Nothing but motion.

Lemme tell you a story about us old folk.

There is a movement afoot in the Millennial world to attack us old folk. They have a new hashtag and general comment. If they don’t like what you say, they say, “OK Boomer.”

Ageist much?

Last night I was scrolling around Twitter when when of the Parkland kids (the survivors of the mass high school shooting in Florida) popped up and said it to a bunch of people. I chimed in and asked about her ageism. This started a spirited discussion between me and about 9 others. Not fair odds… for them.

One of them is forty years old. A quick Google review showed me that she is a freelance writer who has been published in some impressive editorial places. You’d think she wouldn’t want offend anybody because she wants the work. She attacked me every way that she could. When I tried to explain something to her in a reasonable manner, she said I was crying. Arguing with a stranger on social media will never make me cry. She gave up when I laughed at her last three comments and asked her not to be angry.

Then comes a young photojournalist who found some of the work I show here and attacked that. More Googling. He actually covered some big news stories reasonably well. I said that. He kept attacking my current work. I finally said that when I was young I did what he did, but as I got older I actually want to earn a living with the ability to support my family. He didn’t get that. He also didn’t like that I started my own hashtag. OK Kid. I said, alright I won’t use that for you… son.

Old folks boogie and boogie we will.

I blocked them all. I removed all of my tweets. And, washed my hands of them.

I tell you this because I fear we have a battle brewing. Millennials are having a hard time making it. Between high college loan debt, the high costs of housing in the cities in which they wish to live, and the cost of transportation, they can’t get enough money to do what we did. And, based on other comments, they really think working isn’t the way to go. They want to experience stuff. So did I. I found a way to make clients pay for it.

So how is this the Boomers fault? I know their thinking. I’m not buying it.

Work together if you want something. Don’t attack me. Respect me. I just might have something to teach you.

Don’t claim that all the disrupters are great. Air BnB destroys local neighborhoods. Uber treats their drivers horribly. Lyft too. Spotify is fine if you pay for it. It’s a good way to test new songs. It’s a horrible way to listen and it takes money out of musicians pocket.

I have friends who have thought about this stuff far more than me. They say it is all here to stay. They are probably right. It’s easy. Easy doesn’t mean better.

That’s my story.

The picture. Yeah, I know. It’s well buried. Returning to Standard Time is good for me. Not so much for the dog who sees stuff. She ate two dinners last night because she was hungry at the wrong time. When we went out for our late afternoon walk she looked around and seemed a little confused by the coming darkness.

But, I had a blast.

I photographed everything and anything in the low autumn light. I made this picture. I was going to hold it for a few days, but after being attacked by a young photojournalist for posting work like this, I thought why the hell not? OK Kid.

Heh.

Oh, about those Parkland kids. I followed a lot of them on Twitter. They were going to change the world. I was rooting for them. It pains me to say that most of them have reverted back to who they were — who they should have been — teenagers.

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My view of nature.

Art.

Art seems to be mostly about the viewer. I can put out all of myself into a picture. Unless it strikes you in a way that touches your own experience my work could be meaningless. To you. That doesn’t mean that I should stop or change how I see, to please somebody else. That’s creative death. A better approach is to just keep going, to change as I evolve. That’s what this picture is about. It’s my art. It was made while I was out walking. It was somewhat accidental. But, when I was looking at it, it appeared to be anything but accidental. I spoke to my vision. My intent.

They say that you “can’t see the forest for the trees.” I say that you can. And, that they move if you want them to move.

The image was accidental because I was in a hurry and didn’t let the shutter finish while I was moving.

Anyway.

To me this is a painted photograph except that I barely did anything in post production. All the heavy work of making a photograph look as it does was done in camera. Or, in this case, in smartphone.

Have a happy day.


I seem to be in the middle of things. 

In the middle of things.

You know where that’s where I like to be. Don’t think twice. Unlike a second line, when you get jostled around, this is a little more dangerous. I am very respectful of trains in all their forms. Even our cute streetcars. As it  got a little closer, I retreated back beyond that streetlight pole.

Then, I had to dodge cars.

Not really. You can see there is nothing coming.

The picture. It’s about light, energy, power and motion. Often times power is best shown visually with motion. It looks like everything is in motion. Trees, cars, houses. If I wanted this to be a perfect picture, I would have used a tripod. Again, you know me. Perfection is for angels.

I stood there and let the vibration of the passing streetcars make me vibrate. That’s one way of getting you — the viewer — there. To help you to feel what it’s like when a streetcar passes closely.

It’s Monday.

Enjoy.


Lights in action.

Driving.

Motion. Movement. The combination of others moving and my own motion helped to create some kind of impressionistic art.

And, a lot of Ws.

I reckon that the Ws were created by NOLA’s potholed streets. Hit a hole and down the car goes. So too, with the other cars around me.  Up. Down. Up. Down.

Anyway.

I was out looking for pictures one evening when I decided to go from the Garden District to the French Quarter. To do that I had to pass through the CBD. Central Business District. That’s where I ran into this pack of cars. And, a bus. I wasn’t really following them. But, they were in front of me.

I took advantage of the situation. That’s what my version of street photography really is about. Opportunism. And, luck.

If I had chosen some other profession, I’d probably be rich by now. I’d have a very easy life. What would be the fun in that?

Oh. NSU. A song from the legendary band, Cream. “Driving in my car, smoking my cigar, the only time I’m happy is when I play my guitar.”


Motion on Royal Street.

All motion.

For years I made a career out of pictures like this one. Motion. Movement. Energy. It wasn’t hard to do. About 1/4 second at f/5.6 and I’d make a picture likes this one. But, that was the film days.

When digital photography came into being sharpness was everything. That’s why mega pixels became a big marking tool. That’s why faster and bigger lenses became a thing. That trend continues today. I switched to mirrorless cameras because I liked their small size. The first lenses were small too.

Today? Not so much.

Lenses are huge. They are fast. They are sharp. But, they defeat my purpose for switching to mirrorless bodies. I want small. I want unobtrusiveness. I want to blend in with the people around me. For me, bigger is not better.

Anyway.

It’s been a long week. I’ll leave you with that.


Once upon a French Quarter parade.

This isn’t that.

I was going to talk about New Orleans culture, but a fire got in the way. You know where. In Paris. France. Notre Dame burned. Early on, it looked like it might be a total loss. Now, we know it’s not. Already 400,000,000 Euros have been pledged to its rebuilding.

Just as important, after reading a long comment from a researcher who studies Notre Dame as well as other Gothic structures throughout Europe, I know that there is a cycle of boom and bust for the cathedral. For instance, the steeple that fell was built in the 19th Century. At one point, it was derelict and restored. Of course, the medieval wood is mostly gone, and the roof is cinders, but most of the art is safe. The walls are safe. And, the bell towers are intact.

It likely will be rebuilt again. In 100 years, people will be talking about the fire of 2019 while they are looking at it.

However, yesterday’s sadness was about more than the burning of what amounts to a Catholic Church. 856 year years of history was being stripped away. The heart of a city was burning. Art that should never die, was thought to be dying.

The core of the matter was something was burning. In many ways, the fire was a symbol for the past few years of upheaval and violence. For, the nasty turn to the right-wing. For the hatred of people not like ourselves. And, something even more than that. I cannot put my finger on it. But, it hurt. And, it scared me.

It may be because I live in a French city. After all, New Orleans was founded by the French. True. The French Quarter actually looks Spanish. That’s because when the city burned for the last time, it was the property of the Spanish who rebuilt it in their architectural style. But they city was split, for a time between The French and The Americans. That’s what Canal Street is about. The middle of the neutral ground was the boundary between the two countries.

Never-the-less, I feel better today knowing what’s left and what’s to come. What’s to come is elastic and flexible. Something we all need to be if we are going to make our way through the challenges of the future.

The picture. That’s what you really came for, yes? It’s a parade through the French Quarter. I chose to leave it even after the terrible news of yesterday. After all, that’s what we in New Orleans are about. This is one of those F8 and be there pictures. Except it was more like f 2.8 and I almost got run over. More than once or twice. Oh well. Whatever it takes, right?

 


Experimental trees.

A Sunday picture.

An experimental picture. A short tale. The Indians await.

I made a picture of trees as I often do. At this time of year they are about rebirth. And, nature’s cycles.

I did some gentle post-production. The picture was fine. I decided to play. To tinker. I turned a vertical picture on its side. I added the original vertical picture to the horizontal version. I adjusted everything. And, turned it back into its original vertical version. All of that resulted in sort of a sweeping motion by the tree. A sort of weird energy. That came out of my head.

That’s how I did it.

I used Snapseed because I made the picture on my phone. I suppose you could do it using editing software. It would be a lot more complicated. Because I am basically lazy I chose the easiest path. I’d rather spend my time making pictures.

Speaking of that, it’s almost time to photograph Mardi Gras Indians. Or, as they say Black Masking Indians wearing pretty, pretty suits.

Happy Sunday.


What catches my eye. 

Motion. Color.

Those are a couple of things that inform my photography. It doesn’t matter whether the subject is a Mardi Gras parade, as you see in this picture, or if it is some other subject like a city at night. Sure, making tack sharp pictures of a city is one thing, but showing the city alive is quite another.

Both have a place in my work. I’m a storyteller. A complete story has both kinds of imagery and everything else in between.

But.

Motion and color catch my eye first. In many ways, I should shoot video. Unfortunately, I’ve never been attracted to that process. Unfortunately? Yes, because that’s where the money lives. You don’t have to be a big time film maker to triple your income if you switch from stills to video.

I’ve thought about it. But, doing it in a way that actually is useful to somebody else  really is the word I just used — a process. More equipment. More investment. More editing. Much more time. In many ways it is the real life study of the phrase “you get what you pay for.”

Anyway.

I try to make still imagery in a way that gives you a taste of the color and motion that I saw. Yesterday I posted a picture that pretty much illustrates the decisive moment. Today, this picture shows you how I arrived there. What I saw. What I felt. Same subject, made in a very different way. I wonder which you like better. For me, it’s this picture. It’s the energy of Mardi Gras. The energy of a parade. And, the energy of young adults doing what they enjoy. Playing music while participating in a yearly event.

I’d like to tell you how I made this picture. But… the best I can do is to tell you to slow down the shutter speed to at least 1/8 of a second. Close down the f-stop to at least f8 or maybe even f11. Then work away. Don’t chimp — look at your camera’s monitor — and just keep looking, seeing, and photographing. When you get home you might have something that works. Something that you like. I’ll tell you one more technical thing. Working this way insures that your image won’t have noise in it.

 


Dancing.

Mardi Gras Parades.

All about motion. Movement. Energy.

Often, it’s hard to show that. Motion is thought of being better portrayed on video. I don’t make videos. I do it using still cameras. I’ve done that since the days of film. For a time, I made my career on that.

The trick is to find something that’s recognizable and keep that somewhat sharp. Like a face. With a big smile. With laughing eyes.

I don’t do it as much because in the digital age, everybody thinks the picture should be sharp from front to back. That’s too bad. I find intentional motion blur to be one of the most interesting parts of a photograph. There’s many ways to do that. One, easy way, is to focus on something that doesn’t move, use a slow shutter speed and let things in motion pass through the picture.

That’s not what I did.

I allowed the subject’s natural motion meet my natural motion and create another kind of painterly motion to take place. Because the picture was made at night, all I did was stop down and let the shutter speed take care of itself.

As far as presenting pictures from Mardi Gras goes, I’m not going to try to show them in chronological order. Instead, I’m grouping them by photographic subject matter. I’ve been lucky to have made really good shoots. There is too much material to present the pictures by parade. Yesterday’s post of ten pictures was way too much. It was hard on me to do the prep work. It was hard on you to work your way through so many images. There is one blogger who posts a lot of pictures. He or she is proud of themselves when they write something like there are 42 pictures in this post. I usually just trash the blog. I don’t know about you, but 42 pictures is way too many to view. Especially, when it looks like the photographer stepped two steps to the left or right. Sheesh. Cull your work.

That’s not a rant. It’s a pro tip.

New Mardi Gras parades resume on Wednesday. You’ll probably see the work in a week. Heh!