If I had a saxophone.
If I had a saxophone.

A little brass band music. On the streets. On a second line. Everybody whoopin’ and hollerin’. Singing and dancing.

Another neighborhood. Another Sunday. In New Orleans.

I’ve sort of taken a break from photographing these things every Sunday. There are 47 of them. Sometimes, other stuff gets in the way. Family things. Too many errands. Even the odd health issue. But, I’ve been away from the city for a bit. I need to go this Sunday. Not, want. Need. If you are in New Orleans, maybe I’ll see you out on the second line.

Happy Friday. Or, Saturday. Wherever you are.

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Another building I saw along the way.
Another building I saw along the way.

I saw the light. I saw the color. Sometimes shadows are bluish. Especially to digital sensors. They like shadows. They like cooler colors. They don’t always like warm colors. Especially yellow. I play to that when I’m just looking around. Sometimes, people think I add to color when I don’t. I just look for it when I’m out and about.

That’s it. I talked about the picture. Already. I don’t really know any story about this building. Except, there is reserved parking. And, the building is made of metal.


Walls and Graffiti
Walls and Graffiti

This is what comes of walking.

Little pictures. Hidden pictures. A weird kind of art.

What I saw is very different from the finished picture. That happens sometimes. It usually happens in post production. This time, all I did was darken the picture and the whole thing came together into some strange photographic statement. For which, I have no real explanation. Except for the tagging. As I always say, in New Orleans if it doesn’t move it gets a coat of spray paint. This one looks like a taggers’ signature, not a gang sign. I’m sure the gang sign is around some place.

Zeros.

Yep. That’s what I’m coming up with. Zeros. I need to photograph something — anything — in a fairly short time frame. My head is stuck. So, I need your help. If I were to go out and try to photograph a collection of things, what would it be? In other words, make an assignment for me. I’ll do it. I’ll post it here.

Help.


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.


We all go... in circles.
We all go… in circles.

Sometimes you see it. Sometimes you can’t miss it. I was on my way to someplace else when this wall just reached out and hit me in the head. Right between the eyes.

Sheesh.

How could I miss this? I intentionally left out anything that could add scale, but the biggest circle is at least 15 x 15 feet. The circles are attached to the side of a building. I’m sure that it works as a landmark as well as some kind of marketing. But, there isn’t a sign, so I don’t know what these circles are selling.

Someplace else was the Sunday second line. I arrived there. I looked at everybody lining up and left. I couldn’t do it. I’ve being coming to this moment for a while. Not only I have still not recovered completely from last week and my aches and pains, but I’ve been losing my desire. I was talking to a friend of mine last week via email and she said that maybe it was time to stop for a while. Maybe the project was over. That I’d made a lot of good pictures. I replied that I’d gotten a little OCD about it and that it really wasn’t a project in the sense that it has time limit.

So.

Like many things in my life, I decided on the spot. In the moment.

But.

Not to worry. I talked to my gurus when I got home. That was after wandering around and doing what I do. Photographing what I see. In bright color. After I made today’s picture. With their sage advice, I decided how to move forward with New Orleans culture. I won’t photograph EVERY second line. I’ll photograph the bigger ones, the jazz funerals and when visitors want to go out and see something that they normally wouldn’t see. We have a lot of visitors around this place. But, that’s great fun. Just seeing the looks on their faces is worth being out.

We’ll see how that goes. Knowing me, I’ll probably let myself get drawn back into it fully. But, I need a little break. At least.

The most interesting thing about this is something you don’t know. That I don’t say out loud very often. I truly dislike crowds. It has nothing to do with anything like crime or violence or any of that stuff. It’s just me. But, I’m proud of myself. If you looked at my second line pictures you know one thing. I’m right in the middle of crowds. Big crowds. Moving crowds. Noisy crowds.

This picture. I saw it. I stopped. I worked it. I have a lot of variations on this theme. I doubt that you’ll see them. I was taught very early on that in cases like this, more is less. Absolutely. Give ’em your best picture. Absolutely.

In case you are wondering, I enhanced it a little in post production. But, mostly just to add color to the already bright color.


Lady Rollers
Lady Rollers

Somebody in this house said something like, “Didn’t we see The Lady Rollers on Sunday?” Yes. “Why did you only publish a picture of a band member?”

Uh. Doooooooh!

So. Here are a few portraits of the ladies in question. They are from various social aid & pleasure clubs, marching groups and krewes. The Pussyfooters. The Partyline Steppers.  And, the Rollers, themselves.

That is all.

Lady Rollers
Lady Rollers
Lady Rollers.
Lady Rollers.


Reflections in a trumpet player's eyes.
Reflections in a trumpet player’s eyes.

Another Sunday, another second line. This one was The Lady Rollers. Hot 8 Brass Band played the songs. Big loud band. They are fairly big time. You can tell the difference. They are a touring band. They record. They’ve been nominated for a Grammy. That’s pretty cool. The parade was made up of The Lady Rollers, members of the Pussyfoot Stompers, the Yakamein Lady (that’s another story) and Poppy Tooker. There were more, but…

Second lines are part of “da cultcha.” You’ve seen a lot of my pictures in the past. I’ve been photographing these things for years. We’ll not that many years. Maybe three. But, I’m getting sort of burnt out. I think some of the paraders are getting burnt out too. Some parades are huge, usually when they are part of a jazz funeral for some local notable. Many seem to be getting smaller. They are expensive for the krewes, gangs and social clubs to put on. Their members are getting older. Younger people are not as attracted to them as they were in the past.

For me, it was a real effort to even want to go to this one. If we didn’t have guests who wanted to see a second line, I doubt I’d have made it. At least we all had a good walk. I kept walking with the parade for far longer than I originally planned. So did the rest of my household. When we started back, I realized we had a three-mile walk ahead of us. Let’s see. Simple math here. 3 + 3. Hmmm. 6? Yeah, that’s it. 6. Six miles total. At least we aren’t lying around during our Christmas break. That’s something.

The picture. Oh, that’s easy. F8 and be there. But, look for details. I’m not sure who exactly his sunglasses are reflecting, but that’s pretty interesting. Yes?

A little housekeeping. I have a troll/stalker. What happened was this. She like one of my posts. Actually, she liked a lot of them. As I did with most of you, I went to her blog and said thank you. Seems reasonable to me. She sent me a private email pretty much attacking me for even thanking her in a long string of words that don’t make sense. I replied very simply as I do in these situations, “I won’t bother you again.” Then it started. She has become in turns; mean, nasty, threatening. All I can tell you is that she’s young, she’s angry and maybe a bit delusional claiming that WordPress is part of a big conspiracy. My point in telling you this, is just be aware and be safe. Yes. I alerted WordPress and their certification site, Gravatar. If they can’t stop her — and they might not be able to — I’ll have to let the Feds know. Local police can’t do much. As you know I’m pretty protective of those for whom I care. I have no idea if this young woman is just noisy and frustrated or if it’s something more. Since I’m pretty much out there on the internet, I prefer to err on the side of caution.


Happy in green.
Serious in green.

No doubt about it. New Orleans is a colorful place. The color of this day was green. Almost very bright shade of green. Apparently, I did get the memo. I wore a green shirt even though I really didn’t know the color of the day. My shirt was a lot less colorful than what these people are wearing. After all, I’m supposed to blend in, not make a bold fashion statement.

Anyway.

These pictures are just a couple of scenes from The Prince of Wales Second Line Parade. Another parade in a long season of parades. It’s hard to imagine how many people come out for them. After all, this is football season. These parades walk at just about the same time the Saints take the field. That’s a big deal in this city.

The pictures. I was really part of this parade. That old working for the inside – out thing again. The top picture was made with a 70mm lens. A picture made with that lens, with the frame pretty much filled as I intended, is normally not a big deal. But, she’s walking to me and I’m crouched and back peddling. The bottom picture  was made with a 16mm lens. I more-or-less let people walk to me and around me. Then, I turn and back pedal. There is nothing special about the post production.

Sea of green.
Sea of green.


Second line music.
Second line music.

I’m not even sure what to write about this picture. This is what I saw. I focused, pressed the button…

It’s the Prince of Wales second line parade. Fourth parade of the season.

There are a couple of philosophical things to discuss. I suppose.

No matter how much talent you are blessed with, or think you are blessed with, there is no substitute for work ethic. I made this picture because I went into the bar where the paraders were getting ready. I pretty much just followed them out into the street. I walked with them and the band. That’s really what the term “second line” means. It’s the spectators who join the parade and usually walk behind it. Not me. I’m in the middle of it. That takes a lot of work in the hot sun. There is a lot of back stepping and trotting just to be able to stop, press the button and keep moving. This picture was made with a 16mm lens. That’s why there is reasonable sharpness front to back. It also illustrates just how closely I work. This picture isn’t cropped. I’m right there. This doesn’t make me special. It doesn’t make me anything. As I said to a photo pal on the scene, “I think I was a little too much IN the parade.” He laughed and said that was where I was supposed to be.

My second point is about what you do with your pictures online. I post in a lot of places. I write a little in order to help explain the picture. I know what kind of writer I am… I really hope that it is the picture that attracts you. Not my writing. In what twisted world would that be possible? I hope that I don’t have to sell you on the picture. Either you like it or you don’t. That’s my rule of thumb. Never oversell the picture. For me, it’s like being told 357 times time to buy some product. I can assure you that if I’m flooded with that kind of advertising, I will never buy the product. I probably won’t even look at it.

There you have it.