Strange nights.
Strange nights.

And then…

It got weird.

I thought I would publish a few experiments on the last day of the year. And, leave you wondering if I’m really okay. No worries. I am. I didn’t get into too much holiday cheer. And, the down sides of 2016 didn’t get too deep into me.

I just decided to mess around a bit. Tinker. Play. Take a few pictures as far as I could. Or, maybe as far as anybody could. Or, would want to.

While I was working, two things came to mind.

I did most of this post production work to hide some technical deficiencies, mostly brought about by taking pictures with a smart phone. Then, I just kept going. Instead of just trying to fix them, I went some place else. Either I made art, or I made a mess. I’m still thinking about that.

The second thing. I don’t think I’m going to take many pictures with my smart phone in the coming year. Yeah, yeah. It’s fine if that’s all you have with you at the time. It’s small and it stays in your pocket, or one of those nerdy holsters. But, no matter what its sensor size might be, it isn’t the size of even a bridge camera. It’s optics aren’t as good. The processor isn’t as good. Besides, for most things, I use mirrorless cameras. They are small enough. I used to carry a full-sized SLR everywhere. Why can’t I carry a little tiny mirrorless body and lens everywhere?

After all, this is what I do.

That’s it for 2016.

Happy New Year. Wherever you are. However you celebrate.

Welcome to 2017.

CN locomotive.
CN locomotive.
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Leaves and reflections.
Leaves and reflections.

Weather.

There is saying in New Orleans. It goes something like this. People think we don’t have four seasons. They are wrong. We just have all of them in 24 hours.

That’s just what happened. Warm and humid to cold and dreary. In under 24 hours. I took the dog who sees stuff for a walk yesterday morning and I wore shorts and a t-shirt. I took her for a walk in the evening and I wore long pants and a light hoodie. This morning, I wore heavier pants and a jacket.

I suppose it could be worse. We could have snow and ice. Like the folks up north. Wait, wait, wait. What am I saying? That’s like just asking for it to happen. I take it back.

The picture. i-Phonography. Yep. That’s what they call it. Processed in OnOne. Just something that I saw on another walk. All those shades of black and gray contrasted with nature’s own work caught my eye. In case you are wondering, the black and gray is the trunk of a car. Oh, okay. The boot, if you speak the Queen’s English.


 

The look and feel.
The look and feel.

2016.

What could I write that hasn’t been already written? It’s been a rough year. It doesn’t seem to want to let go. There’s also been some wonderful moments. Especially when you look at them at a more granular level. Dig in.  Forget all the noise. Just listen to the signal.

In my case all I really had to do was look at my work for the last year. I thought, “Hmmm, some of this isn’t half bad.” On the other hand, some of this year’s work falls into the “what the hell was I thinking” category.

And, so it goes.

Here are twelve pictures that I made in 2016. Twelve pictures that I like. One for every month. But, not organized by month. Are they my best? I don’t know. Ask me tomorrow. Or, the next day. Or, the day after that. My thinking changes on a daily basis. As it should.

Enjoy the work.

Dreams.
Dreams.

 


Lighted on a winter's eve.
Lighted on a winter’s eve.

Winter.

The temperatures are supposed to be low. They aren’t. The air is supposed to be clear and bracing. It isn’t. Today’s temperature is supposed to be 78 degrees. For the past few days the humidity was so bad that everything was drippy wet. But, without rain. The humidity manifest itself as fog.

But, that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

Yesterday’s post is the thing. I was wrong. 2016 isn’t letting go. Not quite yet. The force gained a princess yesterday. And, so the year ends as it began. With another star child passing before our eyes.

That said. Please don’t mistake what I wrote yesterday for cynicism. Or, depression. Or, sadness. Yes. I can be quite cynical. Especially now because I don’t believe “the people” have the will to make the needed changes. I’m not depressed. And, yes. I was sad. Yesterday. The passings of George Michael and Carrie Fisher in a matter of days did hurt.

But, I come from a tradition of “tell someone.” I told you. Once I do that, I’m through the hardest part. The rest is about acceptance. Because as George Harrison once wrote, “All Things Must Pass.” And, he did. Just as I will. As you will. And, that’s life. Part of life. A big part of life.

There is no doubt that 2016 has been a mean, hard year. I have no idea what 2017 will bring. But, I do know that I have to keep moving. You should too. The wheels keep turning. They won’t slow down.

Anyway.

The picture. I shoot in available darkness as much as I shoot in available light. It’s just easier to photograph something that doesn’t move in the dark. Heh. Since trees are about rebirth, I thought publishing a tree picture might be a good idea.

After all, Mother Nature always wins.


Seasons Greetings.
Seasons Greetings.

Holiday season.

These are my last two pictures of the 2016 holiday season. I didn’t make a lot of “big” Christmas pictures this year. I didn’t feel like it. As we all know, the passing year was a rough one.  2016 was hard on everybody. I guess it shows. Especially, since I believe all art is autobiographical.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a fine Christmas. It’s not about the holiday. It’s about all that preceded it. And, what many fear will come. Storyteller isn’t a political blog, but the world is changing and not in a good way. Two political events happened this year that nobody believed could happen. And, a never-ending war in the Middle East blossomed into one of the largest humanitarian crises the world has ever seen. Innocent people were killed. Ancient cities destroyed.

Of course, there were the passings. People left the planet. Ancestors is what we call them in New Orleans. We mourn. Then we celebrate their lives. So many artists — in the form of musicians — died in 2016.

Everybody matters.

But, some of those who left inspired all of us to do better, to create on a higher level, no matter our art. The cycle of mourning and celebration never seemed to end this year. We all need a break.

Santa and me.
Santa and Me.

So.

2017.

I have no idea. I don’t know what’s coming. As they say, it’s above my pay grade. Well above my pay grade. But, I do know that I have to shake this off and move beyond it. To be better. To create at another level. I can’t speak for any of you. You all know what you have to do. Or, not do.

The pictures. I took them walking around. There is a sense of isolation in both of them. You know. That, “all art is autobiographical” thing. Rearing its ugly head. If you look closely at “Santa and Me,” you can see a dog leash on the bottom right of the picture. Guess who was with me? Yep. The dog. The one who sees things. Who helps me take pictures.


In the shadows.
In the shadows.

A Christmas night visit turned into a picture. A kind of spooky little picture. Full of shadows and mystery. Hiding places. And, fog.

This is what happens when you take a camera everywhere. I anticipated taking a few Christmas pictures with old friends. But, on the way I saw light peeking through shadows and couldn’t resist. This is the kind of picture that they tell you absolutely has to be taken with a tripod. Maybe. Maybe not. I made this one hand-held. On the spur of the moment.

I have one more seasonal picture to show you. Then, I’m moving on. I gotta get away from 2016. It seems the year won’t let go. So, I will. Let go. That is.


Glowing winter trees.
Glowing winter trees.

First. The important stuff.

Merry Christmas.

And, no we didn’t.

You know that saying? “Sometimes the hardest part of taking a picture is getting there?”

Well. We didn’t get there. We ate too much heavy Russian food. “It’s a Wonderful Life” was playing on the television. Everybody was full. Happy. Very lazy. Nobody felt like driving 50 miles upriver to look at the bonfires. Besides, it was like 72 degrees at bonfire time. What kind of winter is that?

Sheesh, we turn our air conditioners on to celebrate Christmas. Instead of pristine quiet, we have the rattle and hum of running motors.

So. I walked around the neighborhood and took pictures of where I live. I’d love to have a white Christmas. With snowy pictures. But, I live in a semi-tropical place. Besides, if I lived in a cold climate I’d just complain about shoveling the driveway and slipping on the ice. It’s always something.

These are the pictures that found me. Gold. Blue. Pink. No white.

Ho. Ho. Ho.

Soft pink.
Soft pink.


Palm trees and bears.
Palm trees and bears.
Somebody doesn't look happy.
Somebody doesn’t look happy.
Nobody seems to be able to drive by without stopping.
Nobody seems to be able to drive by without stopping.

Christmas Eve. Day.

A quick look at Christmas in Uptown New Orleans. Yes. We decorate palm trees. And, other swampy stuff. We even turn on our air conditioners for Christmas. Some of the potholes even get decorated.

The pictures. Well you know. See them. Photograph them.

 


Christmas in The Quarter.
Christmas in The Quarter.

It’s almost here. Christmas.

Today is the day before the day before. Excitement is in the air. Everybody is being good. Even the dogs. Packages are arriving… to our neighbor’s houses. Because we don’t want anybody to know where they are coming from. Very, very sneaky in this house. For us, Christmas Eve is the thing. I cook traditional Russian food. We head upriver to see the bonfires that guide Papa Noel to New Orleans. If we are all lucky, you’ll see some of those pictures on Christmas Day.

Luck is involved because it feels best when the temperatures are cold and the air is crisp. Our cold snap is gone. Likely it’ll be around 70+ degrees and kind of foggy. One year, we just gave up on the river festivities because the location is about 50 miles away and who wants to drive in fog?

The picture. Another Christmas tree. Exposed for the lights rather than the tree itself which is a shadow. In this case. Sometimes, I do that for the dramatic effect. Sometimes I don’t.