Summer rain leaves droplets on the leaves.

S

ummer is our rainy season. We had an amazing amount of rain this month. They said we had five times the normal amount of rain for a July. That’s something for us because July is very wet.

The constant rain gets a little bit tiresome, but it does yield scenes like this one. It’s a combination of nature and magic.

Look at those reds. Those blues. Those purples. Those colors are something aren’t they? They look like fall colors except that it’s July.

It’s all about the water.

I’ve written a lot about the lack of water in most of America. We don’t have that problem. We have another problem. We have too much water. We don’t take drought seriously. When we talk about it, it’s after ten days of no rain.

It’s a matter of perceptions.

Those of us in the Gulf Coast States don’t think about the lack of water when we should be thinking about how to distribute our water to people living in the west.

It’s a funny thing. I was thinking about all of the infrastructure proposals and I haven’t seen anything about water issues. Nothing. Zero. Zip.

Well, I have a proposal. Let’s move some of our unneeded water west. A series of giant pipes might be cost prohibitive, but maybe not. Not if we want fresh fruits and vegetables.

Or, maybe there’s another way. I’m not the smartest person in the room but others are. It’s time we start thinking about this. It’s time for those smart folks to get going.

After all, we all get thirsty.

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his picture didn’t take much post production. I made the picture as I saw it and added a bit of color that the sensor couldn’t seem to see.

But, I only added enough color to make the photograph look like the scene that caught my attention so that you can see it too.

I had to be careful because these rich blues, reds and purples are some of my favorite colors. My natural inclination is to take them too far.

That’s the trick sometimes, knowing when to stop. Maybe that’s the trick with everything in life. Knowing when to stop.

I dunno. I’m just thinking out loud.

Maybe I should stop.

O

ne more thing. You knew it. I couldn’t stop.

Seriously, after a lot of thought, I’m staying here on WordPress.

The basic community building theory is what’s most important. I know a lot of you here. I can’t build that again, because it’s only taken me eleven years.

There’s more too. It’ll take a lot of time to build anything. Time is short these days. Time is expensive. No matter how you use it.


Wet sidewalk and flowers.
Wet sidewalk and flowers.

Yes. The rainy season.

About this time of year we have real interesting days. They are mixed with bright sunshine, clouds, heavier rain clouds, a hard-hitting storm and then the cycle repeats itself. Sometimes, the rain falls in such specific areas that one side of a street is dry, while the other side sees rain falling so hard that a flash flood warning could be announced.

That’s The Gulf Coast for you. In the summer.

This is all good news. The very hot days of early summer have left us. Those 115 degree days are gone. They may come back in late August or September. But, our temperature for this time of year is fairly normal with ground readings in the high-80s and the heat index in the mid-90s. Of course, it is also quite humid.

The rain. We’ve had a little everyday. A hard rain but not for very long. That keeps stuff green and does lower the humidity briefly. It helps make pictures. The sidewalks and pavement sort of glow. Subjects, like these flowers, are washed and sparkle.

For me, this means that there are pictures where normally there might not be. Yes. I have to do a little heavier post production to make the picture look like my brain saw it. But, what did Ansel Adams say? “The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score and the print, the performance.”

This kind of summer light does one more thing. It expands my photographic time. The time I take pictures. You know me. I prefer to work at the ends of the day. The time when light and shadows turn even the most mundane subjects a little magical. But, on days like these, the light changes minute-by-minute. Magic happens all day long. And, that’s a lot of fun.


We were walking back from listening to Caroling in Jackson Square when I noticed that most of the carriages were empty. No people riding in them. Very odd for a night when so many people were in The Quarter. I thought about stopping one.  But I’ve done this a few times. The picture doesn’t really work from inside the carriage. So, I decided to walk alongside one of them and just shoot. This wasn’t the best idea I’ve had since I’ve been struggling with some tendonitis in my heel. You know. My Achilles heel. My doctor told me the best thing for it was to stay off of it. For six weeks. Yeah. Like that’s going to happen. So, it lingers. However, since I’ve mostly been sitting around over Christmas, it seems to be getting better. Imagine that.

Anyway. I limped after the carriage and made this picture. I wish I could tell you more about how I actually made the picture. But, I went on pure instinct. I was working in manual. No fancy auto or program settings. Just looking. Seeing the light. And sort of guessing what it would take to blur the carriage. I did add a bit in post production. In addition to Photoshop, I use a plug-in called OnOne. Actually, it’s more than a plug-in since it can work as a completely standalone app. Alternatively, it can be installed in Lightroom. I believe that originally it was designed for portrait and wedding shooters. But, the software has grown quite a lot and now guys like me use it. It’s really my go to image improvement software. And, trust me. I’ve experimented with a lot of different software.

What did I do? I mostly use OnOne to enhance what is already there. I made this picture warmer and more golden. Hopefully, I made the image  a little aspirational. That’s the fifty cent word for making you want to be there and take part in what I did. Well. Not the limping part. That hurts. Oh yeah. At the request of someone — Jasmine — who comments here frequently, I made the file bigger. Enjoy it. Royal Street


I’ve written a lot about second line parades. I’ve shared pictures that were mostly little snatches, snapshots and scenes of Uncle Lionel’s various second line parades. But, what does it look like when you stand back? Well. It looks like this… 


So. I was looking for a higher angle to photograph the beginning of Uncle Lionel’s second line parade. The best I could do was stand on the stoop — or porch, to some of you — of an old abandoned house. Yes. There are plenty of them in New Orleans. Some 62,000 by last count. While I was there, this young guy asked if he could share. Of course he could. He also agreed to add something special to my crowd picture. Here he is now. 


Finally. The weather was good. The skies were a little cloudy. The sun shone most of the time. It was really hot. The people were ready. It was time for Uncle Lionel to take his final ride. He left the funeral home to a slow jazz dirge of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”  The people walked with him. The bands cut loose and walked with him. It was not sad. It was about celebration. It was about life.

I was ready too. For me, it was about a lot of things. I guess it worked out. I made about 600 frames and kept 73 in my first edit. That’s a lot of selects for me. I haven’t worked the images through my second edit except to pick one picture for this blog. Too many pictures to post at one time and I’d like to think that I’m a little better editor than that. Finally, I found it. The picture that is in front of you. It seemed to sum up the whole day. No sadness. Celebration. Laughter. A huge smile.

In the coming days and weeks I’ll post a few more from this day.


They say if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Or, something like that. Between the horror in Colorado earlier today and the weather, I think everybody’s plans changed for Uncle Lionel’s jazz funeral. Sheesh. I’m not even sure what to write because my feelings are so mixed. A jazz funeral is supposed to be a glorious celebration of a person’s life . But, the rains came. And, the streets of  Treme flooded with at least a foot of water. That turned out to be a little thing. We, in New Orleans, are used to stuff like that happening. We deal with it. But, I awoke to the terrible news coming from Aurora, Colorado. That dampened my day before I even got wet in the never-ending rain. I did the only thing that I could do. I made pictures. I did the best I could. Why? Those who know me best, know that I say, “the work is the prayer.” Have a look at the pictures.


This is it for Uncle Lionel’s second line parade. The material is getting to be a week old.

Hopefully, I’ll make a few good pictures at his jazz funeral and last parade, tomorrow.  And, if all goes well,  I’ll be efficient in post production. If all that works, I’ll post something on the same day that I actually made the picture. But, it’ll be a long walk and I’m a little bit tired. A lot of little pieces and parts have to come together. We’ll see.


Here’s a lesson for anyone who wants to make a portrait of somebody whom you don’t know. But, first a little about how I like to work. I don’t hide. I don’t make sneaky photographs. If I can, I ask if I can make a picture rather than just take it. That doesn’t always happen in crowd situations like Mardi Gras, or Jazz Fest or even on a crowded street. But, even in crowds sometimes I get lucky enough to actually engage my subject even if it is just for a few seconds.

This picture is an example of that.

As the second line parade for Uncle Lionel began there was a scrum around his brother, Norman. Photographers were trying to get a clean angle on him. His family was trying to protect him. And, his neighbors and very local parade goers just tried to clear a path. I made a few pictures that were more-or-less scene setters, but I wanted to make a portrait in more of my style with a wide angle lens. So, I just sort of walked along with the parade until Mr. Norman and I were sort of side by side. Then I looked at him and smiled and asked , if I could take the picture. He glanced up and nodded. Asking works. Especially when nobody else did that.

This is the picture.