PVC pipe parts waiting…

Pipes. Water pipes. Replacements meant for a lawn sprinkler system.

You wouldn’t think people in New Orleans would need it. Sometimes we do. It isn’t just for keeping the lawn green. For some folks a manicured lawn is important. Not for all of us.

Sprinkler systems really help when we’ve gone more than a week or so without rain during the hot summer months. The dirt starts pulling back from the buildings leaving gaping holes and cracks. This can expose house pipes, underground electrical wires, and even the piles on which most homes are built, to damage. We wet the soil, especially in more outlying neighborhoods like Lakeview.

You wouldn’t think that in Swampville. But, we are built on a swamp, or at least, shifting sands. If we are lucky we are built on a ridge. There are only so many ridges to go around. When the swamp starts to dry out a bit, bad things can happen. So, lawn care sprinkler systems come into play.

The picture. I saw the pipe parts box laying near to the repair work. I made a few pictures. I developed them and added some heavy post production to bring out the hidden color. I really never add color. I find it in the digital file.

So.

The mass shooting. When three or more people die, the Feds get involved. They are. There is a $25,000 reward for good information leading to the killers. Yes, it was definitely gang related. No, we still don’t know who the shooters are.  The mayor made one statement and hasn’t been seen since. This is the time when the city, and especially that neighborhood, needs her leadership. Oh, Madam Mayor.

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A little bit of safety.

I was walking by a pool.

Things were floating around. Sort of peacefully. Circles protecting floating leaves. It felt good. So I pictured it. Then I developed it. I post produced it. I cropped it. And, this final picture appeared.

It suits me for today. Only two more days. Back to it.

About yesterday’s post. A good friend realized that I was pretty upset so he reached out directly. He doesn’t think it’s time to pull out of New Orleans. He likes the city. He likes it for what it is. And, for what it isn’t. He’s probably right. I’ve sort of retreated into my own compound. Sort of like being safe at home. I’d better do something about that if I’m making a website about “All Things New Orleans. ” He doesn’t want me to leave. That is very cool.

About the shooting. Apparently, it was gang and drug related. The guys doing the shooting chased their target into the shopping area and he ran into the crowd thinking that he would be safe. He wasn’t. He was just a coward. The guys doing the shooting didn’t care. They just shot into the crowd. When they finally got to him, they just shot him some more. They were idiots.

Of course, there have been calls for ending the violence. For getting the guns, the drugs, the gangs, off of the streets. This happens every time somebody loses a brother, a son, a husband, a grand child, a boy friend.

Just like mass shootings around the country, there is a big hue and cry and then… nothing. At least the kids in Florida are trying to keep their stories alive. They are urging everybody to register and vote.

I don’t have an answer. It’s a multi-generational thing. It’s about living conditions. It’s about poverty. It’s about a lack of care for human life. The mayor is upset. The police chief is urging people not to take justice into their own hands.  One of the victim’s mothers is begging people to stop killing each other.  The beat goes on.

The shooters are still at large.


Pretty. Not pretty.

This isn’t what you think.

This about New Orleans.  This is about the New Orleans that makes national news. This is about the city in the throes of summer. This is about murder. Mayhem. Mass shootings. Rolling shootings. This is about at least 11 people shot, leaving three dead. This is about the first shooting that looks like some kind of hit. Ten shot, three dead. About a woman who was shot somewhere near the entrance to I-10, but was part of a rolling gun battle that ended up in Metairie, some five miles away.

That’s what this post is about.

This is about the New Orleans that tourists ignore, forgetting that there was a double shooting on Bourbon Street on Friday night.

I’m not sure which is worse. A city that is so violent that the local police seem to be powerless. A city that is so broken that the water system doesn’t work. A city that can’t pump water out of its streets fast enough that even a hard rain causes heavy flooding. Or, a city that can’t fix its streets within any sort of reasonable time frame.

I don’t know. You pick.

We have a new mayor. The jury is still out on her. Way, way out on her. We are trying to rebuild a broken police force. Yet, two new officers were just fired because they beat an unarmed man while they were off duty. They beat him because he was wearing camo clothing and he didn’t look right to them. He looked Hispanic to them.

I know the country is angry. Polarized. It ain’t getting any better at the national level. It’s getting worse.

That said, New Orleans survives on tourism. It is really the city’s only form of major income. Yeah, yeah. There are some technical companies moving in. But, that money isn’t for the people who live in the city.

I just have to wonder what happens when the tourists get scared enough not to come to New Orleans. When a mass shooting directly involves some people from California. Or, Philadelphia. Or, Seattle. When it really become national news. On CNN. In the New York Times.

Oh yeah.

The picture. Hot summer nights. Kind of mysterious. Kind of funky. A little bit scary. I pretty much left this picture alone in post production. Mostly, I darkened it. And, added a little haze.

Haze. Like our hazy city.

 


Dusk’s glow in post production.

Choices.

That’s life. There’s always choices. Move forward. Lag behind. Stay in one place.

How much is too far? Not enough? Just right?

Sort of like the heat in porridge.

I play with my pictures all the time. I move in one direction. I change my mind. I go back. I go beyond back. Funny thing about this image. I originally wanted something sort of flat and blue-gray. Somehow, I worked my way toward the top image. Then, I worked backwards. Along came the bottom image.

I’d ask you which picture you prefer, but everybody wants to play nice. You’ll say something like both of them for different reasons. Okay.

So.

Instead, if you decide to answer, I want to know how each picture makes you feel. What comes up for you when you look at them apart and together?

Flat and blue. Another view.


Another kind of bold color.

It’s hot. Everywhere.

If it’s not hot, it’s weird weather. Drought. Or, too much rain. Floods. Or, fire. In Greece. In California. In the Southwest. Throughout Europe. A friend from Ireland posted that his emerald country is now brown. Let’s not forget East Asia. People are dying.

I don’t care what you believe about this hour’s weather. I don’t care what your politics are. Red. Blue. Purple. Those things don’t matter. As BoB Dylan once wrote about something slightly different, “It doesn’t take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

It’s the anomalies that are signs of climate change. All these weird weather related events. You can say that they are cyclical. You might even be right. But, when a cycle lasts 5,000 or 10,000 years that’s a pretty long cycle. It will probably kill your ancestors. The ones in the future. And, their ancestors. You know. The ones who are trying to live on Mars to escape Earth.

Anyway, I made this picture because the duality caught my eye. It’s sort of a metaphor for this discussion. Except for the top. But, those bright flowers are dying too. If I were to walk past this place in a day or two, they’d be dead as well.  I did a little work in post production because I always do a little work in post production. In this case, the image needed it. I pretty much fooled the thing that passes for a light meter by exposing from below the subject.

So.

Hi ho, hi ho, It’s off to work I went.

 


Light everywhere.

Inside, out.

Light everywhere. Since a photograph is actually a Greek phrase that means drawing with light, I suppose a picture like this is about as pure as it gets. All light. Almost no subject. Content producers will probably hate this picture. It doesn’t sell anything or even try.

I made it on a day when I was strolling around. I saw a scooter. Later, I saw a big motorcycle. I saw this. Light bouncing around through a car’s windows. I did what I usually do. I made a picture even though the light was essentially backwards and I was photographing into it. It did take a little post production, mostly to darken it and give it some shape.

There you have it.


Motorcycle reflections.

On another day.

The same thing happened. Sort of. It wasn’t a scooter this time. It was a big heavy motorcycle. I saw what I’d passed by. Fifty times. One hundred times. Two hundred times. Who knows how many times? A neighborhood scene. The kind that you never see. Because it’s always there. It doesn’t register.

Until it does.

The light bounced just right. A car parked near by was reflected off of the motorcycle’s mirror-like polished chrome. A look in the wrong direction and I would have missed it. A look in the right direction and the picture still really wasn’t there. It interested me enough that I had to bend down. So I did. The picture is what I saw.

Sure. I added some to it in post production. No picture comes complete from the camera. Film couldn’t replicate what the eye see and the brain creates. Nor, can digital capture. But, you can get closer if you work on the picture after the initial exposure. That’s what I do.  For me, the real problem is pretty simple. Some times I go too far.

So.

I’ll be doing work like this for about the next week.

Then.

Changes.

If you go to my website at http://www.laskowitzpictures.com you’ll notice that almost all the work — certainly the portfolio page — is all things New Orleans. That’s my direction.

New Orleans is the biggest tourist destination in the Americas, and it comes close in world travel. From a business perspective I have no choice but to exploit that. From an artistic point of view, it’s almost the same. And, I live in New Orleans.

That said, I’ve been applying for various press credentials under the name of Storyteller. And, I’m getting accredited. That is eye-opening. I’ve long known that there is power at a certain level of blogging. You must have followers, friends, readers. I have that. A lot of that. Many, many that’s. Thank you all. For some reason, Storyteller’s growth comes in streaks. In the last couple of weeks I’ve gained about 100 readers. Next week. It could be crickets. Thank you for following me.

So.

Rather than beat myself up over what to be, I’ll just go with what’s already there. The flow matters.

For sure, I’m not leaving my artistic pursuits. But, this place will turn a little more towards New Orleans. It’ll also be a little more accessible to every viewer. For instance, it’s one thing to photograph second lines because I like doing it. It’s quite another to force that material onto people who don’t understand it.

I’ll make the change here on August 1st. I like clean edges. And, it is the start of a new business quarter for me.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns?

Fire away.

 

 

 


Glowing.

One of those things.

That you walk by a hundred times. You never really notice. It’s become invisible to you. You see it. It doesn’t register.

Then. Maybe the light was right. Or, a reflection caught your eye. Something happened. Something changed.

You see the thing you didn’t see.

That’s what happened in this picture. There is a little scooter parked along one of the streets that has become a dog route. We don’t always pass that way. When we do, it’s just an obstacle to walk around. Not the other day.

Something caught my eye. I stopped. I made a few pictures. Of the scooter’s headlight. Dogarito wanted to move on. So we did. I didn’t know if I had the time to make any sort of picture. When I finally looked at the LCD I was happily surprised. I get lucky that way. Sometimes.

I did some work to it. That’s what you are looking at. A quick view. A little work in post production and away we go.

One more thing.

A bit of news. A bit of housekeeping. For those of you who find Storyteller on Facebook, it’s is changing. Yes. Again. They are no longer allowing auto distribution starting August 1. If you follow Ray Laskowitz, you will no longer see Storyteller posts unless…

It gets tricky.

I can post by hand adding extra work to my social media workflow. Or, if you follow Laskowitz Pictures on Facebook. That’s my business page. I think, but it is not clear to me, that once a new post gets there it will bounce to my personal page if I follow Laskowitz Pictures. Ugh.

Once again Facebook shows the world that it really doesn’t care about anybody but them. I suppose this is their ham handed way of preventing trolls, Russian bot and fake news. If they keep going in this direction they’ll drive small business away.

In many ways this is good.

I really only post Storyteller on Facebook to lead you here. Some people come. Some don’t. It gets confusing sometimes. A friend of mine posted the video that I couldn’t show you here. He posted it on Facebook.  All I could do was hold my hands up in the classic what do you want from me pose. That doesn’t help me here.

After all, Facebook and WordPress don’t like each other. Actually, Facebook doesn’t like anybody. Like Apple, they really wanted a closed system. Their own little world.

 


Water color.

Like Art.

But, something different. Something bright. Something fun. Something positive.

I can’t speak for anybody but myself.

I’m tired of the negativity in the world. I’m tired of being invaded by a constant stream of folks bashing someone or somebody else. I’m tired of not being able to read anything about anything without a mention of the president or name calling.

I took some steps yesterday to remedy that. I would just shut down all social media. That would be easy. Unfortunately, for people like me, I need social sites to help make my living. I’m not so well-known that I can just say the hell with it and not post. But, I can clean some things up.

Yesterday, I unfriended a bunch of folks on Facebook. Folks with whom I attended high school. People that I’ve known for 50 years. I had no choice. They turned so radically right that every comment became an argument. I have no idea what happened to them. We are the Vietnam War generation. We are somewhat liberal or we don’t trust the government. Either side. Right or left. These people… OMG. Make no mistake. I’m somebody who believes we need a balance of liberal and conservative thought to keep our country strong. I’m also just cynical enough to know when somebody is trying to gaslight me.

So.

Today feels better. It’s much more positive. I’ve got a few other moves to make before I’m done. For sure, I think that I have to look at things more positively. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop reading the news. I’m a news guy. It’s what I do. But, like any good news editor I can pick and chose what I read.

This picture. As musician David Crosby once wrote, “If only I could remember my name.” If you look at my website, http://www.laskowitzpictures.com, or my instagram feed, @Goodpix, you’ll see what I do. At least what I think I do.

Then, you are here, at Storyteller, and well… I don’t know who, or what I am.

A friend of mine replied, after she who was asked how she can veer from jazz to country music,  “Why can’t I do both?”

Good question.

I think, for music, you can do that. It’s all connected at its roots. It’s also mostly ethereal. Especially when it’s played live in some kind of music venue.

For visual folks who are building a website, or even creating an Instagram following, consistency is important. Photographers tend to make mistakes about that. Most of their material is professional and then for some unknown reason, they toss in a couple of family pictures.

Same thing on blogs. I know a number of bloggers who have given up posting because mostly they can’t figure out what they want to be. I can’t speak for them. I just know they flame out after making some big promises. And, that’s too bad.

Anyway.

I made one picture for today. It was ready to go. I stumbled upon this one. A little post production later and I like this one better. It felt better. Less perfect. More natural. The colors and the feeling just emerged.

There you have it. Thoughts for Monday.