Maybe, an age of miracles.

H

ave you ever shared a dream? We did. This morning. I woke up thinking ,”Whew, what a dream.” I was thinking about what I saw and felt, when from the other side of the bed came, “Oh my God, what a dream.”

I started talking about my dream and pretty soon she was filling in the parts I was leaving out. Then, we got scared. How is this possible, we wondered? Was this a weird thing or was this the best thing?

Why worry about it? The person closest to me, the one who I adore is able to actually appear in my dream. Well, wait a minute. I was seeing things like I normally would. It was not dream-like. People weren’t just showing up. I was looking and seeing. It was the same thing for her. We were looking for something. We didn’t see each other in this strange land.

Where we looking for each other? Had we split up to save time and distance? I have no idea.

One thing that struck me was the color. It was my kind of color. Bright, bold, contrasty. The scenes were almost cartoon-like. I liked wherever it was that we’d found.

My hope is that one of these nights, well early morning, I return to this place. Maybe this time, we can travel together.

T

he water caught my eye. I just pointed and shot. I repeated that a couple of times, slightly changing the framing and the length of the lens.

The picture at which you are looking is the first one. Sometimes instinct is the driving force behind good art.

I’m not sure that this picture is even close to art, but it’s the thing that I saw first.

It needed a crop to get rid of some clutter. That’s why it’s square.

You know that I’m not a big fan of square crops. I think it displays a lack of confidence by the photographer or designer.

For sure, a group of nine pictures cropped square and laid out as a big square looks very cool, but don’t hurt the photographs.

Never hurt the photograph.


So, everything doesn’t turn into fall colors.

W

hat are you going to do for the fall? It took me a minute to realize my friend was asking about autumn, not the fall of the country.

I really don’t know. I know that I won’t be traveling, at least until sometime until mid to late 2022.

I’m hoping that my booster vaccination will give me some kind of freedom. Otherwise, well, I really don’t know. I’ll have to wait until the virus is manageable or I’ll have to balance risk and reward.

I’m really hoping that I can photograph Mardi Gras 2022, if the virus is under control enough so the it really occurs.

I don’t even know about that.

The last Mardi Gras — in 2020 — became a super spreader event. We were attacked in New Orleans for the sickness that spread across the nation.

Of course, nobody knew that the virus was here or that it would spread so quickly. Well, except one person. The always lying 45th President of The United States.

If he did know, that’s one more act that he’ll have to account for when he reaches the pearly gates and is sent south where the devil will reject him because the devil will say, “That buffoon is worse than me.”

I didn’t intend to wander so far afield but he keeps stirring up trouble and losing as he is known to do.

Anyway, I’ll discuss my green fall photograph on the right hand side.

T

oday is one of the better days since Hurricane Ida ripped so much stuff apart.

The region is putting some of that stuff back together, but it’s a slow process.

I suppose that this little stand of green was exposed because the storm managed to take down two trees that were keeping them in shade.

I saw them sparkling in the cooler fall air and low light and figured that I should do something.

So, I did it while never leaving my chair by the pool.

Sometimes, it’s easy. Mostly, it’s not that easy.

Photographers luck. You know?


M

ore water. More reflections. Even as we dry out, some things don’t change. I think most people have power. Not everyone has internet, which doesn’t seem important but in the modern world it is.

We use Cox. They don’t know what they are doing. They sent us a long email apologizing for the lack of service and yada, yada, yada,

That’s great, but our service returned about an hour after our power was restored.

I guess we are lucky.

The house suffered some damage but it is in the process of being repaired. Compared to our neighbors we did pretty well.

Now it’s time to help where we can.


Water, water everywhere.

N

ot talking. That’s what I’m not going to do. Before I do I need an apology. And, a promise from that guy to never darken my door again. Yes. That’s how I can be.

S

ee the scene. Push the button. Make sure the the colors are as I saw them. Publish it on Storyteller.


The swamp and the tree.

There is one corner where the land looks like this. It looks and feels what it must have been like 25,000 years ago.

I don’t really know. I’m not that old. I swear.

All I know is that it’s green and can get kind of noisy when squirrels talk and birds chirp.

Sometimes wilder animals than those make their way through the foliage. I’ve seen raccoon and possums pass by. I rarely see snakes, but they are there too. Nothing poisonous, just the usual black snake or two.

Scrape away 160 years and this neighborhood is wild and swampy. Well, not that wet. This is ridge land. Kind of. It’s six feet above sea level when so much of the city land is below sea level.

But, that’s enough.

It survived the big hurricane in my memory — Katrina — without getting flooded. That’s one of the reasons we live where we live.

It’s not the oldest neighborhood in the city, with much of being built in the 1850s. It was annexed to be part of New Orleans a little before that. People built here for three reasons. The land was fairly inexpensive. The area was a little cooler which kept the viral outbreaks down. And, it isn’t near the French Quarter and “those people.”

That doesn’t mean what you think. It really means a wilder, rowdier bunch.

Even now, it’s removed enough that if I want to go to the Quarter, I can hop on the streetcar and be there is 10-15 minutes. And, that’s a two block walk from the house. I can watch the craziness and come home to quiet.

Sometimes living here is easy.

Jungle land. The hardest part of making this photograph is the light.

Most of it is dark. That’s easy to expose for. But, look at the highlights. They are way blown out.

The way to account for that is to expose for the shadows and add a little flash. Not much, just something we used to call a kick light.

I could have done that but didn’t. Remember, I make these pictures on dog walks or going from one place to another.

The result is slightly gray highlights caused by the processing that takes a RAW file to a JPEG. It crunches some of the highlights to make them fit within the JPEG gamut.

Never the less, I think this is a fairly striking representation of my neighborhood.


The bright greens of spring.

Who knew?

Who knew that this new way of working might just give us the tools we need to be more creative without learning to code. I’ve long had a dream to be able to fill the page from side to side. Now I can. This makes me very happy. I think that as I learn more about blocks, I’ll be able to do pretty much whatever I want.

This design is a modified block template. It began as a three picture spread. Then, I reduced it to one picture covering the same area. All of that is shown in pictures. Couldn’t be easier. I just had to test it.

To mask or not to mask is the question.

There seems to be a strong line emerging between those people who chose to wear a mask, and those who don’t. I live in New Orleans. We mask for every little thing. We should be used to it by now. But, noooo. Even here, there are groups of people who refuse to be told what to do even if it will save their lives. Or, mine.

In the grocery store yesterday, I’d say it was about 70-30% of those people who wore masks as opposed to those who didn’t. The people who didn’t wear masks also had trouble with social distancing. WTH? I used my unneeded cane a couple of times. I have no fear of backing someone off when it comes to my health.

I read in the local media that two bars were given notices of violation. Three, and you’re closed again. Good for whoever reported them. And, good for the city ro react so quickly. This is serious business. Believe it.

The picture. The all seeing dog wanted a little longer walk today, so that’s what we did. We came by this place were the sun acted to backlight the trees. Very spring like. I made another picture that wasn’t quite as sharp. This type of picture has to be sharp. Try as I might in OnOne, I couldn’t make it look good. I made it look weird. That’s a big lesson to those of us who may have forgotten. GIGO. Garbage in. Garbage out.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


That flower again.

I’ve heard that everybody hits a wall.

The wall comes after too much isolation. After too much inside. After not being able to visit friends without a handshake or hug. I thought that I was fine. That we were fine. We have our own little circle.

But, that’s not enough.

I awoke yesterday feeling tired. I had enough sleep. I felt lethargic. I felt sad. It couldn’t figure it out.

It was grocery making time. I went, not caring if I went. Shopping started out slowly. We got to the meat case. Not big red meat eaters, I didn’t think think much of it. Then I saw it. A sale on steaks. For once, that sounded great. I arrived at the cold case about the same time another man did. A Black man. Bare with me because normally color of skin is irrelevant.

We both started to reach for the steaks. I backed off saying “you first.” He made a motion that since I knew exactly what I wanted that I should go first. We were both wearing masks so all we could see was our eyes. Both of us had smiling eyes.

After I made my selection, I made some funny comment. He raised his elbow and we did an elbow touch. That was the first time I’d touched a stranger in eight weeks. That felt so good. I was walking on air.

That’s all it took. Another human being, not in my circle.

There’s a lesson in that. The obvious is what we all already know. The other lesson takes a minute.

So many people are already breaking social distancing rules. Others aren’t wearing masks. Groups of more than 50 people are congregating together. None of that is any good. We may create a surge within a flattening curve. It shows one thing. We need each other. Strangers included.

Because we need each other we don’t want to kill each other. Stay the course. Eventually, there will be time to be together.

The picture. I finally was able to make what amounts to an almost macro picture. I still have no idea what the flower is called. I’ve looked and looked. Some people around these parts just call it a swamp flower. Yes, it is. But what kind of swamp flower?

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.


I told you. A swamp.

See?

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.


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.