It started during the pandemic and was enhanced by Delta-x and Hurricane Ida.
Memories. They’ve been floating around for days. It was bad enough when time was flexible. Now? Whew.
The anniversary of Warren Zevon’s passing arrived. You know. The guy who sang “Werewolves of London.”
He was so much more than that.
But, for me, his very last song is THE song. It’s called, “Think of me for a little while.”
The song without the video is hard enough to listen to without balling. With the video? There wasn’t a dry eye in this broken down house.
And, speaking of broken down, I am grateful for what little damage this house had. When I think of the upriver communities of Houma and Laplace who were destroyed beyond recognition, I am humbled by our luck.
We are on our way out of here, either for a few months or forever. I’ve been though two 100 storms in 16 years. That’s enough.
Where? A couple of places. I’ll let you know. Until then, enjoy every sandwich.
I thought that as I moved on that I would show you some of the images that approximate my memories.
Unfortunately, pictures can’t come close to what’s in my head. I think that’s the way it alway is. That’s as it should be.
In case you are wondering, I made these pictures all over the place. It’s all part of my life.
I have no idea what’s next and that feels freeing.
Hurricane Lucy will hit Lake Charles likely as a Category 4 storm. I haven’t been there for a long time. The city isn’t as little as I described it. Not anymore. They are bigger than we are. They are a city of 780,000 people. That makes them the largest city in the state without making a big deal about it. I’m hopeful and sad all at once.
We will likely get some storm surge which won’t bother us. And, some wind. The gusts are strong enough to make the spaniels look like they are flying as their ears fly up over their heads. They seem to like it.
The rest. We are good in practical terms. Because of the wind there is a chance that we might lose power. But, Entergy has reworked our lines so much that I feel pretty secure.
I’d like to say that we good emotionally. This storm passes through exactly three says until the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in Buras, Louisiana. Those of us who went through it get a little weird right now, showing a lot of PTSD symptoms. Me? I think I’m okay although my response time seems to have gotten quicker. And, I’m a little edgy.
I told you, summer is starting to look like autumn around certain trees. The temperatures certainly aren’t fall-like, especially today. The ambient humidity has dropped way down because we have so much wind.
I’d work today but there really isn’t much visually to tell the story of a hurricane. No rain. Leaden skies and wind. Unless the wind speed gets higher, wind is really hard to photograph. If I had any guts I’d drive down to Viloet which is almost at the mouth of the river. That’s where the river pilots take control of the big freighters heading upriver. That would be fun. And, really dangerous. The pilot houses look like broken down shacks on stilts. I’m sure the river would be well over the two lane road.
Stay safe. Stay mighty. Take care of each other. Enjoy every sandwich.
I thought that if the dog likes dawn, she also likes dusk. I was right. She did. But, she wasn’t quite as energized. After all, she had a busy day. Sleeping.
Somewhere in the past few days there has been an upgrade in Snapseed. Now you can drop text into the picture. Meaning, I can drop in copyright information. Easy.
Pictures made exclusively for Storyteller need never leave my i-Phone for any post production. And, as I mentioned to a blogging colleague, I did a test. I printed an image from my phone. 20 x 20. Inches. The image needed very little uprezing or pre-press preparation. I’m very quality oriented. Years managing big commercial presses will do that. I can’t see many differences between a big DSLR file and one made on my smart phone.
That is not to say that I’ll stop working in my normal way with DSLR bodies and Leica and Nikon film cameras. But, for walks and casual stuff…
This picture. I just saw the moon in the post storm sky. And, pushed the button.
The dog and I have come to an agreement. When she sees me stop and hold up the phone she stops. I don’t even have to say, “stay.”
All post production was done in Snapseed. Unless I print this image it exists only in zeros and ones.
… I lied. Not a big lie. Not a whopper. A little one. I wrote that Spring was over in New Orleans. I ought to get out more. Before I blew that pop stand, I did my semi-monthly swing through the Lower Ninth Ward. I’m determined to follow its progress photographically as it tries to come back from the devastation caused by the storm. That storm.
What did I see? What caught my eye?
All over the place. Some were coming to the end of their season. But, others were just blooming. Okay. Okay. I was wrong. Spring isn’t over in New Orleans. Or… maybe I saw summer flowers. There. Take that.
I’m sort of falling into the thing I did last year. Make a bunch of pictures and save them for distribution as I needed them. I had a good reason last year. I wasn’t in New Orleans all that much. I was busy elsewhere. But, this year is a lot quieter so I don’t have a good reason to stockpile images. Yet, I do. I have enough images in the can that if I don’t shoot another experimental picture for the rest of the year, I could still publish something new every day. I’m not quite sure how this happened since that implies I’m energetic and always working. The truth is… I’m not. I can be as lazy as the next guy. Whoever the next guy might be.
Anyway, it’s time to unleash some of these pictures on you.
This picture comes from the balloon festival that I photographed a few weeks ago in Gonzales, Louisiana. Gonzales? Huh? Okay a little history. Then, I’ll talk about the picture. It was a Spanish and French settlement in the midst of the Huoma Indian tribe. It grew to the whopping total of ten people by 1851. It was actually called Edenborn. But, by 1886, the settlement had grown big enough to elect a sheriff — “Big” Jose Gonzales. His son opened a general store and post office in 1887. The post office was called the Gonzales Post Office. A few years later the Railroad Commission changed the name of the town to match the post office. They had the power to do this since railroads helped build the settlement into a village, a town and finally into a city. The town was laid out and sub divided in 1906 and Joseph Gonzales was elected the town’s first mayor in 1922. Sense a trend with the family name here?
So, in 1968 the town created first Jambalaya Festival. A few years later, the governor declared Gonzales to be the “Jambalaya Capital of the World.” I didn’t know that. Gonzales first came onto my radar when the Louisiana Air National Guard made the fair grounds a drop off point, marshalling point and care center for pets that were rescued from the flood waters in New Orleans and other places in the days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. The fairgrounds. The very place where I made this picture.
See? Hurricane Katrina is one of those milestones that changed everything.
Back to the picture. Balloon festivals, or fiestas as they are called in New Mexico, are usually divided into a few phases. There is usually a morning mass ascension, some contests for accuracy, a long break during mid-day when nothing flies, then a few tethered tourist flights, another contest and then finally a balloon glow. The balloon glow is the most visually interesting to me. How can you beat a large group brightly colored balloons, a dusk lighting and… fire? The picture is hand-held at a fairly slow shutter speed.
There is a funny thing about The Stachmo Fest and everything associated with it. The city, the planners and just about everybody says that Louis Armstrong’s birthday was August 4, 1901. That is except for Satchmo, himself. He used to say that he was born on July 4. A researcher proved him to be wrong through baptismal records. I guess we’ll go with that. But…
Anyway, for those of you who don’t live in New Orleans or who aren’t a huge fan of jazz, we have an event called Satchmo SummerFest. It began in 2001 as a one day event and eventually grew to three days. Mostly, it’s held at The Old Mint in The French Quarter. I say mostly, because like all things New Orleans, it gets spread out a little bit. That said, people come from far and near to hear the music. I did once. Now, I really don’t. As I’ve grown a bit older and older and older, I’ve developed the very strong desire not to be in large crowds. But, that doesn’t stop me from photographing the second line parade, itself.
For me, this parade was the second one in a matter of days. That’s really a lot since second line parades aren’t often planned and usually don’t come in clusters. I wrote for Lindy Boggs’ second line parade that I couldn’t get into the groove. I was too hot, too out of sorts, too out-of-place, the bed was too hard, too soft and the porridge wasn’t just right. Whine, whine, whine. But, for the Satchmo second line I was in the groove… almost from the time that I left the house. Man, was I in the groove. There were pictures everywhere. I always say, “don’t take the picture, let the picture take you.” Well, they all took me.
These pictures? Well, well, well… these days, we talk about the number of picture we exposed in terms of data. We talk about gigs and mega pixels and stuff like that. Everybody does it. I do it too. But, that’ll fool you. The bigger the photo file, the more space you chew up. My cameras now make 24.7 gig files. That’s pretty big. Not the biggest. But, big enough. For me, digital files have finally gotten to the place where they are quality equivalent of Kodachrome. You know, the film that gives you “those nice bright colors…” So, I pretty much have stopped thinking in terms of digital data and have gone to converting the number of frames into rolls of film. Nobody that I know of does this, except me. But, it helps me to wrap my head around how many pictures I make on any given day. So, for the record. I exposed the equivalent of ten rolls of 36 exposure film in — get this. — 45 minutes. That’s just how many pictures took me.
The rest was easy. Hardly any post production except to brighten and sharpen things a bit.
Oh yeah. There are too many pictures to publish in one day. So, there will be a part two. Tomorrow.
I suppose that The French Quarter and Frenchman Street have become two of “my places.” I seem to be able to recharge when I wander around there. And, with good reason. Even during our so-called off-season, there are plenty of people wandering around. There is always good music. And, there is plenty of good food to eat. Oh yeah. There are coffee houses just about everywhere. If I time it right, wait for good light or even just normal just lighting, the pictures just sort of come to me. I don’t have to force them. They are just there.
This picture. I was just walking across the street and watching people share the cross walk. I shot at a low shutter speed and a pretty much wide open f-stop. The night took care of the rest. That’s it. Very little post production…. mostly just to clean up the edges.
Before I get really going on this post, I thought I share something with you. My friends at the Albuquerque Photographers Gallery http-::www.abqphotographersgallery.com: were talking about lavender skies in Albuquerque via a post on Facebook. I had to chuckle because they think New Mexico is the only place that has lavender skies. But, my picture sort of proves that theory sort of… well. I dunno. We have lavender skies here. In New Orleans. And, we have water. We have rain. They have neither of those things. They really need them. Especially this year. By the way, the link doesn’t take you to their comment. It takes you to their website. Have a look. Many, many good pictures there.
Anyway. This is another of the pictures I made while I was waiting for the never coming Super Moon on Sunday night. It’s really a good thing that I am an impatient sort. Heh. This picture gives you better sense of the length of the bridge. It also shows you the old power plant that is upriver of the bridge on the eastbank. That is where I made the picture of all the gears and pipes. It’s been abandoned for many years. It is rumored to have been a cannon ball factory during the Civil War. Supposedly, the factory made cannon balls for the Confederate forces and then after New Orleans was captured they made cannon balls for the Federal forces. They knew where their bread was buttered.
The picture. Itself. I did very little to it. Nature took care of it. Once again, Mother Nature proved that she doesn’t need my help. One day, maybe I’ll learn.
At one time, the place where I happened upon this Blessed Virgin statue, must have been something to see. To the left of this scene are big sweeping stairs that I imagine lead to a big impressive front door of whatever house was there at one time. Today… “ain’t der no mo'” I have no idea what was there. Or, what happened to it. But this place was so strikingly pretty that I had to make a few pictures. The interesting thing about this place is that it is located directly behind the building where I made the Edward Hopper-like picture. In fact, if you count the two abandoned pictures that I posted yesterday, I made four pictures in walking distance of each other. That’s a lot. For me or anybody. It usually doesn’t happen that way. But, now I’m running out of fresh work. That cold that I wrote about last week never really went away. In fact, it’s come back with a vengeance. Like it or not, I’m going to have to make some new pictures tomorrow, or, I’m going to have to root around in my files. You know how colorful that can be.