T

he edge of town. No darkness here. Just raw, bright New Mexican light.

This is where Route 66 sort of comes to an end. It’s about as far west in Albuquerque as you can go, without leaving the city line.

I think that these ruins, probably once a gas station and cafe, were caused by the move to Interstate 40, which is south of here. Motorists just didn’t drive though here as much and locals wouldn’t stop here since this is very close to modern gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores.

I’d have probably never run into this place if I hadn’t been roaming around looking for PAD images. But I cruised far and wide.

I went further west than this place, to where the casino and the remains of route 66 re-emerge at a rickety old bridge. I went east out past Moriarity, where the junkyard and car museum is located. I went south as far as Las Lunas and north as far as the San Felipe Pueblo where I made two signature images.

I travelled as much as I could on surface streets. Interstates are not the way to go when you are looking for pictures.

I met great people along the way and some not so great people. I remember going into a small town grocery store about the size of a 7-11. I asked to use the restroom. “You hafta buy something.” “Okay I’ll take these two waters.” “That’s not enough.” “Okay, you’ll lose the sale and I’ll go pee on your driveway.”

I bought the water and used the restroom.

M

ore technical nonsense that I don’t want to deal with.

It seems that WordPress continues to make changes. At least some of the stuff works that didn’t work.

Of course, WordPress didn’t say a word, meaning that I caused myself all sort of problems doing an unneeded work around.

Anyway.

This picture was easy to make. Just shoot almost directly into the sun and pray.

If you expose the bright light properly the buildings will be silhouetted, which is what I wanted.

I added some faux bokeh and stuff, actually to tune down the electric color on the tumbleweeds in the background. The color was real but my eyeballs vibrated.

At least I’m having fun with color drop caps. What a day.


Blue. My picture. Joni Mitchell’s song. My eyes. The sky on a sunny day. A clear lake. The ocean away from land.

I made this picture in New Mexico. Older pictures keep resurfacing on Amazon Pictures. They are pictures that I’ve forgotten about. Pictures that have never been seen by anybody. Pictures that were “lost.”

So.

Lucky you. You get to see them before anybody else.

I’m not sure what these desert flowers are called. They come out in late spring and stay for the summer.

Once, when I could actually crawl around on the ground and get back up without aid, I used to make pictures like this with a DSLR camera. Those days are gone.

There is a song in which one line says that we don’t know how much we would lose. Even though I think this picture is happy, the day is sad.

Yesterday, I read a quick two inch story about somebody getting killed in New Orleans. I didn’t think much about it because rarely does a day go by that somebody doesn’t die by violent means.

We were watching the 10 PM News. The murder was across the street from my old house. Uh oh. A woman was killed. My oldest friend in New Orleans. She was stabbed to death as she was walking to her car to go to work, by a guy who was stealing it.

Rest in Peace, Portia.

June is starting out like a hellhound on my trail. A dog, and a person died. Makes me wonder what’s next.

This column is going to be more of a rant.

Sorry.

WordPress is running terribly. Yesterday, I blamed it on the huge internet outage.

Today, it’s on WordPress.

There is still no caption line. Worse, making this two column alignment took an act of God.

I’m not sure what it was doing, but the software was stacking column on top of column. The paragraph template didn’t know where to go.

It turned out that pressing the column template once dropped six templates on top of each other.

Leave well enough alone. The block system is bad enough without WordPress making it “better” every time the programers think about it.


Seeing is believing.

Luck. Photographer’s luck. I got lucky. I saw some new arrivals in the world of nature yesterday. I was able to take my time and really work the scene.

As you know, while walking a dog or two that rarely happens. But, the all seeing dog walked herself into a tired puddle. Whenever I stopped to explore a potential picture she just sat down and waited. When we returned home she laid down and slept for about three hours.

Then, she wanted to go for another walk. For a dog approaching thirteen years old she still has a lot of energy. I doubt that I’ll have that much energy as I approach 91 years old, which is about her equivalent age.

No worries. The day was coolish and dry so I let her go, but normally I wouldn’t let her get that far out because it is hard on her to return home. Trust me. I look after her very well.

These are blooms that you are looking at. They will eventually turn into purple flowers. If you’ve been here for a few years, you’ve seen them. I’ll try to do something different as I did with this picture.

It really comes down to light. And, with that it’s time to jump to the right hand column.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient. Enjoy all the nature.

Any photograph is about light. For that matter, so are paintings.

If I always had my way, I wouldn’t work until the light was right. That’s not always possible.

But, yesterday morning I awoke fairly early. So did the all seeing dog. She barely let me suck down a cup of coffee before we were off.

I made this picture at about 8 am. The light wasn’t just breaking through the sky, but it was low and very illuminating.

The dog of the hour waited and I made this picture. We were inbound so she was tired. It’s mostly backlighted with a little shadow in the foreground.

I did pump it up a bit because I wanted the glow to pull you into the center of the image.

I think it works as intended.


Prayers in Albuquerque.

When I lived in Albuquerque I was invited to take part in a photo competition. I usually don’t do those things because often they become popularity contests.

Not this time.

This was, what we used to call in school, a shoot off. Every photographer competed with every other photographer for a specific period of time, an hour in this case.

Most of the shooters were amateurs. For some reason they decided to dog me. I didn’t ever say that this is what I did for a living. I rarely do. But, I do have the photographer’s swagger and with a camera in hand I’m superman.

I did whatever I could to dodge and lose them. Or, if they did find me I’d look at exactly the wrong place. Sorry guys and gals but we are competing.

Anyway, I found this little chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. Ah ha. My picture. The statue was backlighted and very hard to photograph. Getting any detail in the flowers was next to impossible, so I didn’t worry about it.

I also made other pictures during the time allotted. Some of them were pretty good. But, this picture was the grand prize winner. It also put me in touch with The Albuquerque Photographers Gallery. They are a co-op. I became a member and for a time, the director.

This picture is still among my signature collection, I usually add it to my travel portfolio when I’m showing it.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient. Follow CDC guidelines.

The biggest technical issue with this picture is the backlighting from the window.

Expose for the highlight and the statue would have been so dark that I doubt I couple have repaired it in post production.

So, I went the other way and exposed for the statue, which is the subject of the picture.

I did what I could to darken those flowers in post production.

I had two other alternatives.

I could have moved the flowers, but I am loathe to do that with this type of work. It’s a kind of photojournalism.

Or, I could have used fill flash. But, this is a tricky location. Make the proper adjustments and the picture might work. Go too far and it becomes blown out. In a small room like this, that happens all too often.

One quick WordPress technical comment. Between yesterday and today they made a change.

Typing is now predictive. Normally I complain about changes in the night. Not this time. This saves my rear end.


The sun, it exploded.

A light explosion. That’s how I was seeing things as we drove into the direct sun. This picture may not exactly be physically accurate, but it’s how we felt when sunglasses didn’t help.

I have no idea if this picture stays in the final project collection, but for now it’s in. After all, I only have three pictures. I always say that I try to make pictures that show you how the scene felt. Maybe, it’s the first two images that eventually are removed.

Who knows?

It’s way too early to start culling. And, I don’t have a project blue print. Some people say working this way doesn’t get you anywhere.

That’s one theory.

My theory is to learn everything I can about the project and let the pictures build upon themselves. With any luck, they get better and better. If that works out, this will be a helluva project considering the first picture is a show stopper.

It’s likely that the work will move backwards before I reach another peak. That’s okay. I’ll learn more that way.

There was a point in my thought process that I was going to move chronologically from New Orleans to the end of the road. I realized that I’ll learn things that may have me backtracking and side stepping.

On the other hand, the first picture that I showed you started at the very start so you never know.

That’s the best thing.

You never know.

The beginning of the end. Or, the end of the beginning.

Do you know?

I don’t.

This picture was made while we were cruising down the street. The file was completely blown out, mostly because it’s almost impossible to know the exposure while you are photographing the sun from a moving car.

I went to work in the studio. First, I brought back the details that were missing.

Next, I started adding to bring the picture closer to what I felt trying to make it.

Finally, I went a little crazy. I wanted the sun to explode because that’s what it did to me the minute I removed my sunglasses.

There you have it.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. You know the rest better than I do. Enjoy all the driving into the sun.


The power of nature.

You are thinking that I’m stressed over this election. Hang in there you say. I’m not hanging anywhere. I’m taking action. I’m getting set to change what I can. I’m getting ready to build for the future.

I’m not going to limit myself to “I’ll do what I can.” I’m going to do the things that go beyond that sort of limitation.

And, that’s the Saturday post for me.

There’s more. There’s always more.

I thought that I would change the appearance of Storyteller. I selected a new template. I customized a few things. I saved it.

Guess what?

The headline type is wrong. The body text is wrong. The background color of the page is wrong. That’s okay. It looks like in twelve days I’ll be moving to http://www.laskowitzpictures.com.

I hope that I can take most of you with me. I think I can. It’s a manual work around that I’ll have to do. But, it should be straight forward. Not simple. Straight forward.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Forget patience. Be proactive.

Setting sun. Remember when I said that I was a little blocked? Remember what happened?

It’s still happening and that makes me smile.

Pictures are in places I wouldn’t have looked. This makes me very happy.

It helps to have that low almost winter light. It helps that darkness falls around 5 to 6 pm.

I helps that I actually go outside.

It’s helps that I see the picture and press the button almost in one motion.


Bare trees in Autumn.

It comes when it comes. Inspiration. I was talking with a friend a couple of nights ago when she said that inspiration is everywhere. I know that. But, I forgot that I did.

So.

Here’s the best possible example. We had a big day out. We went places. Well, two places. The gasoline store and the grocery store. It was the first time I put gas in my car in three months. While we were making groceries as they used to say down here, I kept seeing things. No, not like that. I saw pictures.

I did the only thing that I could. I started making pictures. As we were headed out into the parking lot my seeing didn’t stop. I made a couple more photographs. This is one of them.

I have questions.

Questions like how did this tree get so bare when most of the trees are just beginning to change colors. I don’t need an answer because this is another favorite look of mine.

The tree was planted in the middle of the parking lot along with others in hopes of eventually having shade in a bare parking lot. Define eventually as in about 20 years.

It’s a start and that’s important.

One more little thing. We are into the last three weeks of the race for the direction of our country. Most of us know what we are going to do.

We did an accidental test today. The only news that I read was baseball and the arts. We listened to the Senate hearings for the next Supreme Court Justice while we were running errands. They were polite and as you think that they should be.

But, again, no news.

Our day was so good. I encourage all of you to turn off the news unless something major happens and it can’t be avoided. We didn’t intentionally do it, but it made a world of difference.

Seeing pictures. My friend is right. Inspiration really is everywhere. You just have to open your eyes, your ears, your nose and your heart and you’ll see and feel amazing things.

That is easier than it sounds. For me, something has to cue it up. The conversation last night did it.

It could be something else. Something I hear in a song. Something I smelled that brought back a memory. Something I saw that lead to something else.

When this happens, let your creativity out. Don’t try to edit it on site.

I’m pretty sure people were wondering why I was taking pictures.

Unless they ask, let them wonder.

If they ask, tell them you are a photograph and you just saw something that needed photographing. If they want to see don’t hesitate to show them your LCD. Especially an inquisitive store manger. That didn’t happen today, but it could have.

Making the picture was easy. Remember, expose for the highlights, especially if you want a silhouette.

That’s it.

Stay safe. Stay mighty, Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Look after others.


Light from behind.

Nature. She never sleeps nor, does she stop. She’ll take away and add all in the search for stasis. That’s why I’m pretty sure CoVid19 os nature’s way of telling us something’s wrong. If only we’d listen.

Fighting nature is the wrong war. We’d be better off if we do like I do with the all seeing cocker spaniel. When she shows me something I stop and look. She’s mostly right.

Some people get confused. They say that they pray. To God. But, they don’t heed nature.

Now wait a minute.

Think about this. What if nature is God’s tool to make things happen? If you don’t believe in God, there is still nature and all her calming or violent ways.

Heed that.

We talk about the consequences of the general election that is a month away. We talk about democracy being at stake. I believe that. But, what’s more at stake is something even more basic. Mother Earth. Save democracy but loose our planet, our home, and what have you got?

Not much.

The pictures. I was lucky. I made two pictures that work except for one small thing.

Contrast.

Photographer’s luck came into play. These two pictures found me.

Luck cuts both ways.

I saw the pictures. That’s good luck. I was using my smartphone. That’s bad luck.

Bad luck because there is no way to control contrast. So I present you with circus pictures.

I’m not a fan of circuses.

Anywhere.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Prepare to vote.


The speed of nature.

Changes in the weather can be extreme. Yesterday, the high temperature was 86 degrees. Today, we likely won’t get much above 60 degrees. I love it. The all seeing dog will love it. Some weather people are calling it a cold front. Maybe so, but it leads us right into cooler dryer weather.

So.

Fall fell.

We need something joyous. We’ve been cooped up hiding from the virus. We’ve been watching cities burn in the course of extremists pushing aside legitimate BLM protesters. We have an election coming up that scares me. I read a piece in The Washington Post that basically said November will be among the darkest times ever in my country.

I also read something interesting about veterans of foreign wars. The author said that everyone who served in combat served in hell. Eventually, a kind of recovery took place over many years. Hell receded into the background.

The vet who wrote this said that if the so-called Trump base decides to start what amounts to a civil war because their candidate lost, they will put the veterans back in hell. The vets know how to fight and that these wannabe soldiers with too many guns strapped to their bodies will learn about hell. They will learn that humanity disappears in a real war.

After all, the vets swore an oath to uphold the constitution. The far right owe their allegiance to one man. A bad man. One who gets worse with every tick of the clock.

Imagine reading this while eating your Corn Flakes in the morning. I about spit them out.

Is that where we’ve come to?

Talk of a shooting war on United States soil over the results of an election? Are the dark clouds really that dark? Talk of a new surge in the novel virus? Are the clouds getting darker?

God, I hope not.

I’ll have to fight or just leave. I already live in a third world Caribbean city.

Red leaves on a dark background with the sun shining through, illuminating them, is an eye catching display. At least, that’s what I saw.

There is an exposure trick that helps with this kind of powerful backlight.

If you let the meter pick the exposure the entire picture will be washed out. You can fix it in post production, but what’s the fun in that?

Instead, meter for the highlight, which is the red leaves. Get that right and the background goes dark. Not so much work in post production.

There you have it. A bright fall picture. The one that you dreamed of last night.

Stay safe. Stay mighty, Wear your mask. Enjoy every salad.

For the record, I don’t eat any of the food that I suggest that you enjoy. I don’t really like most of it, especially local food like Creole or Cajun things.