All the air.

T

his picture was made of a little of this and a little of that. I mean it. There are three pictures in there lurking somewhere. None of them were made at the same time. One was made in New Mexico. One was made in New Orleans. And, one was made in Shrewsbury. The last two locations are found in Louisiana. Heh.

I’m at a place in my life were experimentation and rebirth are the most important things. As much as I complain about not being able to photograph second lines, Mardi Gras and Indian events, I’m not sure that I want to do that.

I want to move forward. I once asked a well respected art photographer how he knew when a project was complete. He said when he started repeating himself. I asked how long it usually took for him to get to that point. As usual, it all depends. But, after four or five years he knew that he was done.

I photographed New Orleans culture for a decade. The pictures are repeating themselves. I think that I’m done. For sure, there are a couple of pictures I’d still like to make but I’d have to earn my drone pilot’s license. I really don’t have any interest in that.

So.

I’m working with older pictures in an attempt to add something to them. I’ve done layering for years, but in most cases the images were similar. Now, I’m combining images that have no real relationship to each other.

Let’s see where this takes me.


What happens when…

S

ometimes I forget the work I’ve already done. If you recall I wasn’t posting everyday. That didn’t mean I wasn’t making new pictures and working on others.

I was. And, I forgot about it.

I was looking for something else when I stumbled upon a little group of pictures that I had forgotten about.

This is one of them. Well, three of them to be precise. They are layered and combined. I’ll get to that on the right side.

Questions. I have questions.

After reading the testimony of the former Facebook employee and their crash the other day, I’m thinking about giving up on their products. There’s more to that. Facebook is pushing those of us who post our still photography into posting videos.

I’m not a videographer. I’ve made two videos in my lifetime. They are unedited. One is just a bit of Hurricane Ida as she blew through. The visual isn’t much, but the audio is terrifying.

That said, I’m not posting videos anywhere. That’s not what I do.

The reason to stay with Facebook/Instagram is to show my work. I have a place for that. Right here. Oh, for sure, I get likes and hearts and a few comments. Mostly, from my friends.

Originally, many years ago, I thought that it could be a marketing and sales tool. That hasn’t worked out. So, what’s the point?

I can be found here if anybody wants to find me.

What do you guys think?

T

he work. That’s what matters. Doing it. Practicing it. Do it for long enough and you might get good.

That’s one reason that Storyteller exists. There are a lot of other reasons, but that’s one of them.

As I wrote over there, this is image is layered and created from three photographs.

There was an adjustment phase because not all of them were the same size or shape.

Once that was completed, I adjust for density first, and color second.

I tinkered with them to sort of smooth them out.

Then, I published them right here, on Storyteller. As if you didn’t know that.

By the way, the title is a title of a song by the same name recorded by Roseanne Cash. Sometimes, I steal — er — borrow things.


As a dog sees it.

T

his picture has taken me awhile to edit and share. I’m sure that you have a pretty good idea of why. This is a dog’s eye view.

There.

That should make it clear.

Anyway.

I made the picture on a day like this. No light. No color. The overcast wasn’t even good enough to make a black and white portrait. It’s late summer. It’s what we expect. It’s hurricane season too. So far so good. But, the season ends in November.

Oddly, New York, Long Island and New England are the target for what was something major. How weird is that?

We had two tropical storms in the gulf. One went to Mexico. The other caused yet more damage in the poor country of Haiti and dropped some water on Florida.

You’ll have to excuse me for talking about tropical storms and hurricanes, but we are nine days from the 16th anniversary of the arrival of Hurricane Katrina.

I’m pretty sure that anybody who has been through it and survived turns a little strange about now. Add that to the never ending pandemic and there plenty of folks who could probably use something very strong to calm them down.

I’m so worn down from the pandemic that hurricane season isn’t getting much of a rise out of me. I’m even thinking less about where would we go in the event of an evacuation. Last year, the pandemic left us with nowhere to run.

It’s a little different this year. If we can get out of the south we’d be fairly safe. Or, at least, safer than last year.

Who knows?

B

oy. Did I do a lot of work to this picture.

First, I made it look like it was lost in the fog.

I let it marinate for a few months.

When I looked at again, I thought this picture needs something. I was wrong. It needed a lot of somethings.

I went to work.

Tinkering. Experimenting. Playing. Changing.

Eventually, something seemed to work. Note, the use of the word “seemed.”

As I look at it on this page, I think “Ugg.” It looks like I filtered it with pea soup.

It’s very possible that instead of publishing it, I should bin it.

But, I’d have to do more work on a day when I shouldn’t be working at all.

After all the laying around for too long, I got going. Now, I really do need a couple hours break.

If it isn’t one thing it’s another.

I’m writing it off to this year. The one that was supposed to be better than 2020, the year of the “great” new decade.

How did that work out?


Airspace and other stuff.

T

his will be very short. I’m taking a break from writing. It happened this way. An old friend of mine from my college decided to drop in here and tell me that I need a new copy editor. I haven’t talked to this guy in at least a year. He said he found typos. That’s rich coming from a guy trained the exact same way that I was, but never worked as a photographer. The sold printing supplies, mostly for large presses, I think. Then he retired.

To my mind, you do whatever it takes to succeed, but if I was able to make it in my chosen field anybody could. I’m not that good. So, anything less is failure.

Criticism is cheap if you’ve never done the job. Besides, perfection is for angels.

T

echnically, I will say this. The finished image is layered. There are two pictures hiding in one. One was made in Albuquerque at the Balloon Fiesta. The other was made here during winter. I tinkered with them as usual. I found out something new. I saw it happen once before, but I didn’t think much of it.

Do you see how the image sort of looks like it’s blowing up? That happens when you put a border on it. I don’t know why. But, I’ll look into it. Anything less than perfection is unacceptable. Right?


Magical night.

P

laying. Having fun. Tinkering. Messing around. That’s some of what we should be doing. But, often we get sucked into making a living. Or, we really get sucked into the gear of the thing.

Experimenting and playing is what Storyteller is about, has always been about. Oh sure, a client or two has found me here. Or, I’ve sold a couple of photographs to private collectors.

That’s it.

I’m trying to make a big decision. You heard about this in the past. I’ve been quietly building a new website.

It’s a portfolio-commercial site that contains a blog within the website itself. Oh for sure, I’ll take all of you with me who want to come along.

Some of you would like me to stay here. That’s humbling. If I send you an email link that takes you to the new site you shouldn’t see a difference, except you probably won’t be able to “like” a post without commenting.

That’s not the real question.

Actually, there’s two. Will a semi-folksy blog like Storyteller confuse the commercial users? Will LaskowitzPictures confuse the folksy readers?

And, the bigger question.

What is this new website? Do I continue to publish a lot of New Orleans pictures? Or, travel pictures? Or, a giant portfolio from 45 years past?

Or, should I go with my instincts? And, make the site about artistic pictures?

Or? Or? Or?

Please, you tell me what you think. Please.

L

et’s assume that Storyteller becomes an art website and an artistic blog.

See where I am really going with this? Heh!

There are many forms of art.

Some are like these layered things that I’ve been doing a lot over many years. See the picture.

Others are minimalist, almost Zen-like in nature.

Others are a collection of dark, moody and mysterious pictures that I’ve been making.

Do I show a small portfolio of each of them? Could I turn those portfolios into more pictures with a click on the original image? Like a tree with branches?

Do I know how to do that coding and linking?

Does anyone?


New Orleans downtown from Central City

T

his very well could be my last post if the software causes another break down. Make no mistake, this isn’t hard for me. I’ve been doing this for years… and years.

It’s funky, nasty, poorly designed software from WordPress that is causing me grief. Every time I start to think that I should just stay over here, WordPress screws up again.

So.

I’ll be over to my new website and blog very early next week. The site address is laskowitzpictures.com just as it’s been for years, WordPress not with standing.

I made this pictures a few years ago, during a Central City festival. I photographed the usual things then I started thinking about the city skyline from there. I used a long lens, probably a 300 mm to compress everything as much as I could.

Then, I let it sit for years until last night when I needed to process a few pictures. I thought the this might be a good picture to post on Storyteller.

It turns out that it wasn’t but I’ll tell you about that on the other side.

O

n the other side.

There’s a lot of technique to discuss.

The picture that I found in one of my archives was too small.

After I worked on it in Snapseed, where I layered it in sort of an offset pattern, and shipped it to OnOne, I immediately uprezed it. That’s short hand for resizing a picture to be a bigger size. There is a resizing module on OnOne that used to be called Genuine Fractiles.

Genuine Fractiles was state of the art software about twenty years ago. It was sold, improved, resold and improved until I guess OnOne bought it.

I did the usual finishing work on color, contrast and depth.


Garden of Prayer.

N

ew Orleanians understand death. We mourn and we celebrate. We actually like our cemeteries. Personally, I like the older funky ones.

I like cemeteries like this one that is located in the middle of a working class neighborhood. It’s a Jewish cemetery called, Garden of Prayer. It’s fairly old.

I’ve roamed around the city enough to know most of the cemeteries. I like all of them for different reasons. One of my favorites is Holt, near Delgado Community College. It’s sort of a potters field.

Another aspect of our culture is how people are remembered. We mourn and then celebrate with our jazz funerals. Usually, the more well known in the community the deceased is the bigger the second line, which is really what a jazz funeral is.

I had to chuckle at one tourist’s online request. She wanted to know how she could plan to attend a jazz funerals since she was coming from out of town for a visit. The snarky answer was “die.”

Some people were more helpful than others, but unless you are plugged into the city culture bearers the only other way is to read the death notices in the newspaper.

If you’re lucky enough to attend one and you are on a trip for somewhere else, just follow the locals and what we do. These events can be chaotic so be prepared for that.

T

he top photograph had kind of a quirky approach to post production.

When I worked on it earlier, I made it very golden as if I made it during golden hour.

That fell under the heading of, “What was I thinking?” A lot of things that I do fall under that.

So, this time around I brought it back to its original coloring. That took more work that you would think.

The bottom picture ws simple. I just left alone, possibly enhancing the color a bit. I made it in 2019 so you can’t expect me to recall exactly what I did.

I believe that photographs like that are more long the line of photojournalism so I don’t like to tinker very much.

Second lining to honor Chef. Leah Chase.


Life in fantasia.

Y

es. I know what I said. No brand new pictures until I recovered. I still stand by that although this one is a day old.

It doesn’t mean that I’ve recovered. That’s going to take a long time. But, this picture was calling to me. “Ray, Ray, Raaayyy, come here. Take my picture.”

So, I did.

I’m glad that I did because it makes me smile. You know that I like bright color. I made it brighter. And, more colorful. I reckon it’s a good Sunday picture.

It is Sunday, isn’t it?

Somehow I managed to slip into that place of elastic time that was so common during the lockdown. That is probably related to my weird sleeping habits. You know. If you take a long nap when you wake up you are a little disorientated.

Anyway.

Enjoy your Sunday.

O

h boy. Did I do a lot to this picture.

The image probably could have stood on its own because it is backlighted and I pointed the phone almost straight into the sun.

You know me.

That wasn’t enough. First, I corrected the color then I made it “better” by adding color and contrast and glow.

The picture was fine, but it was horizontal which yields a small picture on Storyteller.

So, I cropped into the heart of it, turning it into a vertical image.

And, there you have it.


Flying.

Looks like wings, doesn’t it? Could be a moth or butterfly. It’s not. It’s too soon for flying creatures like those two. Even down here in the swamp all we have are caterpillars.

There are two kinds. There are soft furry ones. They make butterflies. There are hard spiny ones. They make moths. If one falls on you or you step on one you can get hurt. One of my neighbors still has a scar on her ankle two years after she was stung.

I don’t like to kill any living thing. I make one big exception. Put on a nice pair of hard soled shoes and step on every one of those spicky caterpillars that you see.

Sorry if that offends you.

Anyway.

The little piece of the picture that looks like wings are flower petals. I’ll tell you what I did to this picture on the other side.

I’m trying to figure out what this picture means to me. What the image means to you is your business.

I think there are two components to ma nature. The first, that I’ve written about in the past, is that she always seeks stasis. The second is that getting to stasis takes chaos.

This picture is an example of the later.

Earth’s chaos.

I’m about to use a new phrase. Some of you may know it. It gives me a lot of latitude. I believe ma nature is a tool of the higher power of your understanding.

Get it? Good.

Finally. A technical nightmare. This image was made in many fits and starts.

There are three images layered into the one you see.

That was the easy part. The rest made me crazy. And, that’s saying a lot.

First, I added color. Then, I used a retro setting that took the color of of the image.

I brightened the color slightly. Then I used an app that creates drama by removing a lot of mid tones out of the picture. Then, I selectively added some color.

Getting near the end, I used the grunge app which created all those weird little shapes.

Then I was done. And, so was the picture.

Figure out what it means to you, if anything. Let me know in the comments.