After the storm.

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urricanes and water. That’s what we are looking at. We are also looking at a full frame picture, not something made on a phone.

It is a reason to leave Louisiana. Two 100 year storms in 16 years. First came Katrina. Then, came Ida.

That’s enough right there.

It’s enough not to have power for weeks. It’s enough not to have it during the hottest season of the year. Months later and I still have car problems because I killed my battery trying to keep phones charged.

Months later and many, many buildings have not yet been repaired. I made this picture at my former apartment complex. I went there because at least they had a swimming pool.

They have that, but so many apartments are empty and are yet to be repaired.

Besides, now our pool is repaired. It’s wet. Anyway.

But, that’s why we are moving to a farm. Well, one reason.


A long day.

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dark sky along with a dark day.

I’m trying to decide two moral dilemmas. I suppose we all should take the high road, but I also feel that paybacks are in order to just to make sure that consequences of short sightedness are understood.

First, understand that I stand with all the states and people who were hurt by the weekend tornadoes. I know what it’s like to feel natures wrath. I’m with them all the way, but one of those states senators has voted no to every federal request for aid after a natural disaster. We, in the gulf south are still picking up pieces after Hurricane Ida blew through. Should we take the high road and help with federal aid. Or, do we say no with the intent that the voters in the state kick that dumb bonehead out of office? You tell me.

Then, there is me. My body. My primary care doctor will no longer prescribe Tramadol, the most lightweight of all opioids ever made. A couple of weeks ago, after trying to find ailments that don’t exist in me, he decided to take away NSAIDS, leaving me with only Tylenol to fight inflammation. I’ve been in agony for days. I can’t even sit up long enough to get any meaningful work done. That’s why I’m always late here.

This doctor never even looks at me, instead typing away at the examination room computer.

This is closer to home than the states that were blown apart. I’m inclined to help those folks, just as I’m inclined to have my lawyer write my doctor a love note. If that doesn’t get his attention it’s off to court we go.

Put me in pain and I’m going to do the same to you. I’m not normally like that, but enough is enough.

It’s reckoning time.


It all comes down to this.

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any folks have asked me on various social media if I photographed Hurricane Ida.

Yes and no.

I was a little busy weathering the storm and its aftermath. But I did make a few frames that I’m slowly turning into my version of art.

This one is pretty simple.

It’s storm drain that I cleared prior to the storm’s arrival so we wouldn’t flood. Apparently, I did my job since we never flooded. Plenty of other, wind-driven stuff happened that made up for it.

As we started to dry out I noticed some mossy areas starting to grow in the shade so I made a few pictures of that.

When the time was right, I started working with them. Don’t ask me how I got here because I don’t remember. I do know that there were a lot of starts and stops along the way.

After all, the important stuff is simple. The simple stuff is hard.


Once again.

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nother day. Another block. Another time. Another house.

This is a place that I know for certain was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. I’ve watched it over the years. It follows the laws of nature with the overgrowth. In the winter, such as it is in the Gulf Coast, you can see more of the house as the vines and plants die and turn into branches.

In mid-to-late summer the house looks as you see it. Overgrown and almost beautiful in its ruined state.

Even though I’ve photographed and watched this house over the years, I have no idea what happened to the residents.┬áIf a house is still standing over the years, it usually means that the person who lived there moved on, either in this world or in the next.

If the move was made in this world, it means the owner doesn’t have the money to restore it.

The owner’s family usually comes into play if the owner passed on. If that’s the case a potential buyer has to jump through the usual New Orleans hoops in order to find the past owner and line of succession. Even then, the past owner might not really be the owner, but the child of the past resident who may be the child of an even older relative. And, so on.

This house was probably built in the late 1800s to the very early 1900s. If the house was passed on without a deed transfer buying this house could prove to be lost impossible.

That’s why there are so many derelict houses in New Orleans.


What once was.

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s you know by now I change my mind a lot. Whaddya want from me? Heh. I’m an artist. Or, so I think.

I will still do my experimental layering, but those images come together when they are ready. I tried to do a couple yesterday. They were forced and it showed.

I also want to do the black and white thing. But, that’s a lot of research and a very long term project. I just hope I complete it before I’m completed. Yes. It’s that long.

There’s another project that’s been rattling around in my brain. I’m sort of publishing bits and pieces of it on Instagram. I think that I’ll start publishing some of them here.

You deserve to see them if you aren’t following me on Instagram. Or, maybe it won’t be Instagram since Facebook is changing their name, maybe IG will too.

Anyway.

This should be a lot of fun. I don’t have to force myself to make pictures of the same scene repeatedly. That’s never any fun.

But.

Doing that did teach me a lot about discipline and photographing what you see in different ways in order to make the pictures interesting.

So, limiting myself wasn’t all bad.

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here is a lot of little technical trickery involved in making this image.

I’ll tell you the steps of converting this picture to whatever it is now.

This is really a horizontal picture. I cropped it early in the process. It’s a radical crop.

The picture had already been processed and edited, so I had to push the image further.

I stripped a lot of mid-tones out of it. I stripped a lot for color out of it. I added a lot of contrast.

Then, I finally manipulated what little color was left.

If anything, there is almost nothing left of the original picture. It’s all been replaced.

That’s all there was to it.

Heh.


Time fades away.

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hat remains.

This is one of our storm ravaged trees. Branches are broken, but new leaves are sprouting up like today was spring and not fall.

I’m not sure in what form the recovery will take, but at least nature is doing her work. All nature really wants is stasis. One way or another, this tree will be dealt with.

Okay. Enough of that.

Let’s talk about technological dependence. Let’s talk about Monday. Let’s talk about Facebook and all it’s secondary companies. They crashed. There was a DNS problem.

We think.

Facebook executives lie about everything. Here’s one now. They claimed service was down for five hours. Oh really?

I was looking for a post so I went directly to Facebook at 7:30am. It was down, at least for any new posting. You could still read whatever was posted before the system came down. You couldn’t reply.

I didn’t have service until around 5pm. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s 9 1/2 hours. Of course, that’s in New Orleans where time moves at a different pace. They say that we are 50 years behind. So, there’s that.

Anyway.

The New York Times published a story about what this really means. Facebook claims a membership of 2.6 billion users. Most just use it like many of us do. Mostly we talk amongst ourselves.

However, about half of that total use it to conduct business, to communicate within companies, to sell stuff, to publish newspapers and — in some countries — it is the prime method of communication.

That’s all great. But, in another story, the Times says that Facebook is weaker than we think and that it is already showing cracks.

There are those who talk about regulatory measures. That’s good. It’s a good idea. Let’s take it a few steps further.

What if Facebook is turned into a utility like electric companies and phone companies? What if the entire internet is declared a utility?

I know, I know. That could take the freedom of the internet away.

That’s been done about a decade ago.

There are only three — or four — big players; Amazon, Facebook, Google and some people say Apple.

There’s no privacy. I could post something on Instagram and see ads for something related on Google. That implies there is no freedom.

It seems simple enough to me. It could be done. It won’t be.

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his picture needed something a little different. At least, I think it did.

I made it monochrome. It seemed a little bleaker that way.

It still wasn’t done. I tinkered. I added extra bokeh using OnOne.

I messed around with the basic color because I thought I made it too bleak.

So, this is the finished picture.

Let’s jump back to the other side for a minute. I realized I wasn’t done with it yet.

I concluded that any kind of regulation or reclassification of the internet and its most dominant sites wouldn’t happen.

It’s not because of a lack of political will. There may be. Or, not. I don’t know.

The real issue is that the people conducting hearings — mostly the Senate — have no clue what to ask or how to follow up because they don’t understand the digital world at all.

You’d think that after the last two decades of digital growth they’d take some time to get familiar with these things.

But, noooo.

They are busy doing something else; obstructing everything, trying to tear down the good things about government and taking money from certain rich players. You know, bribes. There I said it.

The very least they could do is ask their younger staffers to explain the questions they are about to ask on the floor or in committee so they wouldn’t look like idiots.

But — once again — noooo.


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showed this picture another similar one to a friend of mine who plays in the gallery world. He said these pictures are worth a lot in that world.

I suppose, but I really don’t see it. I made these pictures because they were there to be made. Eventually, these pictures will become parts of a book. I certainly never saw them as having interest in the art world.

I’m not even sure they are worth much in the so-called photography fine art world. So-called because a photographer claims to be a fine art guy and shows a picture of a sunset or something just as banal as that. How is that art of any kind?

All art is autobiographical. The viewer brings meaning to it. That’s how it works. How is a sunset that 239 people photographed autobiographical?

I like sunsets well enough. I rarely photograph them because most are mundane. But, when the sky goes crazy I’m out there with everybody else. I never think of that work as fine art. If that is fine art what is Van Gogh or Degas?

There is a group of galleries that do show and sell photography as art, but it is nothing like a sunset picture or a snapshot of a flower. The photographers who they represent are artists in sheep’s clothing.

I just don’t see my pictures of broken buildings as a match for them. Maybe they are.

I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Heh!

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here isn’t much that qualifies as technical in this picture.

But, there is a technique to making a picture like this.

Most of these abandoned places are in funky neighborhoods. You have to be careful.

You need to use situational awareness.

Look in all of your car’s mirrors before you get out. When you get out head straight to your subject with that photographer’s swagger I wrote about a few days ago.

Then, pull out your weapon and fire a few rounds in the air. That’s how we greet each other in New Orleans.

Of course, I’m kidding.

Guns bring more guns. Never shoot one in broken neighborhoods or any neighborhood. Just look into a passerby’s eye and nod pleasantly.

There have been times when I’ve done that only to get a reply back, “Hey Mister Photographer do you remember me? You took a picture of me at so so second line. Do you think I could get a picture?”

Then, in this case, he said there are too many dealers — and he points to a group of houses — and then said, “I’ll just hang wicha while you take pictures.”

He had my back. He got his pictures.


This one works.

The only working pay phone in New Orleans lives in Central City. It’s sort of in one of the worst areas of the neighborhood. I suppose people need to communicate or — forgive me — set up drug deals.

That’s what makes this corner of the area so dangerous. When drug deals go bad, there is gun play. When there is gun play innocent people get shot. Innocent like a little three year old girl who was celebrating her birthday.

Even though that was a few years ago, I won’t soon forget that. I had an assignment. I photographed her grandma. We had no real contact information but we knew where she lived.

I knocked on her door with my heart in my mouth. She stepped out of her door and screen door just enough so I could make her picture. I took a couple of steps back so I could set the context and found success. As much success as you can have photographing a grieving family member.

I haven’t been to Central City in a long time. I don’t really feel unsafe there, but the pandemic changed everything.

And, speaking of that, don’t make me start having to type that tagline again. The United States is on its way to a fourth surge. The head of the CCD was almost in tears as she talked about it. If you haven’t been vaccinated, please do it. Please keep your distance. And please wear your masks in public places.

And, please be patient.

I know that we are burned out from being isolated or in a lock down, but now is not the time to take chances.

One more thing. None of this is a political thing. The last president made it so. He’s a moron. Don’t listen to that. This is a health issue. A big, giant health issue.

Honestly, this is an older image. There are a couple of reasons for that.

You know me. I’m marginally digitally incompetent.

I downloaded and installed an upgrade for OnOne. Everything works as it should except that it can’t seem to see my desktop. That’s where new pictures go until they are archived.

It sees everything else. It even archived the unarchivable.

I can find no solution or even the same question anywhere. I have an idea that it’s not OnOne, but it’s Apple. Apple hates everybody. So does Adobe.

There isn’t much to say about this photograph. I found it in my archive. I’d forgotten about it. I fine tuned it with something that OnOne calls cinema and that was it.

The pay phone is an added bonus. And, yes it really works.


Oooooh no, Mr. Bill.

I broke a picture. It slipped out of my hands and dropped on the floor. It was just a flimsy digital file of about 36 mp.

That’ll happen.

Seriously, there is no way to do that. Digital files are made of ones and zeros. They don’t exist physically. I suppose you could destroy one in a computer or erase one from a hard drive. But drop one?

Nooooooo.

Since I’m searching for the way forward I thought it would be a good idea to test some new software. If it’s for a phone it is usually free up to a point. Then, you have to pay for anything further. Sometimes I do, mostly I don’t.

This software is called Lumli. It’s okay, but I wouldn’t use it that often so I didn’t buy the rest of it.

The picture says more than you see. To me it’s about the globe and just how fractured we all are. There’s also hope because it draws together in the center. The trees may be barren for now. But there will be new growth.

I hope.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Don’t think that your jabs are going to totally protect you. Enjoy every experiment.

Testing. That’s a big part of Storyteller. I want to know what works, what doesn’t, and what’s close enough for work arounds.

This blog is how I learn. There are other ways, but this is a big part of it.

One other way is to post on Instagram and let the picture be shared to Facebook.

However.

Never follow the crowd. I suppose that I could have a huge amount of hearts and likes if I did what everybody else does.

Instead, test pictures. In my case, I want to have an idea of what viewers and readers like.

It’s not that I need the validation. I want to know because I’d like to have a salable archive. In a way, it’s disappointing.

Every scene is predictable.

I’ve made the pictures in better and different light, at an odd time of day or from a different view point.

I’ve known this for a while. There are eight to ten locations that buyers want. They are fairly well known.

If I photographed them seasonally I might never have to photograph them again since the scenes don’t change.

What would be the fun in that?