On Magazine Street towards dusk.

On my way. To someplace else.

Actually, I was sort of circling around. Going home from a casual meeting with writer Sharon Cathcart at the Hotel Montelone’s Carousel Bar. She is in town for a writer’s meeting.

We’d talked back and forth via comments here and on her blog. We decided to meet. We chatted and had a good time even though she was exhausted from getting up way too early for a cross-country flight. She writes a lot about New Orleans things. She says she feels at home here. Home is where your heart is, they say. Please see some of her work at http://sharonecathcart.wordpress.com

Anyway.

I made a few pictures at the bar. I made a few pictures in the French Quarters. I made a few pictures in the CBD. I made a few pictures Uptown. I just kept making pictures. I made more pictures. Even more pictures. I went too far. I even passed my home.

No worries. A right. A left. Another right. Another left. A one way street. A pothole. A minor traffic jam. And, I was home. And, another pothole.

The picture. It’s sort of a classic. Lower Magazine Street at sunset. It’s not a hard picture to make. You just have to be there at the right time. Currently, the right time is around 7:15 pm. You can plan that. Or, you can be lucky. I was lucky last night. Sharon and I could have hung out longer. I would have missed this. Or, we could have had an earlier night and I wouldn’t have been there. However…

I made the picture while I was rolling. I just let the camera do its thing and I kept driving. The speed limit is 20 mph. Slower is better since the street is normally very crowded. I did a lot developing and post production work this morning. I didn’t take long since nature did her work.


Summer water flow.

We are a wet place.

Even with all of our rainfall, summer dries us out a bit. I’d call this a kind of levee. Normally, the water level is about equal on both sides. Look at this picture. It’s not even close. Even the side wall is starting to dry out.

With our daily rain, which is normal for this time of year, it’s really not enough. The ground is still dry. And, cracking. In our humid conditions, I always say what falls down must rise up. After a rain storm, the air gets very moist and sticky. The water that fell from the sky is being evaporated back into the sky. So that we can have another rainfall.

Oh well.

That’s what living in southeastern Louisiana is about. That, and heat.

Speaking of heat, no matter which weather service you choose, it seems that they all agree that we have passed through our hottest part of the year. Some say we won’t be reaching 90 degrees for at least the next 15 days. Of course, on the day that I read that, the high was 91.

I always take long-term weather predictions with a grain of salt. Enough salt to drive anybody’s blood pressure through the roof. Actually, at this time of year, the only high/low prediction that I care about is the low temperature. When we start moving in the 60s, things start to cool off.

That should be any day now. Any day in late November.

The picture. See it. Photograph it. F8 and be there. It’s all reaction. No thought. That’s the best way to make pictures in the street. Or, on the water. Such as it is.


Falling apart in Central City.

I saw this place on the way to the second line. I’ve seen it before. It just never quite looked so dramatic. And, I never stooped to make a picture. Even for a few minutes.

This time I did.

I photographed it at about 4pm in what was pretty bright sun. Not a great time. I decided right then and there that it would be the template for something else.

This is what I did.

Basically, I made a mess. I tinkered. I played. I went forward. I back tracked. I think that I turned a broken place into something spooky. I’m also thinking that without those fleur de lis on the fence this picture might not stand on its own.

I probably should go back at around dusk. Or, at least when there are heavy storm clouds blowing around. The problem with the dusk idea is that the neighborhood scares me a little bit. It’s one thing to be there when there are hundreds of people having a good time at a second line. It’s another to be out there on your own. With camera gear. You never know.

The more I look at this picture I think it would make a good album cover. I would have to square up the way I made it, and crop it some, but I could see one of our brass bands hanging out there.

Hmmm.

And, one more thing. It occurred to me what drew me to this place. Bad juju. This is a left over Katrina house. Today is August 29th. The 13th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall at Buras, Louisiana.

We try to forget this as we go about our daily business, but, as a friend tweeted, it’s in our DNA. I doubt that we’ll ever really forget.


Portrait in the second liners.

Day two. The Valley of the Silent Men second line in Central City.

New Orleans.

I thought I would publish a few more pictures of the day. A good day. A happy day. And proof of a hot day. At least one picture, where my buddy’s wife is wiping his face with a towel.

Of all the pictures, I like the top one best. It’s a little subtle, but to me it’s one of those pictures that says a whole lot. From a technical standpoint I almost didn’t select it. The man in the foreground looked like he was buried in shadow. But, deep details in shadow is where digital capture just shines. I opened his face, and the man standing behind him, just fine. Should they be lighter? No. They are backlighted.

So now you know what it’s like to stand in the heat, with the entire second line snaking around in front of me after making its first two left hand turns. I will say that this picture was lucky. You know, photographer’s lucky. Look a different way and it’s gone. Think too much and it’s gone. Try to catch up and its gone.

The rest of the pictures. I wanted you to see — once again — what it looks like between the ropes with the first liners are coming out. I also wanted you to see that it really was hot. This man and I have been on the injured reserved listed for a while. He had shoulder surgery. You know about me. We were as happy as we could be to see each other.

And finally, the spiritual bling. On another day this would be a stand alone picture. But, I wanted to work it in with the rest of what I saw. Funny. This guy was walking with a cane. I sat down next to him because my hip was starting to ache. I needed another pain med. I took it, looked up and saw his chest. I asked if I could photograph it and he proudly answered yes. Then, we limped away from each other.  My hip felt better in like 20 minutes. Nothing like extra strength Tylenol.

That’s my story. Today.

Spiritual bling.


Little princess is all smiles.

The first one.

The first second line of the 2018 – 2019 season.

Seems like just about everyone came out. I saw folks that I haven’t seen in almost a year. I saw old friends. I made a couple of new ones. It was loud. There were great smells from vendors who were barbecuing. It was colorful. And, man oh man, it was hot.

But, it was all good.

The Valley of the Silent Men took to the streets almost on time. New Orleans time. The second  line turned left, then left again  and finally made its way to Claiborne. A lot of us were dropping out by that time. You know how I said it was hot?

It was really hot.

A friend of mine gave up when he felt a little woozy.  I think that he’s finally growing up. Heh! He’d have kept walking — as I would — a year ago. When I got home I was able to wring my clothes out. Everything was soaked. Even my socks. I suppose that we’ll have to make a few adjustments until the weather mellows out a bit… in 24 or 25 months. Kidding. Always kidding.

The pictures. You know that I can’t be in about five or six places at once in order to really tell a story.

So, I just made a little portfolio of what I saw. These are mostly just portraits. We’ll see what I find for tomorrow. The guy at the bottom is the flag bearer. He carries the banner of the Valley of the Silent Men. He’s somewhat prepared for the heat. And, the sweat. If I had any brains, I’d wear a wide-brimmed hat, a towel and carry a couple of bottles of water. There’s an issue with that. I try to travel light.

Maybe I’ll forego lightness and dress that part. The part of Lawrence of Arabia.

Hiding from the heat.


Under strange skies.

If you’ve followed Storyteller for any length of time, you know what I think. Senator John McCain embodied the words, honor, integrity and service. While I didn’t always agree with his positions,  I always respected him. I always thought that he cared about my country.

Now, he’s gone.

Last night I spent a long time thinking about what those words mean. What they really mean. You should too. Especially when it comes to modern politics. Politics in 2018. We have an opportunity to get back to those words. For those of you who read Storyteller in The United States, vote in November.

Rest in Peace.

Senator John McCain

August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018


Me, the sky and a reflection.

Going, down, down, down.

Working in a coal mine. I don’t work in a coal mine. It’s just that on some days it feels that way. I shouldn’t complain. Making pictures and arguing with technology isn’t dirty work.

Anyway,

Here I am doing my job. Sorta. I couldn’t figure a way to keep myself out of the picture and still make the picture I saw, so I just left myself in. It’s kind of like power lines on a city street. If you can’t find a clean angle than just leave them alone. Make them a part of the scene.

There’s been a lot of big news this week. I like the news about finding a tribe in Brazil that have never seen modern man. Apparently, the government is actually doing the right thing by leaving them alone to just live their ancient lives.

You thought I was going to talk about something else didn’t you? Ha! I have one thing to say about that. MAGA. My Attorney Got Arrested.


And, so it begins.

A new season.

Sometimes it isn’t about the seasons in nature. In New Orleans we have other seasons. Mardi Gras. Festival season. And, of course, second line season.

It starts this Sunday with The Valley of Silent Men. We take a two-week break and then it’s on for 47 weeks. The only breaks come with Christmas, Jazzfest and Mardi Gras. There may be some off weeks because the city has raised the parade permits by almost double. Some social and benevolent societies can’t afford that.

Anyway.

This wasn’t the planned picture for today. The image I had in mind and processed turned out to be too small. That’s right, the image was too small. I could have posted something really new. But, I thought I was getting a little too esoteric and didn’t want to go back to something like yesterday’s post.

So.

I thought about my near and far future. Forty seven Sundays. I intend to photograph them all. That is, if my back and hip will let me. We’ll see.

I went with a picture from last second line season as sort of a walk up to this years season.

Aside from that, today seems to be the rebooting day for a lot of my software. First, Apple rebooted my calendar and image storage. You know, enter a password and go. I only use that for iPhone pictures, so it’s no big deal. I do use their calendar.

Along comes Google. They provide my email, another calendar and storage. I entered the password and they wanted my phone number, which they don’t have. When I entered that, they wanted to send a text with a code that I would have to enter to prove it was me.

Hey Google. I’m working. My life isn’t about programming and knowing everything there is to know about everybody in the world.

I hit the cancel button. I hit the skip button. If they need my telephone number they can search for it. They’re Google.

This happens repeatedly with tech companies. I just hate calling somebody with a question or problem. Whoever I reach thinks that I’m only about technology. If that’s not bad enough, they think I have nothing but time for them to experiment. You would think on 20-year-old software, they’d know the answers. Finally, try talking to two techs at the same company about the same ongoing problem and you’ll never get the same answer.

I think this is intentional. I think all of these companies — Apple especially — want very little to do with their customers. They force you into FAQs, or user forums, or just plain old Googling.

See? I’m back to Google.

And, so it goes.


Trapped in a world created by a life-preserver.

I lost it. I found it.

Remember the life-preserver picture that I posted a few weeks ago? This is the much tighter version of it. I didn’t select it then because there is no context. You have no idea what you are looking at. Since you’ve seen that one, it doesn’t really matter about the context for this one. That is, assuming you saw the first one. Heh, heh, heh.

This time I went full monty. I did about everything I could do in post production. I wanted to remove about all the subject’s context. You can barely tell that the main subject is leaves. I also made it look like it is glowing from below. I wish I could say that was my intent. Instead, it’s by-product of all my tinkering. The twisting of knobs. The sliding of sliders. To my credit, once I saw it, I made every effort to enhance it.

I went for art, rather than a document. There are a lot of versions of this image. Remember, I save as I go. Ask me in an hour which one I like best and I’ll give you a different answer. Look at the image below. That is the version I made after cleaning up and enhancing what amounts to the raw capture. Yes. There is some post production. But, not nearly as much as the image I offer to you as the finished version. It’s not quite as mysterious. And, it may make more sense to you.

Original leaves.

Anyway.

That’s the picture. And, a little bit about my working methods. I wouldn’t call it workflow because for this picture, it was all over the place. If you take anything from this, it could be something like… Study. Practice. Study. Practice. Study. Experiment. Practice.