Southern fall colors.

Well, finally.

Must I write more about “finally?”

They (the legendary and mythical they) say that if you have snow or rain followed by a cold snap you’ll likely see bright fall colors. That’s what happened. Apparently, they are right because I don’t recall ever seeing bright colors like these in Louisiana. Maybe I just wasn’t looking. Nah. Even somebody not paying attention would see these colors.

I made this picture while walking the all seeing dog. Dogs see in something like monochrome, so this didn’t catch her attention. That means that I made the picture using my smart phone which is all I carry on dog walks. To my eye it shows. I suppose I’m going to have retrace my steps and make another set of pictures using a real camera.

I hate to say this, but because of the very ephemeral nature of fall colors, I may have to make a trade. There is a Dr. John birthday second line tonight. Normally, this would be a no brainer. Photograph the event, come back for pictures like this the next day. But, these leaves are at just about peak color. Come back tomorrow and they could be brown. Or, they could be laying on the ground.

I could try to do both. We’ll see. Sometimes rushing from one location to another means that neither scene is done well. Besides, if I miss the start of the second line, I’m about done because I have’t seen a route map. Likely, there isn’t one.

Choices, choices, choices.

Oh. The humanity.

 


Clean these drains out or your house will get flooded.

I’m not kidding.

If you don’t keep the drains cleaned near your house, your street will flood. If your street floods, your house will flood. And, so will your car.

You won’t be happy. Neither will your insurance agent. And, your insurance company will probably drop you for making a claim, leaving you to ask “what’s insurance for if I can’t use it?”

That’s a story that never ends.

Here’s my last insurance company story.

About nine years ago my car was parked in a shopping center lot.  I was still inside. The ignition was turned off. I was unstrapping my seat harness when some guy backed into my car. We did all the right stuff. We exchanged licenses and insurance information. His car was fine. Mine was dented. I filed a claim with my insurance company who collected from his insurance company. Everybody agreed that it was the other guy’s fault. Including him. He tried to get out of it, but his wife gave him “the look.”

What do you think happened?

If you guess that my insurance company raised my rates because of a no fault accident, you would be right. WTH?

I want a business like insurance companies have. If you drive a car, most or all states, require you carry insurance. You are smart if you carry far more than the minimum. You pay monthly, or as frequently as you can over a years time to keep the rate down. You pay for years. In my case, I hadn’t been involved in anything for at least a decade. Until that little fender bender.

Okay.

Let’s keep the numbers simple. Let’s say I pay $100 per month. Over a years time that is $1,200. Over ten years time that is $12,000. I have a minor fender bender that cost the insurance company maybe $1,500. I’d say that their ROI was pretty good.

The insurance company will either raise my rate or drop me.

The insurance company’s gross return is at least $10,500 over ten years time. I’m sure their are some administrative costs incurred by them. Those are offset by investment packages that my money finances. At worst, it’s a push. At best, they are making money on administrative costs.

I want that kind of return on my investments. On my business.

No. I didn’t get in an accident. I was looking at the last quarter of the year. Grumble, grumble, grumble.


A Fall leaf... sorta.
An Autumn leaf… sorta.

I finally found one.

An Autumn leaf. Well, sorta. It mostly looks dead. I found it in the rail yard where I made the streamliner picture. It must have traveled a far piece since there isn’t a tree in sight anywhere near the location. There have been some windy days, so I guess that’s what blew it to this sort of desolate place. I’m happy for it. Since is this is about the best I could do this year. It’s not much. I know.

The picture. I saw it. I almost stepped on it. I bent down closer because I was using a wide angle lens. I pressed the button.


New Orleans Fall Colors
New Orleans Fall Colors

Yes. New Orleans fall colors. Look at that rust. Look at all that green growth. Obviously, the colors are changing. I write this very tongue in cheek.

This is another of the pictures I saw on the way to the second line that I didn’t photograph. It has everything. Rust. Trees. Ivy. Green Colors. Chicken Wire. Diamonds.

Well.

Not everything.

No golden light. No blue light. No sunset. No people. Nothing falling down. No trumpets. No tubas. There is probably a lot more that’s missing, but how long do you really want this list to be? How long do I really want this list to be?

Seriously. We do eventually get some fall colors down here. Give us a minute. Or, a month. If you’ve been around Storyteller for a while you’ve seen our fall colors. They look like every place else’s fall colors. Except, we see them around late November. And, sometimes there is some green mixed in with the red, oranges, golds and yellows.

There are a few questions that I can’t answer about this picture. Like, why is there chicken wire covering the outside of some kind of corrugated metal? Or, why are there diamond shapes attached to the chicken wire? There are probably more questions. I just haven’t thought of them.

The picture. See it. Shoot it. Brighten it up some in post production. That’s it. Oh yeah. If you are crossing the street to make the picture, try not to get hit by a car. Especially, when the driver is texting and is paying no attention to anything on the street.


Winter in the Sub-Tropics
Winter in the Sub-Tropics

Yes. I do like the sub-tropics. I have friends who live in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, California. When I check them on various social media, they are posting snow pictures. Better them than me. The first snowfall is always pretty. Quiet. Pristine. A different kind of beauty. A little exciting.

I know better. After a while snow becomes just something to be dealt with. Either it gets frozen and you run the risk of falling on your butt and breaking something. Or, it gets slushy and sticky. As it melts you get the mud. Sticky, slippery mud. Oh goody. And, in some places it gets worse. When I was a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, we were very snarkily proud of our black snow. You can just figure out how that happened.

Me? I like our weather most of the time. Of course, the summers are pretty rough. We are air-conditioned. Everybody is. Makes me wonder how the folks who lived in New Orleans did it in the old days. Yes, yes. High ceilings. Fans. Raised buildings. But, ever see picture of people in New Orleans from the post Civil War period through the 1940s? Men wore full suits. With ties. Suites made out of wool. Later, they wore cotton and linen and seersucker. But, still.

And yet.

I made this picture on December 31. New Year Eve day. It was coldish. Mid-to-high 50s. Bright light. The leaves were still turning. The skies were bright. No snow. No slush. Streets clear.

A couple of bits of housekeeping.

Always keep in mind that I’m not a writer. I’m lucky that I can write in the English language. Or, any language. I make typos. Sometimes I forget the proper usage of a word. Sometimes I don’t even know the proper usage. Spell check doesn’t catch that. Often, I just look at a word or sentence give it the snake eye and think, “That doesn’t look right.”

On some other social media somebody mentioned my vibrant and colorful pictures. Thank you. I’ve made my career on that. But, here’s a little clue for you all, the walrus was Paul. What? Wait….That’s Beatle song. Here’s the clue. Wait for the light. Shoot exactly the way “they” tell you not to. This picture is heavily backlighted. Yes. I shot directly into the sun and let it light up the leaves. And, from that comes the brightness and bright color. Here’s another clue. Stop following the technology. Histograms are great. Use it when you are having a problem. But, use your heart, mind and soul to take the picture. Follow your instincts.

That is it.


More from our late fall.
More from our late fall.

I think I went a little too far with this one. Oh well. I made this picture about the same time that I made this week’s earlier nature picture. Obviously, I was more interested in Club Desire than I was in fall colors. But, I generally photograph what I see even if I am intent on one specific subject. First, I saw the light falling directly one the leaves and trees. I photographed that. Then I walked under the tree and saw this. I want to show a hint of the neighborhood, so I left the junk in the picture that you usually consider cropping or cloning out. You know. Power lines. Bits of buildings. Stuff like that. That was either my intent. Or, just like last time, I’m lazy.


Fall in The French Quarter
Fall in The French Quarter
Rain, Rain, Rain
Rain, Rain, Rain

the weather, wait an hour.

They said it in New Mexico while I was living there. They say it here. These two pictures are a great example of waiting for the weather to change.The top picture was made on Royal Street in The French Quarter. The bottom picture was made in Treme as I was driving to The French Quarter to take the first picture, among others. I took the bottom picture on a street that is my “secret” cut though to The Quarter. Secret being relative. Probably only 397,984 people know about it. That’s more than the total population of Orleans Parish.

So.

The pictures.

The top picture was made on Royal Street which is perhaps, my favorite street in The Quarter. It proves that we have fall colors down here. They come late and the colors aren’t as brilliant as they are, say, in the Blue Ridge Mountains or Vermont. But, they do come. The red building in the background is a school. People who come for a visit sometimes forget that The Quarter is a real, live, breathing neighborhood. It isn’t just an adult Disneyland. Not everybody cares about beads.

The bottom picture was made though the windshield of my car. For those of you who are new to Storyteller, don’t worry. I do this a lot. I set the camera on auto everything, put it on the top of the dashboard and push the button. I point and shoot. I let the camera do its thing including focus, or not, on whatever it wants to. My eyes never leave the street in front of me. I am prepared to let the camera drop to the floor if need be. Anyway, if you set the ISO low enough, the camera will slow the shutter speed down to make these blurry, painterly like things.


Even in Central City there is evidence of fall weather.
Even in Central City there is evidence of fall weather.

It’s a little different in the cement filled neighborhoods in which I often work. Even though it’s the more seedy side of life upon which I tend to focus in these particular neighborhoods, there are little bits of color here and there… especially in the fall, which arrives a lot later in the year down here in Southeast Louisiana. That’s wonderful. I live in a place where “everything grows,” as my old Creole neighbor told me when I asked what vegetables to plant. And, we have two growing seasons. One in spring, like normal. And, one in October when the temperatures drop a little.

Anyway. These leaves were likely green a week or two ago. Now, they are turning colors. A little. We’d have better fall color if we had colder weather earlier in the year. But, we don’t. We couldn’t have two growing seasons if we had cold weather.

I made this picture in Hollygrove or Leonidas, or wherever I really was at the time. I get confused at some of our neighborhood boundaries. It’s not all on me. New Orleans’ neighborhood boundaries are pretty organic and some names change with the passing of generations.

So. For those of you who are new to Storyteller as of last night, welcome. Thank you, Lesley Carter. Don’t worry if these pictures aren’t quite your cup of tea. My more long-term readers know that I’m in the middle of a very long form project about the rebirth of certain New Orleans neighborhoods following the storm. That’s what local folk call Hurricane Katrina. The neighborhood is mostly Central City, which is one of the poorest areas in New Orleans. It is one neighborhood that you did not see on CNN as you watched an American city flood and be turned into something you never thought could happen in The United States. The good news is that we are coming back. Maybe better than ever. But, there is still a lot to do.

I will eventually get back to my more normal bright and energetic color. If you’d like to see more of my more “usual” work please poke around in my archives. Hopefully, you’ll see pictures that you like.