A little painting. Or not.

Any major dude will tell you.

I wanted make a picture that was a little different. I set out to make a painting. Instead, I made something like an etching. It’s all one experiment.

Here’s what happened. We had a little rain to go along with our newly cold weather. And, that’s all I’m going to say about that. I had some errands to run. I did what I always do. I let the rain water accumulate on my car’s windshield. I photographed through that. No worries. As many of you know, I drive. I don’t really look at what’s on the monitor. Mostly, it’s just plain dumb luck if I’m successful.

I made a couple of nice rain shots that way. Was I satisfied? You already know the answer to that. If you’ve forgotten, NO!

I layered an older picture with the rain streaks. I made one image that is way too bright and colorful. It wasn’t that kind of day. So, I made this picture and intentionally toned it down. Now I had a picture that feels like yesterday.

That’s it.

Anyway. I’m a little amazed at the news from Washington D.C. . Well, not really the news, but some reactions to it. The guy who shall not be named ranted and rave on Twitter and in real life. His son said that it was boring. Most of the media, even the folks I like, picked up on that theme.

What the hell?

It’s Congressional testimony. It’s words. It’s dry. It’s content rich. The people in the room are not going to attack each other physically, like they do in Italy.

That got me thinking.

We live in an on demand world. There is a constant stream of news and commentary on Twitter, the worst place in the world. Most big box office earnings are cartoon-like movies. Movies about comic books that I read when I was child. Unless there is a lot of sizzle, there is no steak.

I hate to say it, but this is where the digital age has lead us. Make no mistake. I’m not against technology. How much of it do I use myself? I’m mostly worried about how most of the world’s population use it. I once read something about online flame wars. The line that caught my eye was this, we have the equivalent of a $25,000 computer in our hands. We use it to argue with people that we don’t know.

Think about that.

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So much color.

All the color.

Normally, I do my best to isolate the subject in my work. When, I saw this scene I was wowed. After fiddling around, I knew the best way to capture what I saw was to stand back and take in as much as I could. There was only so far back I could stand before I might fall in some water, so I was a little limited. I also went as wide as I could in my lens selection. I think it worked.

I think it could also work as some very busy wallpaper, probably in your house. Heh!

On another matter near and dear to me, I went to the doctor today for my pain management session. This is mandated by the federal government so that I don’t become addicted to Tramadol which greatly reduces my pain. It is really intended for much stronger drugs, but this is a mild opiate so testing and tracking in this way doesn’t really make sense.

There is no medical personnel from my doctor, to my pharmacist and, the lab technician who tests me, that thinks this is worth doing. They agree that it is well intentioned, but that this approach fails on all counts.

Anyway.

This is the long way of saying that after complaining a little about my knee hurting, I was x-rayed. Yep. Osteoarthritis in my right knee. Sheesh. I once heard a joke about getting old. It is your body’s way of saying, “If you thought that was bad, just wait until…”

I can see my future.

Eighty year old Ray using a powered scooter. Except mine will have a 496 big block engine in it that will propel me along any highway faster than the cars I’m passing.

Take that.

Seriously, it’s not something that is always painful. It just hurts on my bad days. It is something to understand. We are going to try a more holistic approach for this. Imagine that. A medical doctor who thinks outside of the box.

Stay tuned.

 


After the storm, comes this.

Then, comes the sky show.

After a storm and as the cold front arrived we had a little color in the sky. I did what I could to photograph it. I really need to understand nature a little better in order to be in better places, to stand in front of better stuff, in order to make better pictures.

I’m starting to get bored with trees and power lines.

Actually, light will get better and easier to predict once we resume Standard Time at 2am this next Sunday. The evening sunlight will drop even lower in the sky. And, I can get ahead of rush hour traffic as I travel around from place to place in town.

There is some strategy to making pictures at the right time of day. A lot of it is simply the time of year.

Of course, there is standing in front of better stuff. That’s just another kind of planning or traveling.

There is lots to do. I’ve been biding my time.

 


Bookend.

Bookends.

I made this picture during the last dog walk of the day. Yesterday. I don’t usually chase sunsets. How could I not photograph this one? Admittedly, I used a small bag of tricks to enhance the clouds. It’s small because you have to be careful. While you are messing with the clouds the trees go wonky.

Here’s the real news of the day.

Pants. I wore pants for the first time since late April in New Orleans. The long promised, and longer awaited, cool front arrive last night. The sky is a little gray and leaden, but I’ll take it. The dogs loved it. I already went for two very long walks with them this morning. I haven’t seen them walk so fast since, well, April. When it’s hot for us, it’s hot for them.

How long, you ask?

The temperature will rise to the mid-eighties by Friday and then dip again, well below today’s weather for the weekend. This means I can finally work in comfort rather than dripping and cursing.

That’s the story from this land of swampy nod.

It’s a really big deal.


Mysterioso.

Into the mystic.

There is one place that the dog and I walk. It is by turns, moody, swampy, and beautiful. It was at sunset, beautiful. For sure, it’s not purely nature. There is a water feature built into it. That just adds to the feel. In high summer when the humidity is at its highest, the area is downright scary.

Not so much now.

Even though it is not so moody right now, you’d better watch where you walk. Along with the usual suspects of frogs and a billion lizards, there is the occasional snake and opossum. No worries though. If you don’t bother them, they’ll ignore you. Besides, the snakes aren’t anything nasty. A rattlesnake was roaming around another walking route. People feared that rattlers were making their way into the city. Turns out that the snake escaped from its owners fish bowl. If I were a snake I’d want to be free too.

That is one of those things that we call “very New Orleans.”

There are all sorts of events that we term that way. A guy had his car broken into. He had his car door open on the street side while he was waiting for the police. Another car came along and took off his door, making his already bad day, worse. The driver of that car got out of it and fell down. Dead drunk. That’s some New Orleans stuff right there.

A few months back, while checking all the water outflow tunnels, the water department found a crippled and battered car. You might remember me telling you that. It turned the car was lodged in the tunnel for fourteen years. It was a Hurricane Katrina car. Fourteen years of no reviews or repairs. Now, THAT’S some New Orleans stuff right there.

Finally, I want to photograph a big second line later today. After a month of no rain, the skies are dark, heavy with rain clouds. My weather apps agree. Rain today. More New Orleans stuff.

That’s the story from the swamp on this fine Sunday.

 

 


Shining brightly.

Morning light.

So bright. So pretty. I don’t photograph enough of it. Lately, in an attempt to beat the heat I drag myself out of bed early. Early enough to see low light. Golden light.

In Southeastern Louisiana, and most of the south, the heat just won’t break. We are ten to fifteen degrees higher than normal. But, if I’m reading the weather reports correctly, most of the country is too hot.

Is climate change a thing?

Certainly. And, most of the people who could make a difference are ignoring, or are attacking the scientists who are telling us that time is at hand. Most of the climate deniers are grumpy old men. They don’t care. They’ll be dead before the most extreme changes occur. Don’t they care about their children? Their families? Their friends’ families?

We all gotta go sometime. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to leave something good behind. I’m not even going to get started on our current presidential administration except to ask, how the hell can they roll back clean water standards? The biggest wars of the rest of this century will be fought, not over oil, but over clean drinking water. And, they want to poison ours.

And, this was gonna be a happy Friday post.

Ha!

The picture. You know when I made it. You know why I made it. But, you don’t know what I did. I actually used the same post production settings that I used on yesterday’s picture. And, then I brought the color down in order to make my statement.

Happy weekend.


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.


As the sun lowers near dusk.

Today.

Today is a sacred day. On a bright fall morning in 2001 our world changed. Terrorists crashed two airliners into the Twin Towers in the city of my birth, New York. They crashed a third plane into the Pentagon, the hub of our military in Washington D.C. They tried to steer a fourth plane back to the district, when very brave passengers, knowing they would lose their lives, forced that plane to crash into a field in Pennsylvania.

If you ask me about my personal opinion, I’ll say this. Of course, I’m sad. I was even scared at the time. But, I believe the bad guys achieved their purpose. They changed the world. As one false step lead to another, we ended up — for now — in hateful place.  A polarized place where seemingly everybody is against somebody who is even remotely different from them.

I’m happy to report that I’m not that way. I guess, for the most part, I’ve seen enough in my life to not really be afraid of much. Even death. I don’t want to die, but I’m not afraid of it. I don’t know when these changes came to me. They sort of just slid in there. In a way that also explains this picture.

For sure, we should stop, think and reflect on this day. We should make an extra effort to be kinder than we were yesterday. But, we also have to move on in our own ways. For me, that’s making pictures. It’s the only way that I can defeat the bad guys. A friend of mine who lives in Memphis say that as artists we need to “art harder.” I agree.

For those of you who do something different, keep doing it. Do more of it.

That’s how we win.

So.

This picture hasn’t got anything to do with my thoughts for today. Sometimes that happens. I’m just chasing the wonderful autumn light these days. Someday, the weather will actually change and the temperatures will match the light. #nolaheat is relentless.

Peace, prayers and love.


Dusk comes to what is now called The Shrine on Airline.

Ah, dusk.

The picture almost looks like it could have been made in France. It wasn’t. It was made at a park and baseball stadium now called, The Shrine on Airline.

To me and many others, we think that’s a stupid name. It is home for the next two weeks to a AAA baseball team, called The Baby Cakes. That has to be the stupidest name ever for a sports team. The name and the team branding was created by two 22 year old designers from San Diego. They spent a whole three days in New Orleans. They thought they knew us. Anywhere is more complex than that.

The name is sort of a shortened version of the baby that comes in a king cake. It doesn’t make sense in the way that they used it. There was a big commotion about it, but team management kept the name. The sold a lot of merchandise, which is what mattered to them. After all, who doesn’t love an evil little baby holding a baseball bat in traditional Mardi Gras colors?

In two weeks, the Baby Cakes last ever game will be played in Greater New Orleans. They are moving to Wichita, Kansas, where a $90 million dollar stadium is being built for them. The team owns the name so that may travel with them. Thankfully.

At this point there is no replacement for them. There are a lot of AA teams located in the Gulf Coast. Hopefully, one will come here. I hope so. The baseball quality will be better since that’s where the stars of tomorrow play, as opposed to AAA where the stars of yesterday are rehabbing or hoping to catch another shot at the “big show.”

See what comes out of a simple little picture. Hopefully, you just learned something. Or, not.

One more thing.

I’m a New York Yankee fan. I was born to be one. Their AA team is based in New Jersey. Maybe the parish can lure them down here,

They are called The Pork Rolls.