Monday, June 30, 2008

Threading stories and traffic

Working the French Quarter with a horse and buggy is a challenge. There's thousands of points of interest to talk about and the stories run on and on. But there is also the daily traffic of cars and pedestrians that you have to be careful for in the small, tightly packed streets -- streets designed when a horse pulled surrey was the trendy mode of transportation. It takes a good guide to do this job. These are real artists.

-- steve buser

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Would you look up?

I know you're going to do, so go ahead. I know you're going to call me "the cloud man." Go ahead. I can take it.

It's not that I really set out to take pictures of clouds. I think though, that when your used to looking straight ahead or down in front of you, and you start looking up, you see a whole new world bursting above you.

A camera is a dangerous thing. You think your going to just shoot a few pictures. But the images just keep coming at you. Your driving down the street making mental notes that you know your never remember -- "that would make a good shot. Remember the street." Over and over.

You just start noticing ordinary things that, well, frankly, are more than ordinary.

So here I am again. Another cloud shot. I'm not apologizing for that. I just wondering how to do this. To ask you, politely. Kindly. As a suggestion, not a command. "Would you look up?"

Try it.

-- steve buser

Saturday, June 28, 2008

French up

Here's what happened. I was walking down int the French Quarter of New Orleans when my eyes fixed on this fire escaped stairs. I determined to see if I could find a angle to capture its zig-zagging. Across the street I tried a few angles. Under the stairs I tried. Down the street, up the street. Then the clouds started moving across the top. I decided to try shooting it with a polarizing filter and sepia toning to get that "white cloud- dark sky effect. " This is the result. Nothing at all like I thought when I started. Go figure.

-- steve buser

Friday, June 27, 2008


Our niece Paige was having a lot of fun making giant soap bubbles on our recent trip to the New Orleans Childrens Museum in the Warehouse District of the city. If your imagination (young and old) wasn't running wild in this place, then you don't have one.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Boiling mad

You remember when you were young and the sun was starting to look droopy on the horizon -- getting ready to slip under its covers.

You knew mom was going to yell at any minute, "time to come take your baths." When that happened it would be time to slow down, drain the energy from your limbs. Night would soon massage your eyes with darkness till you crossed into dream land. Your romping was over. The smell of night would hypnotise you.

What did you do? Knowing the call would come at any minute, you hurried up. You ran faster. Jumped higher. Yelled louder. A protest again the veil of dark. Spend what energy you had left. Don't let the night have it.

This was the scene in St. James Parish yesterday afternoon. Clouds were bumping into each other all over the place -- pushing and elbowing each other for space.

This one threatening cloud was getting squeezed, like a small kid thrown into a circle of bullies. Pushed, knocked down, tossed around helplessly. The cloud was getting madder and madder -- cheeks puffing below with black anger. All the while. holding its rain drops in its icy heights. Ready to start swinging at anyone and everyone, throwing punches to the wind. Soon the anger would be too great and it would hurl its icy bits of water filled with sting at anyone caught below.

The sun was sleepy-eyed and would soon be saying "come in for you bath" and this cloud didn't want to leave without fighting back. Striking out. Lashing. Stinging.

--steve buser

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shopping New Orleans. Which would you rather have guiding you through the darkness? Crab? Crawfish? Lobster? Hummingbird?

That's the problem with the French Market in the French Quarter of the Crescent City -- there's too much to choose from. You can spend hours dreaming and shopping. Did I say problem? No problem here. It's one of my favorite pastimes.

Maybe that's why it's the oldest community market it the U.S. -- it keeps dreams alive.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Check it out.

This was the grocery store at the New Orleans Children's Museum where we spent Saturday. The kids enjoyed picking food off the shelf (empty but real containers) and bringing it up to the register where other kids checked it out. Our neice Rebekah is the check out lady here, trying to collect the $300 bill from here sister Sarah -- Sarah just ran over to her nanny's purse and pulled out the check book.

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. It also gives an insight into the practices of her mentor (Nanny). Go figure.

-- Steve Buser

Monday, June 23, 2008

River watch

Saturday was a day of fun in downtown New Orleans with Linda's nieces and nephews. We took an umbrella-covered stroll through a downpour down to the Riverwalk for lunch. This scene is Casey, Paige and Rebeka looking out over the river when the rain stopped. The Riverwalk is a fun-filled shopping experience at the site of the old World's Exposition. The large glass wall of the food court gives a panoramic view of the Mighty Mississippi. Step outside for a view of the wharf and the full feel of the busy waterway.

- steve buser

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sparking the imagination

We were at the New Orleans Children's Museum with out nieces and nephews yesterday. Of course this kid (me) was draw to the plasma globe -- you know that ones that shoot sparks inside of a globe. When you put your hand on the globe, the sparks shoot toward it. I kept coming back several times shooting a couple dozen shots, trying to get the perfect photo.

-- steve buser

Saturday, June 21, 2008

White Ibis

I was out looking at an industrial site in New Orleans East. It has been raining so the ditches were still pretty full. This White Ibis let me drive up slowly in my car and shoot his picture out the window. He is still a growing boy, but he will get a couple feet high with a wing span of about a yard. There were three of them in the group, groping in the water for tasty things.

Something you might not have known, if you didn't look up Ibises in Wikipedia: "The Ibis was renowned in antiquity for self-administering an enema to clear blockage by inserting its beak into its cloaca and injecting a spray of water."

Told you that you wouldn't have known.

--steve buser

Black-Necked Stilt

This little foot-high Black-Necked Stilt is keeping a weary eye on me, but it didn't stop him from keeping up his morning meal in the road-side ditch. As awkward as he seems, they are very elegant bird. The long legs seem to give them a better vantage point to check out the shallow water.

-- steve buser

Friday, June 20, 2008

What part of this counts?

I ran across this excerpt from a speech of Sen. Robert Kennedy on a blog the other day. I needed a inspiring photo to complement it. But read the speech, you will see what the photo has to do with it.
"We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods.

"We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them.

"The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missles and nuclear warheads.... It includes... the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children.

"And if the Gross National Product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend. It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike.

"It does not include the beauty of our poetry, or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials...

"The Gross National Product measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile, and it can tell us everything about America -- except whether we are proud to be Americans."

Sen. Robert Kennedy --two months before his assasination March 18, 1968 University of Kansas

-- steve buser

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Green stinger

With the help of a brave assistant, I was able to capture this photo of a stinging caterpillar which was hanging at eye-level with me, about 2 feet away. I grabbed Linda's camera and started shooting. Her camera does a decent job of macro photos but it was a challenge with the tiny stingers on this guy. See the picture below for a more detailed shot of the stingers.

In the picture below he is just finishing up one-half of the leaf -- the leaf is coming out at you in a plane straight out from the center of his head. He has his mandibles one on either side of the leaf as he chomps down. The hand-looking thing holding onto the leaf is his thoracic legs for holding food.

If you look very. closely at the ends of the green spines, you will see black and white stingers -- if you've ever been stung by one of these guys, you will definitely keep your distance in the future

Lagniappe -- I posted a picture on Pixel Eyed that shows the identifying characteristic of these caterpillars -- a red and white stripe running down both sides which you can just barely see on the left top of this guy.

-- steve buser

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Your bones are hollow, your wings translucent. You are crafted to slice the wind. Let the wind slowly glide you down to your nest. Hundreds of feet of silent wind skimming. You are a Great Egret . You were born to be a brother of the wind.

From Audubon Park in New Orleans (make sure you click the photo to get the full effect.)

-- steve buser

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You let go first

Great Egret chick 1: "I'll let go when you let go"
Great Egret chick 2: "No, you let go first."
Great Egret chick 1: "Both of us on the count of three let go."

Mom: "You both better pray you can fly faster that me."

Great Egret chick 1: "Don't let go."

These two birds on the left were fighting over who gets the first serving and when mom (maybe dad) tried to break it up, they both grabbed her by her beak. She forgot the old rule: never break up a bird fight.

The tustle went on for twenty minutes and was still going on when I left, though the Mom had escaped the beak lock quickly. She then let them fight it out between themselves and she stayed out of the way, looking off into the distance. "You bird brains fight it out. I've got no gator in this fight."

The fun was at the rookery in the lagoon of Audubon Park, New Orleans
--steve buser

Monday, June 16, 2008

Family feud

Mom sits up high out of the fray: "You chicks fight it out. When you're finished, we can all sit down to an orderly meal. If not, you will both starve to death."

To me, it looks like these two chicks need to be out getting their own meals. The rookery on the lagoon in Audubon Park, New Orleans, is the scene for this food fight among these Great Egrets.

Here's a couple videos that show how good of hunters egrets can be: Video One, Video Two

And a photo of what happens when everybody is polite and food is served. (from

Lagniappe -- the rain pound and pound. Then it stopped and things sparkled. Today on Pixel Eyed.

--steve buser

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dappled Duck

This guy stood quite still to let me shoot his photo at Audubon Park in New Orleans. I think it was the new suit he was showing off. Is that seersucker? Very summer-ish.

Lagniappe -- The fisherman becomes the fish... today on Pixel Eyed

-- steve buser

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ruffling feathers.

I suppose someone told him, "go ruffle your own feathers." This was at the rookery on the Audubon Park lagoon in New Orleans today -- before it started pouring rain and I scurried for shelter.

-- steve buser

Friday, June 13, 2008

Clowning up

Traveling home from work in New Orleans tonight, I saw a particularly interesting cloud structure full of filaments. This isn't it.

I put my camera out the window, pointed up and snapped. Didn't point right. I got this instead.

I felt it had potential and brought it back to put some pixel dust on it. Double click on it and look at the cloud on the left. Do you see the fool with the clown hat on with the bell on the end of it hanging down in front of his face?

Perhaps nature was laughing at me. Perhaps? Perhaps?

-- steve buser

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Driving me out of my mind

So I am driving home, down Poydras Street, heading out of town and this guy pops his head up and stares at me, like "hey, where did all the wind come from?"

I feel sorry for him, because he didn't sign up for the commute, but there is no place to pull over. It wasn't till I was in front of the Superdome before I could find a good spot.

Of course, then the ungrateful guy doesn't even have enough manners to to sit still for a portrait, so I had to jump out of the car and chase him around it -- I knew you would never believe this story with out visual evidence.

I finally caught this shot and then decided my new friend was probably not going to survive the Interstate. So there I am chasing him around the car, trying to catch him (camera still in hand). I am sure somebody called the police about the crazy guy playing ring-Around-the-Mercury.

Finally he was gone. I don't know if he jumped for his life, or found some nook or cranny. Enough. I had enough playing the photo-taking fool.

So here's the thing. I don't mind telling you about this, but I wouldn't want to have it leak out. Can we keep this just between us?

Thanks. I'll return the favor someday.

-- steve buser

Window on the world

The window wall at the Port of New Orleans reflects the Crescent City Connection bridge above and a Carnival Lines Cruise Ship down below. The Port's office sits below the massive bridge over the Mississippi River and in between two of the port's wharves. At the bottom left is a much more mundane for of transportation. And if you click on the picture to enlarge it, you will see behind the blue fence a more popular mode of transportation.

I will have to see if I can find a window somewhere in New Orleans that shows even more modes of transportation in this logistics-rich city.

--steve buser

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mad Cloud Disease

I really didn't intend on posting a picture like this tonight -- after posting two cloud pictures from the ride Sunday. But as I was driving home, this big cloud was billowing up -- kind of unusual for clouds to billow as the sun is going down -- the weather man even commented on that last night. But billow it did. It was like one of those candle extiquisher, snuffing out any light it could find. It seemed upset about something. I jumped out of my car and started shooting, like I had some kind of disease for shooting clouds -- Mad Cloud Disease.

I will get over it.

- steve buser

Monday, June 9, 2008

More I-10 zen

Carrying a camera and playing with the settings, shooting the sky. It makes you be more observant of what is around you. For instance, if I had not been taking cloud shots on our drive home from Texas, I might have told you that the sky the whole way was partly cloudy.
But shooting cloud pictures, I realized there were breaks in the clouds for a dozen or more miles. After one of those breaks we came upon these teenagers -- well they weren't babies but they weren't towering dads either. They were stretching their aspirations into the heavens, but strong winds out of the south were keeping them from growing into manhood. We came upon them somewhere around Lake Charles, on our west to east journey back to New Orleans.

Just some of the thing you notice, when you have a glass eye.

-- steve buser

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Get your zen, on highway I-10

Driving home from visiting our kids in Texas, gave me a chance to practice some of the setting on my Olympus Evolt 510 camera. I had to shoot at a really high shutter speed because I was riding shotgun as we were heading down the highway. The clouds were cooperating though.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Aerial crawfish feast

Even a Blue Heron is entitled to a tasty crawfish every once in a while. Just carry it to the top of a high branch with plenty of clear sight distance so that no one can try to sneak up on it and steal the treat.

-- steve buser

Thursday, June 5, 2008

To bee or not to bee

The story the other day said that even though bees are dying out all across the country, a few states, Louisiana one of them, are not having that problem. Nobody knows why. Sweet.

-- steve buser

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Open skies

The skies around New Orleans got angry and punch their chest and billowed their clouds. They swarmed around the sun and blew out its light. But they couldn't keep up their ire, so that the sun was able to break through and regain its strength. In the end the winds pushed the clouds away over the sunset and the night came up pink and golden, then purple.

--steve buser

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The last bite of sundown

The sun is tired. The last ray, hopefully the last bite. The lakefront in Mandeville, just across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans. Maybe it wasn't a good day, but maybe it will end well. Maybe.

-- steve buser

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fishing for the perfect shot

Another look at our friends Sam and Theresa's fish pond in their back yard. It was fascinating to watch the fish fathoming the clear, dark waters. The sun could only get a ray or two through the umbrella of the giant oak that loomed overhead. But where it did, it painted the pebbles on the bottom with a golden tint. As I moved around the pond to capture a good shot of the Koi fish, they always seemed to find a way to keep a lily pad between me and them, that is until Theresa came out with some fish pellets. An occasional pellet would bring them out into the open, but I had to work quick because they would scoot back to lily-pad darkness in just seconds.

-- steve buser

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Da Crawfish Boil

The crawfish boil, as you can see, is a very social event. Every one crowded around, picking, eating and conversing in a hive of activity. The signature of the haute cuisine is the newspaper strewn table -- makes it easier to clean up, just roll it up and toss it in a garbage bag. It is impossible for anyone around the table to be a stranger at one of these feast. It's a true New Orleans event, though this one was Saturday at my brother Ted's house in Baton Rouge where we held a Buser family reunion.