Abstract French Quarter.

Rain. Motion Blur. And, a strange crop of a woman standing next to me.

It seems that there is a kind of finality to this picture. That’s a good thing. This is the last of this series. I reckon that you’ve had enough. Besides, tomorrow is Sunday. The first day of the week. The first day of a new thing.  Don’t ask me what.  I haven’t thought that far in the future. Yeah. I know. That’s just tomorrow. It’ll come to me sometime before that.

As you already know, sometimes I don’t talk about the picture. I veer off in some other direction. This is one of those times.

Yesterday evening was just terrible.

Peter Fonda died. He’s a big part of my youth. Movies like Easy Rider helped to form me. The music of that time was the soundtrack to my life. It really hit me when Roger McGuinn — the founder of The Byrds — tweeted, “I just lost a dear friend.”

Not ten minutes later I learned that Nancy Parker, a journalist and anchor person for local television channel FOX 8, died in an airplane crash while she was working on a story about Franklin Augustus, a local a licensed stunt pilot. He was also killed. Nancy Parker had been with the station for 23 years. It seems that everybody knew her or watched her. To a person everybody talked about her kindness and caring. I met her very briefly prior to the Zulus starting Mardi Gras Day one very cold year. We talked for a few minutes as people do. She made sure to stand behind me, so as not to get in the way of my lens.

My city is in mourning.

You know what I always say. The work is the prayer. That’s what I’m doing. I’m listening to Byrds music. A little of it was used in Easy Rider.

RIP Peter Fonda

RIP Nancy Parker

RIP Franklin Augustus

 


Rain, rain, rain.

Rain.

We, in New Orleans, get a lot of it.

It doesn’t stop us. Usually.

It certainly didn’t stop these two women. They were soaked through and through. What did it matter if they got even wetter? Besides, when was the last time that anybody saw Bourbon Street without crowds at night?

And, she’s wearing flip flops. Normally, that’s just an act of craziness. If twenty people don’t step on your toes, consider yourself very lucky. Besides, you don’t want to know what covers that street on a normal night. By the end of the night, Bourbon Street truly stinks. I’ll leave it at that. Y’all have good imaginations.

The picture. It’s one in a series of “lost” pictures. That rainy night in the French Quarter sure added a lot of magical qualities to the image. Water. Reflections. Wet people. All I had to do was be willing to get wet. And photograph what I saw.

Simple.

 


A little rain won’t stop us.

Another storm picture. Rain never stops us. I think a lot of us were fooled because we weren’t ready for the intensity of the rainfall. Never trust the weather people on your local news. They mean well, but if I got about 90% of what I said wrong, I’d fire myself.

I’ll talk about this picture. That’s it for today.

I made it with my new magic smart phone. This is the one that makes a 12 megapixel file. Usually, I process in the phone with Snapseed. I started thinking that I didn’t really like the final product, so I started experimenting by downloading the file to my main machine and using onOne to develop it and do the finishing post production.

What a difference.

The newest version, OnOne Photo RAW 2019, even has a template for making words. At this point, I cull in Photo Mechanic and Edit in OnOne and that’s it.

Goodbye Adobe. Again.

Finally. I don’t have to pay $9.99 a month forever.

Keeping today photographic, more about this picture. The first thing to know is that I made it through the windshield in between wiper swipes. This was another time that my phone thought I had a dirty sensor.

I made a lot of pictures this way.

All I knew was that my umbrella changed hands and I wasn’t going out in the pouring rain. I sat on the car and made pictures. Either I’m smart or just lazy. A betting person would take the latter.

That explains the softness in my subject’s face. We know that she likes bottled Coca-Cola, which is sort of ironic because the bottling plant for Louisiana is less than a half mile away.

That’s the story.

 


An experiment in black and white.

This is a test. In many ways.

Of course, there are my continued experiments in new ways of making the image true to my vision. Even though in the music world, the vinyl craze has started to peak and CDs are slowly being phased out in favor of streaming, I wanted to test something because I have an upcoming project. No matter how streaming affects their sales, many musicians still see CDs as an artistic construct. It’s how they organize their thoughts. It is true that feeding the streaming machine is better done by releasing a song when it is ready and keeping your audience engaged. But, many musicians don’t care.

That said.

I also wanted to test WordPress’ new smart phone app. Of course, it was released half-baked. It hung up on my last comment. It didn’t crash. It just didn’t do anything. I had to delete the app and reinstall it. When I finally got it working, I found that it makes no sense for a photography driven blog. That’s typical. In their rush to have people post just about anything, they forgot that most of the best blogs are not something you can produce on your phone while you are commuting, or having a coffee. Good blogs take time, planning and a monitor large enough to see what you are doing. This isn’t Twitter. But, it’s trying to be.

Or.

Maybe I’m just an old guy who can’t, or doesn’t want to, adjust to the new world.

Anyway.

The picture. I thought this would be a good change from discussing the week from hell. There will be plenty of time to discuss what happened to Texas, and their recovery in the coming weeks, months and years. There will be my work, others work and so on.

This is a picture I made a while back. The original is a color digital capture.  I slowly converted it to black and white. Then I destroyed it. The new app, called “Stackable,” allows me to do things I could only think about in the past. The result is as you see it. I’d like to say the thinking is all original. It’s not. I am influenced by a photographer/artist/illustrator/film maker called Matt Mahurin. For a look at his work go here http://www.mattmahurin.com   .

This is more than just adding a bunch of Instagram filters. Or, editing layers. I may have started out experimenting, but that was mostly just to learn the software capabilities. Once I did,  I set out to fulfill the vision that I had in my head.

That’s really what the digital world has opened up. A better way to get to your own truth. Or, you can use it to argue with people you don’t know and never will. You choose.


Lone tuba.

First and foremost.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to the people who live along the Gulf Coast in Texas. Twelve years ago, they came for us. Now, it’s our turn. Whatever they need. Whenever they need it. You’d have to have been here and gone through a major storm to really feel it deep inside. We did. We know.

Our hearts are in our throats.

Thank you for reaching out. We are fine here in New Orleans. Right now, it looks like we will get about 6 inches of rain over a four-day time span. That’s about like a normal summer storm. Yes, some parts of the city have other worries. All the pumps are not yet functional. Some of the electric turbines are still not up to full speed, and, for certain, the drainage system needs about 20 years of work. But, everybody is well aware of the issues and what we need to do.

So far, mixed sun and clouds. No rain. No wind.

I mostly only pay attention to the NOAA hurricane reports since that’s what the local television stations weather people read. I reckon given their percentage of being wrong and right, I’m about as qualified to read them as they are. Besides, I know when to shelter in place and when to evacuate. As Bob Dylan once sang, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

The picture. I made it on the day of the Great American Solar Eclipse. While I was waiting. My first inclination was to make the picture with just the tuba, the bench and the bicycle in it. But — aha — this woman came walking by. Those magenta tights were just the ticket to make the picture a little brighter and more colorful. I had to wait a minute because there was somebody walking in front of her. That turned out to be a good thing since she framed herself with that square sign board. Luck. Luck. And, more luck.

And, patience.


Working in Pirate Alley

I was walking by. I asked. She nodded.

It’s not what you think. She’s a small business owner. She’s the cleaning person. The bartender. The server. The manager. The book-keeper. From the looks of this, she works about 17 hours a day. Probably six days a week. Sounds fun. Or, not.

I suppose anything worth doing takes a lot of time. And, effort. I know chefs who live to cook. And, work. Same with teachers. Same with artists of all kinds. Even me. The list goes on and on.

Even when you supposedly work shifts.

I know an emergency room doc. She works 12 hour shifts. Do you think that she leaves at the end of her shift if someone comes into her ER shot full of holes? Oh wait. That’s a New Orleans thing. In some place else it might be a bad car wreck. But, you get the idea. She doesn’t leave. Same with other shift-driven occupations.

There’s the practice and constant learning. When I was young and a newspaper photographer, I used to go out “looking.” I used to make stand alone pictures that were evergreen and could be used when a newspaper page needed help. Not only did I generate pictures, but I saw things that might make a good picture story. Lessons learned young, are not forgotten. Today, that’s how a make a lot of pictures that you see. I call them “on the way to someplace else.”

Like this picture. I was just walking around waiting for the clouds to part so I could see nature’s handiwork. A partial solar eclipse. I was actually pretty productive. That’s one of the benefits of being able to return to a place again and again and again. I know where to look. I can put myself in places where pictures might be lurking.

This picture. One of my favorite subgenres of imagery. A kind of portrait. A person doing what they do. Or, in her case, just part of a very long day. It’s a simple picture. See it. Take it.  Chat for a minute. The only post production I did was mostly to balance the lights and darks. That was easy. Remember what I said about that day. Open cloud cover. Nature’s very own reflector.

 


Maybe a little bleak.

Choices.

I’m going to leave it to you. Please tell me what you think. And, hopefully, why.

I’m just going to tell you about the picture. The base picture — the portrait — is black and white, converted from a digital color image. An older personal experiment.  The layered images are the usual kinds of bits and pieces. In fact, the grass growing through what appears to be concrete is just that. Apparently, that happens everywhere. Not just in New Orleans. I’m sort of kidding about that. Of course it happens everywhere. Nature always wins. Just give her enough time.

That’s it. Enjoy your day. Or night.

A little more colorful.


Flowery portrait.

Another portrait.

Because.

I actually received an email from somebody wondering if I could shoot their portrait in this style. I replied that I could, but I wasn’t available until early August. Like everybody these days, this person couldn’t understand that. They wanted it now. As an aside, that’s one of the things the internet has wrought on us. Immediacy at the expense of quality. Eventually after a few emails, my customer (different from a client) agreed.

So.

I think that I’m going to post a few more portraits so that we are on the same page about what this “new” style of portraiture is really about. After all, you don’t see a whole lot of the human subject in this work. That’s my intent. If my customer want more of the human form in the picture, I suppose that I could make the base layer the top layer. I’d have to experiment to understand what it would do to the final image.

And, you know how I feel about experiments. About messing around. About tinkering.

Heh, heh, heh.


A vision in blue.

Sometimes, I’ll show you a portrait that is just a portrait.

This is one of those times.

Yes. Of course, I reworked it in my current new style of art. I’m not sure how much longer that will last. I made a bunch of pictures a day or so ago that are a little more “normal” in style. And, are my more general style of photographing people on site. In a little bit I won’t be in the position to work in that way. Again. I may stay in my archives out of sheer necessity.

We’ll see.

This picture. The base picture is over 40 years old. It was made on Tri-x. Black and white film. By filtering it, I could add color that wasn’t there. Not in the negative. Not in the print.

The subject is a long-lost friend of mine. By combining her first name and her last name’s first initial we called her “soupy.” That was in college. Way back. Back. Back.

The rest of the picture is layered. And, mixed. And blended. I’ve come to learn that it is best to do manipulate each individual layer. Blend them and do the work again. It gives the final image a look of depth. This picture has four layers. The work took some time. Especially when I went too far. And, had to backtrack. That’ll happen. I always say that you should just keeping going until you go too far. Of course, as I get older I’m pretty sure I rarely go far enough.

But, that’s another story.