Out on the edge.

Luckily for all of us, WordPress made a lot of changes in the block system. They announced it today. I use the word luckily in a snarky tongue in cheek way.

I am convinced they “improve” their apps because they want to keep their staff employed. I guess during these pandemic times that’s a good thing.

I imagine a lot of coders working from home, wearing their daytime pajamas and sitting in front of a screen mindlessly typing, typing, always typing. Around them are piles of empty burrito wrappers, energy drink cans, taco chip bags and ice cream containers.

Then, they send their work to us. They send it in bits and pieces. Eventually, an email from the home office (somebody’s three car garage) is sent telling us about these changes.

Woah!

That’s not what I intended to write about. I thought I was going to tell you about a wonderful morning when I made this picture.

The air is beginning to warm a bit. The all seeing dog enjoys being out even if she isn’t walking as far these days.

So, we walk to a place where I can sit. She sits too. Eventually, she lays down in her pose. Front paws forward, back paws extended backwards. She’s enjoying herself and that’s what matters.

Right?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Don’t be foolish, it’s not over yet. Enjoy all the spring.

The edge. That’s what this picture is about. It’s about the real fine edge when winter turns into spring.

There you see it. Now you don’t. Follow the magic ball.

Then, spring is here. Fully present.

We were sitting outside after walking a bit, I was watching to clouds dance around the sun.

I did what I always do. I made a few pictures. I returned home wondering if I made anything good because the sun so bright I couldn’t even see to frame or focus. Truly point and shoot.

I got lucky.

I did a little work in post production and there you have it.

A photograph.

This brings me to something I was reading about. Maybe you did too.

An anonymous collector paid $69 million dollars in cryptocurrency for a work of art that only lives in the digital world.

Sheesh.


All tree. No ground.

Trees. One of my favorite things in all of life. This one was remarkable because it just extended up and up and up. It is no optical trick.

A strange thing has happened to me on the way to pictures. And, other stuff.

I’m slowing down.

I don’t mean the speed at which I walk, which is slow enough these days. I do mean the speed at which I work. That could mean anything from making pictures, to writing Storyteller, to cooking a meal.

It’s not a bad thing since I realized when this started occurring. Right around January 20. You know. The arrival of a new president.

I guess that I started relaxing. I don’t feel frantic now. Time is still short. We have a lot to do. I have a lot to do. But, it seems that I’m living an old Chinese saying. “Work slower, go farther.”

I seem to be doing more work in four hours than I was doing in 10 hours because I’m not having to fix my Speed induced mistakes because there aren’t very many. I’d like to say that I’m making no mistakes, but you know. That perfection thing and angels.

I still haven’t made time to start the Jefferson project, but I will. I can tell. I’m getting antsy. I may postpone it a little because I want to do some Mardi Gras work even though we aren’t parading.

We are, however, Yardi Grasing. That means we are decorating our houses to look like floats. People will drive by throughout the next two weeks. If we are home and outside we’ll toss them beads even if it means having to dig up the potholes that I filled with them.

Meanwhile, in downtown selfishness reigns. People who aren’t from here head to Bourbon Street. They drink. They don’t mask. And, social distancing is a foreign concept.

That mayor is at wits end. The city council is talking about closing The French Quarter during Mardi Gras.

The mayor isn’t much help. A lot of the city sees her as a hypocrite. There are plenty of pictures of her at various events not wearing a mask and standing way too close to other people. She isn’t taken seriously.

If I had my way the city council and the police department would take the lead. They would aggressively enforce the CoVid-19 rules. They would arrest people and put them in jail over a weekend when the courts aren’t in session. They’d fine them.

I’m not trying to hurt anybody, but I reckon that if people knew this was happening they’d think twice. This might help.

On the other hand, so many people still partying are tourists. They might not even know. When people return home from New Orleans they usually rave about the city to anyone who will listen.

Imagine this. A friend asks how was New Orleans and the wannabe partier says, “They put me in jail.”

That would work.

Winter is ending. Everything is starting to bloom.

I know. If you live in the east, southeast or midwest you are buried under tons of snow. More is coming.

That rodent in Pennsylvania predicts six more weeks of cold stuff.

He doesn’t live down here.

The nights, early mornings and after dusk are cold. The rest of the day is pleasant.

So, things are starting to grow. Gardens will go into the ground in the next two weeks. Summer crops will be plentiful.

Hopefully, we’ll actually get to eat some strawberries this year. Oh, they grow just fine but those little jerks we call dogs smell them ripening and eat them off the bush.

I hate to say this, but it may be time for barbed wire.

So.

The picture. You thought that I forgot. I didn’t.

The all seeing dog and I were sitting on a park bench when I happened to look up and saw a picture.

So, I made it.

Even though I said that the height of the tree was not an optical illusion, I did crop it in a way that it made the tree look like is was reaching for the stars.

Welcome to Ray’s technical tricks that do not require editing.

This trick is more about leading your eye to a place where I want it to go. That’s why I often crop vertical pictures so long and deep.

It’s just another way to help you see what I saw, to feel what I felt.

Stay safe. Stay powerful. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Look at all the new blooms. (If you live in the south.)


From and old place. We took a walk to visit friends after driving a bit. When a dog has to go a dog has to go. She seems to be feeling much better. She’s finally been eating too much.

Anyway.

We were walking and this scene popped up. Wowie Zowie. What a scene.

It’s all in how you see things.

There’s been a lot of talk about seeing even the smallest things in a positive light. That’s a good idea.

Consider the lockdown. I could have been sitting around watching way too much Netflix and eating some kind of savory treat. I started out that way. Then, I thought, “What am I doing?”

So, I started working on projects that needed doing. I didn’t do as much as I planned. But, I have a path way now. Besides, the minute you implement a plan everything changes.

And, you?

How were the last ten months? What did you do? What didn’t you do?

Orange sky at dusk. I don’t know if that means anything, but it sure was pretty.

This is one of those scenes. “Oh, my God,” you think.

Then you push the shutter release button. Click. Click. Click.

Then, you go home and get to work.

This picture didn’t need much post production. I did clean it up a bit.

If you recall, I wrote that I had a good photographic spell during my Storyteller break. It hasn’t stopped yet.

My eyes are open. My heart, brain and soul are also open.

All of that matters in the art world.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Look after each other. Be kind. Enjoy the winter light.


The power of purple.

How it began. I talked to a friend of mine who suggested that I make some changes in how I look at my world. His thinking is solid. I fear that I’ve already worked through the process, at least as far as Storyteller goes.

He did offer me another idea. In order to do that I guess that I’m going to have to leave my compound and start looking around. A lot of people seem to be moving about in order to make pictures. Or, do anything. Like travel.

I’m not sure what my fear of doing that is about because I really don’t need to be close to very many people. That should keep me safe. After all, we run errands, go grocery shopping and the like.

We mask up. We use sanitizer and wash our hands when we return to our home.

And, yet.

I suppose it comes from one underlying condition. CLL. It’s a kind of Leukemia that doesn’t do much. It won’t kill me. It might not even make me ill. But, I produce too many white blood cells and not enough red platelets.

It’s the later that could kill me if I caught the virus. Bottom line, my body can’t defend itself from something like CoVid-19. Or, if it could it would be a big fight.

So. I sit. I want to go out and make pictures away from my neighborhood but I have some fears.

Even though there is some logic too them, they also seem to be a little irrational, especially if I’m 50 feet away from the next person.

What do y’all think?

Magenta. As I’ve said about 100 times, we don’t have a very cold autumn or winter. We do have a few days when the temperature might dip into the teens, but for the most part the weather is pleasant this time of year.

Right now, the temperature is in the low 60s. The windows are open. Cool fresh air is cooling the house.

That’s the long way of saying that flowers are still blooming.

And, that’s what I saw. New blooms. New Camellia blooms.

I haven’t made a detailed, macro picture in a long while so that’s what I did. I set out with intent.

Working in that way allowed me to not have to work much in post production. I developed and fine tuned the file and away I went. It is how you see it right this very minute.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after others. Be kind. Don’t follow leaders. Pay your parking meters. Enjoy every bowl of gumbo.


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.


Glowing.

Maybe this photograph is a little too radioactive. In my defense I cannot predict how WordPress will compress my already compressed .jpeg. Many times I over compensate. Don’t we all? Now that a bit of my life is getting back to some kind of normal feeling workflow I have to be very careful not to move too fast.

I still believe that we can emerge from these pandemic days better than we were before the virus came roaring through the country. I know we can do better. Much, much better.

I make no bones about my political leanings. I hope for a change of leaders in two weeks. Whether you are a democrat or a republican, I’m pretty sure that you’d like a leader who believes and trusts in science instead of his gut, a gut filled with five pounds of McDonalds fried food. I have nothing against McDonald’s, but everything in its place.

I’m not sure why months slipped by, but I could have put the time between March and July to better use. I’d like to claim that I was getting used to working from home, but that would be a lie. I always work from home.

Finally, I got going.

I think that we accomplished a lot as summer rolled on and fall arrived. But…

What about y’all? How did you do during this virus months?

Flowers. The best thing about moving on from WordPress will be the way drop caps are programmed. As you type the first letter of the word you are writing drops to the back of the word. So, Flowers is lowersF. I have no idea why this happens.

Anyway.

Back to flowers. These are the same ones that I turned into the autumn photograph. I reworked one picture into something bright, bold and energetic. It didn’t take long. Between Snapseed and OnOne I think it took me a total of 20 minutes.

Stay safe. Stay mighty.Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Stay focused. Vote.


Mum’s the word.

What a difference a week makes.

The all seeing spaniel and I haven’t walked very far in the last week or so. Today, we did. The last time that we passed this place I thought that there would be some nice Mums showing soon.

Today they were. The light was bright overcast, making it good for making a few pictures. Sophie Rose was very patient because… she had plans of her own. She took me on the longest walk we’ve been on in at least a month. Yes. She’s feeling much better. We see her vet on Monday and have enough antibiotics for about ten days after that. I anticipate that she will be as good as new. Just a little older. She’ll be 12 on — wait for it — July 4th. The big holiday.

The world turns

I went black yesterday in support of Black people everywhere. We’ve got to work very hard to achieve what we all hope. You know what Neil Young says. You can’t eat hope. That’s just a version of faith without work is dead. So, let’s work. And, work some more. And, keep going after that.

Some of you meditate. Meditate on this number. 1619. That’s the year slaves were first brought to America. The year of the original sin.

I have some running conversations with some of you and other friends. Between the virus — which it seems like we’ve forgotten — and protests of the horrible treatment Black people have been accorded for years, we have a chance to really do something… if we use this turning point to do the right things.

Unfortunately, there’s going to be less of us to do it. What happened to masking? What happened to social distancing? The protestors, not the rioters, barely wore masks. Worse, they were standing on top of each other. Wait two weeks. I predict Covid-19 surges well above what we thought it could do.

We are getting whipsawed.

We need a leader, not a guy who uses a church and a bible as a prop to prove his manliness. We now call him, “president tweety the bunker boy.” There’s a movie in that.

See?

I’m not political. I’m just doing some lampooning. Or, is that harpooning? Heh. Heh.

The picture

I told you when I made it. The light was right for this kind of picture, or for a black and white portrait. The only real issue that I had processing the picture, was trying to keep the green from going nuclear. I have a little trick that I use for images like this one. It worked. See that green highlight in about the middle of the picture? That’s about how all the green looked. Can’t have that when it takes away from the flowers.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every sandwich.


Sometimes in winter.

Bold color.

That’s what I promised you and that’s what you’ll get. Today is day three of our thirty day pause. Luckily, there is so much to do around this place, so much to read, so much to watch and so much organizing of my archives that I doubt anybody will get bored.

Eventually, we’ll have to sneak out for groceries.

We appear to be self sufficient, but are in a place to help our neighbors and community if they need it. That is so important. And, around here there are so many very elderly blue bloods that I’m sure someone will need something.

So.

For now, we are good. I hope all of you are too. It’s an eye opening thing to realize that I don’t have to explain the feelings or how we are responding because this is global. It’s universal. Hopefully, this will make us realize how alike we are, rather than to drive us further apart.

The picture. See it, photograph it. Unlike yesterday’s picture, this image needed nothing right out of the camera. I did add a little glow to it to make it a little more gauzy and romantic.

Oh yeah. I almost forgot. Music. We have so much music that we couldn’t listen to it all in a lifetime. But, I’m finding music that I’d forgotten about. Now, that’s really cool.


Mixing it up.

I the dead of winter.

This picture is for all of you who still are suffering from cold weather, and I don’t care what that little rodent said. In many places it’s cold. Down In the swamp, we have all sorts of blooms. In this picture I tried to make that point by layering two flower images. The image is bold and bright. Just the way a spring picture should look. Except it’s not yet spring.

Anyway.

My dear old dad used to say that when a person wrote a letter and about half of it was about the weather, the person had nothing to say. He was probably right.

So.

I’m going to talk about photography. I’m a reading book called, “Photo Work: Forty Photographers on process and practice. I think it was recommended by someone who posted to a photographer’s network. It’s a good and interesting book despite it’s academically lengthy title.

In a few words, those 40 photographers are asked a series of questions which are the same for all of them. The group came from different backgrounds, use different tools, and answer the questions fully.

I’m about half-way through the book. Reading is slow, but not for the reason you might think. Instead, I’m savoring it. I read no more than two chapters a day, or, about two photographers a day.

I’m happy to know that many of them think as I do; instinct over research. I also learned that I might be on track when it comes to New Orleans culture. A project or series of pictures might take ten years to complete, but when it’s done, it’s done.

There’s more, but I’m I’m still reading.

TheĀ  picture. I mentioned that it is layered. Let’s talk about that because I actually made the picture just like I normally do. See it, photograph it.

Layering works only if you have pictures of the same size and shape. You can approach color from a lot of ways. My two favorites are the use of contrast and bold colors or by using extremely similar colors. You can find your own joy.

It’s a matter of fine tuning and adjusting the layered pictures from there.

Try it. You’ll like it.