Broken bayou.

It’s not that far away.

This bayou. This swamp. This bit of water.

It’s broken.

When I first saw this place, maybe twenty years ago, the trees were lush and full. There were lots of them. Today, between industrial pollution and being a dumping ground for just about everything, it doesn’t look the same.

It’s very likely that in the next twenty years, most of the remaining trees will be gone because this swamp will be filled with brackish water from the high tides in the gulf. This will happen because we have lost, and will continue to lose, a huge amount of land from the barrier islands and swamp land. In the past, it protected us from storms, from storm surges, and even high tides.

Soon it won’t protect us from anything.

I don’t expect the kind of help we need to come from this presidential administration. They are mostly climate deniers. They don’t like science. Even with a new administration I doubt that there will be enough “political will.”

Lucky us.

At least we won’t be alone.

Lucky you.

The picture. I made this picture a couple of years ago. It’s one of those “lost” images. It wasn’t lost. I just forgot the proper file in my messy archive. I haven’t been to this place in at least two years. I’ll go back soon, once @NOLAheat cools down. Sheesh. Normally, I describe our summer weather as a sauna. Not this week. It’s an oven out there.

Anyway.

Now and then I get up early. That’s how I made this picture. Technically, in order to get the flare and the starburst I used a very small aperture, probably f/16 or f/22. Normally, that would mean a very slow shutter speed, but not with that sun shining directly at me. I did some work in post production. Mostly, I opened up some shadow areas. And, I made the light a little more yellow.

 

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Into the sky.

Spring’s rebirth.

A seasonal cycle. Now you see it. Now you don’t. We are at a seasonal point that you can’t help but see it.

If you look at Facebook, the keeper of all infinity, your pages will start filling up with spring flower pictures. It starts around now and lasts for a while as our friends in the snowy north start to awaken from their winter slumbers.

Makes me smile.

Since I only look at my threads on various social media twice a day, I wasn’t aware of the melt down of Facebook and their related sites. Apparently, it got so bad that Facebook had to go to their competitor’s site and tweet about the problems.

So many people were frustrated by the whole thing.

As I said to a friend of mine, it was the best day in a long time. No alerts. No emails saying that somebody commented on one of my pictures. No pop ups from Instagram telling me somebody likes something. Just a pleasant day. A lot of work got done. Not just by me, but by a lot of people.

I suppose the young lady who has a big following, and is an influencer on Instagram, and whose mom was arrested for bribing a USC official in that huge scam was upset. While she lying around on the president of USC’s yacht.  She couldn’t make money while it was down.

Damn.

Funny thing about her. She doesn’t care about college. She makes really big bucks using Instagram. That’s her job.

I’m willing to bet that she hasn’t taken the time to look around and see a place like the one in this picture. Sure. She gets outside. For big deal stuff. But, little stuff?

I’m pretty sure that I’m having more fun seeing stuff like this, than any of the people who were busted. Before they were busted. They seem like a miserable lot. They are too busy cheating.

Many people are blaming the parents, coaches and some colleges themselves. They claim that the kids probably didn’t know anything about it. Yeah. Right. That’s why little miss was cruising around on the college president’s yacht.  Of course the kids are culpable.

One more thing.

I don’t know about you. But, I paid for my schooling. Every time. At every university. I didn’t cheat to pass tests. I didn’t claim to be anything that I wasn’t. I just worked hard.

It’s amazing.

How a pretty spring picture could bring all of that up. It shouldn’t. I’ve known for a long time that the game was rigged. Every game. With every kind of rigging.

Anyway.

Look up. Look down. Look all around. In front. Behind. To the side. See what you see. Make a picture. Make another one. Keep making pictures. Until you are done. If you are really good, it could take you one picture. Or, two. If you are like me, maybe 15 or 20. But, I like to explore the scene. I don’t machine gun. No point in that.

You might make a picture like this one. Or, not. Or, a better one.

But.

There is no competition. Unless it’s with yourself. As they say, help a brother out.

 


Autumn morning.

Finally.

Fall looks and feels like fall. Golden light filtering through pine trees on a chilly morning makes it so.

Ahhhhhhhh.

It seemed like summer just wouldn’t let go. We’d have kind of cool day then a warm day. Then a violent storm blew through. Its winds were strong enough to break a lot of tree limbs. In some places there were tornados. But, not near us.

The storm brought cool, dry air. The dogs were excited. I am excited. I really needed a break from the warm soup that we call air.

Anyway.

The picture. I’m trying very hard not to repeat myself. I think this picture does it

If not, well, I made a Sunday picture for you

 

 


Nature’s reflections and refractions.

I looked up. I saw it.

I have no idea what caused that bright streak in the middle of the cloudy picture. I’ve seen a lot of amazing things in the sky. Some have names. Some don’t.

But, that streak?

I can’t tell you.

I can guess. I made the picture in the late afternoon sky after a violent but short rain storm passed through. It’s like that the sunlight was bouncing around water droplets in the sky. It could be seen with the naked eye which is why I took the picture. Sometime these sorts of things reveal themselves in development or post production. Not this time. It was there in the sky.

Oh sure. I did a lot of post production, but that’s because I wanted to make the picture how my mind’s eye saw it the overall scene. I wanted you to see what I saw.

I think it’s pretty. But, it could be God’s finger pointing down at us. It could be that he or she or whatever you believe is saying, “clean up your acts, or the next time you see me you’d better run.”

Just a lot of food for thought. So think.


Reflections.

A story. My story.

Something happened yesterday that really dug into me. Into my heart. My soul. My physical being.

First, I have to tell you the back story. Where I come from they say to tell another living person. It shouldn’t be somebody who is close to you. It shouldn’t be somebody who supports you unconditionally.

So.

I’m telling you.

Before I do, I want to tell you not to worry. The words my be scary. The illness isn’t and likely will never be.

In 2015 my primary care doctor noticed that my white blood cell count had been high for a year. He was running a blood test as part of my normal annual physical. He referred me to another doctor. A blood specialist. After more blood work and specialized research, I was diagnosed with CLL. A kind of leukemia. After assuring me that it wouldn’t kill me, and that it probably would never become symptomatic, he sent me home with a lot of research — online and in hard copy. I found out that he was right.

But, still…

It’s an emotional upheaval. It wasn’t until musical miss’ mom, a retired surgical nurse, said that once we got over the shock, I should just go on living my life. Three years later, and probably four, I’m fine. I am asymptomatic. I have my blood checked regularly. If anything my numbers are getting better. I do take care of myself and that matters. It will likely never emerge. The odds are great 98% of newly diagnosed patients never have it emerge. That’s why you shouldn’t worry.

Flash forward to yesterday.

I was at my oncologist’s office (how weird is that to say out loud) waiting my turn. I was talking to a family. Their little boy liked me, so he and I played iPhone games.  They were waiting for their daughter who was helped into the office by a nurse. She was barely hanging on to a walker. She was wearing a tank top. She had two chemo port holes in her upper chest. The family helped her put on a t-shirt. The nurse was talking about the next treatment plan. The current plan was not having the desired effect. I guess there must have been a lot of pain in my eyes. This young girl’s dad put his hand on my shoulder and said, quietly “I’ll be alright.”

My turn in the office.

I have a great doctor. While he’s looking me over and explaining my numbers we talk about everything. Since we are close to another Katrina anniversary we talked about that. Because he is a good doctor, he noticed that I was a little sad. When he asked why, I told him. He replied that he really couldn’t say anything. I just said that it didn’t look good. He looked me in the eye and said that it wouldn’t be good.

The young girl is 13 years old.

She will never be able to live her life. Please understand that I have no desire to die. No death wish. Nothing like it. I hope to be old and feisty when I go. But, in that one moment I thought that if I could change places with her I would not hesitate. I’ve lived most of my life. She’s just getting started. It doesn’t seem fair. But, who said life was fair?

Please have a good thought for her. You may not know her. But, she is universal. You do know her.

The picture. Oh. Yeah. I saw a bunch of leaves reflecting off the back of a sign. A handicapped sign. I guess that was meant to be. I just darkened it a bit.


Summer light in the residential side of The French Quarter.

Even though this is an archive image, I’m pretty sure that I could go to the Quarter this evening, or any other evening prior to the heavy rainy season, and make just about the same picture.

That’s part of my inability to want to work in the swamp. I’ve photographed so much that it seems like I’m retracing my steps. I try to move forward. Not back. I didn’t even go to Tee-Eva’s second line. There were a couple of reasons for that. Chiefly, what I think was the 24 hour flu, since I wasn’t the only one who had it. But, after looking at the few pictures on various social media sites, it was not a big or long second line. The usual suspects where there. To my eye, the pictures looked like every other second line.

Anyway.

I’ll get over this eventually.

Yeah. I say that now.

 


It was the sun.

Back to it. Back to things I see as I roam about.

Or, I could just call this who is supposed to clean this pool? Actually, what caught my eye was that mushy white dot located in between the handrail, which is something new. The dot is the sun reflecting off the blue water. It was poking through some light cloud cover.

That’s the story of the picture. I saw it. I made it. I developed it. I manipulated it. And, I posted it.

Easy.

I was wandering around looking for more junk. I found some. But what I really found sort of made me sick. Trash. Strewn everywhere. And, given that I just read a National Geographic Online piece about deep divers finding plastic bottles in the Marianas Trench, the deepest place on earth, I think I found my crusade.

Let’s face it. All politics aside. Every ism aside, if we keep trashing this planet, pretty soon we will not have a place to live. Our piles of trash will get flooded by rising seas and we’ll all steam in higher temperatures. Won’t that smell great? Steamed soggy trash. With all that steam, our wrinkles will go away. So will we.

Stay tuned.


Japanese Maples.

Another tree picture.

Japanese Maples glowing in the morning sunlight.

Spring holds nothing but surprises for me. I wouldn’t have been aware of this picture if I hadn’t been out walking. That’s the thing. My best pictures are made with “boots on the ground.” Every time. Every day.

There really isn’t much to add. See the picture. Watch how the light falls. Make the picture. For the record, the first time I ever saw the word “make” as it pertains to pictures came from an interview with the late, great Ansel Adams. He thought “take” was too aggressive especially as it referred to his work. So too with the current word, “capture.” I don’t capture anything. I make a photograph. Or, I make a picture.

There.


Spring art, made by hand.

Sunday.

Uptown Super Sunday. That’s my work for today. When I say work, I mean it. Big crowds. Rough and broken streets. Too many photographers who don’t know the rules of the street…

But.

It’s great fun. I get to see friends that I haven’t seen for a while. I get make some really good pictures — not because I’m any good, but because they are there to be photographed.  Of course, this is two days in a row. I photographed the Indian funeral and a second line. I got to the end of the march, but most people were starting to leave.

Why aren’t you seeing any of that today?

Well, I’m old. I’m slow. I also truly believe that pictures need to marinate for a few days before you cull and edit them. I did download everything and backup the files. I took a passing look at them, but that’s where I stopped. I’ll try to do some editing a little bit, tonight and tomorrow. No worries. The rest of the week will likely be all New Orleans culture, all the time.

This picture. I get bored lying around trying to let my body recover. Since I try not to use my mind when I make pictures, it’s fairly fresh. So, I started playing with a picture I made last week while walking the dog who sees things. You are looking at the final result of my artistic musings.

Don’t ask how I did it, because I’m not altogether sure. I can tell you that I started in one direction and changed paths so many times that I came close to confusing myself. That’s always fun because that’s where the magic lies. I can tell you one thing, that sunlight is really sunlight. It just wasn’t coming from above. It came from the side. So, I flipped the picture.

After all, art is art. I doesn’t matter how you got there.