In yellow.

The third portfolio. What the dog saw. She sees a lot. She investigates a lot. She takes me on long walks. Even when I don’t feel like it. That’s good. For both of us. She keeps my hurting parts moving, which according to that silly television commercial “a body in motion stays in motion.”  Something like that. Some advertising copy writer remembered his basic physics. Good for him. Or, her.

This is a harder collection to organize. I make a lot of pictures when I walk with that dog. Many of them are above her paid grade. Not really. They are above her normal line of sight. Pictures made of clouds. Or, of great light reflecting off of something. Golden, late afternoon light.  She doesn’t see that light. She can’t. Dogs see monochromatically. But, when she see me messing with my iPhone and pointing it at something, she stands there. Waiting patiently. She doesn’t know exactly what I’m doing. But, I’m doing something so she waits. How many humans will do that?

Looks like spring.

The end of the year. This week was the time in between. As famous baseball player, Alex Rodriguez said, “You don’t know what day it is, you don’t know who you are, you know that should be doing something but you don’t know what.” That was about right for this week.

But, the new year is coming. 2018.

Mostly, 2017 kind of sucked. Yes. Absolutely, I’m grateful for what I have. I’m grateful for things big and small. But, when I look at the bigger issues I’m watching my country be diminished by a man who can’t think. By, a political party who seems determined to hurt people like me. And, you. Sorry, I just don’t know anybody in the very top 1% of all earners. You know the ones. The ones who don’t actually make or create anything.

This isn’t a political rant. This is to say that 2018 will — in my opinion — be hard too, but that I have hope. I’ve often said that you can’t eat hope. I believe that, but with hope you can make something happen. Sort of like wishing for a miracle. In the words of Leroy Jethro Gibbs, “Miracles take hard work.” Combining those two thoughts is my way of saying do whatever it is you do, but do it better. Do it with intent. Make little things count. Make the little things add up. To big things. Change something.

I’m going to take a little break from Storyteller. No. Not very long. After all, it’s already December 29th.

I’ll see you in 2018.

At the dawn of the new year.

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Worlds away.

The second phase.

Since my body hurt, I decided to stimulate my mind. I started experimenting with layering. And, blending. Mixing. Matching. Aside from making the original image — the base layer, I called it — everything was assembled in the computer. Or, iPhone. Or, iPad. These pictures are, in effect, digital art. Digital art without all the faux painting and semi-artistic layering named for famous artists. Work that used digital tools rather than old school tools like brushes and paint. Just the next step. After all, photography is driven by technology. Why shouldn’t different genres of art?

A lot of you liked these images. Some of you suggested that I do a gallery show. I was never all that sure about them. Somehow, to me, they felt contrived. They didn’t feel real enough. Given your responses for yesterdays collection, I might be right. But, the more that I live with them the better they look to me. I guess one of my old editing rules is coming into play. Let the pictures marinate. Give yourself some time between taking a picture and culling and editing it.

And, I was offered a gallery show.

One more flowery portrait.

Next. What the dog saw. Or, stuff I saw on the ground and what I did with it.


All happiness.

A look back. At my photographic year. It was a strange one. It is divided into three very clear segments.

So.

Three days of pictures of the year. 12 pictures each day. My year.

My year started out normally enough. I made pictures of the usual things. Second lines. Mardi Gras Indians. Mardi Gras, itself. And, the city…. falling apart.

Then, life got in the way. My legs and back started to hurt. A lot. I wasn’t as mobile. I had to plan how to actually work in the street. Eventually, it got to the place where I didn’t trust myself on our pot holed and broken streets.

Finally.

I had some x-rays made. Not only was my old hip replacement giving me problems, but I have osteoarthritis in four vertebrae. And, this little notch in my spine. Once I figured out the proper balance of pain meds to my actual pain I was able to gain more mobility. I’m not back to normal. I never will be. But, trust in myself has returned. I know the strategy. And, the tactics.

That took the better part of a year. Well, nine months to be more exact. Because I’m built to make pictures, I did. Many of you saw the results of those nine months. I’ll show you some of that work during the next two days. One portfolio is about art and experiments. The other is loosely called, “what the dog saw.”

The future… (see below the next picture)

Horseman

Even though I claim to be retired from the streets, I do miss it. I hope to photograph some of the culture around here. It is New Orleans’ tri-centennial year with lots of events and celebrations. I’ve already had a few pictures published in the main 300 year book project and show. I’d like to photograph some of the year’s events.

We’ll see.

You already know about the changes here, in my archives and at my rebuilt website. There’s more. There’s some travel. And, there’s other side projects, assignments and commissions. I may not be able to complete the things that I’ve planned. That’s why I don’t make New Year resolutions. Nobody should.

Tomorrow. Layering, experimentation and art.


Over and over.

You know how Christmas ends, right?

You start the celebrating on Christmas Eve. Maybe you attend some kind of religious celebration. Maybe you eat a Christmas Eve meal. Maybe you wait until midnight to open your presents.

Or, you wait until morning.

By about noon, all the presents have been opened. Some have already been broken. You’ve eaten your Christmas Day meal. You’ve released your belt. And, you crash on the couch. Maybe you watch football. With one eye open. Maybe you doze in your Barcalounger.

Maybe, sometime later in the day, you start looking for another meal. If you don’t eat leftovers, you want nothing more to do with holiday food even though you know that you’ll be eating it for the rest of the week.

And, Christmas — the holiday you’ve looked forward to for months — comes to a crashing end.

It’s done. It’s over.

You’re finished.

The last thing you have to do is take down the Christmas ornaments. But, you’re going to wait until after the New Year. Because you’re lazy.

That’s what this picture is about. The end of Christmas. The minute I saw a couple of reindeer down, a couple standing and a Christmas tree buried in deep shadow, I knew I had the perfect day after Christmas picture. It was luck. Photographer’s luck. As always.

Maybe it’s not luck. If you put yourself out there every day. And, keep moving. You are bound to run into something.

The picture. Well. It’s the usual. See it. Photograph it. I did a lot of tinkering. I came back to the original developed image. It’s not bright. It’s not shiny. It’s not glowing. It’s just sort of flat. Like the end of Christmas 2018.


The dog who see stuff.

She’s very cute and she knows it.

This is the dog who leads me to pictures. She’s wearing her fall season camo coat so that she can lurk in the leaves. She also needs a grooming. She really dislikes that. Luckily for her, her favorite groomer is on maternity leave. So, we wait until mid-January to even schedule an appointment.

Anyway.

Christmas Day. When I lived in other places, the tradition was to go out for Chinese food. That’s because Chinese restaurants were the only places open. By about mid-day, everybody was tired of Christmas food. So, off we went. In New Orleans we do not have a large Chinese population. Even though there are a couple of good restaurants around, you’d probably be better off finding Vietnamese places if you want Asian food today. On the other hand, many Vietnamese people are Catholic, so…

Maybe you should just stay home and play with your new toys. Watch more football. And, eat ham sandwiches.

The picture. For once she actually let me take her picture. I tuned it up some to make the final version richer and fuller.


Trees, leaves and light.

Before I write much further. The day is almost upon us.

So.

Merry Christmas.

To everyone. To those who are of a different religious or cultural beliefs, or have none at all. It’s a holiday that I celebrate, so I wish good on all of you. After all, either everybody matters or nobody matters.

This Christmas will be sort of low-key. Everybody is sick. Not with anything major. Colds. Flu. Like that. I had a pretty bad case of the flu last Saturday, seemingly returned to health and guess what? Sick again, with what feels more like a cold. And, so it goes.

No matter. Just like we say about gifts — when they are the wrong color, don’t fit or never would we have thought of owning such a thing — it’s the thought that counts. I may lose the thing I like to photograph most. The bonfires on the levee at Lutcher. The bonfires that are lit to guide Papa Noel downriver to New Orleans. I really like going there. But, I doubt I can walk around and up and down the levee. Even as it is, I took the dog who sees stuff for a walk. It’s about 50 degrees outside. I came home hot and sweaty. You know… that stage of a cold where your body thinks it’s working overtime.

The picture. The trees are reflected in a car windshield. The leaves are plastered to it because they are very wet. I exposed for the highlights and added another plus 1/3 of a stop (ooooh — photo nerd talk) to make the picture be high key. The rest was pretty simple in development and slight post production.

Once again, Merry Christmas.

And soon, to all a good night.

 

 


The final resting place.

Down the drain. That’s where it goes.

Unless. Somebody scoops them up. It’s doesn’t matter who. If the city does it, they put the leaves in plastic trash bags. And, take the load to the landfill. If a private citizen does it, they put them in plastic bags. On the street. Where they are picked up by guys who are contracted to pick them up and take them to the landfill.

That seems to make sense. Right? Noooooooo.

All this wasted effort for leaves. A thing in nature. You know, the nature. That one.  Mother Nature. The one who will not be denied.

So.

I’m not sure what I’d do. But, it seems that letting them naturally degrade they would turn into mulch. And, use it on your flowers and veggies next year. I’m not suggesting that you leave them in the streets, pile them up along a fence. Let nature do it. Her way.

See what I got out of that picture? You probably see it differently. That’s good. I’m pretty sure you will start wondering about me. Thinking about calling in…

The picture. Easy. Take the picture. Process the picture. Throw in some secret sauce. Show it around. Have fun.

 


Mossy growth.

Yes. Very. Green.

On the first day of winter.

I keep saying that our winters aren’t like the winters people experience in the north. The weather is different for y’all. Even when you cross the Causeway to the Northshore the weather cools down and acts a little — well, wintry.

After a couple of days of warmth, coolness, fog, rain, humidity and general wetness — all in one day — no, make that in an hour — we have finally have blue skies. That should keep the humidity down and with that, the fog and wetness should drop as well.

That’s the weather news from the swamp.

But.

It did leave as with post hot-house conditions. The moss and ferns were brown and almost dead-looking a couple of days ago. Now, they are green and glowing. I didn’t help them. I made a little vignette to frame the picture, but I didn’t add color. I didn’t have to.

That’s the picture. And, the weather from swampville. Stay in touch.


Looking forward.

I know what I said. I meant it.

But, it seems that I kind of like posting here. After six years of doing it daily, its workflow fits nicely into my daily workflow.  That said, I’m still moving into my planned direction. It does not appear that I can link Storyteller directly to LaaskowitzPictures. But, I can still send you emails and links to my social media.

All good.

Also http://www.laskowitzpictures.com is up and running. But, before you go there, let me just say that it’s rough. Many pictures need to be resized. My contact page is still lacking my client and gallery list. I am still reviewing my files because I know some signature pictures are missing. And, my lead picture is cropped at the head. More adjusting. Always adjusting.

Oh. And projects. That’s a placeholder picture. It’s not mine. I have no idea what kind of project that I want to do for 2018. I’m all ears.

One of the best things about the basic look is that it’s designed to be scrolled, which is how a large group of users will see them… on their portable devices.

I still have some business decisions to make. I can upgrade a little more and add direct sales, another email and all kinds of professional accounting tools. That would mean a lot of extra work on my end. I’d have to build full stock libraries and all the background work that it implies. That would mean converting most of my business to here from my various agencies.

It will also give me a new email address using Google. Oddly, since I already use it, I cannot transfer it to the new website. I can have a new address. But, what would be the point of that? Ray@Laskowitzpictures.com has been around for 20 years.

Ah. Decisions. Choices.

The picture. In our ten minutes of semi-sun I saw it. A compression shot. A picture where the branches are so stacked up that they look like a very dense forest. Trust me. A picture can lie. It’s not so dense. And, it’s not really a forest. It’s just two rows of trees on the curb.