It’s in the details.

There seems to be a little hope these days. There is a little light at the end of the tunnel. That’s if we don’t blow it. We are tired. We are lonely. I get that. But, they say that it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.

So, let’s finish strong. Let’s do what got us to this place one year on. Let’s get jabbed. Let’s wear our masks. Let’s try to keep our distance until they day come that we don’t need to think about this stuff.

Two things come to mind. Well, three.

There is fear that the variants could reinfect those who have made it through the virus. Those who got sick and those who didn’t.

There is talk of another warm weather surge.

Finally, while I was walking the dogs we ran into a woman who I hadn’t seen in a year. We were both very happy to see each other standing.

It was a nice reunion.

Let’s hope there are more to come with family members, friends, and colleagues.

With those who we meet lets stay vigilant. Let’s make sure that we don’t accidentally start some kind of spreader event, super spreader or mini spreader. We don’t need either.

I hope to eventually get back on the road. I keep reading that small bands are playing some club dates. I’m not sure about that. The clubs are broke. So are a lot of musicians. Both need this, but are they ready for it?

Touring acts have other issues, not the least is being able to buy tour insurance. Tour insurance covers a lot umbrella issues. It’s gotten to the point that promoters in England are asking the government to intercede on their behalf and force insurers to underwrite tours.

Of course, this comes from the country of Brexit so who do they think they are kidding?

All of this is the long way of saying we are getting close to some kind of recovery so be patient.

Spring. The time of rebirth and recovery. When I saw this scene I knew what I had.

An old tree, new grass and moss. The placement of the moss proves the point about where it grows, on the north side of a tree.

I saw this scene on yet another dog walk. I take a lot of them. Some dogs want their own walks, others are happy to go with their pack. There are a couple who want two walks a day.

I cover a lot of ground on some days. And, on some days not so much.

Often the dogs are content to find a nice place, sit and watch the world go by.

The picture was easy to make. See it. Press the button.

The real question in my mind was how to keep everything sharp enough in post production. I wanted the woody look of the tree to stand out. And, I wanted to grass to almost seem three dimensional as it appeared over the tree.

It took some work. I may have accidentally created a tool to do that. I’ll test it a couple of times and tell you about it.

Stay strong. Stay mighty. Stay patient. Enjoy all the nice days as spring keeps rolling around.


Someone had fun.

Not my normal location. Wandering from my normal scenes lead me to find these shoes. I have no idea why they were left behind. But, they are neatly aligned as if someone was returning to get them. I don’t know what the soles look like, but it could be that she was slipping and sliding. It could be her feet and shoes got soaked, so she left them to dry in the rainy weather.

It could be the she is a he.

This is a good example of photographer’s luck. If I hadn’t started running errands, I wouldn’t have seen these shoes. Many people don’t believe in luck, but I do. At least in small doses like this.

The second interesting subject in the picture is the moss. After three days of intermittent rain, it is flourishing everywhere. I’ve never seen it in a parking lot, but during 2020 anything can happen. Most of it bad.

However, as we come to the end of what was a very brutal year, maybe it’s time to look forward, to look at the little things that may actually be just a bit good.

I’ll tell you what a really good thing is for me. The background noise has been tamped way down. The current President of The United States is not in my head as he has been for the last five years. Yes, five years. He got into our heads from the moment he rolled down the golden escalator.

His steady drumbeat was brutal. Now I have to seek him out. Don’t get me wrong, he will make plenty of noise between now and January 20, but it’s irrelevant.

Not only is that a small thing, but it feels really good.

Shoes. To me, in my doddering old age, they look like nighttime shoes. Shoes that you’d wear to a night of dancing. But, what do I know? Today they could be worns on the street with jeans or shorts

Anyway.

I found them without the help of the all seeing dog. I was running errands. She was home sleeping or annoying the other dogs.

I did it again. I saw it. I framed it. I pushed the button. The day was overcast so I didn’t have to deal with harsh light, shadowss and contrast.

Development and post production was minimal.

That was it.

Shoes.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy every sandwich.


Testing.

This is the third time that I’ve tried designing this post. It doesn’t help to save your work because it is saved in some other format. So, you start over, And, over.

Some comments.

Anyone who has taken the time to reply to my WordPress-based rants has nothing good to say about the Block System.

I’m going to force myself into some whole new weird kind of design just to use it.

The picture.

I told you how I found the scene. I didn’t discuss development and processing.

First, let me assure that WordPress stepped all over the picture even though I compressed it properly. The colors were much more vibrant when I checked it on my monitor.

Not only was my goal to keep the picture vibrant, but I wanted to keep it tack sharp. It is that, I think.

More design.

More about the design. I created some strange kind of designers grid in my head. Hmmmm.

The picture was made yesterday morning, as usual, on a dog walk. She found the tree. I remembered my old school training and looked for the moss, which grows on the north side of a tree. It was there. Right where Ma Nature left it.

I suppose that there is an app for that now. Instead of learning the actual way to find north you just have to learn to turn on the app.

There’s nothing wrong with that. Years ago I was talking to a professor. He fancied himself to be a futurist. I believed at the time, and still believe that you should learn the basics, build a solid foundation and grow from there.

He said no. Why bother learn all of that when you can just jump in wherever the technology was at the time? Hmmm. He taught some kind of math. I was just photographing him for a newspaper story.

What did I know?

I know this. Sometimes I use the turn-by-turn directions on Google Maps. In order to do that you have to give Google access to all of your travels.

I don’t care. I’m not hiding from anyone.

Mostly, we travel to the grocery story and a few other places. At the end of the month Google emailed me an accounting of my trips. They said that I drove 26 miles. My car’s odometer said that I traveled 97 miles. My car has been accurate since I bought it.

Which one do you think that I’m going to trust?

Sandwiches and stuff.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Keep your distance. Wear your mask. Take care of each other. Take care of yourself. Enjoy every mayonnaise and tomato sandwich. This is the south after all.

.


Everything grows here.

Once, long ago, I asked one of my neighbors how to grow tomatoes in the New Orleans climate.

The guy was an old Creole man. He was old enough to speak French as a mother tongue. He looked at me and said, “Just plant it and leave it alone. Everything grows here.”

He was right.

Aside from pruning the plants a little, staking them when they grew, and keeping the tomato worms away, I did nothing. I didn’t even water them.

We live in a natural hot house. Plenty of water in the form of rain gave them life. The constant humidity helped grow them to be large and full.

The next year, I added jalapenos and basil. I gave away boxes of peppers and tomatoes. The basil grew from one of those little potted plants that you buy at the grocery store into a four foot bush.

That brings me to the subject of the picture.

The tree is a live oak. There are moss and ferns. Two kinds of ferns. The ones growing on the ground are just called ferns. I think. The ones on the tree are called redemption ferns. They thrive on live oaks, but do not draw anything from them.

We live in a region that was swamp land. There are a few ridges that are solid ground or rock, but for most of us, we live on reclaimed swamp. Live oaks grew in the swamp. Some of the them may be older than the arrival of human beings. They are certainly older then the arrival of westerners.

People like me respect their age and do everything we can to protect them. I went so far as to tell a developer to build around a tree. He was from here. He listened.

I’d make the picture a separate component of the post, but you already know about the subject. What more can I tell you, but push the button?

Stay safe, Mask up. Keep your distance. Enjoy every hot dog.

One more thing. In America, try very hard not to blow anything up. Happy Independence Day.


In the shade.

“Give me the greens of summer.”

So, said Paul Simon. I wonder what he would think about the greens of fall. Because we live in a swamp and have two growing seasons, we do get new foliage growing at what is an odd time of year for the rest of the country.

This is an example.

The rocks are in a pile as a flood deterrent. They’ve been stacked for a long time. Nature had her way with them. Stuff is growing over them, around them and they are collecting moss. This moss won’t help you find your way, unless you are digging into the earth to… China.

Green is the color of rebirth. It’s peaceful. Quiet. That makes green pictures a great Sunday offering.

Sunday.

The day of second lines. Yes. I’m going. this one is The Prince of Wales. It rolls on a wide street. It rolls for a long way. Lots of pictures lurking there. It’s one of my favorites to photograph because there is room to move, room to work. The day is cool. The parade starts at 1pm, which for today is the hottest time of day. About 82 degrees.

That’s nothing.

It’ll be a lot of fun. You should be here.


After a hard rain.

After a hard rain.

You find… pictures.

Everything is crisp, bright, colorful. Even the moss is emerald green. This doesn’t last for long. What falls down must rise up in our heat and humidity. An hour or two after I made this picture everything calmed down. The brightness was mundane again. An hour or two after that someone came along and cleared their drain. That’s a big issue around the swamp.

Because we flood so much, the city — meaning we, the people — do whatever we can to keep rainfall from pool and building until we are underwater. To be sure, the city government is complicit in this too. After finding that car in a storm drain, and determining that it was a Katrina car, we know the city hasn’t even inspected that drainage system in fourteen years.

Now that the city has been busted, they are looking at all the main drains. As they worked through the drain where the car was found, the pulled out some 470 tons of stuff including shopping carts, the remains of two more cars, a huge amount of Mardi Gras beads and so on. This must be an ongoing program. The city is trying to find the money to pay for it. Not only have our property values been increased by big percentages — our went up by 65% — but now the city is talking about increasing the property tax. This amounts to a tax on top of another tax.

The funny thing about this is that the financial people I trust say that unless we made capital improvements on the house, the increase in property values is unknowable until we sell the it. Houses in our neighborhood have not turned over, so there is no comparable real estate values. Anything is a shot in the dark estimate.

That said, if our property value has increased by 65% and the city raise the property tax, I guess will find out what our house is really worth.

The picture. It’s the damnedest thing. I had another picture planned, but every time I tried to download it from the picture editing software something happened. The picture went from bright and colorful, to something muddy and flat.

So, I used a backup picture that I made last week when there was a lot of rain. You know, on a dog walk.

I’ll have to figure out what’s going on. I have to know if it was just that one picture, or if the picture editing software having a problem. I’ll start with the original image and work backward.

It’s always something.


Color painted over color.

Just color.

Back to my later origins. Back to seeing what most people can’t see. Back to leading people to their own questions. With luck, I’ll blend this with my true beginnings — photojournalism — and, I’ll make some real pictures along the line of my first summer picture. The boy on his bike with the train passing in the background and the school bus reflected in my car’s mirror.

Or not.

This is simple. It’s pavement. Once there was a handicapped sign painted there. Then, that was painted over with just yellow lines. Now, that’s fading away.  You know. Like time. Fading away.


Not often.

It’s been a while.

I can’t remember the last time I photographed yellow stripes in a parking lot. I’ve actually been watching this one for a while. I started with the striping effort that city contractors did a few months back.

I knew it wouldn’t last long.

Nature always seeks stasis. Mankind wins. Only for a short while. Then, nature’s campaign begins. Rain. Wind. A Slight Flood. Rebirth. Heat. Cold. Drivers parking their cars on the line.

Eventually, the painter’s work begins to wear away.

You can see that in this place, mankind has lost the battle numerous times. It looks like at one time, this place was even a handicapped parking area. That’s the blue and bit of white at the bottom of the picture.

What can we do about this? Nothing. Accept that nature will always win. She doesn’t care. She just wants stasis. See that green growth? Stasis. It’s nature’s way of starting the process of cracking the pavement.

Same thing with climate change. Nature seeks stasis. She’s fighting back. I’ve said this in the past, but we, humankind is just a flea on her back. Be nice and we continue to exist. Keep on our greedy ways, and well you get it. My city, New Orleans, could cease to exist in less than fifty years. So will most of the Gulf Coast. So will most of Florida. Work your way up to most of the big coastal cities and you know the rest. On both coasts.

Me? I’ve retired from street photography. At least from photographing Mardi Gras culture. I’ll still come out now and then for something big.

I’ve got other things to worry about and photograph. You know about the book projects. You know about agency projects. Those are all very important to me.

But, water. In Louisiana we have too much of it. In other states there is too little of it. That’s my next big self assigned project. Gulf Coast water. For me, the trick is how to do it in a way that makes good sense. There are plenty of great photographers starting to do just what I’ve proposed to myself. But, we really aren’t competing. We are building something together. I just have to figure out how I fit in.

What do y’all think?

Wow! “The painter’s work begins to wear away.” I was copy editing this piece. I came to something I just wrote quickly, without thinking about it. “The painter’s work begins to wear away.”

Who’s the painter? What work? “Where?”


Fall moss.

In Louisiana this fall looks about like a normal July.

That’s suppose to change tomorrow. When I get up around 7 am, the temperature will be around 70 degrees.

That’s as high as it gets. By mid-afternoon, the temperature will dip into the low 60s. By the time that I get down the road to Chalmette, it’ll be colder. Perfect balloon flying weather.

That’s what I’m photographing this weekend. A balloon festival. Hopefully, we won’t have too much wind or any rain.

Oh, since the best time for balloon events is early morning or late afternoon towards dusk, I may even have time to work in a second line.

It’s good to be busy… as long as I’m having fun.

The cocker spaniel found this picture. As usual.