Once upon a time.

H

ere it comes. Hurricane Ida blowing through the gulf. She is expected to make landfall in Louisiana around 2pm on Sunday, August 29.

Something just walked up my back as I wrote that. A kind of chilling thing. A kind of dread.

Because.

August 29th is the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall at Buras, Louisiana.

I had a bad feeling then, and I have a bad feeling now.

According to the NOAA map and cone, at this time it should actually hit about 75 miles north on a line with Baton Rouge. That can change hourly. The barometric pressure is about 1002. By the time IDA arrives the BP will be in the mid to upper 800s.

There will be a very high storm surge since that time of day will host a high tide.

That should not affect us. That’s because we bought this house in a place that has never flooded in NOLA history. It’s located on very high ground; 6 feet above sea level he wrote with a large dose of snark.

We are getting ready, but we are always mostly ready. The last thing we’ll do on Sunday is close the storm shutters.

We aren’t evacuating because of CoVid-19. What good will it do to leave a place that might get damaged to end up on a place that could kill me?

I’ll post again on Sunday. It’ll be short and mostly discuss current storm conditions.

B

elieve it or not, this is a Hurricane Katrina picture. I made it the next summer after the storm.

I came back to sell our New Orleans house which has been flooded by four inches of water that came through a door in the service area.

floor If the people who did the add-on would have built it to the rest of the house’s height, our home would have stayed dry.

But, they didn’t.

I wanted to have a look around. I made my way to The Lower 9th Ward, a place that was flooded by 14 feet of water and is sacred ground because so many people died there.

I was looking for a landmark house. Seeing it would tell me where to to turn.

I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t there. A stand of bamboo took its place.

Nature always seeks stasis.

I

want to talk about one more thing. Mental health. After the storm and the heavy destruction about 85% of the returnees were on some kind of mood stabilizer. Every one and anyone.

Most of us stopped using those meds because we had, in the words of many psychological practitioners, “Situational Depression.”

Nobody thought about our next phase of mental upset. PTSD. Anybody who has been through an extreme trauma can suffer from it. It doesn’t just affect former military personnel.

It manifests itself in different ways. A photographer I know tried to commit suicide by cop. Thankfully, he’s known about town. The NOPD knew him and talked him down. Drinking reached an all time high in a city that is perpetually drunk. There was a very high divorce rate in the first couple of years after the storm.

On the other hand, when we ran into each other for the first time after the storm we’d greet each other with hugs, kisses and dancing in the streets. And, that was just the men.

Me? Only a kind of PSTD plagues me every year about this time. I start getting hyper vigilant. I start checking our storm plans. And, I start getting clumsy. For a big guy I’m pretty light on my toes. In the house, we all are.

Ha!

Let’s talk about today. I started to make espresso. We have big plumbed thing that is a PIA to use so we bought a little Nespresso machine. I noticed the water tank was almost empty. I filled a measuring cup and started to pour it into the tank. I missed it by that much and the water ended up on the counter and floor. I dropped two full cups of espresso on the floor. I went upstairs and walked into a wall. That wall has been there since we lived into the house. And, so it went.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow.


The greenies.

T

here’s a lot of reckoning and taking journeys through the past going on this house.

We did a lot during the first lockdown. We stared to raise our heads and — BLAMMO — Delta-x and my own issues locked us down again.

This time, it’s deep diving into past. I’ll think about my oldest archives and just laugh. Twenty-five years of shooting black and white film isn’t the easiest thing to organize.

The rest is easier because the slides were edited by Hurricane Katrina. I recently found a slide page that I thought I could save. I removed a slide and the smell came wafting out even though it’s been 16 years. It’s a smell that you’ll never forget.

Luckily, my best work was scanned and traveled with us when we evacuated. These days, my best work is in a cloud. Know the password and it’s with you wherever you are.

The rest of my archive are digital files. They are already organized by date, subject and location. The reason to work through is to find the lost gems and to compress the archive by removing all of the out takes.

Some photographers use the Monica Lewinski – Bill Clinton event as a reason to keep everything you shoot because you never know. One photographer found one negative after hours of looking. That hasn’t been repeated that I know of, except by me, when a video producer need pictures of a murder in the New River Valley of Virginia.

There are two other paths we are taking. I’ll tell you about them tomorrow if I remember. Trust me. I might not remember.

Who I am I, again?

T

echnique? Ha!

See it. Push the button a couple of times. Develop it. Edit it.

Done.

I suppose you can see that the picture is about new leaves growing in a place where they normally wouldn’t except you never know.

Those little green leaves could turn into branches.

If.

The birds and squirrels leave them alone.

But, this reshuffling of old pictures is getting — shall we say — old.

I might actually go outside and wander around. It’s time.

Time to pull up my pants and get to work.


As a dog sees it.

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his picture has taken me awhile to edit and share. I’m sure that you have a pretty good idea of why. This is a dog’s eye view.

There.

That should make it clear.

Anyway.

I made the picture on a day like this. No light. No color. The overcast wasn’t even good enough to make a black and white portrait. It’s late summer. It’s what we expect. It’s hurricane season too. So far so good. But, the season ends in November.

Oddly, New York, Long Island and New England are the target for what was something major. How weird is that?

We had two tropical storms in the gulf. One went to Mexico. The other caused yet more damage in the poor country of Haiti and dropped some water on Florida.

You’ll have to excuse me for talking about tropical storms and hurricanes, but we are nine days from the 16th anniversary of the arrival of Hurricane Katrina.

I’m pretty sure that anybody who has been through it and survived turns a little strange about now. Add that to the never ending pandemic and there plenty of folks who could probably use something very strong to calm them down.

I’m so worn down from the pandemic that hurricane season isn’t getting much of a rise out of me. I’m even thinking less about where would we go in the event of an evacuation. Last year, the pandemic left us with nowhere to run.

It’s a little different this year. If we can get out of the south we’d be fairly safe. Or, at least, safer than last year.

Who knows?

B

oy. Did I do a lot of work to this picture.

First, I made it look like it was lost in the fog.

I let it marinate for a few months.

When I looked at again, I thought this picture needs something. I was wrong. It needed a lot of somethings.

I went to work.

Tinkering. Experimenting. Playing. Changing.

Eventually, something seemed to work. Note, the use of the word “seemed.”

As I look at it on this page, I think “Ugg.” It looks like I filtered it with pea soup.

It’s very possible that instead of publishing it, I should bin it.

But, I’d have to do more work on a day when I shouldn’t be working at all.

After all the laying around for too long, I got going. Now, I really do need a couple hours break.

If it isn’t one thing it’s another.

I’m writing it off to this year. The one that was supposed to be better than 2020, the year of the “great” new decade.

How did that work out?


Trying the sunlight.

A little minimalist.

New growth reaching toward the sky.

I’d talk about the first day of teaching but it would just make you sick. Let me just say this. Everything the school district said to the parents and the teachers were lies, lies and more lies. This will never work. People will get sick. Some will die.

Dying is the only way to get these smart thinkers attention. I can pretty much guarantee that the lawsuits will cost far more than just doing the job properly in the first place.

I’d like to use this photograph to jump into a discussion of going forward in the face of the pandemic, but I can’t. I’ve lost my driving wheel. I’ve long said that the country’s recovery from the virus is a marathon, a sprint.

Oops.

I made a mistake. I didn’t think the first surge would go on and on and on. I now think recovery will be a long slog through hip high mud. There are just too many people who don’t take this seriously.

I never reply to the comments on a story because that’s like asking for a ton of bricks to be thrown on my head, but I do read some of them.

I don’t care whether I’m reading a newspaper, or a tweet or something on Facebook, the people who do the most hollering, who pass on the most conspiracy theories, or the people who are just plain angry at everything, I’m worn down. My hope is shattered.

I’m trying to figure out if there are a lot of people who think in those terms, or if there are a few of them who are very noisy.

Hopefully, it’s the later.

The Picture

Another dog walking picture made in the late afternoon. I was watching the sunlight dancing around trees, bushes and plants. I asked the all seeing dog to stop whenever I saw something that struck my fancy and I made a few pictures. She always agreed.

Lately, my pictures have been fairly simple. I suppose it’s a reaction to the world around me. It’s my brain’s way of making order out of chaos. It’s either that, or I’m sinking into the swamp.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy all the sunlight.


The greens of summer.

the greens of summer.

This is our greenest time of year. Between the rain and the dripping humidity, we have an outdoor greenhouse. Everything grows.

As we roll into August, the wet season dries out a bit. The hot weather really hits. Instead of the low 90s of July, the temperature rises into the high 90s and, maybe even into triple digits. That’s brutal. That’s also the time to lock down everything in hopes of mitigating CoVid-19 because most everybody closes their businesses. No tourist traffic. You can buy hotel rooms for a fraction of their normal price even in a good year.

Of course, you have to do what we do. Walk slow. Slouch around. Stay hydrated. And, walk in the shade.

That’s the secret.

Bars are closed. Music venues too. Most restaurants are closed for August even without the virus floating around. Small shops may also be closed. But, you can wander around without bumping into too many people. And, very few of us. Locals.

Yes. Please visit. We need your money. You need our vibe.

Green Manalish

Peter Green died this week. He was the founding guitar player of Fleetwood Mac well before they became poppy and very famous. He was scary good. He didn’t work for long enough to gain the kind of fame of Eric Clapton, Jimmy page or Jeff Beck, but he might well have been the best of them.l One of his songs was called Green Manalish. Understand now, y’all?

The Picture

I’ve been watching Live Oak sprouts growing in the swamp grass. Finally, I did something about it. You are looking at the result. It is surprisingly difficult to get green to pop out of another green. I’ve been noticing that on videos. The way those guys do it is to turn the green into something fluorescent. Looks silly. Green grass doesn’t glow.

Stay safe, Stay mighty. Enjoy all the green.


Those little bulbish things turned into this.

Looks like a southern winter.

Bright yellow and deep greens along with some unknown flower.

Debra, a blogging buddy, asked if i could post a picture when the little yellow pods turned into something. They only took a few days, but here they are. Pretty little wildflowers.

Wildflowers?

I thought that they were growing out of some Elephant Ears. They aren’t. They are growing very near to them. I learned that by finding some of them growing in the grass by themselves. They weren’t all that colorful and healthy. I think that is because the ones in the picture grew recently turned soil that was mixed with fertilizer.

Partial mystery solved. It’s partial because I still have no idea what they are called. I’ve also stopped called wildflowers by their negative name. Weeds. These are not weeds. They are wildflowers.

Happy weekend.

 


Dog’s eye view.

Woof.

It’s come to this. The dog who sees things wants to write this post. But, she doesn’t have opposable thumbs. So, it’s up to me.

This is what happens when you really need to make some pictures, but the color is gone, everything is green and you are bored out of your mind. It forces creativity. It forces you out of your comfort zone. And, it forced me to look down and work on the ground.

Not quite. But, almost.

I can stand and look down at what the lens sees. I can push the button from there. That’s a good thing. If I actually sat on the ground, that would be fine. But with my leg, hip and back issues, getting up is a whole other story.  I can do it. But, the action is not fit for public consumption. It’s sort of like a crab trying to right itself.

Enough about me.

I have some questions. About Storyteller. For many of you, when you open an email you come straight to this page. Not really a problem. For others, you come to what amounts to a home page. The more that I look at it, the more overbearing and oppressive it becomes. Sure, there are a lot of pictures in a tiny bit of real estate. But…

What do you all think? Please don’t do the usual WordPress/Facebook thing and say it’s great, for fear of hurting my feelings. Fire away. Do you like the home page? Do you hate it? What about the rest?

Because.

The more I think about design and blogs like this one, it’s about you — the reader and viewer — more than it is about me. Hurting my feelings by being honest should be the least of your worries. Making Storyteller and easy to access place that’s fun to read should be the most important issue.

Have fun.


Sunday flowers.

A Sunday picture.

Something pretty and light-hearted.

A Swamp Lilly. As a friend calls them. That could be the correct name. Or, it could be a regional name.

They are hard to photograph. They are found in places where the backgrounds — mostly grasses — are dark. The flower is very light yellow. Balancing the two in any kind of light besides overcast and flat light is almost impossible.

Yes.

You could use a flash, but I usually make pictures of this type on a dog walk.

Yes.

The magic smart phone has a flash feature, but little dog miss is trying to go in one direction, me in another and…  you get it. Time is of the essence.

So.

I make the best picture that I can. Quickly. And, do the rest in post production. Sometimes, even that isn’t enough so I pull and push the picture in different direction. Hopefully, I make something a little unique and different.

Maybe if I went on dog walks with a real camera that might help. You know garbage in, garbage out. With a camera the inbound garbage could be better.

Or not.

Happy Sunday.


Ferns.

Chasing Light.

That’s what I do. Except when it comes to me.  Yesterday evening, it came to me.  It was so strong and calling to me so loudly that I could not help myself. I had to make the picture. It was almost too strong. I had to work in post production to tune down the contrast and the color.

If you know my work, you know that doing that is very rare. I’m usually more color. More contrast. More shape. More. More. More.

Not this time.

After all, things change.

It’s a lovely spring day. I’m going outside.

I have a new toy to play with, er test. A new camera. A baby Leica. It’s small. It has one lens. 24-75mm, which is about my perfect range. Its aperture is fairly fast at f1.7 to f2.8. My working theory is that often when I travel I don’t have enough time to really work, but when I do I’d like to travel lightly. Very lightly. This camera should do it. The reviews are outstanding. Sheesh. No matter what size, it’s a Leica.

Wish me fun and luck. And, that my editing software actually can process the Leica’s files.