Seeing the flag.

T

his post started down a different path. I was going to post a whole bunch of flag pictures. As I was organizing this page I’ve been listening to an Audible book.

The book is called, “How to Write One Song” by Jeff Tweedy, the founder and front man of the band Wilco. The book is about creativity and what that really takes.

So, I began again.

I thought about America and what we are. We are people. All people. White, Black, Brown, Yellow and Purple.

Purple?

That’s my way of saying either everyone matters or nobody matters.

Here’s a little portfolio for your Fourth of July viewing pleasure. For those of you in countries that today is just another day, please enjoy my work.

M

y pictures in this little portfolio are what I saw on a particular day.

The technique is simple.

F 8 and be there. I go out and make pictures.

I have a pre-photographing routine that opens my eyes and heart and turns off my brain.

The resulting images were made by using that non photographing routine.

And, a bit of photographer’s luck.

Early morning breakfast stop.


Out on a Sunday.

“Life doesn’t wave as it’s speeding by. Better grab on fast and hold on tight. And don’t ever forget to fight this good fight. Here I am.”

It’s a calling.

I make pictures for myself first, and then for everybody else. I’m there for myself but being there for everybody else comes in a close second.

I read something about a woman who was scheduled to get her first vaccination when she learned of a man scheduled for open heart surgery, but he needed to be vaccinated. Try as he might he could not find an appointment. So, she gave her appointment to him. A stranger.

After three miserable years and one horrific year, stories like this are starting to pop up. Don’t pass them by. Just know that’s it’s worth helping each other out.

Besides, what did the late Leon Russell say? Don’t pass by a stranger needing help. It just might be the prince of peace returning.

It’s the first meteorological day of spring. I’d say yippee, but we’ve spring-like weather for a few weeks with a hard freeze in between. The weather yesterday was in the upper 70s or lower 80s.

People were out and about.

Making this picture then and publishing it today seems like a good way to kick off my Jefferson Highway/Levee project.

This is the levee. At dusk during a very nice day. I’m lucky to have been there, sorta.

Opening text by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

This picture is the result of photographer’s luck and good driving. But, not by me.

My driver who says she must not be named, saw what I saw, turned the corner in second gear, double clutched into first gear, turned another corner and came to a stop right in front of the picture.

After that it was easy. Point the camera and press the button. Yes, a real camera. A Leica camera.

This is my yearlong project that started two months late. I can’t be messing around with smartphones and computational images. I want and need a big beefy file.

I have one more picture for tomorrow and then I’m out making pictures again. It feels sort of good after year on the sidelines.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. You know all the rest. Enjoy all the spring light and air.


Understanding. That’s what we all need. Coming together would be great too, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. We are just too divided. We can’t abide a disagreement without hating the other guy.

That’s stupid.

Joe Biden looks like he has a great shot at winning the presidency. It’s more important than I first thought.

It’s true. He likely won’t get anywhere with Congress. But, he can do a whole lot of good rebuilding our standing in the world. He can undo a lot of executive proclamations. Most importantly, he can show us just how a president should act.

For sure, Trump will fight every step of the way. After all, leaving the presidency means that he is open to all sorts of investigations and trials.

At best, he lands in prison. At worst, he’ll be drained of all of his money. The financial people that I read put his true net worth at right around a billion dollars, but some of that may already leveraged.

A few words about…

When I posted yesterday, I had just awoken for the second time. I let the dogs out and I went back to bed. I needed sleep. Man, did I need sleep.

I carry stress a little differently than many people. I internalize it. You’d never know that I was worried by looking at me. It’s there all the while. When it’s time to let it go, I really let it go.

I’m fine today.

I’m ready to do battle. I hope that I don’t have to do that. I fear that when Trump loses, a kind of civil war is going to breakout.

This wannabe soldiers who couldn’t qualify for the military have been told standby by Trump. Lord knows what they’d do. Likely, they’d shoot at the guy two doors down and hit me.

I wish they’d think twice and go away.

I want a peaceful transition. War is nasty. The only thing that ever wins are the graveyards. Covid-19 is filling them up fast enough.

And, that’s another thing. More people are getting sick. People are not wearing their masks or keeping their distance. Unfortunately, this too, has become a political issue. It’s not.

If we should be able to agree upon is that we don’t want to die prematurely. I’m tired of people who are saying live your life, masks don’t help, and it’s all a conspiracy.

Nuts.

So, ends an epic rant.

Where are the Americans? It seems to come to me in a fever dream. I remembered what I forgot. In about 1970 or so, Stephen Still released a song by the same name. It was more country than he was.

You remember Stephen don’t you? He really is a legend. He was a founder of Buffalo Springfield. He founded, with Graham Nash and David Crosby, Crosby, Stills and Nash. As Neil Young drifted in and out, The band was renamed Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

They were probably one of the earliest “super groups.” Later he founded Manassas, which to many people’s minds was one of the best bands of that era.

So.

That’s where today’s title came from.

Since I’m a little blocked, I thought it would be good to continue on with the people who make up our country, or for that matter, the world. Y’all seemed to like it.

I tried to cull my archive into happy people. People showing joy. People celebrating.

Hopefully, you’ll like them.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Be Patient. Hold hope in your heart.


And, so it begins. Election Day. At least it is the official day. Some 97 million citizens have already voted. This election is a really, really big deal. It’s been discussed, written about, polled and screamed about, so there is no need for my recap.

There isn’t much more to say about today. If you haven’t already done so, go VOTE.

For those of you who live in other countries, have good thought for us. As we’ve seen in the last four years this affects you too.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Stay strong. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Be kind.

And.

VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. VOTE.

Many pictures. I started with an idea. I thought I could post about a bazillion American flags and call it good.

And, it would have been.

Then, I thought, what do those flags represent? Me. Us. We. You.

So, on this election day I worked through my Storyteller posts and found these images in my media.

They are, Me. Us. We. You.

We are the people who make America great. We are the people who help the entire world. And we are a beacon.

These are our photographs.


Indian.

The stuidity must go on.

Who in their right mind designed these grids? You cannot even do the simplest of designs with the block(head) system. Where I come from pictures don’t float around on white space for no reason. Pictures stay about a pica apart. I know. What’s a pica? It’s a small measuring unit. It comes from when you actually had to print ink on a page.

I’m pretty sure that from now on you’ll see one picture from me a day. It’s not that some subjects don’t need more images. It’s that I’ll be damned if I’m going to throw away everything I learned in school and in the real world to accommodate some new kind of nothing.

At the end of the day, if WordPress can’t give me some relief, this will be the issue that drives me away.

I have a comment from one of you to which I haven’t yet replied. Essentially, he said that the page looks terrible in Reader which may or may not be the way most of you see Storyteller. I rarely use Reader, but I’m an old guy. That said, it comes down to whaddya want from me? I didn’t design this stupidity.

Pictures

Before I discuss them, why oh why does the first letter of a word move to the back of the word when you use a drop cap. Leave the damn thing where it supposed to be. In the front. Pictures is spelled p-i-c-t-u-r-e-s, not i-c-t-u-r-e-s-p.

Whew.

Once again this is a test. It shouldn’t be a test of the design, but rather the pictures. These older pictures have a new life, except that I’m really not sure how the color palette looks on humans.

What do you think?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Keep your distance (Think motorcycle rally at Sturgis, which has given the U.S. 250,000 new cases of the virus). Enjoy every waffle.


The way it is.

Relaxation.

For most of us the water does it. We get heated up in the sunlight, cool off with a dip in the pool. And, if you are smart you just let yourself float and drift around like this guy. I’ve seen him in the past. I waited and watched, I showed some restraint and some patience. When the time was right, click, click, click.

That’s it. That’s the picture.

Hurricanes and other stuff.

The situation is changing.

Marco has slowed down some. He also appears to be headed to the Texas – Louisiana border at about the Sabine Pass. We may get some wind and rain in New Orleans. The early timing seems to be off as well.

Laura should pass by about Wednesday. The eastern edge of her cone seems to be just passing by the coast of Southeastern Louisiana while heading north somewhere well upriver of New Orleans.

That’s what I know now. At the next NOAA update everything could change. You never know. One thing I learned about is the myth of two hurricanes creating a super hurricane. That’s not true. They bounce off of each other creating a sort of repelling action. That’s a good thing.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Look after each other. Enjoy every turkey club sandwich.


Waiting to start.

I’m sort of at a loss what to call this mini portfolio.

It’s mostly about how people — both krewes and spectators — prepare to roll or catch beads. I call this collection, “Standing Aside,” but that’s not exactly right. I suppose it doesn’t matter. The pictures are of things that I saw during the first couple of days of the Uptown parades.

This is about it for now.

Luckily, there are two big parades tonight night.  The Krewes of Druids and Nix. Both ar great fun. Both roll from the same place, making my life easy. I should be able to make some memorable pictures. Hopefully, that will make all of you smile.

That’s about it. I need to start getting my head on straight. You know. First, I plan. Then, I try to forget everything. The last part seems to be getting easier. Heh!

A little touch up.


Lucky Dogs.

Rain. Wet streets.

The whole place is glowing. Neon. Color. Reflections.

As a wise man once said, “when the weather turns bad, the pictures get good.

And, so they do.

These so-called lost files having been showing me the way. I’m glad that I’ve worked through this little series. There is so much more that I could show you. But, as I say, just because I made a lot of pictures doesn’t mean I have to dump them on you. Sheesh, a friend of mine from here and on Facebook just posted 54 pictures on Facebook. I don’t think I can count that high. Give your viewers a break. Cull that down. Just show your best work.

Lucky Dogs. See that hot dog on a bun looking food stand on the corner?

I participate in a food group on Facebook. It’s about New Orleans food. There’s been a changing of the guard with the admin folks. Now, we have people asking the same old questions, when all they really need do is go to the group’s archive section and search. Whenever somebody asks about inexpensive restaurants in the Quarter, I always respond, “Lucky Dogs.” (Wow! It took me forever to circle back to that.)

The truth. I wouldn’t eat from one of those stands if you paid me. They hit the streets about 11am. When I made the picture it was about 10pm. I’d venture to guess that some of the hot dogs in the steamer ave been there all day. They might not hurt you, but surely they are tough, chewy and don’t taste all that good.

They are a New Orleans institution.

That’s great. But, who wants to eat in an institution?

The picture. F8 and be there, except that it was probably more like f4 and stand very still.

That’s the story. On the anniversary of Elvis’ death. The day when he really did leave the building. RIP Elvis Presley.

 


I didn’t quite make it.

Not because I couldn’t stand it. Instead, I realized that “best of” collections are best done before the turn of the year. Not on the first, or second of January when I said I would return. Instead, I’m back. Sort of. On December 31, 2018. Tomorrow is January 1, 2019. That matters to some people. I’m still on the fence about that.

These are the photographs that I think are my twelve best plus one more. That’s fine because what you call a “baker’s dozen” we call lagniappe. A little bit extra. I think you can figure out which one it is. It’s not the picture directly below, although it is the lone black and white image in a sea of color.

You’ll also notice that the pictures are my people work. Street pictures. Documentary pictures. Photojournalism. They are not my more intentionally artistic pictures. They are not what “the dog saw.” Those pictures are for another time. Another place. These are pictures that get a little closer to the heart of me.

For a little bit of what I’ve been doing during my break please drop down to below the last photograph.

It’s like cabbage.

A daughter’s kiss.

Dancing days are here again.

Big Chief John

In black and white.

Sunset in a special place.

Once in a great while…

Secret garden.

Loud noise.

Waiting.

Smiles.

Jazz portrait.

Rain gear.

So, what did I do?

There are two answers to this question.

Personal stuff. All holiday, all the time. As I said when I begged off, it was about family, friends, neighbors, the guy on the street.

I followed my advice about working in the French Quarter or a second line.

Always keep some one dollar bills folded in your pants pocket. I did that.

Sort of.

I kept them in my car’s seat divider. I gave them to sincere sign holders on the neutral ground. I’m sure they made more money then I did over the Christmas Season, but it was the Christmas Season. Those folks were they guys on the street. Literally.

Professionally.

A lot.

Freeing myself from a few daily grinds allowed me to photograph more frequently and with more focused intent.

When I worked with my not-as-new-as-it-once-was super smart phone I really experimented. I wanted to find its limits. I haven’t yet.

When I worked with real cameras, I focused on what I do in the street. I still haven’t made it to the Quarter to photograph all things Christmas. I have a few more days until the Quarter turns into all things Mardi Gras. Yep. That season is almost upon us.

January 6 is the Twelfth Night. The first day of Carnival season.

Most importantly, I’ve been rebuilding Storyteller into a more fully functioning website. It actually lives here on WordPress, but isn’t activated yet. It may take a few weeks for a soft opening and will continue to be a work in progress over the next few months.

That’s it for my yearly wrap up.

As far as 2019 goes, I hope it will be a “damn sight better than the old one.” That’s a quote from Sherman T. Potter during the old M.A.S.H. television show.

2018, in a word, sucked. But, I’m old enough to know that just when you thought things couldn’t get worse… they do. I hope that I’m wrong. Really wrong.

I don’t make resolutions because I know that I’ll break them within a week. We also don’t go out partying on New Year Eve because when I used to drink I thought it was amateur night. Usually, we stay home helping the dogs get through the noise. We probably will do the same thing. They are fine as long as they can see their people. If we aren’t worried, they aren’t worried. I will try to make a picture after midnight. That sets the tone for the year.

Happy New Year 2019.