Grass seeds.

Yes. Sometimes.

Nature turns me into a liar. Just when I said that there is no new color, there was. This color isn’t going to be good for anybody. These flowers produce grass seeds. I don’t know one person who isn’t allergic to the pollen they also produce. Me included. Back to the Clariton.

Just when I thought I got out. I was pulled back in. Tell me who said that in a famous movie. It was from a maybe the third film of the collection. But, earlier film in the series there was a horse head in bed.

Meanwhile.

I’ve been moving towards the new website. One of you received the email but there was no picture attached to it. So, it’s off to work I go. Again. That’s fine because Networked Blogs, the folks who function as a distribution widget on WordPress, just announced that they were closing down as of about June 10th. They offered their new service called Symphony which starts at $29 per month. Right. I put Storyteller on three social media sites. There are others. Some cost some money, others are free for what I want to do, which is very simple distribution. Shopping around also reinforced the thinking that I dislike. Most of these services are set up so that the user can find someone else’s content and share it on a time schedule on their blog or social network.

I’m getting the feeling that the few of us who actually create our own work (content) are either being stupid or we are worth far more than we know. Maybe those of us who have gotten to know each other through WordPress should explore the idea of selling our work to other blogs. It’s just a thought. A passing thought.

The picture. I saw it. I crawled around on my hands and knees and photographed it. I added a lot of color. And, stuff.

 

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A little frothy.

“The Storyteller makes no choice, soon you will not hear his voice, his job is to shed light and not to master.” — John Mayer on the day of the start of The Dead and Company summer tour. That day would be today.

This is the most humbling quote that I’ve read in a long, long time. Especially in this day and age of terrible lies and false claims.

You know what I’m saying.

If  you are a Deadhead, you still miss Jerry Garcia, even though he passed almost 24 years ago. You tend to compare every replacement guitarist to him. Most do just fine. But, they ain’t Garcia. Nor, is John Mayer. But, he is a helluva a guitar player who fills his role quite admirably. He knows his role. He isn’t there to make you forget Garcia. He’s there just to keep the music from being forgotten. Or, as Garcia once hoped and said, that “The music never stops.”

So, here I am off on another tangent.

What does this have to do with the storyteller that you are reading? Pretty much everything. Especially now. In this era. Of lies. Of deceit. Of greed. The art can’t stop. As my buddy in Memphis says, “Art harder.” It may be the only thing the comes near to the truth. For all of you on the cusp. On the cusp of growing, or killing, your blog… keep going. We need your voice. We don’t need to agree. We just need to listen.

So.

Maybe it’s just this.

Listen harder.

 


Looking down into the flower.

Summertime.

And, the livin’ is easy. Around here, we’ve been livin’ easy for the last month. Memorial Day sort of marks the emotional start to summer. June 20th  marks the summer solstice. The longest day of the year. From there the days grow shorter. Of course, we don’t realize that until the days are short.

This purple flower marks the end of the local flowers. I can’t think of any around here that will have new blooms this late into the year. Everything is green. Even the green is starting to wear because summer came a little early this year. Even for us. In the swamp.

It also marks the formal start of my “ten great summer pictures.” Not that I feel like it. It is so hot outside. How hot is it? Dogs don’t want to go for walks after around 9am. In fact, last night when they usually go out for their final business, they all wanted to go for a long walk. At 11pm. I thought, why not? Nobody really had much exercise during the day.

It was great.

The first thing that I noticed was that everything was bright. There were shadows where there normally wouldn’t be. Huh? I looked up. Even though there wasn’t the usual pre-jabbering about super moons and all of that nonsense, I saw the biggest, fullest moon that I’ve seen in a long time. It was huge. It lighted everything.

Of course, I was unprepared. After all, I was just out walking and smart phones just won’t do it with moonlight. No worries. I’ll be better prepared tonight. The moon won’t be quite as full as it was last night. But, I’m willing to be that it will still be something to see.

If you take nothing else away from today’s post, if you live in my part of the world, go outside and look at the moon tonight. It’ll make you smile. I promise.


Flowers for the fallen.

Memorial Day.

Flowers for the fallen.

I participated in a couple of events today, so I’m a bit late posting. No matter. Those that I honored are late every day. Or early. Depending on how you look at it.

After a quick scan of Facebook, I saw about a million posts of flags. And, crosses. And, memes. So, as usual, I wanted to do something a little different. I offer these flowers to our fallen heroes.

Two things about service member heroes. Today’s honorees are the only ones who you can legitimately call heroes. It is for those who died in combat. I’m still amazed at the numbers of posts that want to thank a vet or a service member. There are days for that. Today is about those who never made it home. Full stop.

I wish them, as I wish you… Peace.

 


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After the rain.

A change in seasons.

A change in thinking. It started last week. A friend said, in comments, that my mother raised a good son. I said thank you. But, but, but…

You know how that goes. And, how it still goes.

It seems like everything is a trigger. A song. A smell. A book. A movie. A picture.

You know.

It’s interesting. A lot of stuff has been coming out of closets. Sort of a spring cleaning. There are boxes along a couple of walls.

What a great metaphor.

Boxes along the walls. All these things.

The pictures. Clouds are fun to photograph. I think you just need some kind of a subject in the foreground. That’s what I tried to do in both pictures. Oh… the bottom picture was made through my car’s windshield.

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Big storm coming.


Changes in the weather.

Storms.

Storm season starts on June 1. It ends on November 30.

Today is May 26. Guess what? It started.

We are under tropical storm watch, which will turn into a tropical storm warning some time tomorrow. We are also under a storm surge watch.

The first named storm of the year, called Alberto, is chugging slowly across the gulf of Mexico where he is expected to make landfall sometime very late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. While we are barely located within the cone, we have been urged to be prepared. Likely, it will make landfall from somewhere near the Mississippi border all the way to the far eastern panhandle of Florida.

Local news media has been laughable. I watch a particular weather guy because he seems to be the most calm and professional. But, as the storm started to turn left away from the city using the various prediction services, he seemed to be trying to keep it on its early course by sheer force of will. Even thought every predictive model  showed the storm heading further east and away from us, his favorite phrase was, “But, you never know.”  The main anchor (news reader to those of you who live in more dignified countries might call him) was drunk.

I flipped the channel to the competitor just to see how she was handling it. She was jumping around and talking so fast that I was positive she was about to have a stroke. That station’s anchor was also drunk.

Drunkenness seemed to be a thing last night. That’s not fair. But, when normally solid anchors were stumbling over, and slurring their words, something’s up.

So. No worries.

I doubt that we’ll have more than a powerful rain storm. Of course, with our drainage and water pumping issues that could be a problem. Even so, I have great photographic plans. Some might get photographed, others likely will get rained out. In the words of the clown who in The White House, “we’ll see.” For course, I’m talking about making pictures. He’s talking about blowing up North Korea.

The picture. Sort of dusky blue hour. It’s also what you get down here after a storm. Yes, we had sort of a pre-storm for the main event. I chased around a lot to make a nice series of post rain pictures.

Then, there’s this. I thought that because storyteller is based in the United States that I didn’t have to worry about any kind of disclaimer. I was wrong. I have strong readership in every part of the world including, and especially in Europe.

So…

Storyteller values You and Your Privacy.

Yesterday, May 25, 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. These stringent new regulations have been adopted by the European Union to protect the rights to privacy of its citizens — important rights that are valued by people across the globe. Storyteller and Laskowitzpictures, LLC respects the privacy of its subscribers and visiting readers by complying with international regulations, including the GDPR.

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A flower too far.

You’ve seen this flower in the past week or so.

I decided to use another version of it. I tinkered with it. I made about ten versions of it before this one called out to me.

Because.

I just wanted to see what the original picture looked like with different treatments.

I see this work as something that could be huge. Floor to ceiling in size. Not quite as wallpaper, but as something that is used to break up a plain wallpaper. Something like five or six widths of tan wallpaper, then this one, taking up two or three widths and so on. It would take a huge room.

Oh well.

I can dream, can’t I?

The reality is that this is a tiny flower that I tinkered with after I made the picture. I suppose understanding photographic realities of sharpness and optics is why I think in terms of wall paper. It doesn’t have to be tack sharp.

And, so it goes.

 


A walk in the forest. One.

Springtime. Er, summer down here in the swamp. Hot and humid. Wet and drippy. And, some of the trees look like they were photographed during the fall.

Trust me.

They were photographed in the last two days. On dog walks. Morning dog walks. She isn’t stupid. She likes going out early or late in the day, when things aren’t so hot.

Funny thing about living in the swamp. Different plants and trees shed their leaves at different times of year. The most colorful leaves in both pictures are those of Texas Live Oaks. They lose their leaves in late spring and early summer.

Making the pictures was the easy part. See them, photograph them, process them. Done. Before you say that you think pictures should come straight from the camera untouched, don’t. Don’t tell me that you work in .jpeg so pictures the come right out of the camera aren’t processed, they are. That’s what a camera does when you work in ,jpeg. It’s a little computer. It processes the latent image. It also drops out certain pixels of the image that the software deems as being unnecessary. It sort of “thins” out the image.

Think about this. Most of you will post your new picture on some kind of social media. You upload your newly created picture and guess what? Your platform of choice reprocesses the image so that it fits within their parameters. It further “thins” out the image. To you it probably looks really flat — lacking in contrast and blacks. To your viewer the picture just doesn’t look so good.

Better to work in RAW. Better to have the entire file. Better to make processing choices yourself. Better to make your picture, rather than some robo-picture. You can control the contrast. The size. The overall detail.  At the very least, your work stands on its own merit. The praise is yours. the criticism is also yours. Alone.

That’s why nothing I post on — for example, Facebook — is actually posted on Facebook. When you see a picture that you like and open it up, you are taken right back here. I am basically protecting my work from a legal and an artistic standpoint. And, even though Instagram is owned by Facebook, the same thing happens when you open an Instagram picture.

None of this is perfect. But, it’s better.

For now, that’s the best we can do. Besides. Perfection is for angels.

Shimmering leaves on a walk through the forest. Two.

 

 


Golden glow.

I stumbled upon this picture last night. Well, stumble isn’t the right word. Maybe, this picture punched me in the face would be better.

Because.

Remember this?

I found a flower.

Well, the first picture is what happens when the flower finally fills out to its fullest form. And, you work around dusk where you cannot help but get golden backlight on the subject.

You saw the second picture a few says ago. It was just starting to bloom. it looked gentle and delicate. That was a week ago. What a difference seven days makes. Nature works its wonders and I saw a flower that was almost unrecognizable. For sure, I changed the angle. The light drove the angle selection.

I’d ask you which version you like best. But, they are really two different pictures. Almost like they were made of two different flowers. Which you like better really depends on your mood.

For me, I had to sort of search out the bottom picture. The beauty is there. It’s just very subtle. Meanwhile the top picture reached out and grabbed me by the throat as if to say, “Me. me. me.” Still, it depends on my mood.