The dark end of the street.

T

he age of experimentation continues. I found out yesterday that I had no idea how to change the color of the tag cloud or the calendar. I’m sure instructions are buried deep in the 900 pages of “how to” notes. Until I find it, you won’t be seeing those blocks again.

Today, I’m experimenting with making the blog page look more like a website page. The biggest issue is with the drop caps. If you notice there is a space between the first letter and the rest of the sentence. I don’t believe that I can correct it because that would eliminate the drop cap.

It’s something that I can live with.

The picture. Ah, the picture.

The photograph is of The French Quarter during the blue hour. It’s a residential street, rather than someplace like noisy Bourbon Street.

This angular shaped buildings are called dependencies. They served as a place where the servants lived and worked. I’d add slaves to that, but the Quarter in pure-Civil War days was mostly populated by Free People of Color. And, various other people. Like Italians and other Europeans, the French for example.

L

et’s start with why I am discussing page experiments.

We all complain about the block system. Unless we want to revert to the so-called classic system, which is one of the earliest versions, we have to keep moving to the future.

I reckon that I can be your canary in the coal mine.

One thing to note right off, is not to trust WordPress AI when it comes to spelling. You should see the things it comes up with.

For instance, coal mine is calming according to them.

For a while it fooled me. I’m a notoriously bad typist, but these errors weren’t even near my key stroke pattern.

Now I know and you do too.

Ain’t Done Yet


T his was once good business. Along came Hurricane Katrina who changed everything with her floodwaters the poured through broken federal levees. A lot of businesses were destroyed or closed. Smith Tire seemed to linger. Whenever I passed by, it seemed to be closed. Or, was it ever open? I have no idea. I’ve heard, […]

Down On The Corner


A s you know by now I change my mind a lot. Whaddya want from me? Heh. I’m an artist. Or, so I think. I will still do my experimental layering, but those images come together when they are ready. I tried to do a couple yesterday. They were forced and it showed. I also […]

Have You Seen Me Lately?


T his picture was made of a little of this and a little of that. I mean it. There are three pictures in there lurking somewhere. None of them were made at the same time. One was made in New Mexico. One was made in New Orleans. And, one was made in Shrewsbury. The last […]


At night in the French Quarter.

I

‘ve made a change. You’ll figure it out. It comes under the heading of who was I really hurting?

In these pandemic days when many people aren’t able to travel, it’s possible to get a European fix right here in New Orleans. After all, we are a French, Spanish and American place. Much of the Quarter was rebuilt after a massive fire and is really Spanish-influenced even though we call it the French Quarter,

But, this place. It looks and feels like it belongs in Paris. It was an old run down apartment building. If you’ve walked on Royal Street, you’ve probably seen it. It is catty corner from Rouses, the only real grocery store in the Quarter.

if you noticed I used the word, “was.”

No worries. It was run down. Now it’s restored. It still exists. Thankfully.

It’s very hard to demo any building in the Quarter. They are all historical. When a building comes down it usually fell down on its own accord. Sometimes, it’s not really on its own. Sometimes, the owner didn’t take very good care of it and it rotted from the inside out.

Anyway, I’ve always liked this building. If there is any kind of pretty light, I usually head over there to make a few pictures, meaning that I’ve got a pretty good archive of this building. Besides, if it’s a hot and humid day, the grocery store is a great place to buy water at normal prices.

And, speaking of normal, nothing is normal in New Orleans as much as we try to pretend it is. We lead the nation in new CoVid-19 infections. Florida is a close second. The rate of infection upriver and in Baton Rouge is so bad that Our lady of The Lake — a major hospital — has no beds for anybody. All of their vents are in use. They were forced to hire traveling nurses to augment their staff.

The entire state is under a governor’s mandate to wear masks inside and outside, if it’s necessary. Many clubs want a proof of vaccination or tests results no older than 72 hours and you still have to wear a mask.

It’s bad and getting worse.

If you are a tourist and you love our city please don’t come.

L

et’s talk about this photograph.

The first thing you should know is that I cropped it out of a horizontal picture because I wanted more detail than a horizontal picture could show on this page.

I followed the crop with what I consider to be normal improvements. I darkened it a little, added some color to it, and sharpened it.

Then…

I went a little crazy. I added glow and softness. I made the picture moody, maybe even spooky.

Finally, I had to repair what normally is a radius issue, meaning that little rim of light you see around subjects, sometimes. This time it was thick and only in one place. It looked like somebody tried to erase the sky. Normally, it is repaired by lowering the radius or “structure.”

Not this time.

I had to fiddle and tinker and fiddle some more. Finally, I found a solution hiding in a vibrance feature. Make the top more colorful and the problem vanished.

I don’t know why.


One night, lonely.

S

ometimes the pictures are better along the way rather than at the event I was going to.

I was going to photograph Krewe du Vieux which is one of the earliest parades of Carnival. The parade was as I expected, too crowded and nowhere to do work arounds. Oh yeah, with the exception of a few pools of light, everything was in shadows.

I made some okay pictures at the parade, but this was the best picture of the night. It’s prime French Quarter. It’s got a food store that mostly sells alcohol, a bike and a guy in a hoody waiting to do God knows what.

I think this was the beginning of Mardi Gras 2020, which means two months before we were blamed for holding a massive super spreader event before anybody knew what CoVid 19 could do.

It was so weird back then. In many ways, I’m glad I stayed out of the crowds as best I could. Which brings me to…

We’ve been watching a Netflix produced three season show called “Formula 1-1, Drive to Survive.” It’s a deep story about the story of Grand Prix drivers and the teams behind them. It’s very, very good.

We are into the third season. 2020. It took us right back to the confusion of the early days of the pandemic.

The first event starts in Australia, where the drivers and teams have just started hear about this new virus. They had no idea what to do.

Quick backstory. The drivers are great athletes. The train in all sorts of ways to handle the stress of driving a car at 200 mph without dying. They are smart as hell. And, they are personable.

Back to the story. One driver finds out that the virus is called Corona Virus. He walks over to a hospitality tent, pulls out a bunch of beers, hands them all around and he kiddingly says, “This will take care of it.” Corona Beer.

Anyway.

The first five events are cancelled. Everybody goes home. The first Grand Prix is held in Austria. Everything has changed. The teams are wearing masks. The drivers, who normally sign autographs with whatever pen they are given, tell their fans they can’t use other people’s pens.

Keep in mind, this is real life. There are no actors.

One more story.

In 2019, there is a heartbreaking accident. It starts out with Lewis Hamilton (at the time he was four time world champion and the face of Formula 1 Motorsports. He’s now six time champion and still the face of the sport.) He’s casually talking to some media and looking up at a monitor. He says, “Oh wow,” and stops the interview. His eyes were wide open.

There was a horrible accident. When Netflix didn’t show it, I knew. There was a fatality. A young driver racing in the Formula 2 category was killed.

The next scenes are heart rending. Drivers, like anyone who does something dangerous, are brothers. It doesn’t matter if they are normally competitors. They gathered on the track, in circle. They prayed. They shared stories about the driver. His helmet was on a stand. One by one they put their hands on it as they left to go to their cars.

Then, they drove as hard as they could.

Y’

all know what I’m going to say about this picture. There’s nothing to it. Except that I can hand hold a camera in available darkness.

You probably can’t.

One day I won’t be able to hand hold a camera at night. That might be now since I haven’t tried in a long time.

We’ll have to test that out one night.

But, not tonight.

I have other work to do since I slept on and off until 2:39 pm.

That’s what watching Netflix will do.

It was some start to my very busy schedule. I’ll start tonight and work tomorrow and catch up.

I think.

Let’s get back to the picture for a minute.

One of the reasons I learned to hand hold a camera is because of a theory called, “Shoot and scoot.”

That means if I keep moving there is a lesser chance of being mugged or killed for my photo gear and my wallet.

Think about it. Using a tripod forces me to stay in one place, maybe for too long. On the other hand, it could be used as a weapon if the timing was right.

I’d rather not need to do that.

So, I make a few pictures and move on. I tuck my camera under my shoulder so that in low light it’s not easily seen.

It’s worked for a long time.

Then, there’s the swagger theory.

It works this way. Working photographers sometimes develop a pretty good way of walking, like a swagger, but not. It works best, when you’ve got about a third of cigar in your mouth and are surrounded by smoke.

Nobody messes with that.


The scary Quarter.

Spooky. Scary. That’s the season. The season of the witch. It’s really scary around swampville today. Sometime early in the morning my phone went crazy with a 36 hour hurricane warning. You have no idea how it feels when you get any kind of notification like that. Your heart pounds. You are wide awake. Your brain is moving too fast. And, then they say that we may have to evacuate.

Hahahaha.

Evacuate to where? In the season of the other witch — CoVid-19 — where do we go? Anyway, this storm has moved slightly to the east, but we will get hit pretty hard. We have no idea about is strength. Yet. It has to pass over the gulf, which is still very hot with summer’s heat. That charges it.

I already know the answer to my next question. And, I don’t like it.

I have a 505 area code. New Orleans has a 504 area code. My code is from our sojourn to the high desert in New Mexico after Hurricane Katrina did its thing. How did I receive an alert that is relevant to the 504 area code?

That’s easy. The least invasive is Google. I use Google Maps and their direction service. Google knows where I am. So does Apple and Samsung. I don’t like it, but that’s on me. Telling them where I’m located makes life easier.

The alert didn’t come from any of them. It came from the feds, through NOAA. They track my movements too. I read a piece in the New York Times, by Kara Swisher, who has been doing heavy digital studies for twenty years. She said that the government knows where we are every moment of every day. Mostly, they just collect the data. Sometimes they use what they’ve collected. This was one of those times. At least it’s for good.

But, what if it’s not? People were fighting against leaving their contact information at restaurants in case someone got sick and they needed to do some contact tracing. Who cares, we already are known to the people that matter.

Ms. Swisher said the only way to beat what amounts to a huge invasion of privacy is to buy a “burner” phone and only use it to make calls. You should also use an alias. After a few calls, dump it and start again. If you buy a smartphone and use it to check your email, or go to social sites you are immediately known.

Some life, eh?

Halloween and the picture. I haven’t been photographing a lot of holiday stuff lately so this is a retread. But, I’ve always really liked this picture. I made it the Quarter. Originally, it was in glorious color. But, when I experimented with it, I found that I liked this version a whole lot better.

Normally, I would photograph the Krewe of Boo. That’s cancelled this year for obvious reasons. Assuming we don’t take to big of a hit from the storm, I may wander around the Quarter looking for new and even more scary pictures on Halloween. We’ll see.

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


Graphic Bucket List Picture

Changing attitudes, changing altitudes.

Sometimes I get bored with my own work. The trick is to keep making pictures. Eventually, the pictures evolve into something different. I get lucky sometimes and options appear while I’m in the field working.

That’s the case with this picture.

A brass band was playing in Woldenberg Park, which is a location in The French Quarter that is a few yards from the river. They were playing just beyond a bridge.

I started trying to make a graphic image. It didn’t work for most of the musicians. The overhead shape, just wasn’t there. It worked for the guy playing the tuba, which is really a sousaphone.

In the streets it’s a tuba. Call it a sousaphone and you’ll get a lot of blank stares, even from the guy playing it.

In many ways I made the picture of my dreams. I wish I could do that at neighborhood second lines. They don’t come close enough to buildings. There are a couple of second lines that cross a bridge. They are walking over it, not underneath it.

If we ever get back to the streets, I’ll get back out there. I’ll shoot a lot less while looking for angles from which to make unique pictures. I hope.

Stay safe. Enjoy every po’ boy.


One of the oldest Creole shop houses is collapsing, but the pizza place on the ground floor marches on.

Blue Hour.

A little mysterious. A little funky. Sometimes deep and dark.

It’s a great time to make pictures, especially as late blue hour turns into night. If you like working on that edge take care. Street level details will fade into the shadows. That’s what you are seeing in this photograph. I opened the deep shadows in post production. I like this version better.

I like deeper, richer photographs as opposed to the lighter, less contrasty pictures that are currently in vogue. I think that they have more power and possibility. They hold the eye a little longer, as the brain tries to see what is in the shadows. Be sure to hold a little detail in those dark areas. The brain needs a reward.

The subject of the photograph is an old Creole shop house that is falling apart except for the ground floor which houses a Louisiana Pizza Kitchen.

In the weeks following Hurricane Katrina it was the only restaurant open in the city. Citizens cleaning out their flood damaged houses, police men and women, the National Guard and elements of the 82nd Airborne ate lunch there. We all were armed to the teeth because you never know when a bad guy might pop up in an empty neighborhood.

We all joked; pity the poor fool who thought that he’d rob the place.

Stay safe. Enjoy every slice of pizza.


Summer light in the residential side of The French Quarter.

Quiet times.

Normally The French Quarter is noisy. People are walking around in all states of decay. Some are tired. Some are lost. Many are drunk.

Every now and then, you can find a beautiful stillness on the old cobbled streets. Both times of day have golden light and long shadows.

The most predictable time is early morning. The partiers are finally home. The tourists aren’t out and about. Only service people are working. And, me.

Or, during golden hour around dusk.

Pick your location. If you are in the residential end of the Quarter, you might see this scene. If you are on Bourbon Street you might as well join in with the revelers. Or, photograph them.

Since light is key, so are times of day. Time of day may change forever in Louisiana since we are one of 19 states that are asking Congress to let us drop Standard Time. Arrrggg.

Stay safe. Enjoy every fried egg.


New Orleans

This is a test. I’m trying to learn how to do combined multiple picture designs.

Combined, because I’ve crashed two templates. I’ve also used some older pictures that those of you who are new to Storyteller may never have seen. They highlight a couple of tourist areas. Places that some of you might go if you came to my fair town.

While I was writing, I learned something very new. It appears that the block in which I am working expands to contain the new text. That’s great, but I have to watch the depth if I want some air between the text and the images.

The Pictures

I suppose that you’d like to know a little bit about them because this is, after all, a photography blog.

The top image is Canal Street at dusk.

The bridge is the Crescent City Connection, which crosses The Mississippi River to the Westbank.

Next to it is Bayou St. John.

Below that is a French Quarter scene,

Far left is Magazine Street.

Canal Street. Streetcar.

I hope you’ve me followed this deep. I’d love some feedback. Positive — of course. Negative — because it’s needed.

All About learning

Learn from me if you’d like. You are going to be right behind me. I like challenges, but many of you won’t. There is an old school template that I believe predates me. That means it’s at least ten years ten years old. That’s the option if you hate the block system.

One design note. I’ve thrown just about every design tool that I’ve used to date into this page. Drop caps. Headings. Multiple pictures. Offset text. I could do other things that I’m not so sure about when it comes to contemporary design. I could change the color of the pages. I could do that in one go, or block by block. I could change the color of the type, again in one go or block by clock. I’m more minimal than all of that.

Stay Safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


Krewe of Barkus in the Quarter.

Dogs.

You know that they make me smile. After all, a pack of them allow us to live with them. They aren’t Beagles, but still.

After this miserable week, which isn’t over, I needed something to make me smile. So, I dipped into those lost archives and found something that would do the trick. The funny thing about this Krewe of Barkus was I don’t remember photographing it that year. Obviously, I did. And, I worked from an odd place for me, which makes me think that during Mardi Gras 2020, I should work from here again. Or, near this location.

That’s the thing about photographing something until you are bored with it. Review your archives. Find something you’ve done in the past, but have forgotten about, and think about doing something similar. But, better. Or, a little different.

That’s my thought for today.