Author: Ray Laskowitz

Deck the Halls


The decoration was hanging on my tree. I saw it. I photographed it. I had my way with it. I turned a digital photograph into something that looks like a painting. I think it works. Does it? The more I look at it, the more it looks like one of those old-fashioned Christmas cards that my parents used to send during the holiday season. I think that they came in packs of ten for something like $4.99. Maybe less. I told a friend of mine who I rediscovered through the wonders of Facebook, that between editing my archives and this being “the season” and all, I was on some kind of strange journey through my past. By the way, I grew up with that guy. His family lived across the street and about 6 houses down from mine. Now, THAT’s something. Anyway. This picture just feels old.   Advertisements

Chinese Food


Chinese food. In Central City. Once. A long time ago. Once it was a corner food store. Now, it’s just one of many abandoned buildings. I’m not sure of the condition. From the outside it looks like it’s falling down. Once you are inside, well you never know. It could be functional. This picture is the by-product of the plans I told you about yesterday. As I stroll through my archives I find pictures. That you haven’t seen. That I’ve forgotten about. You may get a steady flow of them unless I actually go out and make some Christmas pictures. I should probably do that. The Avenue is really pretty this year. And, I have a couple of ideas. That’s the important thing. Ideas. Making a picture is often pretty easy. Figuring out what to photograph is the hard part. Or, as an old friend used to say, “Taking the picture is easy. Getting there is hard.” If you read yesterday’s Storyteller, you know that I’m full of ideas. That’s good. It wouldn’t be so …

Changes


With the change of the seasons come other changes. Life changes. Uh oh. What am I changing? My changes aren’t so much about life as much as they are about my work. My career. Storyteller. I’m telling you my plans now because I really am unsettled when somebody that I follow, and converse with a little, just disappears. That happens all too often. To be sure, I’m not going to disappear. Storyteller isn’t going anywhere. But, I may post less frequently. It’s a grind posting on a daily basis. I think the pictures and words suffer because of it. I’d rather post more meaningful pictures than a collection of images that could fall under the heading of what the dog saw. I have no real plan to guide me going forward. Yet. I have no real plan to guide you. Yet. Whatever I do, my posting schedule will be consistent. I may also try to post Storyteller through my website which is finally in development and just about ready to go. The new website will …

Sinking


The picture really isn’t about the pool. Or, the water. Or, even the leaves. It’s about the shapes and the color. It’s also about what I did in post production. Debra at http://breathelighter.wordpress.com found my cropping interesting. So, I thought that I’d talk about it. A little. When I was a young photographer, back about 150 years ago, I mostly worked with Kodak Tri-X black and white film. Like many faster films of the era it was grainy and lacked resolution. We learned to crop in camera so that we didn’t have to crop and enlarge in the darkroom. Later, I moved on to color transparency film. Slide film. While there were some great films at the time, most of us would agree that it was better to fill the frame with the subject that you wanted. Cropping radically wasn’t usually a good idea. Along came digital photography. Originally, file sizes were small. Then they grew. Bigger. Bigger. Bigger. At the time, the digital gurus mostly talked about image quality.  Of course, somebody figured out that if …

Now Comes Spring


We had four really cold days down here in the swamp. That’s it. That was winter. I know this because while we were walking — that dog and I —  saw brand new growth. Grass was sparkling in the winter sunlight just as if we walked into a magical forest; passing through time into spring. New grass wasn’t just growing in one tiny place. It was growing all over this little pocket park that we like to walk through. Thinking back, I realized that in the past few weeks I’d seen what looked like bird seed scattered around the bare soil. I didn’t think much of it, except that maybe somebody was feeding birds because it’s late fall, almost winter. A lot of rain fell during our big “snow event.” Enough to build up standing water in most of the regular places. I suppose the rain, plus the seed, resulted in the grass that I’m showing you.  Not being Mr. Natural, I’m not really sure. I do know we are a natural outdoor hothouse even …

Building Blocks


Balance. It’s an art. It’s a kind of wabi sabi. A zen thing. It’s a little imperfect. It’s a kind of natural thing. Like this picture. This image has a point and a counter point. Sort of. The point is the red fall leaf. It’s not exactly in the right place. The counterpoint is the almost square shape. The only reason that it comes close to being square is that it runs into the frame of the image. I could have moved the leaf to put it in the right place. I could have reframed the picture to move the square. But. You don’t know what’s behind the square. And, in this day and age of no rules, I have a rule. I never move anything when the picture finds me. The leaf stays where it is. That’s it. That’s my rule. I created it. You can follow it too. Or, not. There are other rules. For instance, “The rule of thirds.” Many new photographers scream — yes scream — you can’t make me follow …

Picture A Day


I used to photograph a year-long project called picture a day. Or, PAD for short. The idea is to make a picture every day. There are a couple of ways to do this. One is to shoot just only one picture while taking your time to find the right angle, framing and light. The other is to work the scene, taking as many picture as it takes to find the picture. I chose the later, because that’s my normal working style. I started for one year. In 2006. I used my birthday as the start date. I did it for four more years. It was sort of a personal test. When other photographers would ask me about it, I would recommend it as a way of learning about yourself, and as a way of learning photography. I used to say that it’s fairly easy to work if you have an assignment, or if you travel, or if one day you feel like taking pictures. It’s much harder to pick up a camera and do it …

Now It’s Time


Now it’s Christmastime. I found this picture.  Actually, the dog who sees things found it. My head was wrapped in thought. Or, fog. I walked right by it. The dog saw the shiny object and had to investigate. Good thing too. I had a back up picture for today, but it is plan B and all that it implies. How last-minute is this picture? I’m writing this at 11:40 am Central Standard Time. I according to my phone, I took it at 10:48 CST. The dog saved me yet again. So. What was I thinking about? Going forward, I suppose it could be called. If this messed up Republican budget plan gets passed, it strips away a lot of deductions that are normally there for artists. Artists of all stripes. Photographers. Painters. Musicians. Designers. The list is endless. Somehow, I just know that it’s going to stretch into entire industries. This is going to hurt all of us. Then, there is the next step. Tax revenues are bound to fall. The current crop of Republicans …

Snow Day


Like fire and snow. Yes. We had a little snow. Mostly it didn’t stick to the ground. I suspect the ground is still too warm. Four days ago, the temperature was in the low 80s. It’s 33 degrees as I write. I tried photographing snow as it fell. That looked okay, but not great. I did make this picture which seems to sum it up. Of course, in the south a little snow goes a long way. Schools were closed. Our typically bad drivers got worse. People in grocery stores were stocking up for the apocalypse. The usual stuff. Meanwhile, Southern California burned. You’ve read the news. Watched it on television. I don’t need to rehash that. There was great piece in The New York Times about the firefighters and what they live through. I’d share it here, but they use a pay wall. I haven’t said much, because I don’t know what to say. My heart hurts. It really hurts. I make a big deal of living in Louisiana, but I’m not from here. …