Prayers in Albuquerque.

When I lived in Albuquerque I was invited to take part in a photo competition. I usually don’t do those things because often they become popularity contests.

Not this time.

This was, what we used to call in school, a shoot off. Every photographer competed with every other photographer for a specific period of time, an hour in this case.

Most of the shooters were amateurs. For some reason they decided to dog me. I didn’t ever say that this is what I did for a living. I rarely do. But, I do have the photographer’s swagger and with a camera in hand I’m superman.

I did whatever I could to dodge and lose them. Or, if they did find me I’d look at exactly the wrong place. Sorry guys and gals but we are competing.

Anyway, I found this little chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Ah ha. My picture. The statue was backlighted and very hard to photograph. Getting any detail in the flowers was next to impossible, so I didn’t worry about it.

I also made other pictures during the time allotted. Some of them were pretty good. But, this picture was the grand prize winner. It also put me in touch with The Albuquerque Photographers Gallery. They are a co-op. I became a member and for a time, the director.

This picture is still among my signature collection, I usually add it to my travel portfolio when I’m showing it.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient. Follow CDC guidelines.

The biggest technical issue with this picture is the backlighting from the window.

Expose for the highlight and the statue would have been so dark that I doubt I couple have repaired it in post production.

So, I went the other way and exposed for the statue, which is the subject of the picture.

I did what I could to darken those flowers in post production.

I had two other alternatives.

I could have moved the flowers, but I am loathe to do that with this type of work. It’s a kind of photojournalism.

Or, I could have used fill flash. But, this is a tricky location. Make the proper adjustments and the picture might work. Go too far and it becomes blown out. In a small room like this, that happens all too often.

One quick WordPress technical comment. Between yesterday and today they made a change.

Typing is now predictive. Normally I complain about changes in the night. Not this time. This saves my rear end.

The street between two sections of the St. Vincent de Paul Cemetery.
The street between two sections of the St. Vincent de Paul Cemetery.

I had a clever title for this post all ready to go. “Scenes from the Seventh.” Except, I learned the other day that the St. Vincent de Paul Cemetery and the streets I passed through were not located in the 7th Ward. They are located in the 9th Ward. That’s where I took these pictures. The 9th Ward. Not, the 7th Ward. I’ll figure it out one of these days.

There are two things about this post.

One. No rants. Today. No rants. No fools. No fun. Figure that out.

Two. Although you might think I visited the inside of cemeteries again in order to make these pictures, I promise you that I didn’t. Even the angel in the clouds was made from the street. I made a point of staying outside the cemetery walls, even when I took a picture of the cemetery walls.

So. Let’s start with that. The cemetery walls.

Walls like these, usually made of brick, were erected to protect the graves, tombs and markers from creatures of the night. No. Not vampires. Worse. Knuckleheads with spray paint who think that they need to tag everything that doesn’t move. And, some stuff that does. The thing for you to also note, is our city streets. Look at how well they are maintained.

A local altar.
A local altar.

Nope. I still didn’t go in a cemetery. This is in some guy’s side yard. I wanted to show you some details so I worked as close as I could with a chain link fence separating me from the scene. The guy — at least, I think it is a guy — is taking no chances. Yes. Our Lady of Guadalupe is in the center. But, that tannish-brown thing at the bottom of the picture is the top of Buddha’s head. The read and blue mirrored bits are kind of Hindu and at the top, out of the picture, is an old 35mm camera. I didn’t know there is a camera god. Maybe I should start praying to him or her. Think about it for a minute. The camera god is the god of negativity. Negatives? Get it?

Angels above us.
Angels above us.

Nope. I still didn’t go in the cemetery. I promised you. And, I always keep my promises. Sometimes. Or not. That little square bit in the bottom right hand corner is part of the fence at the gate.

That’s the story.

Blessed Selos Catholic Church
Blessed Selos Catholic Church

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe

These are days you’ll remember.
Never before and never since, I promise, will the whole world be warm as this.
And as you feel it, you’ll know it’s true that you are blessed and lucky.
It’s true that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you.

Lyrics by Natalie Merchant, Robert Buck, 1992.

I don’t spend a lot of time in churches. I’m there mostly to photograph them. But, there are some days…

Two Catholic churches. In New Orleans. Lots of them here. The top picture is Blessed Seelos Church. It is located in The Bywater. The bottom picture is Our Lady of Guadalupe and The Shrine of St Jude. It is located on the border of Treme and The French Quarter.

I made these pictures on The Feast of St Joseph. I sort of forgot about them. Until now.


Something lost. Something gained.
Something lost. Something gained.

I awoke this morning with a strange dream. I still can’t quite place it. But, it was something out of my past. I also had a song in my head. Judy Collins’ “Since You Asked.” I don’t what any of that means.  Maybe it’s just nostalgia. Maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s more. I never know about this stuff. I know it started by listening to a new release from Bob Dylan. It’s called “Another Self Portrait.” It’s sort of a stripped down version of his album of almost the same name. “Self Portrait.” It took me back a few years. Well, a lot of years.  It was released in 1970.

Sort of like this old building that I stumbled upon one dusk. It took me back, too.

Even though I once lived in The Seventh Ward, I never saw this place. Or, if I did, it didn’t register. But when I saw it this time, I had to make the picture. After I got out of the car, I talked with a guy sitting on his stoop. He knew why I was there, the minute he saw my camera.  Yes. he knew. This place took me back to New Mexico. You see, that rusty metal portrait is Our Lady of Guadalupe.  There renderings of her just about everywhere in New Mexico. Some are elegant. Some are fine art. Some art folk art. Some are simple, like a child’s painting. But, this is the first one that I’ve ever seen in New Orleans. Yes, we do have a church named after her. It is actually the oldest church in New Orleans. It was built in 1826.  But, that’s about it.

I have no idea why this is here. I asked the guy across the street. He told me that it has always been there.  Always? Well, since he lived there. He didn’t say when that was. I didn’t ask. My head was already locked in on the portrait. But, I know this. The neighborhood was flooded with between five and seven feet of water in 2005. I guess a little investigation is in order. I would be amazed to find out that it pre-dated the storm. And, that it survived.  It’s not something you can find with a Google search. I’ll have to get lucky and stumble on the right person, who knows another person. Maybe, I’ll get really lucky and find the neighborhood’s “Uncle Joe.” Somebody who has lived there for most of his life. He probably won’t say much. It takes time to get to know these folks.

The picture. Well. You already know. F8 and be there. Standing in front of better stuff. That sort of thing. Yes, I did add some stuff in post production. I made the picture a little grungy. It’s something that I don’t do often. But, this picture could handle it. Actually, I think most of New Orleans could handle it. If you open the picture to its fullest size, you’ll see all sorts of stuff going on. I especially like the windows. They are stuffed with pillows. Then there are all those cement blocks. I just know that people normally hang out there. To them, those aren’t blocks. Those are chairs.




Prayer Candles

For those of you who haven’t been to Norther New Mexico, Chimayo is often called The Lourdes of The United States. They say a miracle occurred in Chimayo about 200 years ago. It is a lovely day drive from either Santa Fe or Taos. For more about the town and the area, go here

This is another place that I’ve photographed extensively. I thought I’d share a few details with y’all.