The rain poured out of the sky. The cold weather arrived. The leaves turned yellow. They began to fall. We finally had golden leaves in the swamp.
I made this picture yesterday afternoon at about 4pm.
There were a lot of leaves already on the ground. Looking up however, was a little marvel. The leaves of fall.
And, I didn’t have to travel to Vermont to find them. I didn’t have to go to New Mexico, either. Nor, did I travel to Virginia. Or, to the Upee — the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s not that I don’t want to travel. But, I travel enough.
There are a few more little trips coming and then it’s 2020. The whole thing starts again. Another trip around the globe.
This is a great Sunday picture. I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I tinkered and made it more like an etching than a photograph. That’s not to say that the very purest picture, almost right out of the camera wasn’t pretty good. After all, how hard can it be to make a picture when nature does all the work?
There is a movement afoot in the Millennial world to attack us old folk. They have a new hashtag and general comment. If they don’t like what you say, they say, “OK Boomer.”
Last night I was scrolling around Twitter when when of the Parkland kids (the survivors of the mass high school shooting in Florida) popped up and said it to a bunch of people. I chimed in and asked about her ageism. This started a spirited discussion between me and about 9 others. Not fair odds… for them.
One of them is forty years old. A quick Google review showed me that she is a freelance writer who has been published in some impressive editorial places. You’d think she wouldn’t want offend anybody because she wants the work. She attacked me every way that she could. When I tried to explain something to her in a reasonable manner, she said I was crying. Arguing with a stranger on social media will never make me cry. She gave up when I laughed at her last three comments and asked her not to be angry.
Then comes a young photojournalist who found some of the work I show here and attacked that. More Googling. He actually covered some big news stories reasonably well. I said that. He kept attacking my current work. I finally said that when I was young I did what he did, but as I got older I actually want to earn a living with the ability to support my family. He didn’t get that. He also didn’t like that I started my own hashtag. OK Kid. I said, alright I won’t use that for you… son.
Old folks boogie and boogie we will.
I blocked them all. I removed all of my tweets. And, washed my hands of them.
I tell you this because I fear we have a battle brewing. Millennials are having a hard time making it. Between high college loan debt, the high costs of housing in the cities in which they wish to live, and the cost of transportation, they can’t get enough money to do what we did. And, based on other comments, they really think working isn’t the way to go. They want to experience stuff. So did I. I found a way to make clients pay for it.
So how is this the Boomers fault? I know their thinking. I’m not buying it.
Work together if you want something. Don’t attack me. Respect me. I just might have something to teach you.
Don’t claim that all the disrupters are great. Air BnB destroys local neighborhoods. Uber treats their drivers horribly. Lyft too. Spotify is fine if you pay for it. It’s a good way to test new songs. It’s a horrible way to listen and it takes money out of musicians pocket.
I have friends who have thought about this stuff far more than me. They say it is all here to stay. They are probably right. It’s easy. Easy doesn’t mean better.
That’s my story.
The picture. Yeah, I know. It’s well buried. Returning to Standard Time is good for me. Not so much for the dog who sees stuff. She ate two dinners last night because she was hungry at the wrong time. When we went out for our late afternoon walk she looked around and seemed a little confused by the coming darkness.
But, I had a blast.
I photographed everything and anything in the low autumn light. I made this picture. I was going to hold it for a few days, but after being attacked by a young photojournalist for posting work like this, I thought why the hell not? OK Kid.
Oh, about those Parkland kids. I followed a lot of them on Twitter. They were going to change the world. I was rooting for them. It pains me to say that most of them have reverted back to who they were — who they should have been — teenagers.
The tree looked like something from one of his books. Maybe a new book. One that was tucked away in a drawer and was lost. And, found.
The Cat in the Hat came to New Orleans and got fat. Why not? People come here and eat our food and gain ten pounds in a weekend. It’s not that our food is bad. It’s good. Too good. We serve big portions. They drip with good tasting stuff. Fattening stuff.
This post isn’t about our food. It’s about the tree. It’s about The Cat in the Hat. It’s about Theodor Seuss Geisel. Most of us grew up with him. We learned from him. And, I got to photograph him.
You never know how making pictures of famous people is going to go. Sometimes, you get five or ten minutes, making it impossible to actually get to know the subject.
Not the good doctor. I spent the better part of the morning with him. His wife made coffee and later, lunch. We talked. We laughed. He liked my way of working. No posing. Very few instructions. Mostly letting him be him.
The tree made me think of those strange, but cool, illustrations in his books. I tried to compress them a little to help you see what I saw. I did some post production and you are looking at the result.
There are a lot of Doctor Seuss quotes. More than I can remember. But, I remember this one.
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
That’s what it was. That’s how the sky lit up. It fooled me. Usually to have the sky catch fire, there must rain followed by light clouds. The sunlight hangs among the remaining clouds, its rays bouncing off of them and exploding in the sky.
Not this time.
There hasn’t been rain in over a month. Some of the northeastern parishes are already declaring a drought. I’ve been talking about the heat almost daily on Storyteller. No rain combined with heat means pretty boring sunsets.
Not last night.
Admittedly, I’ve enhanced the color among other things, but the light and color has to start from somewhere. There were even god rays which usually only come in a cloudy sky. They were so low and weak on the horizon line that I couldn’t get to a place to photograph them.
Something’s happening here.
And, it’s still hot.
I took whoever wanted to go for a walk out at around 8am. They’re smart dogs. They don’t like the heat anymore than their humans do. I passed one of my neighbors who said that it was much cooler today. I looked at him like he was crazy. 8am. 86 degrees. Of course it was cooler than 95 degrees. It was 8am. Sheesh.
A cold front should move in on Sunday night. On Monday we should have more normal weather for this time of year. This will be followed by a colder front which according to the weather people will drop the high temperatures down in the 70s and the lows in the middle 50s. You know what one of the Eagles sang… “that bubbled headed bleached blond who comes on at six.”
That’s how I feel. I don’t trust them. I wish I had a job like theirs. Get their brand of news wrong 90% of the time and be called a regional legend.
In my effort to publish second line pictures, I almost forget that yesterday was the real start to autumn. To the fall season. Luckily, I’ve been finding and making pictures for the past couple of days. So, no worries.
I have two favorite seasons. Spring and Fall. Both are about changes. I guess that’s why I like them. There is implied energy to both. Even in my quietest pictures, there is a sort of energy. Mostly through the use of bold color.
What is there to say about Autumn? Leaves change color and eventually shrivel, die and fall to the ground. The days get shorter. The light gets lower. We set the clocks back by an hour in most states. The air gets colder. And, the season progresses until winter arrives. Eventually, the days start to get warmer, daylight increases and the cycle turns. As it has for many millennium.
Art seems to be mostly about the viewer. I can put out all of myself into a picture. Unless it strikes you in a way that touches your own experience my work could be meaningless. To you. That doesn’t mean that I should stop or change how I see, to please somebody else. That’s creative death. A better approach is to just keep going, to change as I evolve. That’s what this picture is about. It’s my art. It was made while I was out walking. It was somewhat accidental. But, when I was looking at it, it appeared to be anything but accidental. I spoke to my vision. My intent.
They say that you “can’t see the forest for the trees.” I say that you can. And, that they move if you want them to move.
The image was accidental because I was in a hurry and didn’t let the shutter finish while I was moving.
To me this is a painted photograph except that I barely did anything in post production. All the heavy work of making a photograph look as it does was done in camera. Or, in this case, in smartphone.
We think of monochrome as being black and white, or something sepia or in some shades of gray. Nature taught me something different. Monochrome can be any color as long as there aren’t contrasting colors. This picture is green and faded shades of green which became yellow. It’s also a monochromatic image.
This picture is also about fall. Autumn. The changing of natural seasons. It’s true that the weather is still hot. According to the predictive charts that I read, we should start cooling off tomorrow. A little. That trend should continue through at least next week, when temperatures stay in the mid to high eighties. Then summer’s heat should slowly fade away. And, we can open our windows for the first time since late April.
We live in air conditioned world.
When I look at old pictures of New Orleans I have two thoughts.
There was no air conditioning back then. Not until sometime in the 1950s. How did people do it? For sure, many people built houses to account for the heat. Raised Caribbean styled houses let air pass underneath which does provide some relief. High roofs also helped.
People dressed well. Men wore suits. Wool suits, until lighter weight fabrics came to be. Sheesh, if I have to be dressed nicely, I wear a seersucker suit. Even that’s too hot for me in summer. And, women. Oh gosh. It must have been very uncomfortable for them at anytime of year in New Orleans.
Two more thoughts for this fine Friday morning.
Air conditioning. Most newer models don’t send weird chemicals into the atmosphere, but they do generate heat. This can’t be good for the planet.
In case you are wondering, my seersucker suit is purple and white, which makes it look lavender from a distance. It is a three piece suit. Trousers, jacket and — get this — shorts.
If you are lucky, you’ll be outside to see it as it drops down over the earth like a dark curtain. For me, it just depends. If I’m done with inside work and a dog wants to go out, I get to see nature’s magic. Magic and renewal. A 24 hour cycle. A kind of rebirth.
Sometimes, I’m trapped inside. I see dusk and nightfall through my studio windows. Sure, I can see the light. I can see day turn to night. But, it’s just not the same.
We — the dog and I — were walking along a little fence. When we turned the corner this is what I saw. I almost got too excited. I calmed down within a few seconds. I steadied myself. I made five frames. I knew I made a picture of what I saw.
That’s how it’s been for the last few days. A lot of photographer’s luck, combined with timing and a little bit of knowledge. When the weather finally cools down, I’ll go looking for pictures in earnest. This is the time when we all got impatient because it seems like summer will never come to a close.
I saw a little meme of Facebook. Southerners say, “We made it through 20 weeks of summer. Only 32 weeks to go.” That feels about right. Right now.
We all know about our natural seasons. Arrange them in any order that you like. Winter. Spring. Summer. Autumn.
The transition from summer to fall is, to me, the most dramatic change. Leaves go from a bright, rich green, to a sort of faded green and finally they turn golden and fall. In most of the south, you almost don’t see that coming. When the leaves finally turn golden they linger on the trees and all seem to fall at once.
That, as they say, is the nature of things.
Today. I’m still wanting to photograph the second line that I mentioned yesterday. The high temperature is down. From 97 to 96 degrees. At 5pm, which is the start time, we usually lose a few degrees from the high. Although last night at around midnight, if you include the heat index measurement, the weather outside was frightful. 104 degrees.
I hate to make Storyteller about the weather, but down here is the swamp, that’s what is at the top of mind. For most of us.
It’s hard to do anything in this kind of heat. After a dog walk, they come inside and have a drink of water. Then, they adjourn to their places and sleep the sleep of the dead. I usually take a break from whatever I’m doing and relax a little before I get started. It is truly draining. After a little recovery, I think about my chores for the day and promptly forget them.
The picture. I was struck by the already golden leaves of this tree. They helped to make the branches of the tree almost look like something out of The Cat in the Hat.