Artists of all dsiciplines have been coiming to New Mexico for years. Most will say that it for the amazing New Mexico light. Some of the best light comes during the late winter when storms roll in and out with great frequency.

T

here are days and there are days. On the day that I made this picture I needed a little solitude.

A group of photographers gathered in a coffee shop. I looked out the window and couldn’t believe what I was seeing, the most wonderful pre-sunset in a long time.

That’s saying something because New Mexico is the land of great sunsets.

I said that I was going to chase light and asked if anyone wanted to come. The other photographers looked at me like I was crazy.

One of them followed me out and said that he’d have to go home to get his camera. I asked why he didn’t always carry one because we live in a land of incredible light. He didn’t quite know what to say except that he only used his camera on planned excursions.

I hit the road and made five pretty good pictures. I made small work prints and brought them with me to the next meeting in a coffee shop. The other photographers were amazed.

That cause them to change. They probably still aren’t prepared. And, they still make tropes.

I guess it must be the photojournalist in me. I make those kinds of pictures too, but as a way of warming up. But, then again, my landscape work doesn’t look like anybody else’s work.

I’d probably make more money if I took the easy way, but what would be the fun in that?

I’d lose myself in the rush to cash.

T

here are a few technical challenges that I’d like to discuss.

They aren’t really in post production except for a little clean up.

Instead, they are in the making of the original file.

First, comes patience. I found the location. Then, I waited for something to happen.

Without that little touch of red from the car’s tail lights there would be no counterpoint to the isolation.

The actual exposure was easy. By this time of day the light is relatively flat and lacking extreme contrast.

My post production mostly consisted of using a subtle glow filter which gave the clouds a mild 3D effect and separation from the main scene.

Of course, I didn’t do that when I first developed the RAW file. As I recover these pictures I’m reworking them to my current look and feel.

It’s just like playing a song a different way live than a musician does in the studio.

A wise musician once said that after playing the song 500 times on stage, it finally taught him how to play it.


Winter Skies

The everything picture. At least for now.

I know that I wrote that I would get back to my old self. Second Lines. Brass Bands. Mardi Gras Indians. Mardi Gras, itself. And, I will.

Unfortunately, I caught the flu. The one that never goes away. No. I don’t feel terrible. And, my coughing seems to have cut back from all day to a few times an hour. But, I do tire easily. And, I get that stupid feeling right in the middle of my head.

Yes. I have a little medical supervision. My pharmacist, rather than my doctor. I reckon she’s seen this more, or at least, as much as he has. She says that at this point it just takes time. I can work. I can keep doing what I do. But, I have to be prepared to rest when I need to.

Here’s how that goes.

Yesterday, I woke up at about the normal time. I worked all morning. I took the “all-seeing dog” for her walk. I had lunch at about 1pm. I thought I would take some “executive time,” lay down and read for about an hour. I awoke at 4:20pm. It’s not lost time because I can work later. But, it is annoying. I’m not normally a mid-day sleeper.

I’m not photographing what I want to. I can only go so long and so far.

So.

This is my everything picture. Bare trees. Power poles and lines. Winter sunset. It’s got all the usual elements. In one picture. It took a little post production. I wanted it to be warmer than the original. I wanted it to glow a little.

I’m just hoping I’m ready for Mardi Gras parade season. Whether I stay or go, I want to be at full strength. So, I’ll take it easier now.

Isn’t that a great way to start 2018?

All things happen for a reason. They say.

 


As twilight comes.

Another picture that just sort of sat in my archives.

Or, really never made it that far. It sat in RAW files waiting to be worked on. At some later date.

Another picture that speaks to summer. Summer in the south. As the late, great Allen Toussaint sang… southern nights. There is something special about them.

Truth be told, there is something special about everywhere’s summer nights. Especially if you are from there. Where ever there happens to be. You know what I mean. Your place doesn’t have to be country. Or city. It just is “that” place.

The picture. Yes. It’s time to get back to that discussion. First, I have to change my set of tricks a little. Change my locations. I have places that I head to when the light begins to change because they are easy. To get to. To position myself. In which to feel somewhat safe.

It’s time to stretch a little.

Don’t ask me what that means. If I knew I’d tell you. That’s the joy of it. I don’t know. I’ll have to discover it as I go.

That’s always a good thing. And, lots of fun.


American Summer
American Summer

Housekeeping first. I had a big plan for today. On Storyteller. In order to make it work, I needed to illustrate it last week. However, like so many things, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. ” So, I’ll hold that for one more week until next Sunday, when I can do it justice. It’s really a Sunday kind of story.

Instead.

I thought that I would post a summer picture. A real summer picture. A baseball picture. Not an action picture. I haven’t taken one of those in years. But, something that symbolizes a hot summer night. Something sweaty. With passing storm clouds in the background. A Southern night.

Happy Sunday. Or, Monday. Depending on where you are.


The dark end of the street.
The dark end of the street.

More poking around Jefferson Parish.

I’d been here a few years ago. I published something from just about the same view. But, I turned it into something very dark and moody. This time around, I left it pretty much as I saw it. I still really can’t imagine living in one of those houses. Not that close to the overpass, which is Causeway Expressway. Even more interestingly, this is the first street of a tiny little old residential neighborhood hidden among a big manufacturing and industrial area. It’s old, run down and tattered. But, it seems to have a pretty strong sense of community.

That’s another story that should probably be told and photographed. Maybe one of these days, but I really do need a place to show the work. Not just here, on Storyteller. Y’all like me. Thank you. But, yesterday’s scene and this one deserve a wider audience.


Tagging, tagging. Everywhere tagging.
Tagging, tagging. Everywhere tagging.

A tagging we will go, a tagging we will go. Well, not me. I don’t tag stuff. But, somebody in New Orleans does. Probably a whole lot of some bodies. I just think that if you leave something in one place long enough, a tagger will find it and work his art. Art, in this case, being a relative term. I fully agree that some graffiti can be art. But, this ain’t an example of it. I did make a picture of a mural a block or so away, but I’m loath to publish it, since it really is art and I don’t have permission to use it. That said…

This picture.  As you know, I often make pictures on the way to some place else. I was returning from photographing Amelie Alley. But, I took the long way around. After all, you never know. A picture might rise up and scream “take me, take me.” I looked at this scene, which was already in low twilight and that yellow did just that. It was hollering at me. So. I stopped. Looked around and made the picture. It’s not that much of a picture. In truth, it is a rental trailer parked on the street. Likely, it’s been there for a long time… which is what attracted the “street artist.” When I returned home, and looked at the picture I realized that it need some help.  As you know, I’ve been experimenting with cinematic approaches. This appeared to be a good time to try a few. So, I added some OnOne actions and this image is the result. This picture may very well be more about the post production than the actual work in the field.


Stained Glass
St. Louis Cathedral. Jackson Square, The French Quarter.

Alley
St. Louis Cathedral from the alley with no name.

Ha! I bet you thought I was going to write “Magical Mystery Tour” I would. But that would be wrong. Some of us know that as a title of a Beatles album and film. But, even they “borrowed” it. Originally, there was a little ritual that was popular in England at the time of the release of that album. It really did concern itself with traveling. Apparently, if you wanted to treat somebody to something very cool, you told them to pack a bag and meet you at either a train station or airport. You met them there. You left them in a waiting area, you bought them a ticket to somewhere, gave them enough money to have a good time and sent them on their way. How cool is that? Of course, you had to have some plan in mind. Think about it. You couldn’t send them traveling internationally without a passport. Or, you couldn’t send them to a beachy place in their city clothes. But, aside from that…

Now you know a dirty little secret. I’m full of useless information.

But, I digress. I did that pretty well, yes?

I think that sometimes, in the right time of day, The French Quarter can be a pretty magical place. Once you get away from all the tourist junk on Bourbon and Decatur streets and leave all the panhandlers, con artists, palm readers and buskers of Jackson Square, you can find these little corners that just feel really good. Sometimes, even in the heart of all that noise you can even find a magical moment or two.

Here are a couple of pictures that, for me, express that feeling. Both are really of the same place. They are just different views. But, they were made pretty much at the same time of day. St. Louis Cathedral. The true heart of all of New Orleans. I made them towards the end of that one wonderful night. The night of amazing and powerful light. These two pictures came pretty much near the end of it. But, you can still see that color in the sky.

By the way. That light almost came back last night. I was out in it again. But, I was working in a more run down, torn up and abandoned part of the city. I was looking for what is left of Jane Alley. Huh? What? It’s a little rough street where Louis Armstrong was born. His house no longer exists. It was torn down in 1964 to make way for some new construction. But, it looks every bit as rough as it did when he was born. I’ll show you some pictures in the next week or so. But, the wonderful light is at odds with the subject of the pictures. They probably won’t make much sense unless I really work on them


I seem to be on a roll with Ry Cooder songs. Most of  these songs are from an album called I, Flathead. Strange desert, country music with a Ry Cooder twist. Makes me think of some of the stranger places that I’ve photographed along Route 66 for that project. So. These pictures were made in a couple of locations. Some were made in Gallup. Others were made in a place called Budville. And, some were made near Continental Divide just over the border in New Mexico when you are traveling east from Arizona. The thing about these places is that you can see most of them from Interstate 40. But, they get much more interesting when you get off I-40 and drive the bits and pieces of what’s left of Old Route 66. Technically, there really isn’t much more to making these pictures that “see the picture, take the picture.”


I was reading something in Burn magazine about “A Sea of Light.” When I looked at the images, I realized that often I shoot a lot like the featured photographer, Elena Perlino. No. Our work isn’t always similar, but I do a lot of the loose kind of shooting that she does. And, I often do a kind of image painting in the same way that she does. However, her vision and approach is much more defined then mine is. Oh well. Maybe when I grow up. I thought that I would look through my archives to see what kinds of images were similar to hers because of it reminded me of a lot of pictures I made in the past. I want to share them with all of you. New Mexico DuskBefore I got very far, I discovered this image. I made it a few years ago in New Mexico during the first year of my Picture A day project. After I downloaded it and made a proper picture I started playing with it using various plug-ins and Photoshop tools. This is the result. As far as making the picture in the field goes, it was pretty simple. I was returning from one shoot when dusk fell on this big moon so I pulled into a parking lot and quickly made a few exposures. It was simply being in the wrong place at the right time.