselves.

The top picture. It was hot today. This second line did not take breaks to add a division or band. They — well, all of us really — needed hydration. They got it. On the fly.

The second picture. This is the oldest man in the parade. He walked about a block and it was time for his ride. I really wanted to join him. But, well, you know. No. He isn’t 132 years old. Give me a break. In fact, give him a break.

Finally. The heart of things. A little street dancing. Remember what I said about the top picture? It was hot. I can’t imagine doing what they are doing. Especially in long pants, a sport coat and tie. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; these men are internally tough.

One more thing. Obviously I photographed this with “real” camera. For the past couple of weeks I’ve mostly been shooting, editing, doing post production and posting to Storyteller from my i-Phone. I truly believe that the best camera is the one you have with you. And, it certainly was convenient to be able to work in one ecosystem. It was fairly quick. And, simple.


Working the way I did today just felt better. It was more fun. I know the quality is better. And, the layout of today’s post is far more complicated than the ones I did using my smart phone. I think I’ll return to original form. A DSLR. Post production on a big machine. It’s great to know that I can work from my phone and post a fairly complete update, but… well, you know.