Gleaming behind the sun.

Morning. Low Sun.

This. You get this. If you look at the light as it falls behind new blooms and old leaves. This is what you get.

I’d like to say this was an accident. It wasn’t. Even though I let the all-seeing dog lead me, I gently directed her to where I hoped to find light like this.

The first place in which I looked, I found that the sun was too low in the sky. But, the next place bore fruit. Or, flowers. I carefully exposed the picture as best I could. And snapped away. Post production work was mostly about darkening the image and making sure the background was obscured.

That’s it. I cropped it as usual, to give it shape.

A word about the weather. When I awoke the temperature dropped from a high of 79 degrees yesterday to just about 40 degrees. That’s nothing. On Wednesday, we are predicted to have low temperatures in the mid 20s.

Whaaaat…?

It’ll be windy on both days so the “feels like” temperature will be 8 to 10 degrees less than the predicted temperatures.

First, it’s too hot. Now, it’s too cold. When is this porridge going to be just right?

Er, something like that.

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So much color.

All the color.

Normally, I do my best to isolate the subject in my work. When, I saw this scene I was wowed. After fiddling around, I knew the best way to capture what I saw was to stand back and take in as much as I could. There was only so far back I could stand before I might fall in some water, so I was a little limited. I also went as wide as I could in my lens selection. I think it worked.

I think it could also work as some very busy wallpaper, probably in your house. Heh!

On another matter near and dear to me, I went to the doctor today for my pain management session. This is mandated by the federal government so that I don’t become addicted to Tramadol which greatly reduces my pain. It is really intended for much stronger drugs, but this is a mild opiate so testing and tracking in this way doesn’t really make sense.

There is no medical personnel from my doctor, to my pharmacist and, the lab technician who tests me, that thinks this is worth doing. They agree that it is well intentioned, but that this approach fails on all counts.

Anyway.

This is the long way of saying that after complaining a little about my knee hurting, I was x-rayed. Yep. Osteoarthritis in my right knee. Sheesh. I once heard a joke about getting old. It is your body’s way of saying, “If you thought that was bad, just wait until…”

I can see my future.

Eighty year old Ray using a powered scooter. Except mine will have a 496 big block engine in it that will propel me along any highway faster than the cars I’m passing.

Take that.

Seriously, it’s not something that is always painful. It just hurts on my bad days. It is something to understand. We are going to try a more holistic approach for this. Imagine that. A medical doctor who thinks outside of the box.

Stay tuned.

 


Glowing red leaves.

Seeing red.

Usually that means being very angry. Not this time. I just happened to see a lot of red on a morning walk. The light was lower in the sky so it illuminated things that might not be so easily seen. It was a kind of photographer’s luck. I made other pictures on the walk. You’ll see them later. But, these three just sort of came together naturally. I try not to fight that.

Backlighted red leaves in the morning.

Meanwhile, the dog who sees things wanted to go out three times. We walked close to five miles. Of course, yesterday was a bad day for pain. I took the limits of my pain medication and that barely took the edge off. But, she doesn’t understand that so we walked.

This morning, I felt just fine. There is no explanation for this. But, I don’t question great days. This time, we walked about 150-200 yards and she headed for home.

Both of us have to get our timing down.

Fallen leaves in dust bin.

That’s the story for today. I usually try to publish by noon my time. I’ve been late the last few days. Really, there is no reason except a lack of motivation. I sit down to work on Storyteller and just sit there. It’s taking me two or three tries to actually want to work. Maybe it’s the season. Maybe I need a new toy. Who knows?

 


Clean these drains out or your house will get flooded.

I’m not kidding.

If you don’t keep the drains cleaned near your house, your street will flood. If your street floods, your house will flood. And, so will your car.

You won’t be happy. Neither will your insurance agent. And, your insurance company will probably drop you for making a claim, leaving you to ask “what’s insurance for if I can’t use it?”

That’s a story that never ends.

Here’s my last insurance company story.

About nine years ago my car was parked in a shopping center lot.  I was still inside. The ignition was turned off. I was unstrapping my seat harness when some guy backed into my car. We did all the right stuff. We exchanged licenses and insurance information. His car was fine. Mine was dented. I filed a claim with my insurance company who collected from his insurance company. Everybody agreed that it was the other guy’s fault. Including him. He tried to get out of it, but his wife gave him “the look.”

What do you think happened?

If you guess that my insurance company raised my rates because of a no fault accident, you would be right. WTH?

I want a business like insurance companies have. If you drive a car, most or all states, require you carry insurance. You are smart if you carry far more than the minimum. You pay monthly, or as frequently as you can over a years time to keep the rate down. You pay for years. In my case, I hadn’t been involved in anything for at least a decade. Until that little fender bender.

Okay.

Let’s keep the numbers simple. Let’s say I pay $100 per month. Over a years time that is $1,200. Over ten years time that is $12,000. I have a minor fender bender that cost the insurance company maybe $1,500. I’d say that their ROI was pretty good.

The insurance company will either raise my rate or drop me.

The insurance company’s gross return is at least $10,500 over ten years time. I’m sure their are some administrative costs incurred by them. Those are offset by investment packages that my money finances. At worst, it’s a push. At best, they are making money on administrative costs.

I want that kind of return on my investments. On my business.

No. I didn’t get in an accident. I was looking at the last quarter of the year. Grumble, grumble, grumble.


Storm damage. Sort of.

I hesitated to post this picture.

Because?

We are Katrina evacuees and survivors. We know what it is like to be horribly hurt by a big storm. We lost cars. A house. Out buildings. A lot of furniture. And, keepsakes. Somehow I became the keeper of my maternal grandmother’s bible. It survived being brought to this country from Europe. It was 117 years old. Even though the water in the house didn’t reach it, the humidity did. It became what people in the paper industry call slurry. That’s broken down paper that is turned into liquid prior to recycling.

So, when I look at this picture I feel like I’m looking at one of those memes. The ones that have turned over plastic chair and in bold type, and says “we will rebuild.”

Never-the-less, retrieving this umbrella is proving more problematic than you might guess. You can’t pull it out of the pool directly, because it’s upside down and holds too much water. I tried to turn it over in the pool. Still too heavy. My next approach is going to be turning it on its side so the edge of the umbrella is facing up. Hopefully it will sort of glide through the water.

If that fails?

I’ll hire two boys from the neighborhood. The problem with that is finding them. Most of this neighborhood is very special. These kids hire people to start their cars when nothing is wrong with them. I may have to cross the tracks — the streetcar tracks — and head into Central City. Those guys will do it. They’ll work for free, but will expect a healthy tip. Besides, after all the second lines, I know and trust most of them.

One more thing.

I wouldn’t have published this picture at all, but I promised two people on Facebook that I would. One is a high school classmate. An old friend. I can’t let her down.

The picture. What else could it be? F8 and be there.


In through the out door.

The calendar flipped.

It’s October. Still hot. Still humid. Still staying inside too much because of it.

When I do go out I find strange stuff. I found something that I wanted to use a component background. The round shapes in this picture are made of sunlight passing through a frame and illuminating the darkness.

The minute that I processed it, I knew I had a picture to layer into it. So I used it. The image came together so quickly that I knew I was on the right track. That’s how it works. At least it does for me. I suspect it does for most people. Artists are all really just vessels. Our work isn’t really ours. It belongs to something bigger than us. To the cosmos? To a power higher than us? To nature?

I don’t really know.

Before you think that I’ve lost my mind, I’m not the only one to say this. Musicians like Dylan, Jones, and Young say it too. There are days when they write two, three or four songs without even trying. They don’t know how they did it. And, the songs are great.

On more thing about this way of working. It doesn’t happen often. Many days are a struggle. There are dry days. There are days when I swear that I’m blind. There are days when I can’t see a picture to save my soul. And, there are days when I can’t write on Storyteller.

But, not today.

The picture just came. The words just came. Thanks, whoever you are that gave them to me.

Do you really want to know more about the picture? Make pictures. Every day. Everywhere. You’ll build enough of an archive that you can layer images when you want to. Maybe inspiration will come to you. Or, not.

Who knows?


Falling water and fallen leaves.

Falling Water. Fallen Leaves.

Let’s just emphasize that in case you didn’t read the caption. I like that little turn of a phrase. I could write it again just to make sure that you understand. Nah. Y’all are smart readers.

I stumbled on this picture a few days ago. I thought I would save it until I could put together a few pictures about Autumn water. However, I couldn’t wait. I like this picture. Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying to make a picture like this. Either the water wasn’t right. Or the leaves weren’t right. Or, or, or…

I realized that I had to make an angular picture, so that’s what I did. I only made two or three images because once I had it, I knew I had it. The rest was easy. Aside from the radical vertical crop, I did very little to the picture. The picture pretty much took itself. That’s what you want. That’s when you know that you did okay.

Two things.

I just discovered there is no second line for Sunday. In fact, aside from the normal Sundays off, during Mardi Gras and Jazzfest, there are a number of holes in the calendar. I have a pretty good idea of what that means and it isn’t good if you like our culture.

Many of the folks who actually create the second lines, and who are really first liners, have been forced to move out of the city because of intense gentrification. The very reason people come her is being gentrified out of existence. That means…

That some clubs and krewes, whose members haven’t left yet, cannot afford to pay the new city parade fees which have been raise by over 50% and, in some cases, close to 100%. If the clubs still exist, they can’t afford to roll.

New Orleans is mostly a service industry. People come here for the culture. If the culture ceases to exist what happens next?

Restaurant owners and managers are already screaming for help because line cooks, back of house and front staff can’t afford to live in the city. Many restaurants are short staffed.

The culture bearers are leaving because they can’t afford to live here either.

It gets worse. Remember my discussion about police retention? They leave after gaining a couple years of experience, going to the next neighboring parishes where the pay is much better and the crime is much lower.

All this from a simple flowing water picture. Isn’t that something?

Think about it.


Fall’s colors emerge.

Oops. I almost forget.

In my effort to publish second line pictures, I almost forget that yesterday was the real start to autumn. To the fall season. Luckily, I’ve been finding and making pictures for the past couple of days. So, no worries.

I have two favorite seasons. Spring and Fall. Both are about changes. I guess that’s why I like them. There is implied energy to both. Even in my quietest pictures, there is a sort of energy. Mostly through the use of bold color.

What is there to say about Autumn? Leaves change color and eventually shrivel, die and fall to the ground. The days get shorter. The light gets lower. We set the clocks back by an hour in most states. The air gets colder. And, the season progresses until winter arrives. Eventually, the days start to get warmer, daylight increases and the cycle turns. As it has for many millennium.

It is life and life itself.

Floating Fall.


It’s all green to me.

It’s a funny thing.

We think of monochrome as being black and white, or something sepia or in some shades of gray. Nature taught me something different. Monochrome can be any color as long as there aren’t contrasting colors. This picture is green and faded shades of green which became yellow. It’s also a monochromatic image.

This picture is also about fall. Autumn. The changing of natural seasons. It’s true that the weather is still hot. According to the predictive charts that I read, we should start cooling off tomorrow. A little. That trend should continue through at least next week, when temperatures stay in the mid to high eighties. Then summer’s heat should slowly fade away. And, we can open our windows for the first time since late April.

We live in air conditioned world.

When I look at old pictures of New Orleans I have two thoughts.

There was no air conditioning back then. Not until sometime in the 1950s. How did people do it? For sure, many people built houses to account for the heat. Raised Caribbean styled houses let air pass underneath which does provide some relief. High roofs also helped.

People dressed well. Men wore suits. Wool suits, until lighter weight fabrics came to be. Sheesh, if I have to be dressed nicely, I wear a seersucker suit. Even that’s too hot for me in summer. And, women. Oh gosh. It must have been very uncomfortable for them at anytime of year in New Orleans.

Two more thoughts for this fine Friday morning.

Air conditioning. Most newer models don’t send weird chemicals into the atmosphere, but they do generate heat. This can’t be good for the planet.

In case you are wondering, my seersucker suit is purple and white, which makes it look lavender from a distance. It is a three piece suit. Trousers, jacket and — get this — shorts.

Don’t laugh.

Gentlemen need to stay cool in the summer.