One of the biggest days in New Orleans. Halloween. This light bringing skull leads the way. Or something like that. It moves. It shimmers. It’s just plain old weird.
I made most of it during post production. I was up to my old tricks. Tinkering. Playing. This image started to emerge. It beckoned to me. Called out to me. It told me to keep going. Until I couldn’t go anymore. And, then to go further,
This image is the result. It surprised me. Hopefully, it will surprise you.
Oh. The skulls thing. I looked back at my Halloween imagery. Most of it is about skulls. That doesn’t mean anything. It’s just what I saw. What caught my attention.
You never know what’s rattling around in your brain. Especially if you believe as I do. That all art is autobiographical. Think about skulls and THAT for a minute.
Happy Halloween for those who participate. And for the rest, happy day.
Two posts. One just an hour earlier than this one.
I scheduled one for yesterday morning as usual. But, I bought a new iPad, I changed some operating systems which caused WordPress to be so confused that I can’t even remove the App for the new iPad in order to reinstall it. Somewhere along the line that introduced a bug which kept yesterdays post from appearing as scheduled.
I’ve had people make suggestion about workarounds. Do this. Do that. Do this other thing. Keep in mind I am not a tech guy. That’s one reason that I use Apple products. That’s also the reason that Storyteller hasn’t become the website that I’d hope to have built by now. It’s way too much for me. I’ve tried WordPress template sites. They don’t help. I tested one page and it hung up everything.
So, my apologies. I’m not one of these bloggers who thinks you should post ten times a day and then let it go. Just so you know, when I see a whole bunch of posts from one blogger on one day, I usually read one and trash the rest of them in email. It’s too much. Think about this. If you are busy, so I am. That’s just a variation of what the army teaches you. If you can see the enemy, the enemy can see you.
More Halloween. In the 9th Ward. Apparently, this dude camped out with his travel trailer. And, never left. Or, he was shot, which is kind of a usual thing in this neighborhood. I didn’t do much to this picture except to clean it up a little bit.
Because we are into our long Halloween weekend. Because it seems normal in the swamp that I call home. Because I saw it. Because I made the picture.
Simple. Like a skull.
The picture. It’s pretty much as I described it. f5.6 and be there. I worked on it a little in post production. Mostly to hide its flaws. My photograph’s flaws. Not the skull’s. Shooting a little after noon, does not a great picture make. I knew that. But, sometimes… you have no choice.
One of the biggest holidays in New Orleans, among other big holidays.
Halloween. This weekend and into next week.
How could it be otherwise, when we mask for just about everything else? I made this picture the other day, in the depths of Mordor. Or, the Lower 9th Ward. Whichever comes first.
The picture. Yes. I messed with it. I tinkered until it got that general “spooky” feel. Then, I kept going. One thing to know. Pictures like this work better — for me — if they can be taken from the ground, rather than looking down on the scene. Luckily, my camera’s LCD tilts upward. I’m well beyond the point of crawling around on my belly. If I ever was.
That’s what Autumn is about. Yeah, sure. It’s one of four seasons. It happens once a year. Everybody likes fall colors. What’s not to like about fall colors? Orange. Yellow. Red. They warm the heart.
Photographers chase the changing of leaves all over the country. We have our favorite places. We take our favorite drives. Some years are better than others. That’s the nature of the game. No pun intended. Really bright colors take some help from the weather folks. In order for the kind of color we like, there is a little timing involved. The sequence is a cold snap followed by normal fall weather. Apparently, that sort of freezes the natural sugar and creates color. That’s a very simplified explanation. But, this is a very simplified blog. Heh!
The last couple of years haven’t been all that great. It’s a climate thing. A change thing.
Of course, down here in the swamp just south of Lake Ponchartrain, bright fall color is minimal. Often times, you’ll have one day of some faded color, then leaves turn brown and fall on the ground, Oh, isn’t that a pretty picture.
I’ve long been exploring a way to make some kind of art to show my version of fall. Color. Leaves. Brightness. I think I stumbled upon it last night. I photographed some trees with the sky as the subject. That was pretty boring on its own. But, I like to make pictures first and worry about the rest later. Earlier, I photographed some leaves floating in water. You saw one version of that take. This version was a little boring on its own.
I layered the two pictures and did what I always do. Tinkered. I think I did it.
This picture is the result. I had another picture planned for today, but this one is a surprise. A big surprise.
BTW, for those of you near New Orleans, Fats Domino’s second line will walk on Nov 1 at 5pm. It starts at Vaughns in The Bywater and will make its way to his home in the Lower 9th Ward. Knowing how we do, here in New Orleans, I’d say this should be one of those massive, massive parades of all time. Y’all should come out.
Yesterday, a great musician and a sweet and kind man died.
There have been tributes written from all over the world. Because, at the heart of it, he started rock n roll. Without him, the guys who came a little after him — Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and even The Beatles — might not exist. At least as we know them today. It started with “The Fat Man” a song that was a reworked of a drug user’s song called, “The Junker’s Blues.” It rocked. It rolled. His music only grew from there. His legend did too. You can read that all over the internet today. There’s no point in me rehashing it.
At the heart of him was a New Orleans man. A 9th Ward guy. He lived there. He built his very modern mansion there. And, his last studio was there. Yesterday, the media of which I was one, descended on those old buildings. Local television stations used the studio as a prop for the evening broadcasts about his death. I was gone by the time that they got there, chasing other things and places.
I took the time to drive around the 9th Ward with a friend. So many changes. So many passings.
And, that’s what I thought about.
Passings. The past couple of years have been rough if you like music.So many have passed on. On personal level, they’ve been rough because a lot of my old friends have left the planet. Or, gotten very sick. As I drove around the 9th Ward, I saw so many changes. More buildings rotting. Things still falling down.
But, there was more.
Things were getting better. The rotting strip along St. Claude Avenue is being restored. Many homes that were storm damaged and left for dead have come back. Including one that I’ve posted here a couple of times. The one with the destroyed interior and American flag hanging in the background. I almost couldn’t find it. It has been restored to its proper shape. Painted in the “right” colors.
Even though I documented the rotting of that lower end of New Orleans in the past, I’m happy to say that I liked what I saw yesterday. I didn’t get to stay long, but I’ll be back. There’s a lot for me to do.
And, that’s a good thing.
This place. Club Desire. History tells us that Fats Domino first played some in a little bar in the Desire area called the Hideaway. As he started to gain a little fame, he moved to Club Desire, which was a very well-known club throughout the segregated 1950s, 60s and 70s. Eventually, it fell out of the “chitlin’ circuit” and then fell out of use in the late 1970s except for occasional events. That was an unintended consequence of desegregation. Black musicians could play in what were White clubs. There was no need to take a 45 minute streetcar ride out to the ends of the city. Hurricane Katrina about tore Club Desire apart. It was finally torn down last year. The Hideaway hasn’t existed in years.
Goodbye Club Desire.
Rest in Peace, Fats Domino. You certainly made my world a better place.
One of my new readers commented that he liked my ability to make pictures from common subjects. I thanked him and let it go at that.
That I is one thing I’ve always worked to do. It’s not because these days I’m physically hurting a bit. I work through it. Or, because I don’t like to travel. I do.
It’s because I never thought that you had to take a long trip to take pictures. I never thought you had to be at an event to take a picture. I’ve done all that. And, I will again. Traveling is a good way to refresh yourself and your seeing.
I think that pictures are right outside your front door. Or, sometimes, even inside the house. You don’t have to wander far and wide to take a picture. In fact, when struggling photographers ask what to take pictures of, I usually say “your world.”
That said, this picture was made last night in the early evening. I originally made it one way — more like a photograph. I looked at again this morning and thought, “Meh, that won’t do.” So, I started tinkering.
As our new fall-like weather arrived, we had one of those amazing storms that come with the transition from hot weather to cold weather. Thunder. Lightning. Sideways rain. Wind. Broken trees. And, lots of newly dropped leaves. Everywhere.
Prior to the storm the city sent out tweets and texts asking us to make sure all the storm drains were cleared. They couldn’t get to it. It will take the city about three years to really clean out the gunk that block the pipes to the drainage system. So, they wanted us to clear out the tops of the system. For most of us, this is normal. We do it because we know better. But, for the city to ask… whew.
The system is so impacted that even with cleaning the tops of the drains, the streets flooded. To be sure, it was nothing terrible in my neighborhood. We had a few inches on our street, but the water barely came up over the curb.
No big deal.
But, the “flood” let me make a few pictures.
Those leaves are floating on the street over my freshly cleaned drains. They are so blocked up with sediment and who-knows-what that my rake work didn’t matter. The leaves were floating and settling. Making more sediment.
Yes. I did some post production in order to sort of sculpt out the picture so that you could see what was going on a little better.
One more thing.
Under the heading of “Huh, WTF?” a new blogger called “Writer, Fay Miller,” posted a comment on Storyteller saying that she was just going to yesterday’s sunset picture for a background on her blog.
She didn’t ask. She told me.
This, after all my writing about image theft and copyright laws.
You can see my reply in that thread if you are interested. After sleeping on it, I’ve decided that there is no way she will use my picture on her blog. Those who know me, know that I’m generous to other bloggers. This just struck me as a command coming from on high. She’s a new blogger. One who retired to write something. She should write, not worry about my work. Besides, when I went to her blog to see what she is about, she posted that she took 50 pictures of sunsets. Use one of those.
But, I don’t often photograph them unless there is some special quality to the light. There are a couple of reasons for this. For most sunsets, I’d rather just enjoy them. And, look at them, often thanking my lucky stars that I’m on the planet at the same time the sunset came into view.
The second is more earthbound. Everybody shoots sunsets. Google sunsets. You’ll see. I’d like to try to do something a little different. Usually that happens in nature. I have very little to do with it. But, I can pick and choose.
Finally, if the sunset looks pretty good, I turn around. That great dusky, warm, yellow and red light is illuminating something. Maybe that’s the best picture. Of course, you have to be in a place that interests you.
Sometimes I’m not. Mostly, I’m not.
Then, I look for a graphic shape to be a counterpoint to the light. That’s what I did this time. Since the picture isn’t about the tree, I let it fall into silhouette rather than trying to open it up and allow the details to emerge. It became an arrow pointing to the real subject.