Shimmering tree.

Something like good vibrations.

The shimmering tree is an experiment that I’ve tried once or twice in the past. That’s about it. Point the lens at a tree and photograph it. Do some magic in post production and away we go.

That’s the picture.

The rest of today’s mumblings are about the weather situation.

We pretty much dried out after yesterday’s deluge. The city’s pumps actually worked about as well as they could. We got 9 inches of rain in in three hours. That overwhelmed them. There are two solutions going forward. Tear up every pipe in the city, install pipes that are about double in size and hope that works.

Or, we can adopt the Dutch system which means that we embrace water and build holding ponds, greenways and water features that actually do something with extra water. We had that option once in the years following Hurricane Katrina. We should revisit that kind of thinking.

And, speaking of hurricanes. Hurricane Barry is still not formed as I write. There should be a NOAA update in a little bit.

Currently, it’s projected to make landfall near Lafayette, Louisiana, which means that it has moved to the east. In New Orleans, we should get some rain and some wind. Our fear is still overtopping levees. It looks like there are two places where the levee is built only to 20 feet. They are not near us. One is at the Industrial Canal near the Upper Ninth Ward. The other is at the Jefferson-Orleans Parish border. The people there have a double problem. Not only will the levee overtop, but they’ve built homes in the battature, which is the ground between the river and the levee. It is almost certain that their homes will be flooded and destroyed.

The Army Core of Engineers said that there is no chance that overtopped levees will be broken. From the moment they said that, I revised my estimate from 50-50% that we’ll be okay, to 20-80%. I don’t trust them as far as I can throw this house.

That’s it.

The storm should make landfall on Saturday, sometime in the afternoon. Unless the power fails, I’ll just keep going. Everybody has been shipped to safety. I’m hanging out until the storm passes. Somebody has to close the storm shutters. Then, it’s on the road again.

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Extra special.

Flowers. Summer flowers. Two flowers in one.

I found this delicate little white flower. I made a clean version of it. I decided to play nature and added a pink flower to it. That’s how this picture came to be.

It was just that simple.

Since the flower was above her height, the dog who sees stuff didn’t help.

And, speaking of dogs, if you are on Twitter, please follow Keith Olbermann. The one time political commentator and always sports analyst has been doing something new. He tweets to save dogs who are in kill shelters. He says that dogs teach you all you need to know about essential truths. Those of us who follow him, usually save about 12 dogs a week through donations and retweets. You can help too.

That’s it.


Reflections.

I see pictures everywhere.

I make a lot of pictures when I’m walking the dog who sees things, or any of the others. The difference between walking them is simple. She’s used to stopping while I make a picture. The others aren’t.

We have about five general routes that we take. Sometimes, we take a break. Sometimes, we go visiting. Sometime we walk for about two miles without a break. When we get home, she takes a nap. She’s ten and a half years old. She’s got great spirit. She never wants to stop. But, age is age.

I made this picture on one of our visiting walks. It’s actually two pictures. Reflections in a pool. And, one of the few bare trees left this season. Most have grown their full foliage. I decided to layer them because at first glance they seemed to work together. I was right. They did. I inverted the tree. I also made it a lot lighter and more fluid. That made sense since I overlaid it on water.

Before you ask about particular steps, you should know that I do this by trial and error. Mostly, error. When I manage to make the overlay presentable, I work on fine tuning the total picture. I could take five minutes if I’m lucky. Or, it could take two hours if I’m not.

The cool thing about my way of working is that I think I can do it with any two pictures as long as they make sense together. We’ll see. I’ll test that further down the road.

But, for this week.

Spring.


Reflections in Time

The time changed. So did the subject matter.

Even while I was working on Mardi Gras, I had to walk the dogs. Especially the dog who sees stuff. That meant I kept making pictures around our walks. Winter changed to spring. The flowers began to really bloom. The trees began to grow new leaves and drop pollen.

My nose began to itch. Now, I’m fully stuffy. Two Clariton a day aren’t really doing the trick. The best thing we can do at this time a year is stay inside with the air conditioner running. It’s not really warm enough for cold air. But, the second word in air conditioner means the air gets conditioned and unpollinated.

I can’t do that.

There are things to photograph. Worlds to be explored.

I have my books to produce. Some still need to be photographed. Meaning I have to look for the pictures. Then, wait for the right time of day and work quickly. There are Mardi Gras Indian events to photograph. Three in about three weeks. There is other travel.

So.

I anticipate being sneezy until pollen season comes to an end.

No matter.

The picture. I made this image from two other pictures. I layered them and recomposed them as a symbol of my return from the wilds of Mardi Gras. This picture exists on this page and in my mind.

It’s a bright Sunday kind of picture.

Enjoy.

Don’t sneeze.


Making a little layered art.

Another Sunday. Another experiment leading to something a little more artistic than documentary.

It appears that I’m confused. I’m not. We’ll get to that in a few lines.

I’m pretty convinced that Mother Nature is angry with us. I think that normally she seeks stasis, but not these days. In the U.S. we were hit by a major hurricane. In Asia we were hit by a super typhoon. At the same time. In two different oceans. My beloved Hong Kong has taken a beating. Buildings were swaying. Streets were flooded. Over 500 flights were cancelled from one of the world’s busiest airline hubs. People were bailing water out of their balconies trying to prevent floods at — oh, let’s say — the 18th floor.

What does all this tell you? What should it tell you?

I could do a litany of weather-related events this year. But, you already know them. I think it’s time to get started. Really get started. Banning plastic straws isn’t enough.You already know the rest. Act on it. If our leaders don’t believe in science, you know what to do. Vote. Vote them out. It is time for a change. Across all levels of government. Across both major parties. At the top. Vote the old white men out of office who are stuck in the last century. Or, maybe the century before. The 19th Century.

I’m sorry to say that you are going to be stuck with my exhortations to vote. To make a difference. To make a needed change. I’ll do this maybe once a week until the mid-term elections. It’s necessary.

Anyway.

The picture. Obviously, I’ve been chasing a lot of green. This time I layered two images and merged them together to make more of an artistic statement. I’m not confused about vacillating between documentary and artistic work. One supports the other. Maybe, somewhere along the line, I’ll make a breakthrough.

Who knows?


Trombone and a portrait.

Yes. I just thought.

I thought, that I’d better post last night and schedule it for today.

Because.

The storm hasn’t even officially made landfall. But, we’ve had strong winds and rain since about 1 pm yesterday afternoon. It may never really get stronger this far down river. But, you never know. Besides, you know how OCD I get about not missing a day. Last year, I took a few weeks off in July. By the end of that time I was pacing around waiting to get back to it.

Anyway.

If we have power in the morning (Remember, I wrote and scheduled last night), which I fully expect, I’ll update you on the weather. If not… well, at least you get to see a picture. And, I’ll be back when I can.

UPDATE

I promised you an update if there was power. There is. It is currently 10:15 am. The rain stopped for about an hour and there was just a slight breeze. Rain began to fall a few minutes ago. According to NOAA, we are well within the storm range, and Cindy remains cyclical. Wind should not be a problem since it has died down some on the ground and in the air. But, rainfall might be a problem, especially further upriver. We’ve had rain for almost the last two weeks, mixed with a couple of days of sun. The ground is super saturated.


A little leveling, the king and his fellow paraders.
A little leveling, the king and his fellow paraders.

This is another picture that I made a few weeks ago at the Divine Ladies second line parade. I really like their choice of colors. Sort of sea green and purple colors really do it for me. These colors and suit/costume workmanship really reminds of Mardi Gras Indians and their hard work. I think there is more machine handiwork going on here, but look at those details.

The picture. Hmmm. Two trains of thought. Either it is over crowded and not well framed which makes it… well, not very good.

Or.

You can see it as I do.

But, first, let me tell you that I worked hard to frame the picture as you see it. One thing that photographers who work on the scene (I think the term street photographer is overused) try to do is create layers that imply more than you can reasonably photograph in one picture. In a way, we are competing with video cameras as well as other still cameras.

What do you see? Just about everything that is important to this moment in time. The subject, the king, is in sharp focus. You see hands popping up with now ubiquitous smartphones taking pictures. And, you see the crowd represented by out of focus silhouettes. That’s it. That’s the parade. All in one picture without being too literal and documentary.

One more thing. I talk a lot about luck. Or, photographer’s luck. This is one of those times. Like a batter in baseball who swings where he thinks the ball will be, I’m focusing where I think the main subject will be sharpest. Anything can happen in that time. Think about that. The best hitters in baseball have averages around .300. That means they make an out two out of three times. Me too.