New Mexico in a nutshell.

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hey say that Mercury passed through its retrograde phase. Things should get and feel better. I’m don’t know what I think about astrology. There may be something to it. There might not.

But, I’ll tell you this. I feel better today than I have in a long time. I seem to have passed through a couple of stages of grief.

I’ll miss that dog for a long time, maybe forever, but it doesn’t feel like something is hammering in my head and making my eyes leak.

So.

This photograph. It was lost. I found it in the archives. It is New Mexico. It’s not what we think of when we think of the state.

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irst, I want to talk about WordPress. I receive emails about their updates.

I begged them not to keep changing things. They didn’t listen.

This blog was just hell to assemble.

Columns duplicated themselves and were buried, making it impossible to create a paragraph.

Don’t get me started on predictive writing. Just don’t.

W

e tend to thing of New Mexico as being The Land of Enchantment because of the food, the festivals, the American Indians (Yes, that’s what they want to be called. At least in New Mexico.), the light, the high desert, the art, the artists, the indigenous jewelry and the list goes on.

We don’t think of the car culture which is mostly made up of lowriders, restored classic cars, and hot rods. I think they are wonderful, all of them.

It’s fun to photograph them because the owners are very proud of them. They’ll talk about their car for hours. They’ll pose and take direction.

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nd, the balloons. You already know about the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta if you’ve been reading Storyteller for any length of time.

Some 900 balloons and crews come from all over the world to show and compete with their balloons. I attended almost every year that I lived in the state.

Oh yeah. Balloons make me smile.

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here is a lot of work going on in both photographs. Both have different levels of a glow filter added to them.

The top picture is intentionally very contrasty. I did that to emphasize the graphic shapes around the truck.

The balloon picture has a couple of things going on. First, I reduced the structure filter by 100% which makes the sky soft and allows the balloon to pop out of it.

I made the balloon a graphic shape using a combination of softening and glow filters.

Then I published them on Storyteller after fighting with the %&$*& block system.


Back view of the St. Louis Cathedral located on Jackson Square, in The French Quarter, New Orleans.
Back view of the St. Louis Cathedral located on Jackson Square, in The French Quarter, New Orleans.

More night work.

Somebody once asked me why I do it.

Simple.

Most day-lighted pictures of these places are pretty ordinary. Especially in the neighborhoods that are frequented by tourists. Everybody can take that picture. Everybody does. That’s cool. We live in a visual era. But, but, but… In order for me to believe the picture is somewhat special, it usually needs some special light.  Or, a lot less light. Usually less light. It makes the scene a little more mysterious. In New Orleans that’s a big deal.

This is Pirate Alley. It is a very old, very narrow roughly paved little alley that runs from Jackson Square to Royal Street. It’s so old that cobblestones were not used as pavement. Instead, it is made from what looks like slate. There is no evidence the pirates actually used it.

The area closest to Jackson Square looks as you see it. To the left is St. Louis Cathedral. Directly behind me on the right is a small cafe and a famous book store. On the left is the cathedral’s garden known as Place de Henriette Delille. I know that. I doubt that many New Orleanians do. It’s also the place where I made a picture showing the cathedral and the statue of Jesus being lighted from below and silhouetted, which I call “Touchdown Jesus.” Remember that?

Hmmmm.

I think I wrote myself into a new direction. Photographing New Orleans has been sort of hard for me right now. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Part of the problem is simply that I’ve done it for so long. I’ve been to almost every place about five times. Or, more. A lot more.

But… “Mysterious.” That one word makes me smile.

I also appreciate very much your thoughts on the matter.

A lot of you like the idea of a road trip. Just to make pictures. I like that too. But, I’m of two minds. Yes. Those of you who said it — seeing new places — are right. That helps a lot. If you are lucky. If the light is right. If the weather is right. If you stumble into a picture.

However.

Working in places that you know increases the chance of photographic success. It allows images to drift in front of the camera. That’s when the real pictures happen. You just have to think differently. In a new way. And, be patient.

There is a middle way. But, I have to think about it for a little while. It involves something like an airplane or train, Air B n B and a rental car.

Or, a boat.


This is Cat Alley. Or Lascar’s Row, if you prefer. It has a very spotty reputation. At various times in history it was either a red light district, or a bunch of rooming houses for Indian sailors who made port in Hong Kong. Today, it ‘s sort of an arts and crafts center where tourists tend to shop for trinkets, antiques, collectables or very, very good art. The alley features a huge amount of knock off art and semi-collectible junk. But, if you take the time to wander around inside the stores that make up the core of the buildings you’ll find some pretty nice original work. Where is it located? For those who don’t know Hong Kong, it’s located sort of catty corner and down the stairs from Man Mo Temple, which is a huge tourist destination. That means it’s at the far end of Hollywood Road in Sheung Wan. Hollywood Road is sort of the art center of the city.

Yes. I tuned this picture up a bit. But, not much. The color was there. I just saw it.


I thought that I would share this older picture. How much older? Well, its production is coming up to seven years. I didn’t think that it was that old, but time flies… as they say.

Here’s the story. I’d been asking an editor to give me some work in China. He did. But, the timing could not have been worse. Hurricane Katrina struck on 29 August 2005. Like so many New Orleans people I was displaced. I relocated to Lake Charles, Louisiana. I was displaced again. This time, by Hurricane Rita. I evacuated to Mountain Home, Arkansas. This little town is just south of the Missouri border and very near to Branson and Dollywood. It is also very near Bentonville, Arkansas, the corporate home of Wal-Mart. This turned out to be very important.

Almost upon arrival at my new digs in the Mountain Home Best Western I received an email from my editor asking me if I could shoot a project in Beijing, China. See what I mean about bad timing? Wow! I got organized in a tiny town where I knew nobody. I have almost no remaining vices. That’s a story for another day. But, one of my last vices is that I like good coffee and I like it as espresso. Here’s where the timing got better. Not a week or two before I ended up in Mountain Home,  a small “hip” coffee shop opened near to my motel. The owners took pity on me and my need for refuge. They allowed me to use the shop’s address as my physical address for the things that I needed to Fedex’ed to me. I worked from there. I got ready for my China trip from there. Those folks where incredibly kind to me in a real time of need.

Wal-Mart came into play because they require vendors to come to them and so a modern commuter airport was built in the little town of Bentonville, which meant I had a place from which to fly that wasn’t hours and hours away.

So. I went to China.

The was a very good thing because it was a two-week assignment. It got me out of my head from my double evacuation and it allowed me to be productive at a time when most of us were still reeling from our losses.

Oh yeah. The picture. This is another one of those “on my way to someplace else” pictures. I was headed to a temple when I took a peek down a street that lead to a hutong.

I ran into this little guy and his mom, who is behind us laughing.