One of the best holidays of the year. It seems to last for about a week. It gets weirder and weirder as the week rolls on.
I promised you a bunch of Halloween pictures as the days got closer. A lot of stuff got in the way. Sorry about that. I thought the least I could do was shoot and curate a little portfolio of images that you show my view of things.
A little bleak. But, still fun.
Since they say all art is autobiographical, maybe there is something to worry about. Or not. I’ve been watching a lot of weird movies. One called the Mutant Chronicles comes to mind. The year is something like 2,707. Four corporations own the world. There are no countries. The cities are in shambles. Chaos rules the day. There is a state of never-ending war over the last remaining natural resources. The cinematics look like steam punk and goth come to World War I. The plot isn’t great. But, I’d watch it again for the visuals alone. I think that they inspired these pictures.
Happy Halloween. Don’t follow leaders. Pay the parking meters.
That’s even more related than photography and music.
It’s odd scene. Another Memphis blues club. Along comes a wedding shower party. Out on the floor goes the bride to be. Fueled by adrenaline and probably a little whiskey, she lead the enter audience in about 30 minutes of fast dancing. Then her friends lead her away.
I’m not sure what the band thought. If you look in the back, one musician is playing a saxophone, another is playing a stand up bass. They weren’t exactly playing rock n’ roll. They were playing slow blues.
The picture. Slow things down and let your instinct be your guide. Sometimes motion blur makes the point much better than sharpness throughout. It seems that after about 15 years of digital capture a lot of photographers are thinking that way. One of the most popular lenses on Ebay is a Russian knock off lens that sells for about $40.00. The last time it was made was in the early 1990s. It swirls the bokeh. The picture looks and feels old-fashioned. Of course, it isn’t auto focus. That confuses some people.
Both of them require a lot of work to get right. To get good. To do without thinking about doing. So much so that today Bob Dylan said,
“Everything worth doing takes time. You have to write a hundred bad songs before you write one good one. And you have to sacrifice a lot of things that you might not be prepared for. Like it or not, you are in this alone and have to follow your own star.”
There you have it. The same thing applies to photograph. There are no “ten tips to make you a great photographer.” You have to work at it. And, practice. Again and again and again.
A little brass band music. On the streets. On a second line. Everybody whoopin’ and hollerin’. Singing and dancing.
Another neighborhood. Another Sunday. In New Orleans.
I’ve sort of taken a break from photographing these things every Sunday. There are 47 of them. Sometimes, other stuff gets in the way. Family things. Too many errands. Even the odd health issue. But, I’ve been away from the city for a bit. I need to go this Sunday. Not, want. Need. If you are in New Orleans, maybe I’ll see you out on the second line.
I don’t know why. We wash the cars before we leave for a trip. Even if we aren’t using them to travel.
I suppose it has something to do with having one errand complete before we return home. I wasn’t going to share these this week.
See that little “Discover” badge towards the bottom of Storyteller? That went live yesterday. Not the badge. The process. It is something WordPress does to share work they like with their massive, wider audience. The page is posted to all sorts of social media. In my case, it was to something I posted earlier in the month called “Street Music.”
Yesterday, I received about 600 emails. About 40 or so new followers. All sorts of likes and retweets. That’s wonderful and very humbling. If you remember, I said that I was well behind in my email replies to all of you. That I was catching up. I promised you.
If I start with 600 emails, set aside some time to answer some and maybe reply to 50, you’d think I’d be down to 550. You’d be wrong. Instead, I was up to 620 or something like that. I wish my bank account worked that way.
One of my new followers has a tagline on her page that said something like, “If there is light, you can take a picture.” Sheesh. These days with some cameras using extremely high ISOs, even if there isn’t light, you can take a picture.
Her words got me thinking about this little set of pictures. It’s not just about light. It’s about carrying a camera and seeing wherever and wherever you go. That’s been my mantra for a long time. Those of you who have been reading Storyteller for any length of time know this. To all of my new friends, welcome aboard.
Really the same freedom. As yesterday. Just a different look at it. I like “compression” shots. They help to make a crowded scene look really crowded. They add a “stacked” look. They help urban pictures look really urban. Bottom line. They help my vision.
I used a long lens. I don’t use it to get close. When I photographed sports, that was one thing. Today, I use it to help create the graphic I have in my head. The shape, the tight framing. a central pop of color.
That sort of thing.
Housekeeping. I’m way behind in responding to your posts or emails. I’m in motion. Transit. Something like that. I promise I’ll get to them. Soon.
I headed straight to Chinatown. In San Francisco. I took pictures. I ate. I took some more pictures. I ate again. In a moment of kindness I bought a lot of take away food for the others. Not that they deserved it. Sheesh.
The pictures. I took a lot of them. You know that feeling of freedom. Remember The Beatles movie, “A Hard Day’s Night?” Remember when they broke out and were running around in the field? Like that.
I just saw things. I just photographed everything. You’ll see more of them. The things. But, I just had to organize them in some way. This group is called “reflections.” There’s a couple of other collections. I tried not to be precious about them. You might not see them right away. I have some Halloween things to show you.
In the baseball world, The Chicago Cubs won the National League pennant last night. They will play in the World Series. For the first time since 1945. They will play the Cleveland Indians, who last appeared in the World Series in 1948. A long time for both teams.
The last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series was in 1908. An even longer time. Think about it. They last won the biggest prize in baseball before all of us were born. Before our grandparents were born. Before our parents were born. Before WWI. Before WWII. The Middle East was known as Arabia. There were 46 states in The United States. Many of the countries where you live were colonies. There was no passenger plane travel. No internet. No smartphones. Sheesh, there was barely electricity and a hardwired telephone system that was consistently usable.
A lot has happened in 108 years.
My apologies to those of you who live in other places. To those of you who don’t know what baseball is, or even care. Please just enjoy the picture.
For me this World Series is about history as much as anything. Yes. I’m a baseball fan. But, I’m a New York Yankees fan. City of my birth and all of that. My number two team is the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team in the city where I grew up. They lost last night to the Cubs.
I don’t really say this very often. But, I read a lot of history. That matters to me. Especially in this political and digital age of lies. I hope to learn some truth.
The picture. No. I was not in Chicago last night. I took it the last time the Cubs went to the playoffs. In 2003. The cheer back then was “Fry the Fish,” because they were playing the Miami Marlins. The Cubs lost the game and the series while I was there. I only happened to be in Chicago because I was shooting a location book project on the city. I spent a couple of weeks there. I photographed the usual. I explored the neighborhoods. I hung out a lot in the Polish neighborhood. I ate my kind of soul food. When the Cubs came home to play, I went to Wrigley Field. I didn’t have a ticket. I just photographed the edges. My publisher was happy that my photographer’s luck kicked in. That I was even there at the right time.
Thirteen years is also a long time. The picture was made on film. Fuji Velvia pulled 1/3 of a stop. That meant I was shooting at about ISO 32. Think about that. Today, if we are working in low light and have a camera with a good sensor and processor, we might start at ISO 800. We might go as far as ISO 5,000 on some cameras. More on some of the latest cameras. This picture has what I call motion wobble. Not really unsharp. But, not as sharp as it could be.
Doesn’t matter. It catches the emotion, the feeling and sense of the time.