Nothing but motion.

Lemme tell you a story about us old folk.

There is a movement afoot in the Millennial world to attack us old folk. They have a new hashtag and general comment. If they don’t like what you say, they say, “OK Boomer.”

Ageist much?

Last night I was scrolling around Twitter when when of the Parkland kids (the survivors of the mass high school shooting in Florida) popped up and said it to a bunch of people. I chimed in and asked about her ageism. This started a spirited discussion between me and about 9 others. Not fair odds… for them.

One of them is forty years old. A quick Google review showed me that she is a freelance writer who has been published in some impressive editorial places. You’d think she wouldn’t want offend anybody because she wants the work. She attacked me every way that she could. When I tried to explain something to her in a reasonable manner, she said I was crying. Arguing with a stranger on social media will never make me cry. She gave up when I laughed at her last three comments and asked her not to be angry.

Then comes a young photojournalist who found some of the work I show here and attacked that. More Googling. He actually covered some big news stories reasonably well. I said that. He kept attacking my current work. I finally said that when I was young I did what he did, but as I got older I actually want to earn a living with the ability to support my family. He didn’t get that. He also didn’t like that I started my own hashtag. OK Kid. I said, alright I won’t use that for you… son.

Old folks boogie and boogie we will.

I blocked them all. I removed all of my tweets. And, washed my hands of them.

I tell you this because I fear we have a battle brewing. Millennials are having a hard time making it. Between high college loan debt, the high costs of housing in the cities in which they wish to live, and the cost of transportation, they can’t get enough money to do what we did. And, based on other comments, they really think working isn’t the way to go. They want to experience stuff. So did I. I found a way to make clients pay for it.

So how is this the Boomers fault? I know their thinking. I’m not buying it.

Work together if you want something. Don’t attack me. Respect me. I just might have something to teach you.

Don’t claim that all the disrupters are great. Air BnB destroys local neighborhoods. Uber treats their drivers horribly. Lyft too. Spotify is fine if you pay for it. It’s a good way to test new songs. It’s a horrible way to listen and it takes money out of musicians pocket.

I have friends who have thought about this stuff far more than me. They say it is all here to stay. They are probably right. It’s easy. Easy doesn’t mean better.

That’s my story.

The picture. Yeah, I know. It’s well buried. Returning to Standard Time is good for me. Not so much for the dog who sees stuff. She ate two dinners last night because she was hungry at the wrong time. When we went out for our late afternoon walk she looked around and seemed a little confused by the coming darkness.

But, I had a blast.

I photographed everything and anything in the low autumn light. I made this picture. I was going to hold it for a few days, but after being attacked by a young photojournalist for posting work like this, I thought why the hell not? OK Kid.

Heh.

Oh, about those Parkland kids. I followed a lot of them on Twitter. They were going to change the world. I was rooting for them. It pains me to say that most of them have reverted back to who they were — who they should have been — teenagers.

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Clean these drains out or your house will get flooded.

I’m not kidding.

If you don’t keep the drains cleaned near your house, your street will flood. If your street floods, your house will flood. And, so will your car.

You won’t be happy. Neither will your insurance agent. And, your insurance company will probably drop you for making a claim, leaving you to ask “what’s insurance for if I can’t use it?”

That’s a story that never ends.

Here’s my last insurance company story.

About nine years ago my car was parked in a shopping center lot.¬† I was still inside. The ignition was turned off. I was unstrapping my seat harness when some guy backed into my car. We did all the right stuff. We exchanged licenses and insurance information. His car was fine. Mine was dented. I filed a claim with my insurance company who collected from his insurance company. Everybody agreed that it was the other guy’s fault. Including him. He tried to get out of it, but his wife gave him “the look.”

What do you think happened?

If you guess that my insurance company raised my rates because of a no fault accident, you would be right. WTH?

I want a business like insurance companies have. If you drive a car, most or all states, require you carry insurance. You are smart if you carry far more than the minimum. You pay monthly, or as frequently as you can over a years time to keep the rate down. You pay for years. In my case, I hadn’t been involved in anything for at least a decade. Until that little fender bender.

Okay.

Let’s keep the numbers simple. Let’s say I pay $100 per month. Over a years time that is $1,200. Over ten years time that is $12,000. I have a minor fender bender that cost the insurance company maybe $1,500. I’d say that their ROI was pretty good.

The insurance company will either raise my rate or drop me.

The insurance company’s gross return is at least $10,500 over ten years time. I’m sure their are some administrative costs incurred by them. Those are offset by investment packages that my money finances. At worst, it’s a push. At best, they are making money on administrative costs.

I want that kind of return on my investments. On my business.

No. I didn’t get in an accident. I was looking at the last quarter of the year. Grumble, grumble, grumble.


The pool umbrella returns.

Changes.

First, the pool umbrella. Back from its watery grave. No worse for wear. These kinds of pictures are easy to make. Easy to take. We’ll get back to that in a minute.

But, first.

My new watermark. I don’t think watermarks have to be flashy or over designed. It’s the content that matters. I was reading a new book — new to me — about more contemporary photographers. One of them used a copyright/credit line that had his last name and his location. I thought that was pretty cool, so I just stole it lock, stock and barrel.

From that same book, I was reading about Todd Hido. I’ve liked his work from the first time I saw it. This guy produces single themed books and exhibitions. He takes his time finding and photographing¬† his subjects. One of the questions he was asked is concerned with knowing when a project is done. When do you stop making pictures and started culling and organizing?

Hido said that he knows that he’s done when it is not worth the trouble to stop, get out of his car and set up. He also cautions that you shouldn’t pull the trigger too early especially in today’s sped up culture. A project could last for many years. He weaves projects around each other, pretty much like I do.

“Not worth the trouble…”

That phrase says a lot. It explains why I am having such a hard time photographing second lines and Mardi Gras Indian events. I’ve been doing that for seven years. It’s not just that I’m in pain, or that I’m afraid of falling down in the street. It’s that I’ve finished my project and it’s time to move on. I know this to be true because if I really want to do something I’ll deal with the pain. That won’t stop me.

So. I’m free. Time to move on. Time to finish other projects.

It’s also time to look at the work of photographers who are younger than me. Hido is 12 years younger. His work is great. His thinking got me going enough to gain some clarity. As much as I always return to the work of Jay Maisel, Ernst Haas and Robert Frank, two of them are gone and one is 88 years old.

The world turns. It changes. Change or die… they keep telling me.


After the storm, comes this.

Then, comes the sky show.

After a storm and as the cold front arrived we had a little color in the sky. I did what I could to photograph it. I really need to understand nature a little better in order to be in better places, to stand in front of better stuff, in order to make better pictures.

I’m starting to get bored with trees and power lines.

Actually, light will get better and easier to predict once we resume Standard Time at 2am this next Sunday. The evening sunlight will drop even lower in the sky. And, I can get ahead of rush hour traffic as I travel around from place to place in town.

There is some strategy to making pictures at the right time of day. A lot of it is simply the time of year.

Of course, there is standing in front of better stuff. That’s just another kind of planning or traveling.

There is lots to do. I’ve been biding my time.

 


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.