One stop shopping.

T

his is the kind of place that we saw on our drive to Natchez. That’s Mississippi, in case you were unclear on it.

Stopping at little places like this were one of the reasons the drive too so long. This place was closed. The drive would have taken longer if it had been open because the owner would talk to me and I would start a longer conversation.

If you want to take pictures in unfamiliar places that’s how you do it. Talk. Talk. Talk. Let them know that you aren’t a threat in any way.

Make your picture, thank them and move on.

Do that 15 or 20 times on a trip and it adds up to real time. On the other hand, it’s worth it. Meeting new people is always worth it. And, you may learn something about the place you are photographing.

It may not be historically accurate, but who cares? We do it for the stories we can tell. And, for this blog. Well, I do anyway.

And, then there was lunch.

We read about a legendary cafe tucked away between Highway 61 and the river. We knew the crossroad, but that’s all. It took some poking around and looking because the cafe was located in the middle of a trailer park.

That’s also the joy of this kind of travel. Even though the hangries were approaching, we had fun finding the place and eating. The food was really good. Sort of southern home style cooking.

Imagine that. Southern home cooking in the South. What’ll they think of next?

S

ince there is no technique to making a photograph like this one, other than what I wrote about talking to people, I thought that I would talk about yesterday.

I went to an appointment with a new oncologist. There was nothing wrong with the old one. I liked him a lot. But, he retired.

I kind of grilled him about the efficacy of my vaccinations as oppose to what my CLL did to them.

He looked very carefully at my blood work and saw something encouraging. My hemoglobin numbers look almost normal.

So, in the next week we are going to run a detailed panel just looking at that. If it is as we hope, there is a chance that I don’t have to stay locked down, or at least I don’t have to be quite so strict because if the hemoglobin is near normal then the vaccine will work to a point.

Have a good thought for me.


Along came the clouds.

Driving.

Out on Highway 61. That’s where Abraham and God a conversation. That’s what Bob Dylan said. Apparently, God wasn’t messing around. So Abraham did what he was told. Sometimes there are little miracles when you least expect them.

On Saturday, Sophie Rose wasn’t doing so good. I was afraid I might lose her. It was later than the vet’s office was open so I considered taking her to an emergency vet.

Before I did, I had a word with God. I don’t really pray. I just talk. I said that I didn’t matter. I said that Sophie is a sweet, gentle loving dog. She didn’t deserve to cross the rainbow bridge just yet. She fell into a deep sleep. When she woke up on Sunday, she wanted to go for a walk. I thought she just need to go out for a minute. Oh no, we went for a very good longish walk. She came in and drank a lot of water.

She also annoyed the other dogs, she kept me from working. She acted like her normal self. When it was dinner time she ate three cups of food. That’s all of the dogs limits. Usually, they are happy with 2 1/2 cups. For the past week or two she was barely eating about a half a cup. She lost a lot of weight. My goal is to add weight to her.

I’m not very religious. I have a spiritual side to me. My prayers are discussions. I have no idea if God, or whoever your higher power is, even works this way. But, something happened.

For sure, she still has a dental appointment. I’m fairly confident that I managed to kill the gum infection. I’m pretty sure her bladder stone has fallen apart.

For now, that’s enough.

That’s Highway 61 that you are looking at. We live pretty much at the southern terminus. When you get to the Crossroads up in Mississippi, that’s where Robert Johnson supposedly made his deal with the devil. We also live fairly near to the cemetery where Gram Parsons, founder of THe Flying Burrito Brothers and who also brought country rock to Los Angeles, is laid to rest. We live in a weird place. All sorts of pirates and assorted characters roamed these parts.

Some still do. They just don’t have the class of their forefathers.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


People out to have some fun.

“Successful hills are here to stay, Everything must be this way, Gentle streets where people play

Welcome to the Soft Parade,  All our lives we sweat and save, Building for a shallow grave,

Must be something else we say, Somehow to defend this place, Everything must be this way

Everything must be this way, yeah, The Soft Parade has now begun, Listen to the engines hum

People out to have some fun, A cobra on my left, Leopard on my right, yeah.”

—  Soft Parade lyrics © Doors Music.

I made the picture. Then, I found the lyrics. The song starts with this, “When I was back there in seminary school.” That’s how I replied to a friend of mine who was discussing the road and sky picture that I posted the other day.

That got me started.

I listened to the song. I used to love The Doors. I worked on the picture. I found the lyrics. Here we are. The start of the work week for some people. You can find a line in the lyrics about just that. I guess I still love The Doors. Their music is still relevant after 50 years. It also sounds very contemporary. And, seeing the “© Doors” tells me that the surviving members of the band managed to recover all the rights to their songs. Good. Never lose the rights to your art, whatever it may be.

The picture. The last of the images that I made on that wonderful cloudy day. WordPress’ compression software stepped on it a bit. The chrome and backlighted cars glistened. It added balance to the picture. I can hardly wait to see what Facebook will do to it. Aaaargh.

I don’t know what it is about me. I really like power and telephone lines in my work. I was taught (back there in seminary school) to do whatever it took to avoid them. A few years back I realized that they are just part of the scene. If I’m being honest with my work they should remain. On the other hand… this may be a little over kill.

One more thing. It’s another drive by picture. Notice, the red stoplight. It’s looking right at me. This is also one of those corners where you can’t turn right on red. See? I’m obeyed the rules. I don’t think the rules say anything about taking pictures, but that’s got to be better than texting. Right?


Out there on Highway 61

“Oh God said to Abraham, “Kill me a son” Abe says, “Man, you must be puttin’ me on”

God say, “No.” Abe say, “What?” God say, “You can do what you want Abe, but

The next time you see me comin’ you better run” Well Abe says, “Where do you want this killin’ done?”

God says, “Out on Highway 61””– © 1965 Bob Dylan/Warner Brothers Music

Yep. This is it the Highway 61 that Bob Dylan wrote about so many years ago. Not this part exactly.

But, further on up the road. In Mississippi. Rosedale, Mississippi. At the crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. Where Robert Johnson made a bargain the devil. He traded his soul for musical genius. He wrote “Traveling Rosedale Blues,” which eventually was morphed into “Crossroads,” by Eric Clapton.

That’s a little history for you.

This place is Highway 61, or Airline Highway, way down road from the area that the song is about. So far down south that it is almost located at its starting point on Tulane Avenue in New Orleans.

This place is called Shrewsbury. It’s a light industrial and railroad neighborhood. Everything still works there. But just across the street is a shopping mall and Old Metairie Road, which is home to a lot of wealth without paying outrageous New Orleans taxes.

The picture. I made it is eerie as I could. It just felt that way. The original scene was actually bright, sunny, with pre-storm clouds rolling in. In many ways, this picture feels like an album cover. Yeah, yeah. I know. With music streaming… what’s an album cover?

I may rework the picture again. I’d like to make it feel even more evil. Ahahahahahaha.


Out on the road.
Out on the road.

Road trips. Car trips. Traveling. Those words conjure up a certain set of feelings. At least in The United States they do. Other countries probably share those feelings. But, here in the US, they have a special sort of — I dunno — place? Time?  Maybe it’s about freedom. Or, potential. A dream.

I try to make “out on the road” pictures whenever we are out on the road. They are different from documenting a place. They are about that sense of what is it like to… be on the road. Moving and looking at whatever you come across.

These pictures aren’t easy to make, let alone take. The light is often all wrong. Or, I’m going in the wrong direction. Maybe, I’m tired of driving and just want to get there. Where ever there is. If I’m really on a road trip. There could just be my planned rest stop for the night. A cheap motel somewhere along the road. Or, a fuel stop. Or, my final destination. I think, sometimes, when I’m zooming by that I’ll come back to it later. I never do. Nobody ever does. I’m no more special than the next guy.

There’s another secret. These kinds of pictures come along when they do. When they are ready. That’s why no matter what, even if most of my gear is packed for the long distance I might be traveling, there is always a camera in the car with me. You just never know. Like this picture. We were on our way home from our day out. On our way back from our day of reflection. Heading east on Highway 61. In Southeast Louisiana. Not really all that far from New Orleans. We came upon one of those more modern fuel stops. You know — get gas, eat, shop and gamble. Eating at one of those places is a big enough gamble. I don’t need to go into the casino. As we came to the end of the lot I saw this scene… from the highway. Luckily, there was a stoplight there. That’s one of the benefits of traveling the so-called blue roads. You can actually correct your mistake without having to travel 20 miles. I stopped, made a left hand turn and there I was.

I originally made this scene too light, too bright and too colorful. What you are seeing is the third reworking of the picture. Sometime it comes to me right off. Sometimes I have to live with, let it marinate and change me.


In the middle of nothing.
In the middle of nothing.

Yep. In the middle of nothing. This place is in Hollygrove about as far removed as it can be from the rest of the city and still be located in Orleans Parish. In fact, if you look to the right and across the railroad tracks, that’s Jefferson Parish and another world. Although… this house is other worldly enough. There were other houses surrounding this one. But, the storm helped clean up this neighborhood.  The street that is beyond the railroad tracks is Airline Highway, or the famed Highway 61. If I remember correctly, Airline Highway was cut in two by Katrina just about here. You couldn’t use it to get into New Orleans. Nor could you use it to leave.

The picture. A lot of heavy post production. How else can I keep making grungy New Orleans pictures?