At the edge.

I

t’s funny. I meant what I said. I don’t seem to be able to make a picture, or at least a meaningful one. Even this one. It’s just a bunch of old pictures stuck on top of each other.

I have no idea why I can’t seem to work. I’m sure two years of a pandemic has something to do with it. I’m restricted in just about every way possible and yet I have to keep going. I’ve been in New York to promote Norah’s Christmas music. I didn’t want to be there. I’m not so sure that she did either. But, it’s what we do.

The strange thing is that everything makes me teary. I’m not that guy, but even happy music either makes me sad or brings back deep memories. The kind I can’t just get rid of without a lot of effort.

Am I a classic mess?

I don’t think so. I think I’m just really, really exhausted.

Let’s hope that 2022 is a better year. But, I don’t think it will be. The virus rolls on and on and on.

All that I know is we have to start looking after each other a little better. We have to start now.

Peace.


Interstate 80 east of Reno, Nevada.

R

oad Trips.

Road Trips are essential if you want to stay sane, at least for me and a lot of my friends. Kindred spirits you know. I have been to Virginia a couple of times for business. But, we avoided every possible person which wasn’t a lot of fun. I’ll show you why eventually.

This is Interstate 80, eastbound. This is one way home. I like to make circular trips. I started in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Interstate 80 where I eventually turned right on State Route 93. I made my way through Las Vegas until I came to State Highway 95 and kept going until I arrived in Reno via State Route 95 and backtracking on Highway 50.

When I left Reno I took Interstate 80, stopping at Fernley and eventually connecting to Route 50, The Loneliest Highway in the World — they haven’t been to Mongolia — where I travelled to somewhere in Utah and eventually returned to I-40 and home.

All of that to tell you I usually take the long way when I’m on a road trip that doesn’t involve business. Pictures can’t find you is your are speeding through at 90 mph. It’s great to get so far out there that the only communication devices that work are a couple of AM radio stations, or Spotify if you’ve downloaded music to your phone, a phone that won’t get internet or telephone signal. Before you get worried about having an emergency and needing a phone, just think about road trips you’ve taken with your parents. in an earlier era.

The picture was made on I-80. My co-pilot fell asleep so I made this picture on my own. No, the car ahead is not heading toward us. That’s water being kicked up behind it and lighted by the sun.

There was nobody but the two of us on the road so I took advantage of that and drove up the dividing line to get the angle that I wanted. We do something like that in New Orleans to avoid potholes.

Oh yeah.

The rain started falling again. It turned into snow, but not ice. Snow is fine. Ice isn’t.

Remember that. Just in case.


Moody, mysterious and modern.

S

leep. The missing link. I tell you. I’m on a rock ‘n roll schedule. Go to bed too late. Get up too late. Making up for it by taking a nap after breakfast. Then, I’m late to Storyteller.

This has gotta stop.

Don’t tell me to go to bed earlier. I just toss and turn. I don’t want to wake up the house. So, I work or do something less productive. I read. I watch a movie with headphones. Reading is tough. As night turns into dawn the words make little sense. Or, they don’t stick at all.

On the other hand, so many of these pictures get made in the night. Maybe not the original click of the button, but the experiments and post production work occurs then. In the almost dark.

So, that may be a fair trade. Sleep for art.

I dunno know. What do y’all think?

Oh. One more thing. You’ve seen a version of this picture. I was just playing when I made a version that I like better than the original.


Wet and wild.

S

torms bring and leave their own unique beauty. That’s what I was attempting to capture in order to give you an idea of what it feels like when a big storm moves into my neighborhood.

I think of this picture not as a photograph, but as art. Art isn’t often literal. It’s autobiographical in many ways. That doesn’t mean the viewer must agree with the artist.

Oh no.

The viewer brings about 75% of the meaning to the work of art that is based on their own life experiences. You may see something in this work that is completely different from my intent.

As John Lennon once said when he was asked what his music meant, he replied, “Whatever you want it to mean.”

He said more in that sentence than many people can say in book.

It also confirms my own personal belief, that simpler is better.

What do y’all think?

T

his little attempt at art began as another tree picture.

Hurricane Ida brought the look of fall about two months early.

Once I stripped it down to almost a silhouette I started thinking about improvements.

Make no mistake, often improvements make the image worse. Much worse.

I decide to play with layering. This is tricky. It took me some time to find a picture that might work.

There were a lot of false starts. Finally, I located a picture that was composed of rain drops on a window.

It worked well. All that was left was fine tuning and posting it here.


Water, water everywhere.

N

ot talking. That’s what I’m not going to do. Before I do I need an apology. And, a promise from that guy to never darken my door again. Yes. That’s how I can be.

S

ee the scene. Push the button. Make sure the the colors are as I saw them. Publish it on Storyteller.


The rainy season.

W

et. That’s what late June and July are in Southeast Louisiana, wet. If we aren’t getting a lot of rain, the skies are gray and the air is very humid.

So far, we’ve been lucky. The temperatures haven’t risen above 90 degrees except on two days and that was the high. If we didn’t have the humidity, we’d have some pretty pleasant days.

I was coming out of The French Quarter, waiting for a stop light and saw the scene in front of me. I turned off my wipers to let the water build up, raised my camera to my eye and what should happen? A businessman walked in front of me holding an umbrella.

That’s photographer’s luck.

If I hadn’t been out and about this wouldn’t have happened in front of me. There would have been no luck involved. There would have been no picture.

As one photographer says, “If you want better pictures stand in front of better stuff.”

You can’t stand in front of better stuff while you are watching your 72 inch television.

I wasn’t exactly standing, but I put myself in a position to make a fairly good rainy day picture.

Stand in front of better stuff.

O

n the left side I told you my theory of making pictures. Go outside and put yourself in front of better stuff.

That’s my photo making theory.

What I really did was make a loop from the Garden District through a bit of Treme and into The French Quarter.

As I left the Quarter, I drove through the CBD and part of Central City, where I turned, crossed the streetcar tracks and went home.

That took me a couple of hours. I could have driven faster, but what’s the point? I wouldn’t see anything. You know, that better stuff.

I think I made a total of six pictures that I liked well enough. And, this picture that I like a lot.

Development and post production was easy, taking care to sharpen the raindrops.


In the winter.

We had snow. It melted. We had rain. The water stuck around long enough to freeze. We had snow on top of that.

I ran some errands a few miles from home. I came to this street and thought, “Oh oh.” I had no idea if it was just wet or icy. It was wet turning to ice as the day got colder.

Even though I like to say that I enjoy bad weather, mostly because you can make pictures like this one, driving in it doesn’t make me happy.

Even though it’s been a while, I’m fairly comfortable driving on snow. Ice is another story. You have no control. The car slides whichever way it wants to go unless you have studded tires or chains.

And, then there’s getting trapped in icy and snow conditions. With my car if you turn on the anti skid settings, you cannot drive out of a snow drift or ice. If you turn it off, out you go. I’m sure my friends in northern climes have something to say about this.

I’ll tell you an ice story.

My newspaper career started in Virginia. I was married to a woman who is not my wife now. She was a great reporter. As I understand it, she’s retired now. I have nothing bad to say about her. Not ever.

Anyway.

We spent the weekend in Washington D.C. We were headed home on Sunday racing a big snow storm coming from the East behind us. We got to a really steep drop on I-81. At the bottom were two state trooper cars. One trooper had a flashlight and was slowing everybody down.

No problem.

My wife was driving. She applied the brakes slowly. Nothing. Finally a little grab. She managed to slow down to about 1 mph or so. She really had no control. We were right upon the trooper when he stepped slightly to the side and she hit him. At less than 1 mph.

He wasn’t hurt but he was angry. He got to our and started yelling, when he saw my arm holding her back and a terrified look on our faces. When he saw that his anger faded. He understood what happened. He saw us sliding down the highway.

We talked for a few minutes and he told us to be safe.

As I recall that happened somewhere between Roanoke and Christiansburg, where we lived. My then wife drove home. We brought the luggage in. We were exhausted. We went to bed.

When we awoke there was eight feet of snow on the ground. No way to get out until the snow plows arrived sometime in the afternoon.

We should have just stayed in the District

A friend of mine complimented me on a picture that I made in Southeastern Louisiana that looked something like this one.

No, not the scene. The light.

I told her that it is a very hard picture to make because of the light. I also said that the last time I made a picture like it was in about 1978.

It turns out I was wrong.

I made this picture about 12 for 13 years ago.

It has the same quality of cold, silvery backlighting that makes the road sort of shine and drops the edges into a bit of shadow.

Oh okay. I’ve been at this a long time. I’ve been at this since about 1972. Next year makes 50 years.

You can’t expect me to remember everything.

If you ever come to light that looks like this, stop your car, get out of it and make a few pictures. That’s all there is to 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.


The streets were wet.

One of my road trips during the PAD days was to Reno, Nevada. There is a story behind this adventure which I’ll tell in a bit.

I drove from Albuquerque through Las Vegas and north on state route 95. I stopped along the way. I turned a two day trip into three.

I made a huge amount of signature pictures. Most of that was just due to timing. Arrive at a place that you want to photograph in good light and guess what happens.

When I arrived, I was tired, grumpy and wet. The grumpiness was at myself. Nobody else. I checked into the hotel at time when nobody was traveling. The hotel was a pretty good one, but my room cost ten dollars.

The front desk manager took one look at me and upgraded my room without asking.

What a room.

It was one of those high roller suites. It was located on a very high floor so I could see the city. It had a huge bigger than kingsize bed, a 60 inch television right in front of the bed. If you didn’t want to watch anything you could lower it and see the rest of the room. There were sitting areas with couches and deep, plush chairs.

There was a heart shaped couples bathtub in the room. There was a shower for two. There was a wet and dry sauna. And, get this, the minibar was free.

I stayed three for three days. Thirty dollars for all of that.

Anyway.

My parents retired to Reno. They also passed in Reno. They are buried at the veteran’s cemetery in Fernley about 15 miles away. That’s really why I came. When my dad passed I promised myself I’d come every two years.

I’m sorry to say that I was last there in 2007. Fourteen years. That’s too long. Maybe when I feel like it’s safe to travel I’ll go there. It’s gonna be a long road trip.

I like road trips.

If the weather is my kind of weather, it’ll take me a week to get there even though from New Orleans I’ve only added an extra days driving time.

Maybe the fall.

Picturing things, I walked out on the street into the pouring rain.

I din’t care. I was wearing rain gear, my cameras were protected and I felt like making pictures. After all, that was the secondary reason for this trip.

I had dinner in a Thai restaurant that I knew from past trips. I finished that and started walking.

I walked up behind this couple and started making pictures. I never look at my work even when I return to my hotel room. I had no idea what I had until I returned to New Mexico.

It may be superstitious of me, but I never look. Or, it just may be the realization that I can’t do anything about a blown set of pictures.

The take away is that this picture was made in the camera. The only change I made in post production was to sharpen the image a bit.

When the picture is right, it’s right.

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


Into the mystic.

There were days when I drove from Albuquerque to Santa Fe to run errands. Even thought ABQ had to old school camera stores within short walking distance from each other, neither had a great selection of printing paper.

Two stores in Santa Fe did. I’d start my day early, having breakfast out on the road, go paper shopping, go to a nationally known bookstore and poke around looking for pictures. Sometimes, I’d eat dinner on the plaza.

That was always a nice day.

Sometimes I’d head back home to Albuquerque under fairly clear skies like this one, but with rain falling in the far distance. That’s one of the benefits of living in the desert. Long distance views.

If you’ve ever driven cross country, you’ll see this a lot as you get into southwestern states. Sometimes, if the storm lingers and you are driving fast enough you’ll actually catch the storm and you’ll get wet.

Since I enjoy so-called bad weather that was never a big deal. Sometimes, I’d intentionally do it in order to photograph the falling rain.

I’m looking forward to long road trips again. However the virus may still get in the way.

Off in the distance. That’s one of the easiest ways to work if you are a drive by photographer like I am from time to time.

There is nobody near me and nobody in front of me that makes a difference. I could actually make a picture like this without fear of hurting anybody.

I still practice a kind of safety by letting the camera be auto everything and doing its thing. One thumb pushes the button, every other part of my hands are on the steering wheel.

That’s it the technical part of photographing. Processing and editing are easy because, as I wrote yesterday, this is a kind of photojournalism and I don’t mess with the picture.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Stay strong. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs.