What once was.

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s you know by now I change my mind a lot. Whaddya want from me? Heh. I’m an artist. Or, so I think.

I will still do my experimental layering, but those images come together when they are ready. I tried to do a couple yesterday. They were forced and it showed.

I also want to do the black and white thing. But, that’s a lot of research and a very long term project. I just hope I complete it before I’m completed. Yes. It’s that long.

There’s another project that’s been rattling around in my brain. I’m sort of publishing bits and pieces of it on Instagram. I think that I’ll start publishing some of them here.

You deserve to see them if you aren’t following me on Instagram. Or, maybe it won’t be Instagram since Facebook is changing their name, maybe IG will too.

Anyway.

This should be a lot of fun. I don’t have to force myself to make pictures of the same scene repeatedly. That’s never any fun.

But.

Doing that did teach me a lot about discipline and photographing what you see in different ways in order to make the pictures interesting.

So, limiting myself wasn’t all bad.

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here is a lot of little technical trickery involved in making this image.

I’ll tell you the steps of converting this picture to whatever it is now.

This is really a horizontal picture. I cropped it early in the process. It’s a radical crop.

The picture had already been processed and edited, so I had to push the image further.

I stripped a lot of mid-tones out of it. I stripped a lot for color out of it. I added a lot of contrast.

Then, I finally manipulated what little color was left.

If anything, there is almost nothing left of the original picture. It’s all been replaced.

That’s all there was to it.

Heh.


One stop shopping.

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his is the kind of place that we saw on our drive to Natchez. That’s Mississippi, in case you were unclear on it.

Stopping at little places like this were one of the reasons the drive too so long. This place was closed. The drive would have taken longer if it had been open because the owner would talk to me and I would start a longer conversation.

If you want to take pictures in unfamiliar places that’s how you do it. Talk. Talk. Talk. Let them know that you aren’t a threat in any way.

Make your picture, thank them and move on.

Do that 15 or 20 times on a trip and it adds up to real time. On the other hand, it’s worth it. Meeting new people is always worth it. And, you may learn something about the place you are photographing.

It may not be historically accurate, but who cares? We do it for the stories we can tell. And, for this blog. Well, I do anyway.

And, then there was lunch.

We read about a legendary cafe tucked away between Highway 61 and the river. We knew the crossroad, but that’s all. It took some poking around and looking because the cafe was located in the middle of a trailer park.

That’s also the joy of this kind of travel. Even though the hangries were approaching, we had fun finding the place and eating. The food was really good. Sort of southern home style cooking.

Imagine that. Southern home cooking in the South. What’ll they think of next?

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ince there is no technique to making a photograph like this one, other than what I wrote about talking to people, I thought that I would talk about yesterday.

I went to an appointment with a new oncologist. There was nothing wrong with the old one. I liked him a lot. But, he retired.

I kind of grilled him about the efficacy of my vaccinations as oppose to what my CLL did to them.

He looked very carefully at my blood work and saw something encouraging. My hemoglobin numbers look almost normal.

So, in the next week we are going to run a detailed panel just looking at that. If it is as we hope, there is a chance that I don’t have to stay locked down, or at least I don’t have to be quite so strict because if the hemoglobin is near normal then the vaccine will work to a point.

Have a good thought for me.


Legs.
Legs.

You need a break. Constant second line pictures isn’t good for anybody. Besides. I’ll start up with them again on Monday.

I made this picture on my last stroll through The French Quarter. A while back. I haven’t gone there in a couple of months because, well, I don’t want to deal with the so-called bad element. I guess it’s time to go again. The poodle needs to go for a walk in his favorite neighborhood. Safety shouldn’t be an issue. I’m taking a dog with me.  Who is going to defend him? I’m not sure there is a really safe place in the city. The latest trend seems to be armed robberies of mid-to-high end restaurants. During business hours. The patrons got to lie face down while the robbers emptied out their pockets and purses. This is happening in our neighborhood. Sort of. Uptown, at least. Combine that with two days of a boil order on our drinking water, the regular murder rate, the potholes, the broken streets, the streetcars that don’t run and the usual other issues and New Orleans is becoming an awfully hard place in which to live.

Why stay?

That’s a good question. I suppose I’m trying to figure that out. I talk a lot about the music, the second lines, even about a little magic of New Orleans. But, when a great day is when I don’t have to leave my property and hang out by the back of the house, I have to wonder. Used to be that I liked to explore. That’s how I make all these pictures. But, lately…

And, it’s not me. I’m not having a shooting block. Or, a writer’s block. It’s that I don’t want to deal with the usual “stuff” anymore. I don’t want to dodge a pot hole, only to hit another — deeper — one. I don’t want to worry about taking a shower without getting unsafe water in my mouth. Or, stopping to take a picture without wondering what those two dudes walking towards me are thinking. Or, even finishing this post without the power failing. Twice.

Nice little rant, eh?

I didn’t mean for that to happen. I guess, I just read too much local news today. I know what it’s like in other places. And, I know it’s not as third world out there as it is around these parts. Drinking water? Come on….  I posted something on Facebook that I read on NOLA.com. It appears that two of the big water purifying boilers were built in 1927. You have to use broom straws to light them. Oh really?

Anyway…

The picture. Wait until the light is a little golden and walk around. Photograph what you see. Try not to get in the reflection too much.


The things that you see along the way.
The things that you see along the way.

You know what I think.

It’s better to walk than drive when you are looking for pictures. And, even though I get a little lazy sometimes, it’s better to explore than stay in familiar surroundings. That is, unless you are waiting for something like light, a person or a moment. This picture came from the French Quarter. Yes, I go on photo strolls there a lot. But, this picture came from a sort of non-touristy area where I rarely go. Let me rephrase that. I go to a lot of non-touristy areas in the Quarter. Just not this one.

The picture. There’s a lot going on. It’s hard to tell this, but it’s a reflection of a reflection. It’s so reflected that the type in the middle bottom is correct. You can read it. New Orleans. It says.

These things can be a little hard to photograph. It’s hard not to include myself. Try as you might, in a reflected picture you generally pop up somewhere. Even though most pictures are about the artist, I’d prefer not to actually be in the picture.


Stuff. For Sale. Used. Cheap.
Stuff. For Sale. Used. Cheap.

Oh, little mysteries, little mysteries.

Yeah, little mysteries, little mysteries

could be next to you.

— Rickie Lee Jones from “The Evening of My Best Day.”

The picture from The French Quarter, New Orleans.


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Chinatown

Whaddya think? Los Angeles Chinatown or Hong Kong? Well, these pictures are a small portfolio of my Downtown Los Angeles assignment. I’d like to say that LA Chinatown is just like Hong Kong and nothing like the Chinatowns found everywhere else in The United States. But, that wouldn’t be true. San Francisco is probably more compressed which makes it look a little more like Hong Kong. And, New York City Chinatown has just about taken over the entire area around Mott Street and well beyond. With so many Chinese characters all over the place, NYC’s Chinatown really looks like it belongs some  place else. But, it was in the Los Angeles version of Hong Kong that I felt most like I was back in Hong Kong. Of course, if you make the kind of big picture overall scenes that I showed you yesterday, the area won’t look anything like Hong Kong.

But the devil is in the details. They say. Look closely at these pictures. You cannot tell if I made them in Los Angeles of Hong Kong. By working tightly and intentionally keeping any English signage out of the picture, it’s just a good guess. It also helps that most Chinese people who live in LA Chinatown are Cantonese and speak Cantonese… the same dialect of Chinese that the people in Hong Kong speak. One thing to remember, this is sort of an old school Chinatown. The Chinese population in Southern California has spread all over the place.

Yes. yes. yes. These pictures were a big part of my Downtown Los Angeles assignment.

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Chopsticks

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Chinese Keepsakes

These pictures came relatively quickly. I walked throughout Chinatown in less than a day. And, I was taking my time. I think you know what each of them are. Temple candles. Chopsticks. A little tourist store. A spiritual symbol. Wholesale dressy shows. Mellon seeds. And finally, a store that sells both Chinese and Western Clothes. Los Angeles. Hong Kong. The same. The world is a very small place no matter what anybody tells you.

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Icons

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Inexpensive Shows on a Rack

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Mellon Seeds

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Clothes on the Rack


Reflections
I happened to notice the reflections in this lighting store on Royal Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Sometimes, it’s in the details. Sometimes, your eyes just have to be a little more open than normal. Sometimes, it’s nothing more than luck and timing. This picture is a result of all four. The details are found in the one thing that makes this picture. The woman’s face in the bottom left of the picture. She pretty much completes it. The combination of seeing better, timing and luck are all combined into one almost holistic action. The luck is simply that I changed my normal direction of approach. Normally, I walk along Royal Street where the lighting store is located. Usually downriver to upriver. This time I approached it from a side street, almost straight on.  The warmth of the lights are what caught my eye, and the approach allowed me to see the reflection of the old buildings that are located across the street from the store. Everything came together. Sorta.

The picture. Itself. It was a funny act when it came to making the picture. The woman who completes the picture kept trying to get out of my way. She was being very kind to me. And, I kept saying to her, “It’s okay, you’re good, you’re good.” I suppose that’s also a bit of luck. She kept moving and I managed to press the button before she moved out of the picture. That’s what street photography is about. Sometimes.


And so another year comes to a close. I thought I’d do some kind of wrap up. I was having trouble figuring out what to do. I was thinking about posting my Picture A Day project minus one picture for the 31st. But, who wants to see 364 tiny pictures at one time? I’d bore you. Sheesh. I’d bore myself. Then I thought about posting my best twelve pictures for the year. You know. One for every month. That’s a lot, you know. The late, great Ansel Adams said that he felt like he had a great year if he produced ten good pictures. I once tried to shoot five great pictures over summer and couldn’t do it. But, I’ve worked a lot this year and thought I might be able to pull twelve portfolio-level pictures together. Or, maybe not. But, along came WordPress. They saved me. I’m sure those of you who are my blogging colleagues received a set of statistics similar to mine. Numbers of viewers. Countries from which these viewers came. Most comments. Referring websites. Stuff like that. I also was shown a set of pictures that received the highest viewer response. There weren’t many. Four. To be exact. You’ll see them in a minute.

If there is one word to describe these four pictures, it’s confusion.

Why?

I publish pictures on Storyteller for a number of reasons. In many ways, the pictures you see on this blog are experimental. I hope to learn a little bit about what you think. I hope to gain a little artistic direction. Trends change. Styles change. I change. That’s all good. It’s growth. Growth comes from interaction. Enough about that. But, when you see these four pictures I’m sure that you’ll agree they are all over the place. No trend. No identifiable collection. I have no idea…

All of that said. So far, I’ve had a great time. I’ve made some new friends. I’ve renewed some old friendships. And, I’ve learned a lot about many of you. I’m grateful for that. And, I’m humbled by some of your comments. With that…

Happy New Year, y’all. Hong Kong img_1770 nmsfflowers0041 talking3