I didn’t quite make it.

Not because I couldn’t stand it. Instead, I realized that “best of” collections are best done before the turn of the year. Not on the first, or second of January when I said I would return. Instead, I’m back. Sort of. On December 31, 2018. Tomorrow is January 1, 2019. That matters to some people. I’m still on the fence about that.

These are the photographs that I think are my twelve best plus one more. That’s fine because what you call a “baker’s dozen” we call lagniappe. A little bit extra. I think you can figure out which one it is. It’s not the picture directly below, although it is the lone black and white image in a sea of color.

You’ll also notice that the pictures are my people work. Street pictures. Documentary pictures. Photojournalism. They are not my more intentionally artistic pictures. They are not what “the dog saw.” Those pictures are for another time. Another place. These are pictures that get a little closer to the heart of me.

For a little bit of what I’ve been doing during my break please drop down to below the last photograph.

It’s like cabbage.
A daughter’s kiss.
Dancing days are here again.
Big Chief John
In black and white.
Sunset in a special place.
Once in a great while…
Secret garden.
Loud noise.
Waiting.
Smiles.
Jazz portrait.
Rain gear.

So, what did I do?

There are two answers to this question.

Personal stuff. All holiday, all the time. As I said when I begged off, it was about family, friends, neighbors, the guy on the street.

I followed my advice about working in the French Quarter or a second line.

Always keep some one dollar bills folded in your pants pocket. I did that.

Sort of.

I kept them in my car’s seat divider. I gave them to sincere sign holders on the neutral ground. I’m sure they made more money then I did over the Christmas Season, but it was the Christmas Season. Those folks were they guys on the street. Literally.

Professionally.

A lot.

Freeing myself from a few daily grinds allowed me to photograph more frequently and with more focused intent.

When I worked with my not-as-new-as-it-once-was super smart phone I really experimented. I wanted to find its limits. I haven’t yet.

When I worked with real cameras, I focused on what I do in the street. I still haven’t made it to the Quarter to photograph all things Christmas. I have a few more days until the Quarter turns into all things Mardi Gras. Yep. That season is almost upon us.

January 6 is the Twelfth Night. The first day of Carnival season.

Most importantly, I’ve been rebuilding Storyteller into a more fully functioning website. It actually lives here on WordPress, but isn’t activated yet. It may take a few weeks for a soft opening and will continue to be a work in progress over the next few months.

That’s it for my yearly wrap up.

As far as 2019 goes, I hope it will be a “damn sight better than the old one.” That’s a quote from Sherman T. Potter during the old M.A.S.H. television show.

2018, in a word, sucked. But, I’m old enough to know that just when you thought things couldn’t get worse… they do. I hope that I’m wrong. Really wrong.

I don’t make resolutions because I know that I’ll break them within a week. We also don’t go out partying on New Year Eve because when I used to drink I thought it was amateur night. Usually, we stay home helping the dogs get through the noise. We probably will do the same thing. They are fine as long as they can see their people. If we aren’t worried, they aren’t worried. I will try to make a picture after midnight. That sets the tone for the year.

Happy New Year 2019.