Running errands is a good time for to make pictures in the rain. I just have to be a little careful, and be considerate of other drivers who are probably grumbling at the rain… and me.
I’m not sure how well you can see it, but there is a pickup truck in front of me. It looks like we are about to collide, but no worries. I’m stopped at a traffic light as the truck crosses in front of me. That’s why other drivers were grumbling at me. I was in the right hand turn lane and not making a move.
Grumble, grumble, toil and trouble.
There are a couple of different events that I want to photograph this week. There is second line in celebration of the late Dr. John’s birthday. We were born on the same day, 13 years apart. I’m going to pretend that the second line is for me. On the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t.
Then, on Saturday, the children’s parade is being held in Treme. That’s always fun, except when one of the kid’s mothers gets overly protective. They are tough. I don’t want one of them being angry with me. I wouldn’t stand a chance.
In between, I’m going to commute to Brooklyn. But, that’s a whole other story. Let’s just say that there is music to be made.
On Sunday, I may photograph the Men and Women’s Original Buckjumpers second line. I keep saying that I’m done with this project, but you know me. I can turn on a dime. Besides, that’s a really fun and colorful group.
This should be a good week of photographs. I’m excited.
What are y’all photographing or writing about this week?
I made this picture a few days ago. I posted it on Instagram. That meant it popped up on Facebook and Twitter. But, you didn’t see it.
It’s a picture that surprised me when I assembled and layered it. So, you get to see it. My apologies to those of you who saw it on other social media. At least you get a chance to see it again.
That’s some ego, eh?
I generally call this picture a colorful mess. And, so it is. That’s what it makes it a lot of fun.
A local political note. Last night was a great one. Governor John Bel Edwards was re-elected by a very slim margin. This means three things.
He won in a very red state. For sure, New Orleans is blue. That’s about it.
The President of The United States came down here three times to campaign for the Republican candidate, Eddie Rispone. Many people thought that this election was a referendum on the president. Think about that.
The election was very close. About a percentage point. That’s why every vote matters. I don’t know, but it seems to me that my vote could have put him over the top. Or, my neighbor’s vote. Or, the family two blocks down. Don’t ever say that your one vote is meaningless. It means something.
I’m not sure what it means. The dream, or the work. Rather than just stuff it all back inside me head I thought it would be a good idea to explore it.
I made layers. You’ve seen both pictures in the past. Bright yellow flower and red leaves. My exploration involves basic arithmetic. You know. 1 + 1 = 2. I’ve long believed that 1+1 can equal all sorts of numbers if they are the right 1+1. This is especially true in the art world.
By layering pictures, I think I made at least a three. Maybe more.
I’ve tagged this picture, “Boom.” It looks like a firework display to me. It may look like something else to you. Likely, a mess. Never-the-less, all opinions are valid.
Somebody once asked me when I have time to do all this, especially since experiments can end in failure. It’s more or less when I feel inspired. Or, when we are watching something very light on television. Often, I’ll just listen and work on pictures. I’m great with podcasts. And, the radio.
The picture. You can do this too, especially if you use “Snapseed,” which tends to make editing very easy. The key is to find two pictures that work together. I usually work on both independently. I try to build equal light and color values.
When I layer them, I experiment with different ways of layering. After I’ve completed the layers, I adjust them together. I also make sure to trim — not crop — the final picture. Unless you have two pictures with the same shape, there may be bits of one or the other picture hanging out. I crop mostly for shape. On WordPress-based blogs, deeper is better.
That’s it. My first lesson in a long, long time. Sorry about that.
Did you ever hear a song that liked, but weren’t in a place where you could learn the name or who the musician was who recorded it?
We were “making groceries.” There was a nice play list bouncing around the store. A song came on that we both liked. It made us smile. It made us want to dance. In a grocery store? Why not? This is New Orleans. We had no idea who or what it was. That’s saying something since between us we know a lot of music.
I started trying to find the song when we returned home. The only lyric that I could remember would seemingly be of no help. It was, “I love you, I love you, I love you. ” In the song it’s a really cool break, but how many tunes have lyrics like that? A thousand? One hundred thousand? A million?
It took me about fifteen minutes. It’s a song called “Say Hey (I love you),” by Michael Franti and Spearhead. Ahh, technology. And, music nerds.
There’s a good reason that we didn’t know it. Between us I think we’ve heard about one song of his. It wasn’t this one. One great song leads to another. Lots of new music to explore.
That’s a good thing.
I am photographing the Krewe of Boo parade tonight. It rolls from the Bywater into the French Quarter. As always, I want to work from the the start of the parade. Because of the evacuation zone for the big blast, I’m not quite sure how to get there. I suspect that I’ll just drive past it on the interstate and approach it from behind on the down river side of where I want to be.
The picture. Finally. I’m getting around to it. It’s an expressway that I photographed at the end of the day. At dusk. The low autumn light caught my eye. I helped it some for this rendition of the picture. Simple. See it. Photograph it.
I’ve been photographing New Orleans events on and off for the past few weeks. I have’t been publishing them on Storyteller. Even though I’m not a big data guy, I’ve been looking at it when it comes to the kinds of pictures that move you. I’m not comparing picture to picture. I’m looking at the genres that you seem to like.
So, the question.
Do you want to see the Krewe of Boo, second lines, Mardi Gras Indians (Black Masking Indians — their preferred title), Mardi Gras and so on? You know, events.
Or, would you rather see my artistic explorations?
And, in another test, I’ve been cross posting. I’ve been sharing the same picture here and again on Instagram. My likes there aren’t high, but I really wanted to see what happens on other social media. On Twitter, bupkis. I really have to post the picture directly, not using a link.
Facebook is truly revealing. I might get a few likes from the image that was distributed from here. But, when it is distributed via Instagram, I get a lot of likes.
Let me be clear. I don’t care about likes in the strictest sense. That doesn’t impress me. But, I care about the data. I care about sales. If 25-50 people like a picture, it stands a better chance of being licensed or sold than one with three likes. Not to the people who hit the like button, but in the general marketplace.
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.
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.
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…
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.
I know this guy. He is an old school junk man. He drives around looking for stuff that is mostly made of metal. He sells some for scrap. He sells some stuff to repair men who restore old things that can be sold inexpensively.
His business is fairly active. He piles up his finds until he has a full truck and trailer. Then, off he goes to sell it. He has a wife and child. He supports all three of them doing this work. When the weather is cool, his work isn’t bad. But, those summer months. Whew.
He also counts on people like me, who go for walks, or walk their dogs. We tell him what we saw. I can’t speak for others, but I don’t want anything for that. If I see something I tell him.
That’s his story.
I may follow him around one day and tell his story in pictures. But, for now, I just photograph some of the stuff he collects. This picture was created from what looked and felt like aluminum sheets that may have been left over from a big project. Remnants.
The picture on its own is just fine. It’s sort of bluish-silver because I made it in shadows, You know me. I can never leave well enough alone. I tinkered with the color. I tinkered with sharpness. I layered another picture over it. I wasn’t sure that would work. But, it did.
This is a wall sized picture. I see it as an 8×10. That’s 8×10 feet. Could you imagine this on a wall in a large-sized room? The only art in it? Hmmm… we need some new art around this place.
I had a sort of half awake dream a couple of nights ago. I had a little trouble falling asleep. When I finally did, I had a kind of dream almost immediately. Or, I thought that I did.
There was someone standing next to the bed. He was dressed in old fashioned house painters clothes. White pants. White t-shirt. He may not have been a painter. That was just my impression of him.
He was just there, next to the nightstand. All I could see was his body. His head was behind the lamp. His feet were out of my line of sight. It was so real that I reached out to touch him. I couldn’t. Either my hand went through him or he backed up, out of my way. I decided to look down at his legs. There was just a sort of mist. When I looked up again, he was gone.
I have no idea if I was dreaming in deep REM state, or if I was half awake and seeing things. Eventually, I fell back asleep. Or, dreamed that I did. That was it for the dreams.
I have no idea what it means. There are different definitions of what dreams mean. I believe in the one that says a dream is an answer to a question that hasn’t been formed yet.
If the guy was really a house painter, what is the question?
Was he something else? Just because he was dressed in white pants and a t-shirt doesn’t mean that he was a painter. Maybe he was a milkman. Or, a donut delivery guy. You had to grow up in Southern California to understand that. Once there was a company called Helms Bakery. They sent their trucks far and wide to bring donuts to your door.
The picture. It’s layered. It started with a building structure. I added all sorts of layers to it. It feels a little bit like Halloween because the lamp in the window turned into a spooky red ghost.
That’s art. Once you make it, the art lasts. It will out live you and me. I suppose that’s one reason to make pictures. To make paintings. To make music. Or, to make just about anything else that you can think of.
It’s a legacy.
I suppose that’s one reason to keep pushing. To keep plugging away. To experiment. To grow.
At least it is for me.
Oh sure, I can make pictures for clients and friends. I can do the expected because that’s what I’m expected to do. That pays the bills. Feeds everyone. Puts better kibbles in the dogs’ bowls. Note: They don’t eat kibbles. They eat homemade dog food. Food that is better than some humans eat. That’s sort of weird, but they are all healthy. That matters.
The picture. The original picture was pretty cool on its own. I just had to experiment. I had to tinker. And, play. I tell you, I want to be a painter. But…
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.
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.