Levels of Leaves.

I took a break.

Walking the dogs in the heat requires at least two places to sit  and recover slightly. Luckily, there are a couple of park benches on our usual route. We stop at each of them if nobody else is using them. We sit for a few minutes, regroup and keep going.

That’s how I found this picture. There was a leaf on the bench next to me. I looked down and thought, “Wow, look at that.” I leaned over and made this picture. I’ve long agreed with the philosophy of, “Don’t take the picture, let the picture take you.” That’s what happened.

So.

No, I didn’t. No second line for me yesterday. At 5pm, the temperature had “dropped” to 98 degrees. With the heat index of about 9 degrees, the “feels like” temperature would have been 107 degrees. Too hot for this boy. From the lack of posts around social media, it doesn’t look like to many of my brother and sister photographers braved the wild streets. It takes us a while, but we do learn.

There is no relief in evening’s darkness. I went outside with the dogs for their late night business. We didn’t really walk. I mostly just stood there. When I returned, I changed my clothes for the sixth time that day. Oh, did I mention that when we went outside it was midnight? I have no idea how hot it was. I didn’t want to know.

About photography.

I asked my friend from another blog what she learned from looking at http://www.laskowitzpictures.com. Her’s was a long reply. When I finish talking with you, I’m going to reply to her reply. Its’ all about photography. I invite to to read what we both wrote.

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As the world turns

To everything there is a season.

We all know about our natural seasons. Arrange them in any order that you like. Winter. Spring. Summer. Autumn.

The transition from summer to fall is, to me, the most dramatic change. Leaves go from a bright, rich green, to a sort of faded green and finally they turn golden and fall. In most of the south, you almost don’t see that coming. When the leaves finally turn golden they linger on the trees and all seem to fall at once.

That, as they say, is the nature of things.

Today. I’m still wanting to photograph the second line that I mentioned yesterday. The high temperature is down. From 97 to 96 degrees. At 5pm, which is the start time, we usually lose a few degrees from the high. Although last night at around midnight, if you include the heat index measurement, the weather outside was frightful. 104 degrees.

I hate to make Storyteller about the weather, but down here is the swamp, that’s what is at the top of mind. For most of us.

It’s hard to do anything in this kind of heat. After a dog walk, they come inside and have a drink of water. Then, they adjourn to their places and sleep the sleep of the dead. I usually take a break from whatever I’m doing and relax a little before I get started. It is truly draining. After a little recovery, I think about my chores for the day and promptly forget them.

That’s life.

The picture. I was struck by the already golden leaves of this tree. They helped to make the branches of the tree almost look like something out of The Cat in the Hat.

And, that’s it for a hot Sunday morning.


The depth of green.

As green as it could be.

I wasn’t sure about this picture when I saw it. Then I saw nature’s perfect symmetry . I made sure to frame the picture as carefully as possible. This is the result. For sure, I tinkered a little bit in postproduction, mostly so you can see what I felt.

This is the hottest couple of days of the summer. A weekend when nobody wants to go outside.

I am going to try to photograph a second line. The YMO Benevolent Society and Social Club is walking on Sunday. It’s a huge parade, with six divisions. That means six individual units, each with their own brass bands. This BS&SC is the oldest club in the city. This is their 130th year. In an effort to deal with the oppressive heat and humidity, the second line starts at 5pm. I’m not sure that really helps. I was outside yesterday at that time, it was hot as hell.

We’ll see about me going. A few years back I was minutes from heat stroke. I don’t take this kind of weather lightly. Even though it might not seem very physical, it is. We — the photographers — walk with the parade. As I’ve said in the past, it’s like being in a rugby scrum. The parade route is about four miles long.

Yes. It’s Autumn. Everything in nature is changing. But, not the heat.


Like little sparkling jewels. 

After a hard rain.

The jewels of nature. Sparkling like they have their own light source. Laying on wet pavement for all to see.

We are at that weird point of summer merging into autumn. It is very hot. The light is getting low and golden. Leaves are starting to fall. A leaf fell on the all seeing dog. She shook it off and barked at it. How dare that leaf invade her space.

You see pretty little scenes like this one. Wet pavement. Wet bits of flowers. Wet leaves. The scene turns sort of magical. If you have eyes that see. Really see. Or, if you have an imagination to take you away from the mundane.

The picture. Wet pavement and brightly colored bits of nature make for a very nice picture. A little work in post production to tune things up a bit and away you go.

Housekeeping.

I spent the better part of yesterday working on my new and improved website. There were a number of technical difficulties that were mostly caused by unique terminology. The basic format is done and there are some pictures, mostly older ones. I invite you to come see for your self at http://www.laskowitzpictures.com


Nature sparkles.

Magic.

Just call me Mister Lizard. Oops. I meant wizard. The work really isn’t so wizardly. It’s just a matter of seeing in the field, knowing what you want to do in post production and executing.

I wish it was just that easy building websites, or adding on to a WordPress blog site. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

I spent a good part of yesterday fiddling around. First, I tried an outside template company. All was fine except that they wanted too many changes. Some changes that I’m unwilling to do.

Okay.

Start again.

I thought that I could just do the same thing using WordPress. After a couple of hours I learned why normal coders pull their hair out when they try to use WordPress. It is so hard that very few people understand it. Those that do, specialize in just a few templates and know the inner workings inside and out.

I’m not one of them. I don’t code at all.

It came to me. I have a website that I’ve sort of just let languish. The templates there are very easy to use. No coding needed. I decided to refresh and rebuild. It even has a blog component. You can see it as it stands today at http://www.laskowitzpictures.com. For sure, it’s changing.

I just can’t import all of you. I’m not sure that’s necessary. I have around 15,000 followers. About 90% of those are ghost followers. Maybe more. I have no idea why they followed me. Many of them don’t exist except in my numbers.

For those of you who really do follow me and comment, I can easily send you all an email telling you how to follow me again. You’ll get emails just like you did in the past. And, Storyteller on WordPress? I have a business account that I pay for. I’ll downgrade to a free account and post from time to time.

How’s that sound?

The picture. No real wizardry. Just some layering and tinkering. And, adding a little color and brightness. Not wizardry, but a little white magic.

Oh, one more thing.

I want the renewed website to be simple. I don’t want to post everything I’ve ever photographed. If you were me, and having seen my work for a bit, what direction would you go? There are no wrong answers.


After a hard rain.

After a hard rain.

You find… pictures.

Everything is crisp, bright, colorful. Even the moss is emerald green. This doesn’t last for long. What falls down must rise up in our heat and humidity. An hour or two after I made this picture everything calmed down. The brightness was mundane again. An hour or two after that someone came along and cleared their drain. That’s a big issue around the swamp.

Because we flood so much, the city — meaning we, the people — do whatever we can to keep rainfall from pool and building until we are underwater. To be sure, the city government is complicit in this too. After finding that car in a storm drain, and determining that it was a Katrina car, we know the city hasn’t even inspected that drainage system in fourteen years.

Now that the city has been busted, they are looking at all the main drains. As they worked through the drain where the car was found, the pulled out some 470 tons of stuff including shopping carts, the remains of two more cars, a huge amount of Mardi Gras beads and so on. This must be an ongoing program. The city is trying to find the money to pay for it. Not only have our property values been increased by big percentages — our went up by 65% — but now the city is talking about increasing the property tax. This amounts to a tax on top of another tax.

The funny thing about this is that the financial people I trust say that unless we made capital improvements on the house, the increase in property values is unknowable until we sell the it. Houses in our neighborhood have not turned over, so there is no comparable real estate values. Anything is a shot in the dark estimate.

That said, if our property value has increased by 65% and the city raise the property tax, I guess will find out what our house is really worth.

The picture. It’s the damnedest thing. I had another picture planned, but every time I tried to download it from the picture editing software something happened. The picture went from bright and colorful, to something muddy and flat.

So, I used a backup picture that I made last week when there was a lot of rain. You know, on a dog walk.

I’ll have to figure out what’s going on. I have to know if it was just that one picture, or if the picture editing software having a problem. I’ll start with the original image and work backward.

It’s always something.


Into the mystic.

Clouds.

I don’t usually photograph them, but I happened to look up and saw the most wonderful shapes. So, I did what I usually do and made a few pictures. I liked how fast they were moving across the sky. That’s hard to show using a still camera, so I just mostly concentrated  on what I originally attracted me to them and to their layers.

The way that I’m working these days is almost a picture a day. I make the picture one day and publish it the next. That was never my intent. It just seems to be working out that way.

That brings me to this.

Housekeeping.

I’m about to turn Storyteller into a full blown website with my blog incorporated into that. I’m going to use an outside template designed to replace WordPress template, which should give me more ability to do what I’d like. I found one company that I like a lot. I have a number of questions for them. If they are answered to my satisfaction, I’ll start on the project. There are two big questions.  One is about coding. The other is about building the site and how I lay it over Storyteller. It’s possible I could be out of service for a couple of days. I’ll let you know.

And, speaking of being out of service, I’m thinking of working on a picture per week schedule. In reviewing my work, I am repeating myself. And, I’m not making very substantial work. That isn’t to say I’ll only post once a week because I can share my out takes as well as the very best picture. I have to think that through. I’ll let you know about that too.

If all goes as planned, there will be a direct purchasing tab, leading the buyer to a place where images can be bought or licensed by size, with options for paper type, canvases and framing.

All of this will take some work, but I am free for awhile.

 

 


Like fall only different.

Like Autumn.

That’s the light. Low. Golden. Contrasty.

But, this is Southeastern Louisiana. Even though today marks the end of summer according to the calendar, it’s still very hot. This week promises highs in the low 90s.

I call this the weird time of year. It looks like Autumn but it isn’t. Our actual fall will come in another two months. Some leaves will turn colors. Some leaves will fall. Others won’t.

We were doing a Labor Day BBQ thing over in another parish. I looked up and saw some cool light, so I followed it a little bit. I needed a subject so the dusk light could be shown off. I found some nice graphic shapes. I made a few frames. I fine tuned the picture in post production using a combination of Snapseed and OnOne. And, that was it.

Fall light in summer’s weather.


Late blooming summer flower.

While I was walking.

I spotted these tiny little pink flowers.

They are located high up, growing from a sort of ivy that covers a chain link fence. As we enter into September, this is the time of the summer season when most flowers are dying. Green trees look faded. Not these flowers. They are new blooms. I realize that we have year round growing seasons, but they normally start in late February and again in October.

This summer has been more moderate than past summers. The actual temperature has not risen to 100 degrees. The air is a little dryer now, but when it was wet we did have “feels like” days when the combined temperature and humidity rose to around 110 degrees. But that happened early in the summer and it wasn’t often.

It still could happen. We normally don’t start drying out and cooling down until mid to late October. Even then, we have warm days. We rarely have a white Christmas, but sometimes we do have a warm Christmas.

That’s life in the swamp.

The picture. Old school approach. Many youngsters have no clue how to do this even though DSLR cameras and some phones allow you to do it.

I metered very tightly and from the lightest point of the flower. I wanted the flower to have shape and detail. I wanted the background to be dark. The white part of the flower is at least a stop and a half lighter than the darkest areas of the picture. It enhanced the drama and draws your eyes to the center of the picture without much post production. Ask if you have any questions.

Happy Sunday.