Droplets.

First, the rains came. Thunder too. The mixing of two weather systems.

When we ventured outside, man, it was cold. And, windy. The dog who sees things wanted no part if it. She knows a few words. One of them is walk. She hears that and waits by the leashes. Another is home. She hears that and heads straight for home. This morning we went out. She did her business, as they say. She stepped away from that, I asked, “walk?” She stood there. So, I asked, “home?” She headed right back through the gates.

Just as well.

I knew the weather would turn cold. Well, coldish. I didn’t think I would feel that cold. I rarely do. I did. If we had continued on I would have been freezing by the end of the walk.

It’s always something.

A few days ago I was complaining about the unseasonable heat. Now, I’m complaining about the cold. No, not really. I was just surprised this morning.

The picture. We’ve had rain for parts of three days. We also live in a semi-tropical swamp. That means that while many of you are living with dead things, our plants don’t go dormant. In fact, some continue to grow if the weather never drops below freezing for more than a few days.

I know. I know. Green in the autumn. It’s maddening to some of you.

I just saw the picture while we were walking. I thought, “ah ha, that’ll get them.” So I pressed the button.


Another look at wonderful fall light.

I don’t usually post a picture from the same take two days in a row unless it’s from an event like a second line.

I sort of feel like I’m either cheating or not doing my work very well. But, an old friend of mine who is rarely on Facebook commented about yesterday’s work. She liked it.

She suffered a terrible loss about a decade ago. Even though the shock and the trauma have been dulled, she still isn’t over it. Nor, should she be.

She was awfully kind to me when we first met on a plane, We talked for a while and then when she saw my walking to a taxi stand, she gave me a ride to my hotel. We had a quick meal and a better dinner the next night. Mostly, we talked about what happened. Today, we keep in touch.

I think about that time now and again. I was there on business. My friend lives there. When I wonder about myself sometimes, I think maybe that’s why I’m here. Like the old James Taylor song says.

There’s a whole bunch of lyrics to the song, but I like this set the best.

“Fortune and fame’s
Such a curious game
Perfect strangers
Can call you by name

Pay good money
To hear Fire and Rain
Again and again
And again

Some are like summer
Coming back every year
Got your baby
Got your blanket
Got your bucket of beer

I break into a grin
From ear to ear
And suddenly
It’s perfectly clear

That’s why I’m here (that’s why I’m here)
Sing it tonight, tomorrow and everyday
That’s why I’m standing (that’s why I’m here)
Oh that’s why I’m here”

We talk about this very subject at home. Often.


Autumn light.

I changed my mind.

I wrote a fairly long post about me. I think I went a lot further than I intended. So, here I am writing something entirely different. It’s about teaching and letting go.

Many of my posts are purely about photography. My intent is to teach even if I don’t expressly say that. Sometimes, I teach by example. Sometimes, I tell you how I did something. Sometimes, I talk about theory and philosophy.

Hopefully, something strikes your fancy and you try it. Maybe you’ll ask more about how, why and what I did. Sometimes, I see a picture that looks just about like something I posted or talked about. I just sort of smile.

All of that is humbling.

I learned a lesson yesterday from some folks on Facebook. I was reading comments on a group page. If someone disagreed with another a big fight ensued. They attacked each other personally. It made me sad. The people in this group should be pulling in the same direction. Of course, disagreements happen, but throwing the kitchen sink at another person never helps.

Whenever you offer advice to another person, keep in mind that it is their life. They can choose to follow your advice or not. In either case, give your thoughts freely and walk away. You’ve done your best. For you, that should be good enough.

The picture. This is what happens when a cool front chases slightly warmer air. First, there is rain. Then comes wind. More rain. Then beautiful blue skies appear with brilliant white puffy clouds cruising through. My approach is to shoot directly into all that brightness and let the foreground fall into silhouette, making a dramatic graphic shape.

You may be inspired by the thought of making a fall picture. You may go about it in a different way. How cool is that? Your brain switched on and then clicked again. You made your picture.

 


Take a look around.

I want to make a point.

A friend of mine published his blog last week. It was a recap of a recap because he hadn’t finished working on pictures that he took while he was traveling via a cruise. That’s what he usually posts.

He listened to me when I suggested that he work a little more freely by using smaller more hand holdable cameras. He may have gone too far because all he uses is one of the smallest Sony fixed lens cameras. That’s another story.

The real story is this. He very rarely works around home. To me, that’s death for a number of reasons.

First, and most importantly, photographers always think about pictures and work everywhere. I make some of my best work a few minutes out of my door.

Two, I can’t ever work cold. I must practice. I must rehearse. When I walk onto the stage of an assignment my chops are elevated. I’m ready to work. I don’t need to shoot until I feel comfortable because I am already comfortable.

Three, the world is a big place. Going to photographable locations generally means that you’ll make derivative pictures. You’ll be copying someone else’s work. Or, as we used to say you’ll be looking for tripod holes. As the very well known photographer, Sam Abell once said, “take YOUR picture.”

So.

I made this picture. I don’t know how good the picture is, but it’s about as good as the umbrella in the pool picture that I published yesterday. You know exactly what it is. You walk by, over and around, yellow parking lot stripes maybe every day. I did find two cars to frame it. And, I did a little magic in post production.

My point is fairly simple. Take, make or think pictures all the time. Don’t wait to travel. Don’t go out specifically go out to look for “photo ops,” a term that I dislike. For me there are no photo ops. There is only the world. The big world. A smaller world. And, my world.

Think about that.

 


Storm damage. Sort of.

I hesitated to post this picture.

Because?

We are Katrina evacuees and survivors. We know what it is like to be horribly hurt by a big storm. We lost cars. A house. Out buildings. A lot of furniture. And, keepsakes. Somehow I became the keeper of my maternal grandmother’s bible. It survived being brought to this country from Europe. It was 117 years old. Even though the water in the house didn’t reach it, the humidity did. It became what people in the paper industry call slurry. That’s broken down paper that is turned into liquid prior to recycling.

So, when I look at this picture I feel like I’m looking at one of those memes. The ones that have turned over plastic chair and in bold type, and says “we will rebuild.”

Never-the-less, retrieving this umbrella is proving more problematic than you might guess. You can’t pull it out of the pool directly, because it’s upside down and holds too much water. I tried to turn it over in the pool. Still too heavy. My next approach is going to be turning it on its side so the edge of the umbrella is facing up. Hopefully it will sort of glide through the water.

If that fails?

I’ll hire two boys from the neighborhood. The problem with that is finding them. Most of this neighborhood is very special. These kids hire people to start their cars when nothing is wrong with them. I may have to cross the tracks — the streetcar tracks — and head into Central City. Those guys will do it. They’ll work for free, but will expect a healthy tip. Besides, after all the second lines, I know and trust most of them.

One more thing.

I wouldn’t have published this picture at all, but I promised two people on Facebook that I would. One is a high school classmate. An old friend. I can’t let her down.

The picture. What else could it be? F8 and be there.


Water and flowers.

We had a storm last night.

It wasn’t the usual kind. This thing was a fairly big tropical storm. I heard the the winds at about 3am. I got up to close the storm shutters. As I looked out the windows, I was amazed to see the gale force winds. Things were blowing around. Tree branches snapped. Our very heavy pool furniture blew around and into the pool. One of the umbrellas was open when it sank to the bottom. That’s going to be fun to rescue.

Oddly, all of our local meteorologists mostly said this storm would barely pass us by. The one that I trust the most, said it would stay out in the gulf and make landfall in Alabama.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I’m pretty sure that they downplayed this storm because they well oversold the last two storms. One was a severe tropical storm. The other was a hurricane. Both fell apart before they came close.

But, this one was cooking all day long. We had rain for about 28 hours. We had six inches fall during that time and then the winds arrived.

Right now, we are looking at overcast skies with the sun peaking through from time to time. The sidewalks are dry and the ground is starting to dry out. But, the broken tree limbs and tossed outdoor furniture will take some work. Normally, when the weather folks go crazy, we close the umbrellas and maybe move all the furniture undercover. They didn’t so we didn’t.

When the dogs and I went for a walk, we looked around our neighborhood. There were some pretty big trees pulled out by their roots. There were a couple of broken windows. But, luckily no cars or homes were damaged seriously. It just looks like a low level bomb went off.

The picture. That’s a car hood with water droplets and a bunch of windblown stuff on it. I saw it, I photographed. F8 and be there, or something like that.


Camping out.

More skeletons.

Seems like I could be on an archeological dig, the way dem bones keep turning up. Of course, I’m not, but they all have interesting shapes to me.

Even though I don’t always pay attention to the numbers, they seem to have tanked this week as I started publishing Halloween pictures. It seems to me that even though there are forms of the holiday elsewhere in the world, the pictures just aren’t striking you in the way that I attended. I have to figure out what to do about that.

In other matters, let’s talk browsers. I was using something call Brave. It protected me from ads, and supposedly from all sorts of bad actors. The new upgrade protected me for myself, as in my email turned funky. And, my calendar wouldn’t open. I realized that I could turn off various functions, which is how I reply to you. I turned off a couple of things and my email and calendar came back to life.

Goodbye Brave. It became pointless.

I started to download the latest version of Java Script, but Google doesn’t support it any longer. So, goodbye Google as a browser. Java runs all the moving parts on website that we turn to when we want something.

I’m a Mac guy so I turned to Safari. I left Safari because it was not as robust as Google. It’s been improved over the past couple of generations. Of course, since it’s an Apple to Apple usage it is fast as hell. I can still use my email and calendar which are Google-based. And, Apple has its own security which is about as tough as anybody else’s.

And, guess what?

Remember when WordPress dropped spell check a couple of months back? Safari provides its own version of spell check that works on any document anywhere.

All is good. No, make that all is better.


Ghostly hoops.

Escape.

Escape from the French Quarter to Uptown. When this ghostly apparition got there he couldn’t figure out what to do, so he started playing basketball. When nobody else arrived, he looked at me — your trusty photographer — and hissed. Then, he pointed. I left quickly. His yellow eyes were watching every step I made.

That’s the story. I’m sticking to it.

I’m pretty sure that everything is a story. That’s why we do stuff. As Jimmy Buffett once wrote, “We do it for the stories we can tell.” He was right.

Unfortunately, lately I haven’t been doing that. These hurting body parts have takenĀ  on a life of their own. Everyday is a new adventure in “what’s gonna hurt me today?” One of the once unspoken reasons for changing my photographic content is that it hurts me physically to do it. But, it hurts me emotionally not to do it.

A good friend says that coming out for a second line is like going to church. He’s right. Not only do I get to make pictures, but I see a lot of friends, I meet new people, I eat BBQ sausages and I soak in the great vibes. And, there is a spirituality to the whole thing.

If I give up, I lose that. I’m not ready for that.

So.

I have to get a little aggressive. My doctors are nibbling around the edges. For sure, they are kind. They give me the medications that I need to get by. I don’t want to get by. I don’t want to exist. I want to flourish.

If traditional medicine can’t do it. I’ll shift. I spent a total of seven years in Hong Kong and China. I trusted the old ways. Maybe it’s time to make a move toward that again. Time for a few phone calls, texts and emails.

Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I thought after writing about him, I should listen to a little Jimmy Buffett. So, I am.

“Don’t ever forget that you just might end up in my song.”


Bones in the window.

In New Orleans, you see them everywhere.

You see them in windows. On balconies. On the street. Well, maybe not on the street. But, if you look hard enough you might. In a city that loves Halloween, anything is possible. You can look around the city in every ward, on every street and you’ll see Halloween spookiness. .

But, for the real adventure head to the French Quarter. That’s where the real stuff comes to life. Or, comes to death. It’s everywhere. While there is a big parade called Krewe of Boo, you’ll find some of the weirdest people wandering around in the best costumes throughout the Quarter on the big night. If you haven’t been to the city on Halloween, you owe it to yourself to come on down.

Before I sound too much like the tourism board, check out the picture carefully. The skeleton is wearing eyeglasses and has hair. You don’t see that very often.

No matter what, it’s all in good fun. So, have some.