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Purple Day


On a purple Sunday.

Sunday. A quiet Sunday.

It’s hot here. It’s humid here.

Only a few flowers seem happy in these conditions.

Since one of the local weather people let it slip and admitted we had started our seemingly never-ending summer’s heat, all I can say as, “Oh goodie.”

Five months of intense heat. A lot of rain. And maybe, a hurricane or two. Yes. That season starts in eleven days. I’d better go buy some canned and potted meat. Some bottled water. Some batteries. And, some other stuff. But, I forget what that is.

Happy Sunday to you all.

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It Rained


What were once wires.

Art. Sort of.

Remember those wires that I published a week or so ago? Welp, I found another open AT&T telephony box. So, I did the only thing that I would do. I made more pictures. If I were a bad guy, I could have reached in and yanked out the nest. That would have shut down I don’t know how many homes’ internet and telephone service.

But. That’s not me.

I just make pictures of stuff.

So.

I photographed the wires again with the intent of doing something to them in post production. I made them as minimalistic as I could without dropping out shape, texture and form.

To me, the picture looks like multi-colored flames. To you? I don’t know. You tell me.

Because, Yanni. Laurel.

By the way, it’s no big mystery. It’s all about sonic frequencies and the human ear and brain. And, your ability to process sound. Because our big computers have been fine tuned to listen to music (It’s very easy to do), I could flip one switch and lower the bass. Lower the bass and you hear Laurel. Retune the bass to something less invasive and you hear Yanni. Same machine. Same speakers. Same ears.

Music theory and its more technical cousin, sound theory, isn’t easy to learn. But, once you start, everything falls into place. I suppose it helps that I have a very sound foundation in color theory and the optical side of physics. I really didn’t study it. I didn’t need to in college. I mostly read about it because it affects what I do in my world. I think if you are serious about making pictures you should too.

I Wish It Would Rain


Into the blue.

It’s the little things. That you find. In the dark.

Usually fallen leaves stick to a wet car. That usually means rain has fallen. Not this time. We’ve had no rain for weeks. This is rough. On the animals. On the plants and veggies. On me.

It’s not that I live for rain. I’m like anyone else. Too much is too much. But, the sky is muddy. It is not the normal blue. The light is overly filtered. The color tends to fade to brownish. And, it gets hard to breath. Not for me. But for some. The heat and dryness are very odd for The Gulf Coast region.

What I fear most will probably come to pass. An extra month of heat added to a very hot summer. A few years ago, in July, I was photographing a second line. It did not start on time. Even though I sat in the shade, stayed very hydrated and didn’t move about too much, by the time it started I was starting to wobble. I knew what it was. I headed for the shade, rested and walked to my car. I turned the air conditioning up and quickly drank 32 ounces of water. When my head sort of cleared I drove home.

On that day the ground temperature was 114 degrees. That included the calculation for humidity.

My plan for this weekend is to pair a second line with Westbank Super Sunday. I’ll be working from about Noon until 3 or 4 pm.

We’ll see.

If it is too hot by the time that I leave, I won’t leave.

Simple.

The picture. Leaves on a car’s trunk lid. Unlike wet days, the leaves weren’t stuck. They were just laying there. Dead. I found a good angle that didn’t include my silhouette and made the picture. The blackness on the right is reflected trees. The rest is what you think it is.

Fragility


I found a flower.

I found a flower. A tiny translucent thing. I’ve seen them before. When they are a little older. They are pale yellow. This one is young. You can see through its petals. It is such a gentle thing that I was afraid to get too near.

Enjoy it as it is. I’m certain that if someone doesn’t pick it, it won’t look quite like it did when I made the picture. And, that’s one of the best things about photography. We stop time. As it was. For a  millisecond.

I’ve been thinking about two other things.

I think that I’ve been going too far in post production. Unless I am truly making a piece of art that is beyond the real world as I saw it, I’m stretching things out too much. I’m a photographer. Not a painter.

And.

Tom Wolfe. Where are the words from all the writers who read Storyteller? I’m guessing that many of you are youngish, you’ve never read him. You should. Most of you fancy yourselves to be rule breakers. He broke them all. His writing style was hmm, sort of flamboyant, But, his words brought you there. He immersed himself in his subject, not by doing some googling research, but by being there. Oh wait. That’s a title by Jerzy Kosinski. Have you read that?

I was taught that in order to write, you have to read. And, read widely. Not just from your favorite genre. I was also taught that in order for your work to be read it had to be original. It had to break new ground in both plot and writing.

I know these things to be true. And, I’m a lowly photographer. The guy who works in an art that anybody can do. Writing is different. It’s hard. You must live it. Really live it.

 

Another Lock


Locked tight.

I found another one. A lock. That’s two days in a row.

This time it was just sitting on a curb. Locked tight. It looked like it had been left there on purpose. It took me a long time to figure out how to even make the picture. When I did, I didn’t like the result.

So, I cropped. And, tinkered. And, fiddled. I came to this place. What I really like is the very slim detail towards the top of the lock.

That’s it. A lock. A lost lock. Another lost one.

I’ve made a little progress on the new LaskowitzPictures online home. I think that I have to change formats. You know that I normally like big pictures. In order to enhance that, there really needs to be some little pictures. Space in between the notes as musicians who know what they are doing would say.

I think once I do that I’ll be happier with the project. We’ll see.

Locks and Keys


Not keeping anything safe.

All I know is that if you don’t use a thing, it probably won’t do it’s intended task.

This open lock is a case in point. It’s intended to keep a little AT&T substation secure. That’s a telephone communications company for those who don’t know. The substation controls about 3,000 buildings. The last field service technician apparently got lazy. It was probably hard to open so he left it on top of the metal box. For next time. Just think about the potential for mischief or worse. If I was about nine years old…

Anyway.

Today is mostly about housekeeping.

If you live in Louisiana you are probably suffering from allergies. See those little gold dots near the top of the open lock? That’s pollen. It’s in the air. That’s tree pollen. We are also suffering from grass pollen. To make matters worse, it’s unseasonably hot. Record-breaking hot. And, we haven’t had rain for weeks. We aren’t expected to have rain in the near future. It is so dry that the dirt is pulling away from the buildings, leaving huge gaps between the wall and the edge of the earth. People are actually watering their plants and crops.

I didn’t photograph the Mother’s Day second line. I’ve gotten to the point that I really don’t like working in extreme heat. Just as well. For the second time in five years, there was a shooting. This time, “only” two people got shot. Truth be told, it was at the very end of the parade about a half block removed. I wouldn’t have gone to that place anyway. But, still… who shoots up a parade dedicated to our mothers? The last time it happened about 15 people were wounded. One of those eventually died last year. My friend “Big Red” Deb Cotton. She was everybody’s friend, but she liked photographers because we are photographing a way of life. I have to decide if the risk is worth the picture. Yeah. I know that 99.99% of the people at any second line are peaceful and just having fun. But, a stray bullet knows no bounds.

I’m considering a hiatus from Storyteller. It’s not the time. It’s not the people. Well… in a way it is. The people. I gain new followers every day. Between those who receive emails and those who are on the reader there’s a lot. Yet, the people who actually see a picture on any given day keep dropping. If growth data matters, which apparently it doesn’t, I should have somewhere near 500 people who like my work daily. I don’t. In fact, I’ve dropped from a steady 50 or so to less than 30.

Since I’ve long said this place is experimental and I’m not very consistent in what I post, it could be that. I’m sure I disappoint people, like the coffee blog who started following Storyteller based on one odd post. I’m sure there are other people who play the “tit-for-tat” game. I’ll follow you if you follow me. Or, I’ll like your work if you like mine. I don’t play that game. I like what I like. I follow what interests me; usually because there are more than three posts.

Or, it could just be that the work I post just isn’t very good. Oh well. I’ve made a living at this for 40 plus years. Someone likes it enough to pay for it. They have for a long while.

That said, I’m in the middle of building a new commercial website. I’d kind of put it on hold because I couldn’t get a clear vision of what I want it to be. I built it and I published it. Then I went Yucko. Yucko. Yucko. But, it does have a blog component. I bet you can guess what it’s called. Yeah, yeah. Storyteller. It’s likely that I’ll just move this over there. Those of you who communicate with me in some way will hopefully follow me over there. It won’t be hard to find. http://www.laskowitzpictures.com. I think I can still send emails.

I’ll probably drop back to about 100 readers. That’s okay if you really read and talk to me.

I’m not sure when this will happen, although WordPress wants to be paid again for this blog and extra storage by the end of the month so that’s sort of a deadline.

That’s the news. The news that fits.

 

Smallness


Smaller than you think.

Now that I’ve been seeing things again…

I see everything. Little things. Tiny things. Details of huge things.

This little weed — at least that’s what’s it’s called by people who manicure their lawns — is smaller than a U.S. dime. That’s our ten-cent piece to those of you who don’t speak in American English. A cent is like… oh, never mind. 🙂

I think of these so-called weeds as just another flower. In nature. Like all flowers, they are built to spread pollen and therefore, themselves. They may hurt the greenness of some people’s lawns, but they don’t hurt me. Or, most other people.

This all came to me while I was watching a bit of a CBS new program called 60 Minutes. It was a rather long story that dealt with animal genetics, how to breed better animals, how to have an adoptee raised by other animal parents and whether less genetically endowed animals should be given some kind of birth control.

Of, fer gosh sakes. (This is a family blog)

Animals have been taking care of their own needs for years and years and years. They did it well before humans thought we needed to help them procreate. Or not.

This is technology and data run amok.

Of course, this is being written by a guy who dislikes zoos and roots for the animal when some dummy trying to prove something stands on a fence and falls into the lion pit. What can I say? I get along with alligators. And, lawyers.

The picture. I’d like to say it’s something the dog saw. But, she was busy. Taking care of one of her needs. I made it with my “ancient” iPhone 6 that has a kind of telephoto-macro function in the camera ever since the last patch or two of the latest operating system was installed. It’s not exactly macro and the picture did take a bit of cropping to get it where I wanted it to be, but it worked out fine for Storyteller.

On Mother’s Day


 

Royalty.

Purple. Luxury. Power. Creativity. Wisdom. Grandeur. Devotion. Pride. Independence. Mystery. And, Magic.

Those are some of the meanings of the color purple. Today, for me, it’s a grouping of fresh, growing flowers that I’m sharing for Mother’s Day. It’s a picture that I made a few days ago. A picture that I didn’t think that I’d made. I wasn’t sure.

It’s the best that I can do. Especially since my own mother passed in July 1996. She was 80 years old. She was watching the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. She was sitting in her favorite chair. She had about a half pack of cigarettes. She’d run out of matches. That’s how she was found. I’m always sorry that I never had a chance to say goodbye. On the other hand, she died peacefully and quickly. The passing of time eventually soothed me. It took about five years.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to my own aging.

Even though it doesn’t really pain me, there are still days when — as Radar O’Reilly of M.A.S.H. fame said, “Sometimes a guy just needs his mom.” Times when you just want to talk something over with your mom. Luckily, there are a few people in my life that I can use as a kind of substitute. Talking to one of them helps. It’s still not the same.

Make no mistake. I’m not sad today. A little thoughtful, maybe. If I want, I can go photograph the Mother’s Day Second Line over on the boundary of the 9th Ward. If not, there is plenty to do around this place.

I think mostly, I’m just writing from the point of view of someone who has long ago had his mom pass and maybe, just maybe, grown a little wiser as the years roll on. Hopefully, anyway.

Happy Mother’s Day to y’all . To those of you who are mothers, and to those of you who are not. After all, we all have mothers.

Into the Deep Blue


It was the sun.

Back to it. Back to things I see as I roam about.

Or, I could just call this who is supposed to clean this pool? Actually, what caught my eye was that mushy white dot located in between the handrail, which is something new. The dot is the sun reflecting off the blue water. It was poking through some light cloud cover.

That’s the story of the picture. I saw it. I made it. I developed it. I manipulated it. And, I posted it.

Easy.

I was wandering around looking for more junk. I found some. But what I really found sort of made me sick. Trash. Strewn everywhere. And, given that I just read a National Geographic Online piece about deep divers finding plastic bottles in the Marianas Trench, the deepest place on earth, I think I found my crusade.

Let’s face it. All politics aside. Every ism aside, if we keep trashing this planet, pretty soon we will not have a place to live. Our piles of trash will get flooded by rising seas and we’ll all steam in higher temperatures. Won’t that smell great? Steamed soggy trash. With all that steam, our wrinkles will go away. So will we.

Stay tuned.

Some Thoughts


A pleasant surprise.

I’ve been thinking.

You know how dangerous that can be. These are pretty good thoughts about a man who has served my country for his entire adult life. He served in the military. In the House of Representatives. And, in the Senate.

Now, he is dying of brain cancer. A particularly virulent strain that also killed Ted Kennedy.

Senator John McCain is making peace in his last days by writing a book that he might not be alive to see published. He is making peace by visiting with his old friends and telling them what they mean to him. Because he is sick, they have to come to him. They journey hundreds of miles to do this. Despite the political implications of these visits, most of them come because as former Vice President Joe Biden said, “I just want to see my friend.”

Please make no mistake. I don’t agree with many of the things Senator McCain did or said. He is too quick to “put boots on the ground” rather than to settle something diplomatically. He was often an air cowboy as a pilot. Yet, when the USS Forrestal was on fire he landed his aircraft and rushed to the fire to help save the crew. He comported himself with great dignity after his capture and prison time as POW. He came home to serve his country.

Most importantly, I never for a minute believed that he advocated anything — even those things with which I disagreed — without my country’s best interests in mind.

I respect him.

Now, as his time approaches, he is taking care of unfinished business. He is planning his funeral. He’s asked two former presidents to speak. They are from both sides of the political spectrum. Former President George W. Bush and former President Barrack Obama. They said yes. He does not want the current president to attend. It would be easy to criticize him for that. It’s not revenge. The current president stands for nothing the senator believes in. I’m not sure he stands for anything.

Where did all this bring me to?

I’m somebody of thinks through complicated thoughts and distills them into something simple. Understandable. After all, complicated pictures are hard to view.

We don’t have to agreed with each other. But, we owe it to ourselves and to the people around us to listen and to compromise. We owe it to ourselves to speak out whether it be in words, our art, or just in our actions.

You know, like how hard is it to let another car pass in front of you when they need to be in another lane?

Yeah, like that.

The Rose?

Oh, I saw it yesterday. It was too pretty to pass up. To pretty to pass up in my search for junk. You know what I say. The work is the prayer. Call it a prayer for the senator.