Moody, mysterious and modern.

S

leep. The missing link. I tell you. I’m on a rock ‘n roll schedule. Go to bed too late. Get up too late. Making up for it by taking a nap after breakfast. Then, I’m late to Storyteller.

This has gotta stop.

Don’t tell me to go to bed earlier. I just toss and turn. I don’t want to wake up the house. So, I work or do something less productive. I read. I watch a movie with headphones. Reading is tough. As night turns into dawn the words make little sense. Or, they don’t stick at all.

On the other hand, so many of these pictures get made in the night. Maybe not the original click of the button, but the experiments and post production work occurs then. In the almost dark.

So, that may be a fair trade. Sleep for art.

I dunno know. What do y’all think?

Oh. One more thing. You’ve seen a version of this picture. I was just playing when I made a version that I like better than the original.


All the warm colors.

H

ere’s the deal.

When I sit down to write this stuff I am at peace. A few minutes later I am as agitated as I can be. WordPress makes this so. I’ve pretty much had enough. I’m going to try an end around.

That’s different from a work around.

I don’t want to do any more work arounds. They are really a waste of time. Instead, I’m going to take up WordPress on their offer to use one of about ten different website templating companies. Some are free. Some are a hybrid. And, some are expensive.

Basically.

Very basically, you overlay their template on the WordPress blocks and work there in any way that you’d like depending on which software you choose. I can actually make this blog look like a website. That’s always been the goal. I cannot achieve it using the current blockhead system.

Working this way you don’t have to be a coder as you do working directly with WordPress if you want to do something creative. You just drag and drop as you do with some of the website in a box companies.

Stay tuned.

Watch me melt. Or, not.


Sunlight sparkling at dusk.

T

his almost didn’t happen. I had so many problems rebooting and reinstalling software that I was about to give up. For instance, OnOne took just one hour and fifteen minutes to load. I have no idea why. Most everything else loaded in a reasonable amount of time. But, there was a lot of it.

That said, I really wanted to publish this photograph. It’s fall personified. I needed to show it. You needed to see it.

And, that’s all.


Sometimes in summer.

S

ometimes in early summer the Mississippi River looks like this, especially after a very snowy winter up north. The snow melts, turns into water and flows into a local river which flows into the Mississippi River.

Eventually, the water makes its way down river where either upriver gates are opened to spread it out over a flood plain, or it arrives in New Orleans. Usually, it’s a little of both.

This is not a big deal and we are ready for it, but people who live in other places read or watch a small news item and start emailing me. I assure them that we are okay.

I know that this picture makes the river look like it’s well overflown its banks. Not really. This is the lower Westbank. The land that is flooded is meant for that. The small buildings that you see underwater is a little children’s amusement park that was designed to get wet.

After a couple of hundred years of living in our extremes, we have a pretty good idea of what to do.

That experience matters, maybe in everything that we do. That’s why experts tell us to do something 10,000 times before we are good at whatever we turned our attention to.

That’s why I suggest that new photographers slow down a little, take their time and learn for their successes and, more importantly, from they mistakes.

Besides, they could be like me. I’ve made so many mistakes that I must know a lot of stuff.

F

inding a picture like this is a case of listening to local news reports and checking the light.

The rest is F 8 and be there.

For sure, I amped the color up because I wanted the drama.

That may be the take away today.

If you are going to tinker with pictures well beyond normal, have a reason.

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of well over amped pictures of New Mexico.

I lived in New Mexico. I know what the skies look like. For sure, they probably hold more color the 90% of the earth.

But, this were atomic skies, electric skies.

Don’t go that far unless you have a reason.

I’m thinking that claiming drama for a reason is a little shaky.


T

he road. It may come soon enough. Oh, I’m not thinking about traveling for work. There is no work. I just need to be away from this place for a while. Or, forever.

I’m going talk about Portia, my friend who was murdered a couple of days ago. But, first, a little bit about this picture.

It’s pure art. Art that was made in the camera. Art, that for me, symbolizes travel. A storm is brewing. Cars and trucks are racing through the low light. The land seems to be glowing.

That’s the picture.

This is about a murder.

Portia was stabbed to death a few days ago. The story remains at the top of our local media, both print and broadcast.

Because.

Portia was a physical therapist who worked with the elderly all over the state. She went wherever she was needed.

Portia was also a drummer. She could be found in drum circles playing at Congo Square. She could be found playing drums on second lines.

The police chief said it hurts so badly because she could have been his mother. He also said that we are in the longest sustained period of violent crime since the weeks following Hurricane Katrina.

Those of you who have been thinking of coming to New Orleans, don’t. It’s hot and humid as hell already. Violent crime is through the roof. And, we are still opening up. Oh yeah, hurricane season just started. A season in which all reliable sources will be busy and violent.

Stay safe.

P

ictures like this one are mostly about seeing and adjusting your camera so you can make the picture you had in mind.

In this case, because being out on the road is about pure motion, I wanted the picture to reflect that.

I’m guessing, but it’s a very educated guess, that I made this picture at f 5.6 @ 1/2 second, with a 20 mm lens.

I hand held the camera because I wanted my natural body motion to help the picture. And, because I’m lazy.

Tripod? We don’t need no stinkin’ tripod.

And, no. This wasn’t a drive by or drive through shot. The picture was made on the side of a service road.

The color was not enhanced. Sometimes this is what you get with a relatively slow motion exposure at certain times of day.


The streets were wet.

One of my road trips during the PAD days was to Reno, Nevada. There is a story behind this adventure which I’ll tell in a bit.

I drove from Albuquerque through Las Vegas and north on state route 95. I stopped along the way. I turned a two day trip into three.

I made a huge amount of signature pictures. Most of that was just due to timing. Arrive at a place that you want to photograph in good light and guess what happens.

When I arrived, I was tired, grumpy and wet. The grumpiness was at myself. Nobody else. I checked into the hotel at time when nobody was traveling. The hotel was a pretty good one, but my room cost ten dollars.

The front desk manager took one look at me and upgraded my room without asking.

What a room.

It was one of those high roller suites. It was located on a very high floor so I could see the city. It had a huge bigger than kingsize bed, a 60 inch television right in front of the bed. If you didn’t want to watch anything you could lower it and see the rest of the room.┬áThere were sitting areas with couches and deep, plush chairs.

There was a heart shaped couples bathtub in the room. There was a shower for two. There was a wet and dry sauna. And, get this, the minibar was free.

I stayed three for three days. Thirty dollars for all of that.

Anyway.

My parents retired to Reno. They also passed in Reno. They are buried at the veteran’s cemetery in Fernley about 15 miles away. That’s really why I came. When my dad passed I promised myself I’d come every two years.

I’m sorry to say that I was last there in 2007. Fourteen years. That’s too long. Maybe when I feel like it’s safe to travel I’ll go there. It’s gonna be a long road trip.

I like road trips.

If the weather is my kind of weather, it’ll take me a week to get there even though from New Orleans I’ve only added an extra days driving time.

Maybe the fall.

Picturing things, I walked out on the street into the pouring rain.

I din’t care. I was wearing rain gear, my cameras were protected and I felt like making pictures. After all, that was the secondary reason for this trip.

I had dinner in a Thai restaurant that I knew from past trips. I finished that and started walking.

I walked up behind this couple and started making pictures. I never look at my work even when I return to my hotel room. I had no idea what I had until I returned to New Mexico.

It may be superstitious of me, but I never look. Or, it just may be the realization that I can’t do anything about a blown set of pictures.

The take away is that this picture was made in the camera. The only change I made in post production was to sharpen the image a bit.

When the picture is right, it’s right.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient.


Look to the west.

We listened to a podcast this morning that stopped me in my tracks. It’s a conversation between Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen.

I know what some of you are thinking. It’s not about that. Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican, this is worth listening to. You’ll learn something about the two men. More importantly, you might learn something about yourself.

They discussed their fathers and how they helped them grow, or didn’t. Mostly, they didn’t. Obama’s heritage is well known. Springsteen’s not so much.

I relate to Springsteen’s story much more than Obama’s. I’ll stop there because I’m not quite really explore those depths and write about them. Let’s just say I am what I am despite my upbringing.

Springsteen did say something funny that can be taken one of two ways. He said that he dresses like a blue collar worker, but he never worked a day in his life. You can take that at face value.

Or.

You can take it the way that I did. Even though every musician that I know says they are working or that music is their job. It’s the kind of job that they love doing. In that way they have never had a job. They enjoy what they do.

Do you?

Into the sky. That’s what caught my attention. The crazy, almost exploding sky.

Look at it. Please.

It’s almost like an upside down beach with the waves leaving trails in the newly exposed sand.

I’ve seen a lot of sunsets and I don’t think that I’ve ever seen one like this.

I did what I could to make the proper exposure so that it would be easy work in post production.

I helped it a bit. The result is what you see here. For me, the real trick was to keep the buildings in silhouette while retaining just enough light on them to let them glow.

Let’s see what happen today.


The region of storms. And, kings.

The rain came down. Then the temperature dropped. Finally, we are turning a corner into pleasantness. At least, for now. The passing of winter to spring is always interesting in the swamp.

May you have an interesting life is one of the most harshest of Chinese curses. I think most people are like dogs. We like routine. That’s what’s been so hard living in the pandemic era. Routines are blown. Lifestyles are blown.

We’ve lost a lot. Everything is changing. Nothing is normal, or at least what we used to call normal. I’ve discussed that a couple of times. The new normal is a chance for us to do better. At least I hope that it is.

I have a better sense of hope, even though you can’t eat it, as Neil Young says.

But, with the change of presidents and governing administrations issues are being dealt with in an efficient manner. I just wish the other side would stop lying. The New Green Deal, which is only an idea, did not shut down power in Texas. Nor, did it blow out all kinds of water pipes.

I don’t see the gain in saying such nonsense. Eventually, the truth comes out. Especially these days when you don’t have the last president creating chaos everyday just to see his name out there. That noise is just about gone.

Yeah. He’s gonna run again. After four years of healthy change even his base is not going to be interested. Yeah. He’s going to start a new social media. Just like his steaks, wine, and university.

He’ll be so buried in legal issues that he’ll spend the rest of his life trying to suck money out of the last true believers to pay his legal fees that he’ll never raise his head again.

Now, that’s hope.

See where the picture of the rainy street lead me.

Now, that’s imagination.

drive by shootings. No. Not those kind. The kind where I make photographs from a moving car.

I’ve discussed this enough in the past that you know I don’t take silly chances. I’m not going to get hurt, nor am I going to hurt you.

Look at the picture. Not a car close enough to see me.

The real trick to this picture and the other picture from a couple of days ago is to find a color palette that makes sense for the subject.

The next trick is to be able to duplicate it in such a way that you can make subtle changes to suit the picture.

Once you’ve figured that out the rest is easy.

To be sure, the subject really should dictate the color palette. I don’t think bright, sunny scene would look great using this one.

Stay safe. You know the rest. Enjoy every color palette.


Cold, wet and slippery.

The cold weather came. It won’t leave. As I write this the temperature outside is 24 degrees. We should warm up sometime tomorrow.

Luckily, the rain stopped falling. The sun is shining through broken clouds. Clouds hold warmth in, so you know what this means. Colder still.

Yesterday was the saddest, coldest, wettest Mardi Gras ever. Sure, some people came out. They masked both ways. They wore their protective masks. They wore their Mardi Gras costumes. We call that masking too.

Of course, today is Ash Wednesday. The day when Catholics go to church and have an ash cross drawn on their foreheads. It’s the beginning of 40 days of sacrifice called Lent. I wonder how this is going to work out in the era of distancing and masking. If I were a better Catholic than I am, I’d just go and find out.

That’s a whole other story.

So.

This is a current picture. The first in ten days. I was excited to make it, even if it almost killed me. Oh well. Sometimes you have to decide if the pleasure is worth all the pain.

Making photographs is my one great pleasure. Note the word “great.” I do plenty of other things that bring me pleasure. But, photograph is the main thing.

Let’s see what you think. What is your biggest source of pleasure? What are the minor ones?

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Enjoy all the weather.

Rain. You’d think that in Southeast Louisiana we’d know how to drive in wet conditions.

Oh no.

Most drivers are bad enough during the best of times. When the roads get wet, they forget what little they know about driving.

This is not a rant about local drivers. It’s the long way of saying that when I make a picture on a larger sized street I’m taking my life in my hands. Working on an interstate highway is much easier.

It’s also a way of saying that, both of my hands are on the steering wheel. I’ve talked about this previously.

I make sure the camera, or in this case, the phone is set on auto everything. I brace the camera, on the steering wheel. The only part of my hand that leaves the steering wheel is one finger or thumb. I just hope that the lens sees as I want it to.

The lens was close, but not quite there. If you look hard enough at the bottom of the picture you can see a bit of the dashboard. It’s part of the picture so I left it in.

I’ve been softening backgrounds in post production. I like it because it helps to enhance the subject by not being sharp.

I also like gauzy clouds.

That’s it.

Oh, this is not in New Orleans. I made this picture in Kenner after coming home from a CoVid-19 test.

No worries. My doctor wants his patients to take the test three days before the procedure.

If you recall, I took another test last week. But, the procedure was postponed because of… a CoVid-19 scare.

In many ways, that’s photographer’s luck. If I didn’t have the test I wouldn’t have been in a position to make this picture.