Fallen.

Things fall down.

Like this flower. It fell from a tree. I don’t know its name. That’s rare. While I readily admit that I don’t know flower names, I do know tree names.

It starts blooming in late spring and continues until early summer. Streets, cars, sidewalks are cover in tiny pink flowers. I like photographing them after a rain. They glisten and glow. They stick to everything. But, they aren’t damaging. They are just pretty. Just pretty. Funny, that. If every thing was “just” pretty  we’d be far better off.

Anyway.

We had some rain.

The rain knocked a lot of these little flowers off of the trees. The walkway was glistening. Sparkling. The light was getting low so it backlighted this one little flower. I got down as low as I could go and pushed the button a couple of times. I selected another version of this picture. I struggled very hard to make it work. It really didn’t work.

I took another look. This image took about a two minutes in post production. It just sort of “was.” This is the right picture. Work is hard. The process should be easy.

The picture can never be made again. Yes. It was a moment in time. A brief flash. That’s not it.

Nah.

The dog who sees things stepped on it and crushed it.

Sometimes, that’s how it goes.

 

 

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Black and white study.

As a young man I studied all of the classic black and white masters. Weston. I read his diaries. Adams. I learned his exposure system. Strand. I studied his composition. The list goes on.

That’s what we did back then. No. We didn’t copy them. Instead, we looked at their works in books. We went to museums. If we were lucky, one of their shows appeared at a local gallery. So, we went.

Today, it’s a little different. You can find everything you want online. That’s good. And, bad. It’s a great reference point, but you can’t see the texture of the print. You can’t see the depth of shades of gray from pure white to the deepest black.

For so many new photographers seeing the work online is good enough. Worse, they are told by a lot of online photo gurus to “fake it until you make it.” That would be fine, but what they are really saying is “find a picture that you like and copy it.”

That runs across the grain of everything I was ever taught. I was taught to learn from masters, apply it to your work, but make it YOUR WORK. I’m pretty sure that copying an exact work runs counter to copyright law as well. But, that would mean the image was fairly complex with clearly defined characteristics. Most of what new photographers are trying to copy is fairly simple. Work that anybody could do.

The picture. I saw the rock laying in between the roots of a Texas Live Oak. I never arrange subject matter. I’m fairly sure the rock didn’t just happen that way in nature. Somebody, likely a child, put it there.  No matter. That’s how I saw it.

I also saw it in black and white. It’s been a long time since that’s happened. I work in color. I see that way. Not this time.

I’ve long said that Storyteller is an experimental place. With its new redesign, two of the four days work has been in black and white. Hmmmmmm.


More like a summer dream.

Like a dream.

Summer arrives like a dream.

Even though we are five days from Summer Solstice, and the longest day of the year, those of us who live in the south have had summer-like weather since some time in May. We had a few cooler days, but for the most part we feel the heat of 90 degree days. And, we are moist from the humidity.

Even though I seemingly jumped the gun, I didn’t. You understand.

The foreground of the picture is composed of summer weeds and leaves. It is photographed against a background of almost pure bokeh. The out of focus part of the picture. Everything is backlit.

That’s it.

I made a picture of a dream.

I think.


There it was.

There it was.

The sun was peaking through a slight gap in the branches of a tree. There were little pink blossoms everywhere. What a morning scene.

I did what I do.

I started to make pictures. Auto focus was having a very tough time with such strong backlighting and direct sunlight into the lens. I held my finger on the button. Sometimes  it works. Sometimes the autofocus function says “oh, no you don’t.” This time I did. And, it did.

A mistake.

That’s what I made.

A completely out of focus picture. It just happened to be the best of my quick little take out of about ten pictures.

I worked on it a bit in post production. Mostly, I brought what wasn’t understandable back to my eye. That was it.

Today is a really fine day. The weather is wonderful. The pictures are coming. And, in a spring of a lot of brand new music, Bruce Springsteen released a new album. “Western Stars.” I’m often a little cautious when it comes to any big musician’s new work. Often, it isn’t all that.

Not this time.

This one is so good. It reaches into my soul. I know words that I’ve never heard as he sings them. I know the melody. A lot of his songs are what some folks call “high lonely.” It’s hard to write one song that carries that feeling.  The whole album carries is that.

Whew.

The record will arrive in this house soon. I want to get as close to the original master as I can.

A good day.


Alvin Coco agin… at the second line for Leah Chase in Treme, in New Orleans.

A little clean up time.

Sometimes pictures don’t make the final cut. They are close enough. I thought I’d show you a few from two second lines that missed the first cut… a little bit. Single Ladies. And the jazz funeral for Chef Leah Chase. I thought I’d stack them up all in one big pile. Didn’t Doctor John say something like, in New Orleans nothin’ is separate from nothin’?

He’s pretty much right.

Next?

Maybe a Sunday second line. The Perfect Gentleman roll for Fathers Day. At 3pm. The very hottest part of the day. This was the parade that just about killed me a couple of years ago. The temperature was 114 degrees on the street. The parade was supposed to roll at 1pm. It was postponed for some reason. First, to 2pm. Then, 3pm.

I took refuge on a very deep stoop, with about a dozen other people. I tried to stay hydrated. When the parade was organizing itself, I was standing on that very hot street. I realized that my vision was getting blurry. I felt like things were moving around in waves.

Some kind of heat thing.

I bought more water, sat down in a little bit of shade. I rested for a while and gave up. I walked back to my car, turned the air conditioning on and drank more water. I went home.

That closed my second line season.

That won’t happen this year. It’s nowhere near as hot. In fact, for us, it’s downright pleasant. It’ll get a little hotter by Sunday. I won’t be bad. I, like all, the rest of us, know what to do.

Housekeeping.

I really do like this new format. Funny thing about it. I was struggling to add the details. Like buttons. Social media buttons. Translator. And, like that. I found out why I was having a hard time. It was already done. Apparently, the minute that I activated this template, everything started to migrate. It just took a little time.

If there is something that bothers you. Something that I could do better. Let me know. This is still a work in progress.

Oh. The title?

Something Bob Dylan said about his infamous “Rolling Thunder” tour. He said there weren’t enough masks. That caught my attention since New Orleans is all about masking. He added, that when a man wears a mask, he’ll tell truth. Without a mask, he likely won’t.

Now, that’s something.

 

Leah Chase was Catholic. That didn’t stop representatives of almost every religion coming out.

 

 

 


Second lining to honor Chef.

We all came out.

Zulus. Chefs in their whites. Indians. Voodoo priestesses. Priests and ministers. Political leaders. And all the rest of us.

We walked. We talked to each other. There was a lot of kindness in the crowd. We came to celebrate a humble woman who believed the food could bring us all together. Who was far more than the queen of creole food.

Leah Chase.

I’ll leave the real writing to Ian McNulty of The Advocate.  https://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/entertainment_life/food_restaurants/article_3a7f93c4-8ba9-11e9-99da-6fbd07f978ac.html

I’ll let my pictures speak for themselves.

By kind. Be good to each other. Help your brothers and sisters when they need it.

 

From voodoo.


Not sure on a hot day.

We do it for the stories we could tell.

That’s what Jimmy Buffett said. He’s right.

I’ve come out of retirement from the street. Saturday’s events convinced me that there could be no other way. I came out for the Single Ladies Second Line.

It was hot. So hot.

It didn’t look like anybody was having any fun. Not, the ladies. Not the band. Not the second liners.

It was brutal.

After talking to a friend of mine today, I realized that we come out for a whole host of reasons. It really is like church.  It’s great to see friends. And, we tell stories about what we did afterward.

Today, we walk again. We make pictures. After a week of mourning, we lay Chef Leah Chase to rest. At 2pm. The hottest part of the day. We are suppose to have some overcast. That might help. No matter. I’ll work as best I can.

The work is the prayer.

Hanging out at the scene.


On early morning walks.

It’s only love
It’s only love
You know how it feels
Feeling is easy
I know
When I was young
When I was young
You know
It was real
My heart was open
But now
I know
I know
I know
I know better
I’ve been shown
The other side
And now I see the way
Things are
It’s only love
It’s only love
You know how it feels
Feeling is easy
I know
Feeling is easy
I know
Feeling is easy
I know

— Melody by Anoushka Shankar, Karsh Kale, and Guarav Raina. Lyrics by Norah Jones

Easy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Walt Disney Music Company, Universal Music Publishing Group, A Side Music LLC D/B/A Modern Works Music Publishing

Man. All those publishing credits. And, you think I’m crazy?

Sunday. Either a day of rest. Or, a day of fun work. I think the later. Especially after yesterday.

When we were are out roaming around running errands, I always carry a real camera. Jokingly, I say I do that in case a second line pops up.

Well.

One did.

A four lane blocking, jazz funeral with a brass band and the old fashioned carriage drawn by a mule. There was no way around it, so I parked and made pictures.

The photo gods were talking to me. They were saying get off your butt and get back to work. They asked what would Chef Chase say? Oh, I know, I know. Hand raised in the air trying to catch someone’s attention.

“Pull up your pants and get to work.”

Uh huh.

Unless the world falls in, I’m back on the street today and tomorrow and whenever. Once thing did float through my mind. While we are all about mourning our local heroes, we are forgetting that life and death goes on. The second line was for a Zulu. An honored member of our community. On any other Saturday, there might be ten of fifteen photographers making pictures. There was only me. By accident.

Think on that for a while.