Streaking into the sky.

O

kay. I’m going to get back on posting track. So, this one is for 1pm Central Time. We’ll just see about that. That sounds a lot like the always infamous, “Just wait until your father gets home.” You know how that used to work, right?

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother with DSLR or mirrorless cameras. If all you are doing is making pictures for the internet it really doesn’t matter anymore.

I have a friend who is a pretty good photographic artist. We went to college together. While I pursed photojournalism he did something smarter. He studied law, worked as corporate counsel, built a retirement program and retired a few years ago.

He and his wife traveled to Mexico City, a hotbed of great places to explore and photograph. You’d think that he would have carried a bunch of “real” cameras. He didn’t. He brought his smart phone. An iPhone.

He posted some of his work on Facebook. I opened some of them so I could get a better look. They were fine. The quality looked like just about anything you could get with a DSLR.

Of course, enlarging them for a gallery show or something similar might be a different issue. But, a few years ago I made a test 16×16 inch test print from an iPhone image file. An older iPhone. It looks great on the wall.

I think that we’ve reach a point that unless we are going to do something exceptional with a photograph, smartphone photography might be good enough.

That’s a hard pill to swallow.


Winter Light

T

his isn’t exactly what I meant. I’ve been trying to push back the distribution of Storyteller to about 5pm Central Time. I intended to do it by posting about an hour later every week until I reached 5pm. Oh no. I jumped to 3pm in about two days.

Oh Well.

A couple of folks asked about creating pictures like this one as opposed to more traditional photography.

Truthfully, I’d rather talk about traditional photography. I know what I’m doing. I have no idea what I’m doing when I create something like this one. It’s rare when I have a clear intent of what I want something like this to be.

Mostly, I just tinker until I find the magical combination. That’s fun, but very hard to teach. I guess I could just say one of the current buzz phrases. “You do you.”

That’s not very helpful, I know.


All day and all night.

A

nother experiment and another morning nap. There’s a reason for both. It’s my nature to experiment even when the picture gets a little bleak. The other is something that makes me nervous.

You know about my back and hip problems. I’ve been feeling good for a while. Yesterday I seemed to collapse. Everything went wrong. I had a full day of errands so I managed to push through the pain. But, it was hellish. I woke up this morning feeling okay, but still a little tired. So I slept. I’m fine. Now, I’m wondering if it isn’t something else. I guess I’d better pay attention to myself for a few days.

Anyway.

I

made this picture in daylight. It was interesting because of the train rolling over the Huey P. Long bridge. But, in daylight, meh. So, I started playing with it and arrived at the train entering the gates of hell. Or, something.

One more thing.

F

acebook has been force feeding me people I’m supposed to follow. It’s annoying. Yesterday they kept showing me posts from a band called, Black Pumas. They are a blend of old school soul and 1960s and 70s music. Boy, are they good.

Thanks, Facebook for getting it right one in 25,000 times.


Forest floor.

L

ast Chance Texaco. Not, this is your last chance. Last Chance Texaco is song by Ricki Lee Jones. She also wrote a book by the same name, which is an autobiography. We are listening to it.

We are big on podcasts, so why not listen to books when we are doing something semi-mindless?

So far I know that she had a rough upbringing. She was raised by her mom and grew up with her brother. They moved at least once a year. It seemed that they are always leaving.

That seems to be the case with a lot of well known musicians. Leaving.

That’s probably something worth getting used to if you are a working musician. Touring is about the same. Play one night. Leave. Play the next night in a different place. Leave.

The last two years have been weird for that. During the lockdown year, nobody played anywhere. Last year and the beginning of this year musicians are trying to tour. Some go out only to be rerouted, postponed and canceled. Or, it seems like they are dodging the raindrops. They’ll go out, play a show, reschedule one or two shows and resume again.

You could easily ask, what are you thinking? But, I know what they are thinking. They either need to play for people — musicians are like that — or they need the money.

I get that.


Symbolic of changing.

T

oday is a big day.

In New Orleans, January 6th marks the start of Carnival with a parade through The French Quarter and a streetcar ride. It only grows from here until the season ends on Mardi Gras Tuesday.

More importantly, today marks the one year anniversary of the insurrection, storming and temporary take over of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

One event marks a season of joy, the other, a country filled with hate. I could recap what happened but it is enough to say that a former president would do anything to hold onto power. He was not used to being told no. Many of his followers believed him. Most of them still do. The attacked our government. They attacked my belief system and my country.

They say the presidential election was stolen. After audit upon audit there is no evidence of that, so I reply to the so-called stop the steal group, “Prove it.” Don’t tell me you know. Tell me what and how you know.

You can’t.

This picture is more spring-like than wintery. It is about rebirth. The nation is tottering right now. Between extreme polarization, a weakened economy and Covid-19 to name a few issues, don’t you think it’s time for a little rebirth?

I do.


Shades of gold and brown.

W

hat a weird, but peaceful day. We did a lot of cold weather cooking. But, mostly I slept. And slept. Here’s how it went in the afternoon. I thought I would rest my computer eyes and read something on real paper at around 4pm. I awoke at 8:45pm. By the time my head cleared it was around 10pm.

Sheesh.

I guess I must have needed it, but I’m working at 11pm. I wonder if I’m going to sleep at anywhere near a more normal time.

Maybe what I did read caused me to pass out, not sleep.

T

his latest surge is averaging around one million people a day being diagnosed with CoVid-19. For now. There are all kinds of predictions about when it will peak. It’ll peak when people stop insisting on being stupid.

Although I wasn’t out in it, Christmas and New Year packed the French Quarter. I didn’t see a mask in any picture. Even my friends who mostly listened to music were hugging and kissing with no masks. They’d just better hope that some experts are wrong and that being vaccinated does protect them from this latest variant. I wish them nothing but the best, but come on y’all.

Of course, there is the coming Mardi Gras. A lot of people are whining that the city will close down the parades again as if that was the most important thing in the world. The city has modified parade routes because of a lack of staffing among NOPD, NOFD and EMT… due to CoVid issues.

Unless the spread is terrible the city isn’t shutting down the celebrations. We need the money.

We all need the money.


M

ore water. More reflections. Even as we dry out, some things don’t change. I think most people have power. Not everyone has internet, which doesn’t seem important but in the modern world it is.

We use Cox. They don’t know what they are doing. They sent us a long email apologizing for the lack of service and yada, yada, yada,

That’s great, but our service returned about an hour after our power was restored.

I guess we are lucky.

The house suffered some damage but it is in the process of being repaired. Compared to our neighbors we did pretty well.

Now it’s time to help where we can.


Never more.

R

escued from my archives.

I found this picture while I was looking for something else. That’s sort of the way I make pictures, on the way to some place else.

The funny thing about the picture is that the subject doesn’t exist. Not anymore. It was a designer’s idea as part of the landscaping of a new venue.

The venue is all angles and made of metal. I suppose bamboo made a nice counterpoint, but the it was planted on the hottest side of the building in really dry soil.

I photographed it the day it was planted. Two weeks later the bamboo was dry and starting to die. Two weeks later there were broken stalks and little more.

Eventually the landscapers got around to clearing it and planting something else. Some of it succeeded. Most did not because they planted it too close to the artist driveway. Big touring trucks rolled over it again, again.

Oh well.

S

o, while I was working on this post I was listening to a new record by Los Lobos called, “Native Sons.”

It’s all covers.

That doesn’t sound great does it?

But, in their hands the songs are better than the originals. Better yet, I can sing along to most of it.

I can’t sing the two Spanish songs which is my fault for listening to my teachers in high school. They said take Latin. It’ll be fun and prepare you for college.

I never once used Latin in college, but I could have spoken Spanish in a lot of places.

Oh well.


Inside out.

W

hen I awoke, I was feeling confused. Something was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.The feeling passed. I let it go.

It came back when I started working. I still couldn’t place it.

I played some music. Music is magic. I takes me to other places. It inspires me. It centers me. And, if I’m lucky, it clarifies my thoughts.

That’s what it did.

I don’t know why I selected an album called “Age of Miracles,” by Mary-Chapin Carpenter. The backstory is complicated. It was her first album after leaving Columbia. It was her first album after she recovered from two pulmonary embolisms. It was the first album after her divorce.

I don’t listen to it often because she seems confused. She’s trying to break free of her country reputation, yet she falls back on it. She does sing one of the saddest songs in the word called, “I have a need for solitude.”

But, it caught me. I realized what I was missing.

And, it made me very sad.

I’ll work small to larger. You’ll understand. And, you’ll understand this picture.

I miss Sophie Rose terribly. We have other dogs, but Sophie chose me. I was her person. I feel like I let her down. I know that I didn’t. After a lot of reading, it’s very possible that she had been coming to her end for couple of months. It was just her time. But, that may give me a pass, but it doesn’t feel like it.

Then, there is my CLL, a blood cancer. It likely will never do anything terrible to me. But, it limits me. My CoVid-19 vaccinations do nothing for me. That means, no festivals, no second lines, no Indian events, no Mardi Gras.

If that isn’t depressing enough, we are back to wearing masks because our infection rate, like most of the country has grown by about 150%

Being in my condition of combined illness, sadness and depression makes it very hard to work. I can’t seem to let a picture find me and I can’t work. I have all sorts of projects that could take the rest of the year or more. You’d think I’d be excited to get started.

What do I do? I sleep.

When I finally start my day, I find everything to do but work.

In a word, it sucks.

I wish I knew the path. Maybe I’ll get lucky and stumble onto it. I doubt that. It’s bigger than letting a picture find me. It’s all of me.

Writers give advice about being authentic. Is this authentic enough?

F

or us, down in the swamp, late summer is already approaching. It’s gotten hot. It’s turned dry.

Stuff is dying.

I took a walk with a couple of the other dogs. They need walks too. I was looking for a picture. Or, was open to letting one find me.

No pictures because there is no color. The flowers die in the heat.

It’s also hard to stay motivated because after five minutes you are too hot. After ten minutes your shirt blooms with sweat.

The dogs felt it too. They were ready to turn around after they did what they needed to do.

So, that’s the technique. Walk until you can’t. Make a picture of whatever you see and return home.

The picture suits my mood.

In that way, I suppose I was successful. Or, not.