I told you. A swamp.


A swamp. Where we live. Well, kinda. Sorta.

A real swamp would likely be very deep and wet this time of year. Most of the real swamps have been developed. Into concrete. But, here and there, you can find some little groves of what came before us. This one takes about ten minutes to walk through.

If I was really feeling my oats, I’d drive down to Barataria Preserve and walk along the wooden plank sidewalk through Jean Lafitte National Historical Park where alligators lurk underneath you, and snakes watch you from above. Jean Lafitte was a pirate. Not only did he serve with U.S. troops during the Battle of New Orleans, but he wasn’t afraid of alligators and snakes. Like I am.

You’d think getting to such a primitive place would take hours. Nah. Forty-five minutes to an hour and you are there. A lot of tourists visiting New Orleans take a tour of the swamp by boat, then drive upriver to plantation country. Between the two, it’s a nice day trip and not all that far from the “big” city. And, it’s really hard to get lost.

The picture. I didn’t have to do much to it. I made it in the early morning sun which gave it a nice yellow glow. But, not that early. In order for the light to penetrate the foliage, the sun had to get high enough to find the right angle to do its work for me. That’s it.

One more thing. If you take a swamp tour by boat, the guide usually has a couple of chickens that he or she bought at the local Wal-Mart. Cold. Not alive. The chickens are tossed into the water where gators are known to lurk. That creates a commotion so that pictures can be taken.

At about dusk.
At about dusk.

I suppose that I should be used to it by now.

Big blue skies. Big colorful thunderheads. And, late afternoon storms springing up from nowhere.

But, I’m not.

Even though I have the heart of a photojournalist, as I get older I’m more and more fascinated by nature. No, not the kind of nature you have to hike miles into the back country to see and photograph. I’m getting a little long in the tooth to start doing that now. But, the kind that you see every day. The kind that is so ubiquitous that on most days you walk right by it and don’t see it. Luckily, down here in swampland, some of that more easily accessible nature can be quite dramatic.

The picture. I tend to see nature pictures as wide angle as I can make them. Or, as tight and close up as I can make them. If they are on the wide side, I try to put some kind of small subject in the picture to give it a sense of scale. That unbalance is sort of a Zennish thing. Call it wabi sabi.

Oh. One more thing, a blogging friend of mine posted about math, nature and design. I didn’t say it in her comments, but if you have to think about it so much, you’ll never understand it. The best way to take pictures is to not think. And, mathematical concepts like the  Golden Mean, Fractals and the like are solely a western view.

Think globally. Think holistically. You’ll be happier with your work.

Swampy New Orleans.
Swampy New Orleans.

One thing leads to another.

Yesterday, I posted about swamps and bayous. A friend of mine who lives in New Mexico commented on Facebook that she would like to see more of my swampy pictures because, well, she never gets to see much of that kind of greenery living in the high desert near Albuquerque.

So. Okay. Here’s one. Sorta. Kinda.

One of the cool things about living in New Orleans is that you don’t have to go far to see swamps or subtropical greenery. I made this picture in The Lower Garden District about a mile or so away from where we live. When I pushed the button I was thinking this particular place looked like Singapore before it was completely rebuilt and even the funky places were gentrified. To some people — little toddler people — that big tree looks like something Dr. Seuss would dream up. I can see that too. Of course I always thought that, “Green Eggs and Ham” would have been better titled as “Green Eggs and Spam.” Then it would have a little Hawaiian flavor. No pun intended. Okay. Every pun intended.

A little green.
A lot green.

A little brown. A lot of green. Really a lot of green. Keep reading. You’ll see.

Since I’m really not looking to document New Orleans right now, I’m spending a little time more close to home. Like my backyard.

I think that 15 days of working really steadily burned me out for looking around. Even though I really don’t have to make new pictures for Storyteller right this minute  — I have a big backlog –it really bothers me not to work on my own new stuff.

So. I’m splitting the difference.

It’s pretty amazing what you can see if you just look. How many times do you walk past the things in your neighborhood and not even think twice? Or, in your yard? Or, in the parking lot where you just bought groceries. Look very closely there. I found four $20 bills this afternoon. Nicely folded around each other.

$80. I’d be bummed if I lost that money. My first instinct was to go back into the store. But, how do you identify money? “Oh yeah, sure. Those are my twenty dollar bills. I’d know them anywhere.” Charity, you say. We already did that last week. For a lot more than $80. One of these days, I’ll tell you. But, charity is best done anonymously.


Storyteller is automatically distributed to social media sites. That’s great. I have no idea who sees it on Twitter or Google+ (which I’ve pretty much given up on) or Pinterest. But, I do know that Facebook pretty much limits who sees new posts. Only about 20 to 33% of the people who are “friends” see new posts. It’s a math thing. I have no idea what trips the switch.

I tested this on Saturday. Remember the backlighted leaves floating in the swimming pool? A lot of you liked it here. It’s probably on my Instagram feed located to the right. But, on Facebook… nothing. I reposted it through Instagram to Facebook. Guess what? Lots of likes yesterday. Lots of comments, too.

I suppose I could post directly to Facebook, which might help. But there are issues with that. Copyright issues.

Anyway. The picture. I’ve been playing with a macro lens. I’ve had macro lenses since the dawn of time. I’m not sure why. I really don’t use them that much. It’s not really how I work. This picture isn’t exactly macro because it’s not as close as it could be. But I like nature’s design. Yes. There’s a lot of post production going on. I’m experimenting.