Deep and dark.

N

ot every street in The French Quarter is brightly lighted with shops, stores, clubs and bars beckoning to passersby.

A large part of the Quarter is residential or old work spaces converted into some kind of loft or apartments.

Unless you are very lucky you usually can’t park your car near your destination so you find parking space and walk. Or, you can take the streetcar from our neighborhood, ride it to Canal Street and walk.

One way or another you are going to pass through darkened neighborhoods so you might as well do something productive as you look over your shoulder or scan the shadows.

That’s what I did.

I made this picture on the way to someplace else. I pressed the button and keep going. A friend of mine calls this, “Shoot and scoot.” I’d prefer not to use the word, “Shoot,” during these very violent days.

One statistic that concerns me is that over a two year period dating back to 2019 is we are up by 54% just in shootings. That’s a huge number.

Anyway.

This picture is on the very edge of impossible. I’ll tell you more about on the other side.

Even though it’s hidden in shadows, I could see the there are a number of repairs using different techniques from different eras. That suggests that this building was never abandoned.

It may even be an original French built structure, which makes it very old since most of The French Quarter is Spanish, who rebuilt the Quarter after a massive fire.

That’s the story so far.

W

hen I wrote that this picture is on the edge of impossible, I meant it.

The original exposure was underexposed as you might guess.

Strangely, the image is very sharp and in focus.

Luckily, I was able to open up the image even beyond this point. I had to be careful because if I opened up the shadows the night sky became striated and noisy.

I could have made a faux HDR and tried to create what looks like different exposures and blended them together, but I thought this picture was on that edge.

Impossible.

So, I worked very carefully and came to this place.

If you noticed, I’ve been working more and more to the dark side of subjects.

That doesn’t mean anything about me on a personal level. I’m not feeling dark. I’m just intrigued with this color and light palette.


Deep Green.

Another trip into the green.

This time it’s ferns. The really deep green feathery kind. The ones that if you didn’t know better you’d jump into because they look so soft. They aren’t. Don’t do it.

This is going to be a little short because Queen Kim’s second line jazz funeral is being held today. I’m wearing a mask. I’ll be very careful, but I can’t keep myself on the sidelines for much longer, This is important to me.

This is supposed tp be a small second line. Uh huh. The city is mourning Kim. I wouldn’t be surprised if the mayor didn’t try to sneak in wearing a mask.

Meanwhile

The weather. Sheesh. Was I ever wrong.

Both storms will arrive as Category 1 hurricanes. All of Louisiana is under one or the other cone of variance, with them overlapping right over New Orleans. If NOAA is correct we’ll have wind and rain from the outer bands of one or both storms by late Sunday night. If the storms connect, we are in trouble.

Or, not.

Things could change. I tell this story. I was student teaching a university class. It was Tuesday night. As I was wrapping up the class I said that there is a big hurricane in the gulf headed towards Atlanta. And, I’ll see you next Tuesday.

I never saw that class again.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Look after each other. Enjoy every MRI (meals ready to eat).


Into the red.

Red.

The color of fire and blood, of intensity, passion, desire and love.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe so many people are worn out by the five months we’ve been through that there’s no passion. No intensity. Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe it’s time to put on our pants and get to work. That’s what the late New Orleans chef Leah Chase said after Hurricane Katrina, when people asked her how to rebuild.

In the same sense, we are rebuilding now. Unfortunately we are — as I’ve written earlier — trying to rebuild the house, while it’s still on fire. That may seem fruitless, but what choice do we have? We need the metaphorical house. We need to live. We need to work. We need to just be.

Right now everything is colored by the virus. We need to put it in its place and start to make the changes necessary to adapt to the future. I’m not sure what they are, and they will be different for everybody, but they will be.

That sounds like I’m feeling good. No. But, better. Making photographs will do that for me. So will listening to music. The house has been returned to all speakers pumping out the same music. It is a little disconcerting to walk from room to room and from song to song.

The Picture

It’s a rose. A red rose.

I played with it a lot. I liked it dark. So I went there. After all, you want it darker. Leonard Cohen sang that. It fits the time. But, I want it lighter. We’ve lived in darkness for five months. I suspect that this will be my last dark picture for a while. I had to get it out of my system.

Pictures. They’ve been my life for 48 years. I’ve made a good living from them. I’ve been very lucky. So many have tried and failed.

But.

Things have changed. Many pictures aren’t worth what they were once. Distribution systems are different. Art buyers are different. They don’t expect to pay much. Mostly, pictures aren’t used on paper. They are used on a screen, where there is millions of usages.

The timing might be right.

I’ve long thought that as I got older I didn’t want to hustle as much. I didn’t want to maintain the strictest quality standards that mattered to agencies once upon a time. That’s harder than you think. Most of their quality concerns were based on “what if.”

Even though I need to be outside, I don’t mind spending my time behind a computer making and distributing pictures to all sorts of new methods of getting them to market. The gross sales will be for less, but if the picture works it works. The net could be more because… well, read the next paragraph.

I liken this to music. There is absolutely no reason to need a middle man. Nor, is there a reason to record an entire album at once except as an artistic construct. Mostly, you have to remind people that you are out there. You do that via my least favorite tool. Social media. I know, most of the platforms are data sucks. They want my data. Your data. And, anyone in between. But, that’s what we have. For now. It’s just technology, ever changing, ever moving.

That’s where I’m at. I feel like I’ve passed through something that isn’t done with me yet. At least my head feels like it’s above water. And, that’s a start,

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every piece of art.


Into the mystic.

Deep. Dark. Mysterious.

That’s what I saw. That’s what I felt.  Luckily, I was able to make a picture that has feeling rather than just the usual documentation of a thing or place. Let me tell you, that doesn’t happen very often.

It was kind of a fluke. Kind of photographer’s luck. Kind of what I tell me people who are suffering from a photography disorder.

It was a fluke because the dog and I normally don’t walk in this direction. It was photographer’s luck because we picked the time of day. It was the solution to the question I had been asking myself earlier in the day.

Together, all of this worked in my favor. Or, really, your favor.

The picture. From a technical standpoint, it was be there, see it, push the button. In post production it was more of the same. Most of the work was about darkening and enhancing the color to the point that I saw it while we were walking.


Gothic New Orleans
This church is located in the Freret Street area, but much further uptown than restaurant row is located. 

I was driving on Freret Street heading for coffee and food when I saw this church out of the corner of my eye. I quickly made a left, then another left and finally another left. Yes. New Orleans is a city of one way streets. But, that’s okay. At least I could see what I was trying photograph since the church tower — not steeple — stands much higher than the houses around it. Of course, since it’s kind of winter the trees are still bare. That helped the picture. Greatly. I wandered around making pictures. But, the best picture was the first few that I made. Sometimes that’s how it works. That’s a kind of photographer’s luck.

The picture. Itself. The exposure is fairly simple. the composition is another of my twisted things. Most of the magic that gives the picture the feel that I wanted happened in post production. Gothic. Once again, OnOne to the rescue. While the picture was strong enough on its own, the added touches gave it the feel and look that I was looking for. I’ve been using OnOne to polish my work for a while now. It’s made a real world of difference. I can probably do about the same work in Photoshop, but it would be very, very time-consuming. OnOne just makes my work faster and more efficient.