Original flower.

The other one.

Yesterday, I wrote about seeing a delicate white and yellow flower. The one that I used as a layer behind a pink flower.

Welp.

This is the original flower with a little post production work done to it. I made it more colorful. I made the file a little more meaty. And, I gave the white areas more shape and definition.

That’s really what caught my eye.

I reckoned that you should see it. The way that I saw it. The way that it inspired me to go further.

A little bit about the gear. My smart phone is a Samsung Note 9. It is not a great phone. That includes both talk and text. It is a great little handheld computer. It also has a wonderful camera that allows me to do a lot, from just using the onboard lens as a zoom, to turning it into a fully manual handheld camera. And, lots in between. Video. Pano. Other size formats.

I’ve mostly been photographing with it even though I’d really rather use some kind of mirrorless body and interchangeable lenses. I don’t always carry that kind of gear. I do carry my phone. Everywhere.

I have this little baby Leica. It’s a great little camera. And, with Leica glass it probably out performs just about most cameras out there. It would be very easy to carry everywhere. But, It’s 965 degrees outside, with a humidity factor of about 10,000, making the
“feels like” temperature about 900 billion degrees. Anything I don’t have to wear on a strap over my shoulder is better.

And, you think it’s hot where you live.

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Frozen.

After yesterday’s day of reflection, I needed something different. I’m pretty sure you did too.

What to photograph? What to photograph?

The best pictures come to you. Right? This one came to me in the grocery store. Every freezer door was clear except for this one. For some reason the ice cream behind this door was hidden by a film of condensation.

Ah ha! The lightbulb in my head went off.

I made two pictures. This is one of them. Sure, there’s a lot of post production. I had to help you see what I saw. I like the pastel shade of the image. It’s not my normal approach.

That’s it for today. I’m a little tired. Still, I’m going to test something like WordPress called Gutenberg. It is supposed to turn the normal WordPress templates into a free-flowing, free form website. It’s the future. I’m testing it as a plug-in. I know it’s going to be a bit buggy. Even WordPress says that. Knowing that going in makes it no big deal.

Wish me luck.


More purple.
More purple.

There’s more to that headline.

It goes like this, “When you walk down the street, keep a big smile on your face and you’ll be amazed at how many people will ask you what the hell is so funny.”

Humor. It’s a great thing.

I’d go there today. But, I need a little quiet time.

Besides, I have to respond to an old friend, who wants to turn Vampy into a woman and make her part of the secret service, move her to Washington D.C.. He wants her to bite the Klown who is Korrupting the Kountry. Sheesh. Crowd sourcing. By the way, did you see what I did there? Heh.

The picture was simply made. Stick the lens almost into the hanging flowers. Fuchsias. And fire away.


Sunflowers
The Big Yellow

Something bright. Something yellow. Something happy.

Something for Thursday.

Now, for a little full disclosure.

I confused and old, dear friend of mine with yesterday’s picture. She saw the mountains below the clouds and wondered if we were headed west. To New Mexico.

Nope.

She almost nailed it. Those are not sub-tropical clouds. They are high altitude, thin air, desert clouds. New Mexican clouds. I made the picture  few years ago. Near Taos. I posted it yesterday because I like the picture and you’ve never seen it. In fact, I hadn’t seen it in a long time. Digital files get that way. They have a habit of hiding because you can’t easily look at a slide file. Truth be told, if I never took another picture — like that’s gonna happen — I could probably publish at least a decade’s worth of Storyteller without stretching much to show you unseen work. I’ve been working for a long time and I’ve made a lot of pictures.

As a lot of you know, life got in the way for about the last week. And, almost immediately prior to that, we were out on the road with another project. Even though I normally always have time to take pictures, other things took over last week. There will be some spill over from the past week, but for the most part that’s over. Thankfully. I’m home now and I’ll get back to it.

But.

Before I started roaming around, I had a client request. Pictures from New Mexico. My way. And, they asked, try not to make it easy to place a time or date on them. Evergreen is the publishing word for that. So, I took a portable hard drive and started editing my New Mexico files when I had a little down time. Usually when I should have been sleeping.

Yes. Editing. According to the old school definition. Today, it’s called curating. Culling. Or something like that. I pleasantly surprised myself. There were a lot of cool pictures hiding in those back files. So, I thought, I’d better show them to you as I worked through five years worth of material. You’ve never seen them. You should.

This does two things. It’ll give me a little time to make brand new pictures. I did that a little while I was home for those few days in between trips. The pink flowers, the pine tree and the cemetery were among some of them. Now, I’ll have a lot more time. I’ll also have time to edit the rest of my New Mexican collection and… work on other big internal changes. Maybe, I’ll even get back to two of the book projects. I hope.

There you have it. Enjoy the sunflowers. Yellow brightens up everything.


Dancing in the streets in Central City.
Dancing in the streets in Central City.
Ervin Mayfield plays the Central City Festival.
Ervin Mayfield plays the Central City Festival.

So. Despite its dilapidated exterior, Central City is really full of life and fun. Not every day. There’s sadness too. People die there for stupid reasons. But, when it’s time to have fun, the residents have fun. Today’s Central City Festival was one of those times. We had such a good time that we went twice. Of course that was based on light and color conditions. But, nobody seemed to mind. We aren’t all that far away.

Many of you have read my tales of Central City. You might recall that it is the last bastion of un-gentrified New Orleans. It is also the last bit of undeveloped land that is above sea level in the city. You can walk to The Mercedes Superdome. You can walk to the business district. You can walk to the train station and from there you can catch a streetcar to almost anyplace in the city. It is also underserved. There are a huge amount of abandoned buildings. It has a highest crime rate in the city. Despite all of that, it is coming back. Slowly. A lot of development money is being poured into the neighborhoods along Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. As with all things New Orleans, it starts with the food. For years, the only restaurant in the immediate area that wasn’t a little mom and pop place, was Cafe Reconcile. The cafe is a training ground for kids at risk. They learn how to run a restaurant, to cook, to run the front of house. They build careers there. But, it was the only place that served food that was cooked to any sort of standards. Now there are a couple more restaurants opening there. That’s all good. And, “The Boulevard” as the locals call it, is looking very, very good.  That’s where we went today. To celebrate a little bit at the Seventh Central City Festival.

What are you looking at?

I ran across a woman who was dancing in the streets. The more she danced, the more I made pictures. The more I made pictures, the more she danced. Maybe we were dancing together. When my work is right I fall into a rhythm. I fell into one with her. Normally, I hear music in my head. This time I heard it in the street. I’m not as crazy as I think.

What were we dancing to?

The music. Of course. To Irvin Mayfield’s music. To his hybrid jazz band. He’s a New Orleans original and legend. He grew up in the Upper Ninth Ward and the Seventh Ward. He’s known as a musician, an educator and New Orleans ambassador. He does all of these things well. Like all of us, he was affected by Hurricane Katrina. More so. He lost his dad to the waters. And yet, he played a few days later at a huge benefit in New York. He played, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee.” For us, in New Orleans, the song is both a dirge and a celebration.  We are that way. We celebrate passing. We dance our sadness out.

You might be wondering why I didn’t work from the front of the stage. Because of my background, I think anybody can shoot those pictures. Pick your moment and press the button. Finding a quiet moment from back or side stage is where the pictures lie. At least, that’s what I think. Sort of like dropping a very gentle musical note in an open space in a song.

 


Parade3
A member of the Pigeon Town Steppers rolls out of the Maple Leaf Bar on Oak Street.

Yes. It was Easter Sunday. Yes. There were three Easter parades in The French Quarter. I stayed for two of them. But, my real passion is photographing the deeply imbedded cultures of New Orleans. So, I headed over to Oak Street to photograph a second line parade that was led by The Pigeon Town Steppers and backed musically by The Stooges brass band. The proper name of the social  club is The Original Men Pigeon Town Steppers and Ladies Pigeon Town Steppers Social Aid & Pleasure Club. This is their Easter Second Line. They were dressed in very classic Easter colors. A very tiny bit of research taught me a couple of things. Pigeon Town is a local nickname for Leonidas. It is located in the 17th Ward. That’s really a part of town that I don’t know very well. I stop on Oak Street sometimes for coffee or a meal. But, that’s about it. There is a very well known po’ boy festival held on Oak Street. Packing 50,000 people in on such a small, short street scares me. I’ve never been there. The picture. First off, this is just one of many. I had a very good shooting day. I’ll post of few more over the next few days. This picture takes a lot more work than you might think. The actual making the picture is easy. Focus and push the button. Getting there is tough. No. Not driving. That’s easy enough. But, getting in close to work is hard. There is the crowd. They want to see the parade too. These days, not only do spectators want to see the parade. They want to take pictures too. So, I have to pay attention to them and I try to stay out of their line of focus. That’s not as easy as it seems. Okay. Once I work my way to the front, things get a little easier. A lot of the participants attend almost every second line. They recognize me. I say hello to them. We talk. We laugh. They let me inside the little rope or string barrier so that I can work closely. Enough of them have my business card that eventually someone will call just to see my work. I’ll share.


Polly's
Lisa, the very best waitress.

Being away from home and on the road is not always fun. But, this Memphis trip was great fun. Especially eating. Eating can be entertainment when you are out. We went to a couple of places on Beale Street. Most of them are real touristy, but we found Polly’s. Great Southern food. And, the very best waitress. Lisa. She kept a bunch of ridiculous people in check, smiled a lot, cracked jokes and recommended great food. Oh. yeah. She kept the coffee cups full. And, the sweet tea glasses full too. The picture? Ain’t much. It’s a quick portrait. Of course, I spun it a bit with a lot of post production. I added a lot of movie filters. I guess I see some of these funky restaurants as sort of a location prop. Maybe I want to make movies. Or not.