Into the light.

Finally. Fall.

A look at morning image made as the sun peeks through the golden leaves of Autumn. As a wise man once said, “If you want better pictures, stand in front of better stuff.” That is so true. I would add to that, have some patience. Wait for the light you want, no matter how long it takes.

I once worked with a former National Geographic Society photographer who was known for his desert work. His trick was to get to the place where he wanted to work. And wait. And wait. And wait. For days. Sometimes weeks. For the light he wanted. He reckoned that since you can’t control nature, you might as well control yourself.

There is another approach. Know the place in which you are working. Make yourself available for the light and whatever else you want in the picture. The first time I thought about that was during my days in Hong Kong. At the time, as a western expat, I made one of the best collections of pictures in a foreign place. It wasn’t due to extraordinary skill. It was due to just being there. When I think back to that time, I realize that I wasted a lot of precious moments.

I try not to be so wasteful now. Even when I’m not working for a client I try to be photographically productive. Hopefully it shows in the work that you see.

The picture. You know what I did. F8 and be there. I didn’t do so much in post production because I made most of the picture in camera. I darken, sharpened, and brought the color out a little. Nature did the rest.

One more thing. I posted the black and white version of this picture on Instagram. If you want to see that version, please follow me there.


A little confusion.

No matter what you think.

The picture isn’t it. Unless you look at the curve at the top, which is really the bottom.

Yeah. Sure. This is one of those scenes that I return to when I can’t find a subject to suit a great sky. But, it’s different. It’s a reflection made by pointing the lens into a car’s hood. A black car. A black, dirty car.

I’ll tell you why dirty matters in a minute.

I made the picture on another walk. I was trying to figure out how I could do something a little differently because the clouds were so intense. They needed to be photographed. I happened to look towards my right. There it was. An almost perfect reflection of the scene above. I didn’t even bother with the real sky. I found what I liked.

Ten exposures later and I was done. I did not over shoot. I worked the angles and the length of the lens a little.

Dirty? Oh, that matters because the little star field you think you see in the bottom of the picture is really just little bitty bits of dirt.

I suppose if I flipped this picture around so the up is down, you might think I made the picture at night and somehow managed to get the stars in the picture even though we live in a place where there is nothing but light pollution. You could never really photograph star in New Orleans.

Aren’t I clever? or not.


Potter’s field in New Orleans.

I’m going back.

Carole King wrote it. Just about everybody recorded it. “Going Back.” A song for the ages. A song for me.

I was alright. I’d gotten over the shock. Of the feeling of loss. I knew it wouldn’t last. I didn’t expect it to arrive yesterday.

Here’s what happened.

My old friend and I have mutual friends. One of them was a good friend to me. We haven’t seen each other since the storm. Hurricane Katrina. She moved to North Carolina after the storm and a failed marriage. We do keep in touch. It’s hard not to in these days of every kind of messaging available to us. She texted me. Was I going to the memorial? Yes. Could I pick her up at the airport? Yes. Could she stay with us if have we the room? Oh, we got room.

On August 29th, we observe the 14th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall at Buras, Louisiana.

It’s been fourteen years. Since we were driven from out home. Fourteen years since I saw my friend. Other friends. How did that happen? Where did the time go? Did I waste it? Did I just pass it?

Or, did I fill it with work? With fun? With light and love? God, I hope so.

All I know right this minute is something Neil Young wrote.

It’s better to burn out than it is to rust.


Lucky Dogs.

Rain. Wet streets.

The whole place is glowing. Neon. Color. Reflections.

As a wise man once said, “when the weather turns bad, the pictures get good.

And, so they do.

These so-called lost files having been showing me the way. I’m glad that I’ve worked through this little series. There is so much more that I could show you. But, as I say, just because I made a lot of pictures doesn’t mean I have to dump them on you. Sheesh, a friend of mine from here and on Facebook just posted 54 pictures on Facebook. I don’t think I can count that high. Give your viewers a break. Cull that down. Just show your best work.

Lucky Dogs. See that hot dog on a bun looking food stand on the corner?

I participate in a food group on Facebook. It’s about New Orleans food. There’s been a changing of the guard with the admin folks. Now, we have people asking the same old questions, when all they really need do is go to the group’s archive section and search. Whenever somebody asks about inexpensive restaurants in the Quarter, I always respond, “Lucky Dogs.” (Wow! It took me forever to circle back to that.)

The truth. I wouldn’t eat from one of those stands if you paid me. They hit the streets about 11am. When I made the picture it was about 10pm. I’d venture to guess that some of the hot dogs in the steamer ave been there all day. They might not hurt you, but surely they are tough, chewy and don’t taste all that good.

They are a New Orleans institution.

That’s great. But, who wants to eat in an institution?

The picture. F8 and be there, except that it was probably more like f4 and stand very still.

That’s the story. On the anniversary of Elvis’ death. The day when he really did leave the building. RIP Elvis Presley.

 


Riding off in the sunset.

Golden light. Southern light.

I made this image in a neighborhood of the Ninth Ward called Holy Cross. . I saw this woman riding off into the sunset so I followed her in my car. When I got close enough to her, I got out and made a quick ten frames or so.

She heard the sound of the camera, so she circled back to me keeping her distance, not knowing what I was about. I held my hand up in a show of friendship. She decided to trust me. I turned the LCD around and showed her the pictures. She was relieved. I handed her my card and asked her to email me and I would return a full sized image file. She did. I did. All is good.

That’s pretty much how you do it. My instinct, built on my years as a photojournalist is to photograph first and apologize later. But, I seem to be able to sell myself in situations like this one. I’ve long realized that to work as a photographer you have to carry yourself like one. It’s confidence, but it’s something else. You have to look like you know what you are doing.

I’ve read a number of stories about a couple of photographers who have gotten in a lot of trouble taking pictures at state fairs and similar situations. One sounds like he was a creep. The other was just out taking pictures. Both tried to hide and blend in to the crowd when they were approached by concerned parents.

I never do that. I walk purposely to the person asking questions. I introduce myself and shake hands if they’ll let me. I turn my camera around so they can see the LCD and what I was doing. I offer them my business card and tell them if they want a print I’ll email them a file if they ask.

I never have a problem.

Take heed. The world is a weird place. People are scared. People don’t trust each other. Try to repair that when you are out making pictures. Leave folks better off then when they met you. That is the least that you can do.


Royal purples.

Pixeleen.

That’s the title to a Steely Dan song. It seems to be more about digital photography than music. But, what do I know?

I saw this flower. I almost passed it by. I’ve photographed pink flowers all summer and even before. I had an idea. Yet, another vision of what could be.

I returned to the portable studio in my hand. I went to work. I couldn’t quite get there. I used an application I rarely use. Voila`. I had it.

This image is as I saw it in my head as I pressed the button. This has been happening lately. I have an idea for a complete picture, make the basic file and fulfill my idea in the studio. That’s what is supposed to happen. It took a long time to get there.

One more thing. One more nitpicky thing. Voila`. It sounds like walla. I keep seeing people write it as walla. People. Take some French lessons.


Something in the air.

It’s in the air. Tonight. Today.

I’m not the only one.

Yesterday, I wrote about murky dreams. Dreams of the past. Dreams of people long forgotten. Of a time in the dim recesses of my mind.

Between online conversations and some in real life, I’ve learned that I’m not the only one. People of a certain age are going through this strange little time too. Before, we get all spooky and weird, it probably means nothing.

On the other hand.

What if?

What if we are marshalling our past resources for something to come? I’m not one who believes in all seeing third eyes, or understands why the hell WordPress doesn’t like marshalling in this usage, but something is brewing.

Since the usage of marshalling in this case, means ordering things in preparation for battle, what battle am I, are we, getting ready for?  As much as I dislike the current United States President — and, all that he stands for — and want him imprisoned, it’s not something as mundane as that. I think it’s bigger. I don’t know what it is. But, it’s coming.

As I used to say in the bad old helicopter days, “I got a bad feeling about this.” The last time I thought and felt that, a storm called Hurricane Katrina just about wiped New Orleans off the face of the earth. It’s a powerful feeling.

We’ll see.

The picture. My apologies. I went a little too far in post production. I should have reworked this picture. But, today is very, very busy. So, I moved it from my phone to OnOne and tried to make a few little repairs there. The mistakes were too imbedded for that.

Anyway.

I saw these blossoms and did the only thing that I could do. I photographed them. Then, I messed with them. I made the picture a little spooky. Then, as I wrote, I went too far. I tend to do that. I should have taken things a step or two backward. I’ll get back to it. I’ll fix it. I promise. I might even show you the revised picture.

One more thing about this bad feeling. (See how haunted I am by it?) There’s an old infantry saying, “If you can see the enemy, the enemy can see you.” The reverse is also true. I can’t see the enemy. But, I know…


Flowers in her hair.

The thoughts came to me in a dream.

The dream wasn’t clear. It was muddy. Murky. Like something dredged out of the middle of a brackish lake.

Somewhere in there I saw a lot of my life. Not like you do at the end of a life. Little flashes. Bits. Pieces. Parts. I saw people who I haven’t thought about in years. Sometimes we talked to each other. Sometimes, we didn’t. We just passed.

I awoke with this stuff swimming in my head. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. I started thinking about anniversaries. Not like weddings or birthdays. Little things. Like the anniversary of our return to New Orleans. That’ll be eight years on July 8.

Or, the anniversary of scooping up the dog who sees stuff. She’s a rescue. When she came home with us, her person had just passed.  She was 85 and had been in poor health for a couple of years. Her person’s care givers didn’t like my dog. They treated her poorly. She was underweight. She was sick. She was scared.

Today, she is happy, healthy, and weighs what she should. She has dog friends, lots of people friends and she’s claimed me. What’s not to like? She’s a very pretty cocker spaniel. She kept the name she came home with — Sophie Rose.

There’s a lot more to write about. Changes. Anniversaries. More changes.  I suppose that I’m starting to look back with the wisdom of age. Or, just with age. Likely, that.

The picture. It’s two. The pink flowers are layered over some pure color.  You can see it here and there, in the background. I guess, I’m experimenting a little again.