Nature’s art.

J

uly is the month that you really know where you are; Southeast Louisiana. This is when your windows always have condensation producing water droplets in the morning.

That’s what you see as I look into the garden. Later in the day this dries out and you can see reality again. Not that reality is such a big deal. These days, like so many of you, I think that reality bites.

I just don’t want to deal with anything hard these days. I avoid them as much as possible. Sleep, once came with difficult, now seems easy to come by. That’s not me. I’m usually a six hour a day sleeper. Now, I am a ten hour a day sleeper.

I’m not feeling fatigued. I start reading anything and pretty soon I start to drive and think, “This feels good” and I’m gone.

I did it yesterday. I started working around 8am. I took a break at 11:30am. I thought I’d read the news. I awoke at 3:30pm. Huh? Where am I?

And you?

T

his is the anti-technology column today.

My new iPhone has a 90 day no questions asked return policy.

I might use that.

I’m not sure if it’s me, or the sensor or the lens, but it makes photo files that are almost unusable.

My first attempt at in phone processing of this image was terrible. Even after turning down the contrast to the bare minimum all the darks where clumped into an unreadable mass.

So, I download a completely unprocessed file and worked on it in OnOne, barely doing anything.

That worked.


Hand print from a different time.

The handprint was just there.

As with most good pictures, the image found me. I didn’t find it. Actually, the all seeing dog walked back here and as I went in after her, I looked behind the tree. There it was. The handprint. It’s nothing odd. It’s paint. It’s weird that it was done behind the tree and away from the path that most people walk upon. It was probably done by a building painter.

I have no idea how long it’s been there since I didn’t know that it existed before yesterday.

The rocks. After seeing them it dawned on me why I am so concerned about the weather around this place. We all worry about the weather and water in Southeastern Louisiana. It’s just inside of us. The rocks are positioned in the way that you see them in order to help water drain and not create a flood. That’s the man made part of the location.

If you look at a map, we are surrounded by water. Unlike many places in the country, we aren’t worried about a lack of water. We are worried about too much water. We dig canals. We build levees. We construct massive drainage ditches. And, sometimes it feels like we don’t care.

We don’t care enough to inspect any of these water containing or draining devices. Hurricane Katrina didn’t have to flood 80% of the city if only the levees had been inspected properly.

We get flooded by rain “events” because the drainage ditches aren’t inspected and cleared on a regular basis. A year ago a drainage ditch was finally inspected. A Katrina car was found partially blocking water flow. That meant that  ditch hadn’t been inspected in at least 14 years. Last week, another one was inspected. Guess what? Another Katrina car was found impeding water flow.

We never learn.

The city wants us to clear the sewer drains in front of our houses so that water can flow through them during a storm. That’s fine. Most of us do it without being told. Along comes Mardi Gras, and the clean up crews dispose of 500 tons of beads and trash.

We never learn.

When will we learn?

That’s the question.


New birth in nature.

It’s the season.

We talk about summer, summer, more summer and another summer. That’s how it is down here. But, there are phases. We are entering the wet season. The rainy season. Hurricane season. The time when we watch each storm as it forms off the coast of Africa.  Many of those storms don’t amount to much. Sometimes they do. Last year, we were spared. But the folks in Puerto Rico, Houston and Florida were not.

You never know.

Be prepared. Or, at least prepared as you can be.

Most of the time, we just live in a hothouse. Plants grow. Skin stays soft and moist. Walking outdoors anywhere drains you. And, electric bills pile up.

But, the hothouse.

You see scenes like this one. Healthy plants giving birth to more healthy plants. I hate to say this, but some of this is an early warning sign. I’m seeing moss and mushrooms in places that I never did. Summer is starting earlier and earlier. Winter, such as it is down here, is getting really cold. Only for a short time. But, still…

I don’t tell people what to do or think. But, that word. Think. Do it.

 


Remains of a storm.

It rains around here. In the summer.

Water accumulates everywhere. If you are out walking soon after the rain stops you can find all the secret places. Except. They aren’t that secret. It’s just that most people don’t see them.

I do.

I photograph them.

I was talking with a friend of mine who was trying to illustrate passages in a book that really resonated with her. She told me that she and her husband drove about 100 miles looking for a “perfect” place which would yield a “perfect” picture. I told her not to work so hard. Pictures reveal themselves when they are ready. Not when you want them to.

The next day she walked 100 feet. There it was. The picture. Was it perfect? I don’t know what she thought. We haven’t talked yet. But, I liked it. Besides, perfection is for angels.

The picture. It’s a pretty nice color picture. When I started experimenting, I tried a black and white version. It called out to me. It was like “a ringin’ a bell.” It revealed itself to me. Not so much when I was actually pushing the button. But, later. When I was tinkering.

Tinker away. All of you.


After a lot of rain.
After a lot of rain.

Rain. Lots of it.

I’m not complaining. We can always use more rain. Besides, it’s summer. Our rainy season. It’s also humid and warm — not hot — which makes everything grow. For a few months of the year we live in what amounts to a hot-house.

During my first year in Louisiana I asked one of my neighbors, an old Creole man who still spoke French as a first language, what I should plant. He replied, anything. Everything grows here. He was right. I planted tomatoes, peppers and some herbs. The only thing I did was separate and thin them. I didn’t water them. I didn’t fertilize them. I just let them grow. By the time they were ready for picking, which is different from ripe, I had so much that I couldn’t give them away quick enough. Sauce was made. Salsa was made. And, still tomatoes and peppers kept coming.

That’s how it is down here.

That’s also what happened to these bricks. Wet, wet and more wet. Moss grew. Just like anything. It’s fair to say that nature made this picture. I just saw it, pushed the button and did a bunch of post production.


New Orleans is a semi-tropical place. Because of that summertime clouds can be especially dramatic.
New Orleans is a semi-tropical place. Because of that summertime clouds can be especially dramatic.

I keep saying that New Orleans is a sub-tropical place. Our rainy season occurs during the summer months. because of that, even rain isn’t falling, we usually have some pretty dramatic clouds appearing in the sky. This is one of those pictures that I made on my way to someplace else.  It was made at about 5:30pm. The squarish block that is located in the left bottom corner is really a hotel. The Marriott. For my purposes, it just provides a kind counter point to the amazing scene overhead.  Yes. I added a little something to it in post production to help emphasis the power of nature.


They rainy season is approaching fast in the gulf coast. But, that never stops the folks who go to Bourbon Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. For the folks in the photograph, it looks to me that sometimes having fun is just hard work. 


In Southeast Louisiana, as it is in all semi-tropical places, the spring and summer months are traditionally the rainy season. Even though a bit of April seemed dry, the region already has surpassed its normal rainfall for this time of year. Rain fell yesterday and even though the sun is shining — weakly — this morning, rain is supposed to fall through tonight. And then… come June first, we enter hurricane season. This will be my first in the state since that fateful year of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hurt New Orleans so badly. I really don’t worry much about these things. We do what we have to. But, it is a bit worrisome since we didn’t really have much of a winter and the gulf waters are already hot. But, predicting doom and gloom isn’t really my style.

So.

This is one of the pictures that will probably cause me trouble some day. Another drive by shooting. It’s just a good thing for me that if you want them to be, cameras can do just about auto-everything.