A classic dive in the French Quarter. The food is good. Hamburgers are cooked under a hubcap. You probably can’t finish a side order of french fries. And, you’ll never know who or what you’ll see.
Go there late at night and the trannies will perform for you. Especially if they think they can get a rise out of you. I can use that name in this era of no fun, no fools, because that’s what they tell you to use. It’s all good fun. They laugh. You laugh. If you’ve brought an out of town quest, they sit there stunned, until they realize it’s better to join in. And, the pictures? Sheesh. They pose. The waiters pose. The cooks pose.
I tell you. It’s a kind of street theater.
I made this picture on an early Sunday morning walk. That’s why there is condensation on the window. Cold, dry air up against a window that has moist, warm air pressing against it, and guess what happens. The picture was easy. See it. Photograph it. That’s how I work when I’m wandering around.
I haven’t been doing that lately. There are a lot of reasons for that. But, it’s coming to an end. I miss working this way. I miss exploring. Photographing whatever happens in front of me. Whatever comes to me.
The tourists haven’t awakened yet. The only folks out are locals. Either they are getting ready for church. Or, they are getting ready to work. Or, they are just coming come from a long overnight shift somewhere in the Quarter.
Before they go where ever they are going, they stop for breakfast. At the Clover Grill. They can eat heartily. They can eat 24 hours a day. And, they can eat in a place that has been around for a long, long time. It’s one of those places where everybody knows your name. And, you’ll never know what will happen. I’ll leave it at that. If you ever go there I want you to be surprised.
Oh. You want to know where it is? Lower Bourbon Street. At Dumaine. On the corner. You can’t miss it.
The picture. One from the archives. When I first returned to New Orleans I used to go walking in the French Quarter on Sunday morning. The light was wonderful. There weren’t many people on the street. It wasn’t too hot, but I did have to deal with the early morning goopiness. Eventually, I stopped doing that in favor of photographing second lines. Because of the decline of the number of second lines, I may resume walking the Quarter on Sunday morning. We’ll see.
I used to walk around The French Quarter sort of early in the morning on Sunday. I’ve pretty much stopped that, mostly because I rarely go to the Quarter. No real reason. It’s just one of those things.
On this morning I was walking on Bourbon Street, toward the downriver end. Where things are quieter. I saw this man sitting in the Clover Grill behind all that window condensation. What else could I do? I took his picture.
Even when I do walk around the Quarter, I typically am not looking for the ten best tourist photographs. I’m looking for little moments. Slices of life. I think that this picture qualifies. It’s a tiny moment. For those of you who have been around Storyteller for some time — let’s say six years — you may recognize it from an earlier version. But, since about 80% of all bloggers do not make it past two years… well, you know. It’s new to you.
The picture. I wanted to tinker with it. Beyond cleaning up and making the man a little crisper, there is not much that I could do. So, the original image is pretty much how you see it. It’s not that the picture is perfect. It’s that adding my twists to this image wouldn’t do much. It would be trying too hard.
About those ten best locations. I probably should go reshoot and refresh them. Things do change, no matter how stuck in the past we are in New Orleans. Even if it’s just in tiny increments. Besides, New Orleans is the number on tourist destination in the country.
That word is the only word this young man says. He said it at the Clover Grill. On Bourbon Street. In The French Quarter.
It means “Good” or “I like it.” I’m told that it’s very hard to make a portrait of him. I didn’t think it was so hard. It’s all about relating to each other. We did fine. I suppose that’s how it is in life. Walk in the other guy’s shoes for a minute. You’ll come to some understanding. We could all use a little of that about now.
On to other things.
I’ve been writing Storyteller for about five and a half years. I do it every day. I do it from home. At a coffee shop. On the road. Just about from everywhere. Day in. Day out. I’ve posted from my main machine. From i-Pads. From i-Phones. And, even a couple of times from something powered by the other guys. Windows.
I’ve never taken a break.
But, with a long weekend coming. It’s time. I’m taking a break. I think for two weeks. Could be a little longer. But, I’ll be back. Certainly before August. I’ll still be online. Many people shut that off. Or, claim to. I’m not. I still have business to run. I just won’t be around as much.
Have a good couple of weeks. Enjoy the summer weather.
Oh yeah. If you really do miss me. You could always poke around deep into my archives. There’s lots of material there.
I wasn’t going to do this. I wasn’t going to post another small collection of pictures. No. Not forever. Nothing is forever. Besides, you know me. I change my mind whenever I feel like it. Just not today. Or, for parts of the next few weeks. I was just going to post the top picture of The St. Louis Cathedral with the next golden side light hitting it. But, as I started working on these pictures for inclusion to my agency collection, I realized that I had a nice, little group of very blue pictures. I thought, why not?
Although I will probably do this again tomorrow with second line pictures, I am planning on going to the one picture a day format for a while. Between taking the pictures, processing them, modifying them, and then enhancing them for Storyteller, I spend a lot of time just working on the pictures. Then there is all the back-end work. Re-sizing them properly for web work. Embedding metadata and copyright information. Captioning. SEO work. All the stuff that it takes to protect, and to help people to find, my pictures.
This is a lot of work.
Please don’t misunderstand. I like sharing my work with you. But, for a short while, maybe just not so much of it. Or, as appropriate. Not everything I photograph needs to be shown in multiple pictures. Sometimes, one picture does it. Most times, I’m thinking.
These pictures. They are part of my take from a few days ago when the post storm light was so beautiful. I work on the cathedral a lot because I think it is so pretty. I probably should go back during the day and photograph the interior. I’ve done this in the past. But, it never hurts to refresh my overall collection.
One thing about summer in New Orleans, or anywhere else that is a semi tropical place, is the humidity. It really shows itself in the form of condensation in the early morning on glass objects of all kinds. Windows are great fun to photograph as well as anything that is located on the shadow side of a street. What isn’t fun is the transition time between leaving an air-conditioned place and acclimation in the wilds of nature. Eye glasses fog up, camera lenses and lcds fog up. I fog up. If you are smart, or have just learned from experience, you never change lenses until the camera and lens has been acclimated. And, you might consider keeping your gear in the trunk of your car, rather than keep it in the car as you drive from place to place.
So. This picture. It was made in The French Quarter on the downriver side of Bourbon Street in front of The Clover Grill. I don’t care what any of these new gourmet hamburger places say, they don’t hold a candle to a Clover Grill burger. Nothing special about the post production. Just a little fine tuning and amplifying.
I mentioned having dinner at The Clover Grill in yesterday’s post. Today, I thought I’d show you a picture. Just one. Sometimes, I feel protective of the places I like. At any rate, The Clover Grill is located on the down river end of Bourbon Street in The French Quarter just where things start to quiet down a little bit. In New Orleans, many people describe locations as being up river or down river because the city is shaped in a crescent along the flow of The Mississippi River and so you can’t really say east, west, north and south. After all, in certain places in the city it appears that the sun is rising in the South. And, we all know that doesn’t happen.
Back to this picture. You’ll have to eat at The Clover Grill to understand it when I say, any and all sorts of people are likely to show up. it’s a gathering place for what makes New Orleans special. Here’s just one picture. Enjoy it. It’s a portrait that borders on photojournalism.
We’ve had a lot of rain during the past few days in Southeast Louisiana. Feeling a little stir crazy, we went to The French Quarter for a bite to eat. We stopped into the Clover Grill on lower Bourbon Street. It’s a little dive dinner. But, it’s my kind of dive. Besides, without fanfare and despite all these so-called gourmet hamburger places popping up, they make the best hamburger you’ll ever eat. And, you can get it with a couple of kinds of cheese, bacon, chile and a small defibrillator. The service is amazing. I’m not going to tell you why. Just go there and see for yourself. A great dinner deserves a great walk, so up Bourbon Street we went. The rain drifted back into play and boy did it rain. But, that never stops the Bourbon Street antics. People were dancing in the street, running in the rain and enjoying themselves as if there was no bad weather.
Me? I was just following a quote by former NGS’ staffer Sam Able which goes like this. “When the weather turns bad, the pictures get good. ” What could be better? Bright lights. Reflections in the wet street. Lot’s of people enjoying themselves. Bands playing noisy covers. No, it wasn’t as crowded as Mardi Gras. And, thank God for that. I could actually move around a bit and get soaked to the gills.
Here’s a few of the pictures now. Sort of a debut; since they are lot fresher — they were made last night — than a lot of images that I post around here.
This post should take about 100 years to produce. The categories and tags alone will take a long, long time to write.
Anyway. PAD. Picture a Day. A lot of photographers do this. Some don’t make it. It’s a really tough discipline to shoot SOMETHING everyday. Some guys claim that they only shoot when their muse calls to them. That’s easy. That’s fun. But, try shooting when you don’t want to. Try shooting when you almost forgot to do it. Try doing it when you aren’t feeling well, or as I did when I was recovering from surgery. As an aside, the early the images from that period were pretty bleak which as they should have been since they say that all art is autobiographical. At any rate, I’m a little OCD. I’ve been shooting this project for over three years. It seems that every time I reach an endpoint and tell myself that I’m done and not going to resume, I take a break and start again. Sometimes I start on one of my two birthdays. Sometimes I start on a new year… either calendar or lunar. But, I always go back to it.
Aside from the discipline of forcing myself to shoot, there are other benefits. It’s a daily look into my life as I saw it at the time. It gets me out the front door — well mostly; sometimes I see things around the house — and since a big part of making a picture is getting there, every little bit helps. It keeps the motor running — if you’ve ever picked up a camera after a shooting break
, you know that you are fumble fingers for a while and you might forget the mental checklist that you run through before you shoot. Most importantly, it teaches me a lot about myself.
All of that said, there are way too many pictures — 30 (I know, I know.. February only had 29 days, but I believe in lagniappe which is the giving of a little extra like a baker’s dozen) — to tell all of their backstories except to say that since I photographed Mardi Gras for almost three weeks, this month’s PAD is really heavy on carnival images. But, there are other images. There are images that you’ve seen in earlier posts. There are also surprises here and there. I hope that you enjoy them. As usual, I always enjoy making them.