The rainy season.

W

et. That’s what late June and July are in Southeast Louisiana, wet. If we aren’t getting a lot of rain, the skies are gray and the air is very humid.

So far, we’ve been lucky. The temperatures haven’t risen above 90 degrees except on two days and that was the high. If we didn’t have the humidity, we’d have some pretty pleasant days.

I was coming out of The French Quarter, waiting for a stop light and saw the scene in front of me. I turned off my wipers to let the water build up, raised my camera to my eye and what should happen? A businessman walked in front of me holding an umbrella.

That’s photographer’s luck.

If I hadn’t been out and about this wouldn’t have happened in front of me. There would have been no luck involved. There would have been no picture.

As one photographer says, “If you want better pictures stand in front of better stuff.”

You can’t stand in front of better stuff while you are watching your 72 inch television.

I wasn’t exactly standing, but I put myself in a position to make a fairly good rainy day picture.

Stand in front of better stuff.

O

n the left side I told you my theory of making pictures. Go outside and put yourself in front of better stuff.

That’s my photo making theory.

What I really did was make a loop from the Garden District through a bit of Treme and into The French Quarter.

As I left the Quarter, I drove through the CBD and part of Central City, where I turned, crossed the streetcar tracks and went home.

That took me a couple of hours. I could have driven faster, but what’s the point? I wouldn’t see anything. You know, that better stuff.

I think I made a total of six pictures that I liked well enough. And, this picture that I like a lot.

Development and post production was easy, taking care to sharpen the raindrops.


Threes of light rain.

I’m only sleeping. So said John Lennon. He may have been speaking for me. I went to bed last night. I got up once at about 7am to make sure the dogs went out to do their thing. I did my morning stretches. Looked at the bed and decided to read the news.

It’s almost 3pm as I write. I awoke about 45 minutes ago.

I feel great.

As they say, I must have needed it.

As they also say, self care is important. I suppose sleeping the day away falls into the category. I’m glad that I wasn’t disturbed.

I think laughingly that I’ll be up all night. But, I don’t think so. The stress of these last nine months takes its toll even if you think you are okay.

How about y’all? Are you okay?

Green. I told you that I was going through a green phase. A spell of rebirth. I’ll start something new tomorrow.

You know what I do. I see something that interests me and I make a picture.

We’ve been having rain for the past three days so most things are wet. There are droplets everywhere. I happened to like the ones in the picture.

I’m trying to return to the basics a little. No over the top processing.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Listen to instructions. Enjoy every leftover.


After the storm.

A little rain fell. The water cleared and cooled the air. It also left little droplets on the leaves that weren’t calling it quits for autumn. I generally have problems with rain drops. I cannot keep them sharp. I got lucky. That, or I picked the proper focal length for this kind of work.

It’s a good picture with which to start the work week. It’s simple and clean. We need that for the next eight days.

Before we worry about that, another hurricane is making its way into the gulf. It’s a little too far out to really tell, but the cone and spaghetti models have it passing right through New Orleans by Wednesday. We’ve been lucky this hurricane season. Hopefully, we’ll keep it that way but when does our luck run out?

Even though the election is just eight days away, there is lots to worry about. Unless there is a landslide, the election will likely be contested. Even if a landslide happens, the next two and a half months will be the most dangerous in our country’s history.

Now do you see why starting out with something peaceful is a good idea?

The picture. This should be an easy image to make. See it, focus on it, push the button. Of course, it isn’t that simple for me. I’m lucky if I can keep the water drops in focus. Assuming I can do at least that, the rest is easy.

After the last few radioactive pictures, I’ve decided to move closer to center. They were getting a little crazy. They weren’t looking like a photograph nor were they looking like art. We’ll just see how long that lasts.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. VOTE.


The stuff of life.

More reflections.

I’m really not a nature photographer. For many years I took no notice of it. Along came really good smart phones with cameras that could produce fairly high quality images. Phones are ubiquitous. We carry them everywhere. Like on dog walks. I started seeing things that interested me, so I started making pictures. That made my dogs happy. They could poke around while I composed around.

That was a huge change for me.

Remember, I started life as a photojournalist. I made pictures of events, or people, or hard news. I didn’t have time to look closely at the world of nature. For sure I started to understand the qualities of light.

It wasn’t until I used color slide film almost exclusively that I really put a lot of what I knew into practice. Even then, 95% of my work still involved travel, location, people, places and things. But, not nature.

I think I confuse folks who find Storyteller because my work looks like that of a nature photographer, not a faux nature photographer. I know true nature photographers. They work very hard climbing to the top of a mountain, wading through swamps, walking across deserts. All in the name of photographs.

They typically follow one of the guiding principles of anybody who works on location. “Sometimes the hardest part of making a picture is getting there.” I think the late Professor Will Counts said that.

Me? I’m walking around the block. The hardest part of making these faux nature pictures is crossing the street and making sure the all seeing dog does walk into mild traffic.

That’s okay. It served me very well when I was in too much pain to do much more. My pain taught me to see. To really see. Little things, Subtle changes in nature as the seasons changed, not that they change much in Southeastern Louisiana.

Now, most of the pain is gone. You’ve read that story. While it’s true that I still have osteoarthritis issues, they don’t bother me much. Mild pain meds helps to control that. The pain that was limiting turned out to be bursitis in my hip. It took two years and three doctors to figure that out. Don’t ask me about my feelings. They vary from relieved to aggravated.

If I think about it very much, my former pain helped me to see all the things that I wouldn’t have seen. I’m grateful about that.

The Picture

I made it on an early morning dog walk. I’ve been getting up way too early. I try not to wake the house. But, she hears. She knows. She’s ready for a walk. It’s not a problem because we beat the heat of the day. Kind of. It’s always hot this time of year. Let’s just say it’s a little cooler.

That’s also when the nights rain might still be drying. If it’s a really humid day, the moisture is pooling.

That’s really how I made this photograph. See it, push the button. Make every sure that image is tack sharp because it needs to be in order to work.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every morning.


The gift of life.

Life.

In its purest form. Water droplets on a green leaf. A symbol. An icon. A touchstone. Water and wonderful deep green.

Technically, it’s spring for another five days. It feels like summer in Southeastern Louisiana. The green of this leaf tells us that. It is not light, nor is it shading towards lime green. It’s rich and dark. A summer leaf.

Interesting time.

Five days brings us to the summer solstice. The longest day of the year. People celebrate. Summer begins in nature, not on the calendar. The planet turns. Days grow shorter. Fall arrives. Winter next. Spring again.

The life cycle.

Stay safe. Enjoy every donut.


Droplets.

First, the rains came. Thunder too. The mixing of two weather systems.

When we ventured outside, man, it was cold. And, windy. The dog who sees things wanted no part if it. She knows a few words. One of them is walk. She hears that and waits by the leashes. Another is home. She hears that and heads straight for home. This morning we went out. She did her business, as they say. She stepped away from that, I asked, “walk?” She stood there. So, I asked, “home?” She headed right back through the gates.

Just as well.

I knew the weather would turn cold. Well, coldish. I didn’t think I would feel that cold. I rarely do. I did. If we had continued on I would have been freezing by the end of the walk.

It’s always something.

A few days ago I was complaining about the unseasonable heat. Now, I’m complaining about the cold. No, not really. I was just surprised this morning.

The picture. We’ve had rain for parts of three days. We also live in a semi-tropical swamp. That means that while many of you are living with dead things, our plants don’t go dormant. In fact, some continue to grow if the weather never drops below freezing for more than a few days.

I know. I know. Green in the autumn. It’s maddening to some of you.

I just saw the picture while we were walking. I thought, “ah ha, that’ll get them.” So I pressed the button.


Water and flowers.

We had a storm last night.

It wasn’t the usual kind. This thing was a fairly big tropical storm. I heard the the winds at about 3am. I got up to close the storm shutters. As I looked out the windows, I was amazed to see the gale force winds. Things were blowing around. Tree branches snapped. Our very heavy pool furniture blew around and into the pool. One of the umbrellas was open when it sank to the bottom. That’s going to be fun to rescue.

Oddly, all of our local meteorologists mostly said this storm would barely pass us by. The one that I trust the most, said it would stay out in the gulf and make landfall in Alabama.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I’m pretty sure that they downplayed this storm because they well oversold the last two storms. One was a severe tropical storm. The other was a hurricane. Both fell apart before they came close.

But, this one was cooking all day long. We had rain for about 28 hours. We had six inches fall during that time and then the winds arrived.

Right now, we are looking at overcast skies with the sun peaking through from time to time. The sidewalks are dry and the ground is starting to dry out. But, the broken tree limbs and tossed outdoor furniture will take some work. Normally, when the weather folks go crazy, we close the umbrellas and maybe move all the furniture undercover. They didn’t so we didn’t.

When the dogs and I went for a walk, we looked around our neighborhood. There were some pretty big trees pulled out by their roots. There were a couple of broken windows. But, luckily no cars or homes were damaged seriously. It just looks like a low level bomb went off.

The picture. That’s a car hood with water droplets and a bunch of windblown stuff on it. I saw it, I photographed. F8 and be there, or something like that.


At the heart of it.

This is the heart of us. Green. Water. Renewal.

I published something like this a couple of weeks ago. I like this version better. There is more water. More droplets. And, much better framing.

You already know what I think. So I’ll leave it here.

The picture is fairly simple. See it. Take your time. Frame it. Expose it. Develop it. That’s it. You are done.

 


Remains of a storm.

It rains around here. In the summer.

Water accumulates everywhere. If you are out walking soon after the rain stops you can find all the secret places. Except. They aren’t that secret. It’s just that most people don’t see them.

I do.

I photograph them.

I was talking with a friend of mine who was trying to illustrate passages in a book that really resonated with her. She told me that she and her husband drove about 100 miles looking for a “perfect” place which would yield a “perfect” picture. I told her not to work so hard. Pictures reveal themselves when they are ready. Not when you want them to.

The next day she walked 100 feet. There it was. The picture. Was it perfect? I don’t know what she thought. We haven’t talked yet. But, I liked it. Besides, perfection is for angels.

The picture. It’s a pretty nice color picture. When I started experimenting, I tried a black and white version. It called out to me. It was like “a ringin’ a bell.” It revealed itself to me. Not so much when I was actually pushing the button. But, later. When I was tinkering.

Tinker away. All of you.