The More Things Change


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.

Inspiration


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.

Follow The Sun


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.

Half The Sky


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.

One Drop


Golden motion.

One drop.

Of sunlight.

The all seeing dog and I finally got outside around dusk. She won’t go out if rain is falling on her. The rain gave up earlier in the afternoon but she was doing the other thing she does best. Sleeping.

We walked the long way and saw these last few flowers of summer glistening in the sun. That wonderful all seeing dog kept tugging at me so she could go to her favorite place. I accidentally made this picture. Then I made the correct ones. I like this one better so there you have it. The dog was right again.

Sheesh.

My life is run by a dog.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every tuna sandwich.

7:04 AM


In the morning, when you rise.

Early in the morning, when the sun comes up.

Yes. 7:04 am. That’s when the all seeing dog just had to go for a walk. I think she knew something that I didn’t. She used her ESP to know that the sky with this wonderfully backlighted cloud would be one of the first things that we would see.

In the “industry,” this cloud would almost be called a “god ray.” But, not quite. A true god ray would have streaks of light reaching to the heavens.

It’s nature in all her glowing wonder.

Speaking of nature.

She’s on her 2020 roll.

We have not one, but two, major storms heading towards us. If the predictions are correct, they will make landfall as Category 1 hurricanes. At this point, NOAA predicts that one will graze Florida and make landfall in Alabama. The second will head for Texas and eventually hit Houston.

It’s early.

Both storms could change course. They could head for us. They could roll around each other and become one big storm. Or, they could change direction entirely.

The mayor says that if we are given an evacuation order we have to go. Go to where? CoVide19 has already got us pinned down. I say, screw that, and we are staying. We are prepared. We have generators, a BBQ for cooking, bottled water, storm lights and storm shutters.

Or, we might just get outer band winds and some rain.

Or, nothing.

I probably shouldn’t get political but I will. No matter who gets hit this will just be another thing that the soon-to-be ousted president will fail at fixing. There. I said it.

The Picture

You know how I made this picture. I got up at a little before 7am. What? There’s a seven in the morning now? When did they start that?

Sophie got me out early this morning too. There was another cloud drifting by. It was almost like this one, but not as powerful. The light was sparkly and pretty. It’s also fairly cool for August. I suppose that I should go to bed earlier, or just stay up, and get outside before 6am. The light is wonderful.

All I need is a double shot of caffeine, a camera and a dog.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Look after each other. Enjoy every dressed roast beef po’boy.

Solitude


A little hidden.

Something green.

Usually, I just see the light. Then, I work into backlight. That’s what I did with this picture. The glow and the nuclear color comes in post production.

I believe that the BBC is influencing me a lot. I watch Grand Designs, Top Gear and Time Team. They are all very different, but they have one thing in common.

Green.

The folks who make those shows do not seem to be able to control green. I see it a lot when I look at Grand Design, a show about people building their dream homes. You look off in the distance at English fields and they glow green. It’s not intentional.

I could have controlled the green in this photograph, but I chose to add to it, rather than subtract from it.

As I look at it on my monitor, the picture seems to have lost the edge of its sharpness. It’s not terrible, but when I last saw the picture using On One, those leaves could cut your face if you got too close.

WordPress again.

Even though I compressed the picture properly when I made the .jpeg, WordPress appears to have compressed it further.

I give up.

I used to say that they disliked photographers and that WordPress is a writers platform. Given the block system and the compression ratio, I think that I was wrong. They dislike everybody but their most high end clients.

Hmmm.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every shrimp po’ boy.

White Light


As dusk arrives.

Thunderheads.

I suppose they are a summer event. I’m pretty sure most of the country has them, although growing up in California, I don’t remember seeing them.

I was drawn to this cloud from a distance. That sideways V caught my eye. I was hoping that it wouldn’t fall apart before I arrived at a location where I could make a nice photograph. The problem was with the all seeing dog. The heat index was through the roof. She was taking her time, sauntering along. I never rush her, but I was kind of saying, “come on, come on.”

We got there.

We always do.

That’s the case with most time-bound events. You always get there, usually on time. At least I do. I try to keep an old Chinese saying in my head. “Go slower, Go further.”

I suppose I could look at photographing natural events as, “It’s just a picture. Missing it won’t kill me.”

Yeah. Right.

This might not work for you, or you, or you. That’s fine. Work at your own pace.

That’s why within certain agreed upon concepts, photography is wide open. I remember the big Golden Rule debate of a few years ago. Newbies, without actually learning what it meant said, “I’m not following any rules.”

Oh, fer…

It’s just a mathematical description for what occurs in nature.

Settle down.

Take your time. Read. Practice. Learn. Rinse and repeat.

That’s my giant photo lesson for today.

The Picture

I told you how I found it.

There was also a technical issue. What part of the scene is most important? Get that straight in your head and expose for it. Obviously, I was interested in the cloud. I knew that certain parts of the picture would be dark or in silhouette. That worked to my advantage because it framed the picture.

I seem to be looking to the sky a lot. That’s much better than looking down at my shuffling feet. Anything helps in this pandemic era.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. You know the rest. Enjoy the summer skies.

Color of the Blues


Backlight.

My kind of picture.

Something backlighted. Something different. Something about nature. I made this picture on a walk. Another dog walk. We are starting to work together again. She stops. I stop. I stop. She stops. Good timing. Good communication.

The picture

I’m doing this a little inside out. This is one of those photographs that is best made in the moment. You may see it start to form as you walk to the place from which you want to work. When you arrive, everything — the sun, the trees and even the star — is just as you hoped. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. You’re done. When you develop it you find that the exposure was right on. There is very little work to do. Next stop. Storyteller.

Today

I had a couple of Zoom meetings. One meeting. One presentation. I looked at the work of Peter Turnley. He’s fairly legendary in the photojournalistic world. I know him a little bit. He showed us his work during his three months in New York City. The three months when the virus was surging and nobody had any idea what to expect. He worked everyday. 90 days.

He had no client. He did it for himself. He had to.

His work is amazing. You know that I was born there. Well, in Brooklyn. When Brooklyn didn’t have panache that it does today. His pictures made me cry. Not only is the city my first home, but you could see the kindness, compassion and tiredness in the eyes of the front line medical staffs.

He knows something that I know. In his case, he realized that almost every group that he photographed were predominantly made up of people of color. They were the ones who did the hardest jobs. They were also among the kindest people.

I known it for a while.

It really hit home for me last Mardi Gras. As you might remember, I mostly gave up working because walking was too painful for me. I realized it that one night when I could barely walk the length of a long street where the floats were lining up.

I knew I need a break.

I needed to sit down. The first two porches I came to were owned by white people. Give me a break. You’ll see where I’m going with this. Both groups suggested I find some place further down the street and that I sit on the curb.

Thanks a lot. If I sat on the curb, I would need help getting up.

I walked about two houses further and asked if I could sit down. Not only did the couple let me sit down, but they gave me a bottle of water and some food from their picnic dinner.

We chatted and introduced ourselves. It turns out that they were grandpa and grandma to the young boy who was with them. I made portraits of all of them. The little boy was playing. I made pictures of that. I helped them clean up and thanked them. I sent them pictures.

Care to guess?

My own — supposedly — people turned me down. Twice.

Black people took me in. They fed me. They let me sit with them. We got to know each other a little.

I know what Peter knows.

We learned it working on the street. Most of you who follow my exploits here on Storyteller believe the same things. We believe in the equality of all people. Racism and the killing of a Black man by white cops disgusts us. But, until you are there, really there, you don’t what the goodness of all races means. I’m not sure that I do.

But.

I’m willing to learn. And, I’m willing to listen

Uno Mundo.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every sandwich.