Some more old ghosts

Some more Spanish moss-scapes if you can tolerate it.

When I first starting wayfaring in photography, I simply picked up a 13mp Sony PS and went down to the river to shoot around sunset. The best photos were of an armadillo nosing around a trash can and I could have told someone they were of a pterodactyl riding a lawnmower. In sum, it was indecipherable of whatever was in those photos. I had a few more outings with a borrowed dSLR that ended with the same disappointments and worse since I was guess-timating with a camera that was way over my head at that time. I broke down and started studying up on the internet and saw some progress. Then I had a surreal day and it happened with Spanish moss. I took my daughter down to the pictured area, the same dried up lake as previous posts. It was 105 degrees and we were walking down a slight hill. There was a grove of cypress trees with the moss lifting slightly from rare breezes we catch here in the summer. I framed up some pictures and then looking down into the display, I knew I had something, and from what I studied about histograms, it confirmed it. I took some more pictures and then my daughter and I played around on some logs late into the evening until the mosquitoes were too much to handle.

On the way home, my daughter dozed off in the back seat, and I was listening to the new album of one of my favorite bands, Against Me!. A song came on that instantly roped me in and then with strange coincidence, the singer referred to Spanish moss. I looked down at the mp3 player display and saw “Spanish Moss” scrolling across the screen. (pretty cool new video of said song here). Like I prefaced, it was a very surreal day. When I got home I downloaded the stick and found some more bad photos. Then I found some pretty decent ones of the moss. After probably way too many hours of processing, I felt good about sharing one of the moss pictures. My blog activity tripled over the next few days and I finally sensed progress.

I was born in the deep south but it has taken me decades to become a southerner. I often felt alienated by the over-generalizing clichés that both locals and tourist over do—crawfish, alligators, Mardi Gras beads, gumbo and Spanish moss. But the last, I’ve come to appreciate in a William Faulkner sense: Spanish moss as garland for the south, conjuring up both warm, jovial aesthetics and cold, haunting histories.


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