And, then it happened.

A little rain to clear the skies.

A lot of sunlight to make the color explode off the page.

That’s what I saw as the day turned to dusk and beyond. The original picture didn’t quite do it, so I experimented. Then, I experimented some more. Then, I tinkered. I took it up a few notches. Then, I took it to notches unknown.

I added this. I added that. I did the reverse and subtracted some stuff. I got to a place where I actually liked the strangeness of the picture. So I went further. Beyond notches unknown. I was about to put a frame around it. Then, I thought, “nah.”

So, her it ’tis. A kind of art. Or, the work of a sick mind.

Speaking of sick minds. Remember, our falling down Hard Rock Hotel construction? It’s getting worse. The two giant cranes are shifting each day. In a true New Orleans moment, a fairly large tropical storm is brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. It won’t hit us head on, but we’ll get wind and rain. Water makes the cranes heavier and the parts more lubricated. Wind, well… you know what wind does.

So.

The rocket surgeons who came from all over the country have come to a conclusion. The cranes must come down before the storm arrives so that they fall down in a controlled manner.

So.

The cranes are going to be blown up. Yes, You read that right. Blown up. Small charges will be placed at crucial places along the two cranes infrastructure and…

BLAMMO.

In theory, they should fall straight down. Even so, there will be some horrific damage to the street. The street that has the main source of electrical power to the French Quarter and two major gas lines that run very near to the building itself.

What could go wrong?

Why do I have a really bad feeling about this?

The City of Yes.

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Leaf as a still life.

I saw a leaf.

My normal instinct would be to photograph it in situ. Instead, I brought it home. I worked on it in the studio. I simplified the picture by photographing the leaf by itself, on a light table. The result was pretty good.

That was just a start.

I knew it would be post production time. Usually, I have a clear vision. Not this time. I tinkered and tinkered. There must be twenty versions of the image at which you are viewing. Once I saw them all together I picked this one. I wasn’t done yet. I gave the image a little more energy by sharpening everything. I added the frame.

Now, I was done.

That’s my working method unless I’m making some kind of documentary picture, like second line participants or Mardi Gras, itself. I don’t treat those like art except when I experiment a little. That’s just me. But, I came from a pure photojournalism background. That means change nothing except to fix the flaws and maybe adjust the contrast and color.

Housekeeping.

In the next week, starting on October 15th, I’ll do my Halloween thing. Last year I didn’t photograph enough. This year I will. Stay tuned for new Halloween material.

My new and improved website is in its last stages of completion. I want to add some more pictures. I need to add a lot of captions and fine tune the SEO.

But, it’s truly ready for prime time.

My biggest problem is that I have not found a way to let you know when a new Storyteller story is online. For right now, the best I can do is email you all individually. That’s hard, and one of the biggest pluses of a WordPress blog. Create a new post, hit the button and away it goes. I’ll do some research and figure it out. Soon.

Enjoy the season.


You can’t eat them.

Nice, low golden light.

That’s what I saw when I was outside. I needed a subject and there wasn’t one. Until I looked closer. A lot closer. Even those these berries look fairly large in the picture, they aren’t. They are about the size of my pinkie fingernail. Except that they are round.

I don’t really know what they are, but I wouldn’t eat them. There are no edible naturally growing berries around here that I know of. Go across the lake and it’s a different story. There’s a whole festival dedicated to strawberries. We do plant and grow them, but we buy strawberry plants at a nursery.

Besides, this photograph isn’t really about the berries. It’s a study in light. It’s about how light shapes subject matter in a picture. For instance,¬† you can’t see the whole berry in the darkest areas, but you can see how they are shaped by light. Your brain fills in the rest. It’s called rim light. You can see it in natural light or you can create it in the studio. I don’t think that photo editing software will help you with this. It has to be made, or found, in camera.

That’s the picture. Sure. I helped it in post production. I made it sharper. I darkened it a bit. And, I warmed the light a little.

It’s Sunday. I don’t wax about anything all that much. Have a good rest of your weekend or first day back to work. Or, something.

 


 

Through the looking glass.

Such a weird little picture.

It looks fairly normal. Just wait until I tell you about it. You’ll understand.

I was walking by a fence. There was a hole in it. I looked through it. And, what did I see? The very scene before you. I thought it would make a cool picture. What to do? What to do? The hole is about the size of tennis ball, or a little smaller. I knew that if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t have a picture.

So.

I stuck the lens up to the hole and looked through the LCD to make sure I didn’t include the ragged edge of the hole. I continued to look at the LCD and waited for some kind of truck, which I knew would eventually come. I made four exposures, managed to get my hand in the fifth, and called it a picture.

I’ve made pictures in just about every way a person could. This was a new one for me. For my next trick I’ll take a picture behind my back while still looking forward. You never know… some days feel like that.


Shining brightly.

Morning light.

So bright. So pretty. I don’t photograph enough of it. Lately, in an attempt to beat the heat I drag myself out of bed early. Early enough to see low light. Golden light.

In Southeastern Louisiana, and most of the south, the heat just won’t break. We are ten to fifteen degrees higher than normal. But, if I’m reading the weather reports correctly, most of the country is too hot.

Is climate change a thing?

Certainly. And, most of the people who could make a difference are ignoring, or are attacking the scientists who are telling us that time is at hand. Most of the climate deniers are grumpy old men. They don’t care. They’ll be dead before the most extreme changes occur. Don’t they care about their children? Their families? Their friends’ families?

We all gotta go sometime. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to leave something good behind. I’m not even going to get started on our current presidential administration except to ask, how the hell can they roll back clean water standards? The biggest wars of the rest of this century will be fought, not over oil, but over clean drinking water. And, they want to poison ours.

And, this was gonna be a happy Friday post.

Ha!

The picture. You know when I made it. You know why I made it. But, you don’t know what I did. I actually used the same post production settings that I used on yesterday’s picture. And, then I brought the color down in order to make my statement.

Happy weekend.


Into the mystic.

Clouds.

I don’t usually photograph them, but I happened to look up and saw the most wonderful shapes. So, I did what I usually do and made a few pictures. I liked how fast they were moving across the sky. That’s hard to show using a still camera, so I just mostly concentrated¬† on what I originally attracted me to them and to their layers.

The way that I’m working these days is almost a picture a day. I make the picture one day and publish it the next. That was never my intent. It just seems to be working out that way.

That brings me to this.

Housekeeping.

I’m about to turn Storyteller into a full blown website with my blog incorporated into that. I’m going to use an outside template designed to replace WordPress template, which should give me more ability to do what I’d like. I found one company that I like a lot. I have a number of questions for them. If they are answered to my satisfaction, I’ll start on the project. There are two big questions.¬† One is about coding. The other is about building the site and how I lay it over Storyteller. It’s possible I could be out of service for a couple of days. I’ll let you know.

And, speaking of being out of service, I’m thinking of working on a picture per week schedule. In reviewing my work, I am repeating myself. And, I’m not making very substantial work. That isn’t to say I’ll only post once a week because I can share my out takes as well as the very best picture. I have to think that through. I’ll let you know about that too.

If all goes as planned, there will be a direct purchasing tab, leading the buyer to a place where images can be bought or licensed by size, with options for paper type, canvases and framing.

All of this will take some work, but I am free for awhile.

 

 


The things that I saw.

Today.

Fourteen years.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. Time doesn’t matter. Like anyone who was in New Orleans at the time, I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember evacuating from Hurricane Katrina. I remember coming home to see my house had flooded. I remember my neighborhood looking destroyed. I remember seeing neighbors in far away places. I remember all of us being so happy that we were alive that when we ran into each other we danced in the streets. I’m sure New Mexicans thought we were nuts. We were.

I remember the essential goodness of people. I remember trading computer lessons for home cooked plates of soul food. I remember neighbors helping neighbors. I remember my friend helping me carry the big furniture out of my house and piling it up along the curb. I remember my neighbor, who I call Uncle Joe, telling me not to go see the other neighborhoods because it was all too much. I remember taking a self tour and coming back to my house, shell shocked. I remember Uncle Joe saying, ” like a moth to a flame…”

I remember this day, fourteen years ago.

Today, we all still get a little weird. I suspect we all have a form of PTSD that peaks on this day. I’m pretty sure that we all learned a lot. We learned about our strength. And, our resilience. We learned to get angry with the proper people — FEMA. We learned how to rebuild.

Make no mistake. We aren’t done yet. There are still wide swathes of the city that still aren’t anywhere near whole. The Lower 9th Ward is one of them. I’m not sure it will ever be. There are streets and houses that still carry the scars of the storm.

There are daily reminders too. A car was pulled out of an underground canal just last week. It’s likely it was there for fourteen years. It is also likely that it is a Katrina car.

So.

Today is a day to reflect. A day to mourn the folks who died. And, a day to celebrate those who made it back.

As I write, Hurricane Dorian is churning through the Caribbean. It looks like it will be a category 4 hurricane when it makes landfall somewhere in the middle of the eastern Florida cost. God speed to those folks. It may continue on, striking the gulf side of the state. For now, it look like it will turn to the north. At least that’s what the predictive models say. Or, it could head towards us.

God speed to all of us.


This dog. The dog who sees things.

It is National Dog Day.

There are so many “days” about this, that and the other, that I mostly ignore them. Not National Dog Day. I had something else planned for today. When I read about today, I had to make a change. A good thing too. I’ll tell you why later.

Anyway.

I made this picture on a walk. Yep. This is the dog who leads me to things. This one is a rescue.

Of the six dogs who allow us to share the house with them, four are rescues. Four cocker spaniels and two poodles. The spaniels are girls. The poodles are girls. It wasn’t planned that way. It’s what happens when you rescue a dog.

This little girl is Sophie Rose. We kept the name with which she came. She, and another spaniel think that I belong to them. That’s fine with me. They know what they are doing. I don’t.

The picture. She doesn’t like to be in the rain. Actually, none of them do. We got trapped out in the rain. I made this picture just as we got home. She was not amused. The rest was simple. Get down to her level (a good trick these days) and make pictures. Easy Peasy. Now try getting up.


A summer storm came blowing in.

The sky turned really dark.

Even the dog who shows me stuff didn’t want to be out. She did her “business” and headed for home. She’s no fool. She doesn’t like water falling on her from above.

For most of us, this is nothing unusual. Summer rain. It blows in from the Gulf of Mexico. Rain falls for an hour or so and normally it’s all good. But, we are spooked. Our streets seemingly flood with almost any hard rain.

The people in charge have taken care of the pumps. They are working as well as can be expected. Maybe we need new pipes. The mayor said that we just live in a place that floods. Accept that.

Until.

A car was found in a covered drainage ditch. Actually, there might be three or more. But, one was pulled out yesterday. It was pancaked. It’s brake tag was dated 2007. It was the remains of a Mazda 626. Mardi Gras beads fell out of the trunk.

Only in New Orleans.

There was a lot of discussion about it on social media. Given that we can buy our brake tags every two years, it was likely licensed in 2005. This could be a Katrina car. There could be human remains in that tunnel. Or, it could be something entirely different.

This is a mystery. Everybody loves a mystery. We all wanna know.

But, get this.

The water bosses admitted that the underground canal hadn’t been inspected for at least 14 years. Huh? Do you people ever do your jobs?

The same thing happened with the levees pre-storm. The Army Corps of Engineers and the local levee people met on the top of the levee, looked around and said let’s go to lunch.¬† They didn’t do their jobs and look what happened.

This explains a lot.

The picture. Saw it. Made it. You know the rest.