Rainbow Bright

•September 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Image of the Day – Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rainbow Over the French Quarter

Rainbow Over the French Quarter

On a recent photowalk through the French Quarter on an overcast afternoon I was greeted with this view. A long, sweeping rainbow arching across the sky and disappearing on one side behind the tall building of the downtown area and on the other behind the shorter, older buildings of the French Quarter.

It’s not very easy on foot to bet around a rainbow for a better angle and knowing how fleeting their presence is I took my best shot from where I was. Rainbows are not easy to photograph against such a gray sky and with no polarizing filter but I managed to grab this shot. The birds flying in out of the right side of the picture is an added bonus.

Faces in a Crowd

•September 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Image of the Day – Monday, September 21, 2009

Photographing a Stranger in New Orleans

Photographing a Stranger in New Orleans

About a month ago I bought a new lens for my camera – the most basic of lenses at that – a 50mm f/1.8 lens. Don’t worry if you don’t know what all the means just know it’s a hot lens and simply can’t be beat for the going price of about one-hundred thirty bucks. Friday past I got off work at noon and headed straight for the French Quarter to not only give my new lens a real workout but to do something I seldom do – photograph people.

I didn’t want to just photograph people I encountered on the street – I wanted to do some down and dirty “in your face” street photography. I gathered up my Nikon, strapped on the 50mm lens and didn’t take another lens or even a tripod with me. It was going to be an afternoon and evening of me, my camera, the 50mm lens and photographs of total strangers.

I found out quickly it takes some brashness to pull off doing photographs of strangers right in the streets. It’s not an easy task to walk up to someone out of the clear blue and ask to photograph them. The range of reactions ran from thrilled and excited to bordering on hostile. Some people were more than happy to let me photograph them and a few others acted like they wanted to beat my ass on the spot for even approaching them. One fellow I asked to photograph not only obliged me but asked if he could take my picture! Naturally I agreed to his offer but I had to loan him my camera. You never know what you’ll get from a person whose job is to stand in front of a bar and hold a sign that simply reads, “Huge Ass Beers To Go”.

As the day turned to evening and the evening turned to night I found it easier and easier to approach people. But then I was in the French Quarter – mostly on Bourbon Street – and as the evening wore on and the people on the street became less and less sober their inhibitions began to be worn down and I got more and more positive responses to my inquiry to photograph them.

I also stopped in a few bars to listen to the music and shoot a few band shots but stayed true to my mission of face photographs and that’s where the shot below comes from. I like it too much to exclude it from this post.

Unknown Band Member at the Krazy Korner on Bourbon Street

Unknown Band Member at the Krazy Korner on Bourbon Street

For good measure I’d also like to include in today’s post the photograph the man took of me holding his “Huge Ass Beers To Go” sign as well. You can barely see it on the right edge of the photo but I have in hand one huge ass beer – to go.

Huge Ass Beers To Go

Huge Ass Beers To Go

You can see the faces I liked most and posted to my Flickr Stream here.

Sleeping Angel

•September 20, 2009 • 1 Comment

Image of the Day – Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sleep Angel in Cypress Grove Cemetery - New Orleans

Sleep Angel in Cypress Grove Cemetery - New Orleans

In late May of this year I went on a photowalk with my camera club to photograph New Orleans cemeteries with the theme, “Cities of the Dead”. New Orleans’ cemeteries are indeed a world and place of their own. Old and often damaged by vandalism the Cities of the Dead are dense urban clusters of the no longer living tucked into the urban cluster of the Crescent City. Pathways lined with vaults often over two-hundred years old the dead are stacked on atop the other. The muted voices silenced forever with only the etchings in marble and stone to testify of their existence.

Statuary is a commonplace thing in the Cities of the Dead and as I wandered the dead streets of Cypress Grove I encountered a statue of an angel with eyes closed, head propped in her hand as she sat on a small bench. Tufts of curled hair falling across stone skin where here heavenly robe has slipped off her shoulder. Wings fully flexed and a bouquet of flowers in her lap the angel wears look of eternal contentment as she sleeps forever in her place. The paint flaking off the crown of her head, laying bare the raw stone beneath her shoulder she reposes eternally. Sent to a place of permanent rest and peace the finger made smudges across her forehead bear witness to someone unseen anointing her into a stony slumber.

Red Doors, Blue Shutters

•September 19, 2009 • 1 Comment

Image of the Day – Saturday, September 19, 2009

Red Doors and Blue Shutters in the French Quarter - New Orleans

Red Doors and Blue Shutters in the French Quarter - New Orleans

This another photo I took last Father’s Day on a visit to the French Quarter in New Orleans. We’d been seeking out buildings and sites on the National Register of Historic Places to photograph them. I don’t recall what street this picture was taken on though it was very possibly Royal Street but don’t hold me to that. The photo sat unnoticed in my archives since early in the summer. The shot never caught my attention.

A few days ago I was doing as I sometimes do and looking through my photo archives and this shot grabbed my attention for the first time. I’ve found looking through my archives now and then almost always turns up an overlooked jewel. There are times when the shot looks like a jewel and once opened in Photoshop no matter what I do with the image it’s not the jewel I thought it was. There are other times when an image becomes something nice after sitting in my archives for several years and looked at a few dozen times. Every time I think I’ve picked my archives clean I come across something new. It’s a great case for shooting a lot when you get the chance and not worry about processing your images – the jewels will eventually be found.

Three Rivers

•September 18, 2009 • 1 Comment

Image of the Day – Friday, September 18, 2009

Niko at Three Rivers Petroglyphs in New Mexico

Niko at Three Rivers Petroglyphs in New Mexico

A few days ago I posted a photo of my youngest son, Niko, skateboarding in New Orleans. In that post I mentioned he doesn’t like to have his photograph taken. Today’s picture of the day is of Niko at the Three Rivers Petroglyphs site in New Mexico. The self-guided tour brochure we were following mentioned this specific petroglyph as the single most photographed of the more than 20,000 petroglyphs at the site. We all had our picture taken at this specific petroglyph and the other three members of our party were happily smiling. Niko, however, was forced to take his photo like the rest of us (that’s what it takes to get his picture) and he wasn’t happy about it and refused to smile. I took the picture and was satisfied with myself I’d been able to get the picture I got with as little prodding as it took.

We stayed at the Three Rivers Petroglyph site for a few hours wandering amongst the ancient carvings in the near black volcanic stones. Whipped by a stiff wind blowing off a wide, long plain to our west and gushing up the Sacramento Mountains to the east we marveled at the etchings, pondering the images on the rocks. To our southwest was the White Sands National Monument and to our northwest was the Trinity Test site where the first atomic bomb was tested.

Many times we sat atop the rocks and boulders and looked across the vast plain and off in the distant seeing the shimmering of White Sands beneath a clear blue sky. It was while resting and gazing out across the open desert landscape I accomplished the difficult and rare – I caught Niko completely unaware I’d drawn my camera to my eye and aimed the barrel of the lens directly at him. The kid has a sixth-sense for detecting when his photo is about to be taken. The photo below is easily the best photograph I’ve ever exposed of Niko.

Catching Niko Unaware at Three Rivers Petroglyhs in New Mexico

Catching Niko Unaware at Three Rivers Petroglyhs in New Mexico

Short article describing the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

Football Readiness

•September 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Image of the Day – Thursday, September 17, 2009

Me, Brandi and Brandon at our Footall Practice Party, 2005

Me, Brandi and Brandon at our Footall Practice Party, 2005

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – me and we are huge LSU football fans. We’ve been known to have “Halfway to Football Season” parties and “Football Practice” parties. This picture is from 2005 when we were “practicing” our football game day festivities in the weeks leading up to the season. It was going to be a new beginning for LSU football as the upcoming season would be head coach Les Miles’ first season at the helm in Baton Rouge. Expectations and hopes ran high for the coming season.

Little did we know when this photograph was taken we were only four weeks away from being pummeled by Hurricane Katrina. LSU’s football season would have the first game postponed the second game moved from Baton Rouge to Tempe, Arizona and the third game almost canceled but finally played the Monday after its originally scheduled date. That was all in the future and part of the unknown when this photograph was shot and on this day we celebrated in eager anticipation of the coming football season.

On this day we were happy to all be together and dressed in purple and gold and oblivious to the fact it wasn’t a game day but it sure felt like one. So as you can see here we had beers in hands, smiles on faces and blissfully enjoying the finale weeks of a world known in southeast Louisiana simply as “pre-Katrina”.

Run It Down

•September 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Image of the Day – Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Taylor Running Down a Foul Ball

Taylor Running Down a Foul Ball

I don’t seem to get out to the ball park enough to watch my granddaughter play softball. Of course, softball season is over now but already plans are being made and actions taken for the next season. Taylor, her mother and Niko have already worked the concession stand at one LSU football game and have many more to work in raising funds for the 2010 tournament season. I give my daughter and granddaughter credit for their hard work and dedication to Taylor’s athletic endeavors. Niko gets two thumbs up as well because working a concession stand at an LSU is a full day’s work – fast paced worked at that.

This photo was taken in 2008 of Taylor running down a foul ball in a game played in Walker, Louisiana. The braces are now off her teeth and replaced with a beautiful smile of straight, pretty teeth but the intensity you see in her eyes here burns even hotter. Notice the tensed right hand fingers and the plum of dust kicked up her right foot. Taylor didn’t make the catch on this play (the ball fell out of play into the area just beyond the fence) but she made several good plays in this game and on this day. Of the positions she plays it’s watching Taylor play catcher I most enjoy. If for no other reason than it’s a great position for me to get good shots of her playing. Not to mention the girl is a bad a** catcher!