Things change at night. Things look a little mysterious. Things look a little spooky. And, night photography can hide a multitude of sins.
I wasn’t hiding anything this time. It was mostly just timing because guess who wanted to go for a walk at night time. We normally don’t do that because with my hurting parts I don’t want to make them worse by tripping over some unseen pot hole.
We were walking along a street when a thought came to me. I had no idea how a smart phone would respond to a situation like this one. My first two test shots were sharp as a tack. My phone can approximate a DSLR by changing the settings to manual. I did that and this is the result.
Normally you could deal with this setting by panning. That would keep the car fairly sharp. I wanted to make amore artistic attempt at the picture. I think I succeeded. The strange thing is the color. This is the color as it came out of the phone. All I did was clean up the picture a little bit. I’m not sure why it is almost monochrome. Every other night picture is full color. I’m going to do a little research. It could just be that I was at the end of the phone’s capability.
After not making pictures for a couple of weeks, they all came tumbling out.
I had an Ernst Haas moment. I had a Jay Maisel moment. I had a David Allen Harvey moment. I had my own moment.
Best of all I photographed what I saw. I saw a lot.
This picture is not what you think it is. I’m willing to bet that you think this is one of my layered pictures. It isn’t. Or, it is water. It’s not that, either.
It’s a reflection of trees on a car trunk, or boot as they say in England. There are a few leaves sort of pasted to the car’s surface. Those were left after the rain storm. Needless to say, it’s all real.
There is some post production going on. It’s mostly to darken highlights, open up shadows and sharpen little bits of the picture. There is no heavy post or editing going on. The picture is pretty much how I saw it.
The image was made on my phone. A little work was done in Snapseed. Most of it was done after a saved it as a Tiff, sent it to my main machine and finished it using OnOne.
Now, you know some of my new tricks. Most of them revolve around letting the picture tell me what to do.
The notion of letting something tell me how to work with it could be my sub-topic for today. I truly believe that, especially in creative fields. As I cruise through various social media, I see way too many people trying to control the process. I think it’s because they are still insecure with their genre. Pictures, Painting, Making music, Writing.
One guy, on Facebook, made a lot of pictures at Jazzfest. Most of what he was posting were pictures of Mardi Gras Indians and various second lines. To me, those are bright, vibrant and colorful scenes. He was torn between posting them in black and white or color. In the spirit of letting the picture tell you what to do, I suggested that they should be made in color for the very reason I just mentioned. There were a lot of folks who got excited by black and white because that gave the picture some kind of gravitas. He went in their direction. Oh well. You can lead a horse to water…
It’s not a question of being wrong or right. It can never be. It’s a question of subject matter. It’s also a question of making the very best picture that you can in the field. If you do that, you don’t have to worry about technique. The picture “just is.” I think I know what he is trying to do by making black and white files. As I’ve said in the past just about everybody photographs New Orleans events. Making black and white pictures is a way of separating yourself from the pack. If you are trying that and have any guts at all, turn the camera sensor to JPEG and turn off the color capture. Make the pictures in black and white right from the start. No going back.
Working in a coal mine. I don’t work in a coal mine. It’s just that on some days it feels that way. I shouldn’t complain. Making pictures and arguing with technology isn’t dirty work.
Here I am doing my job. Sorta. I couldn’t figure a way to keep myself out of the picture and still make the picture I saw, so I just left myself in. It’s kind of like power lines on a city street. If you can’t find a clean angle than just leave them alone. Make them a part of the scene.
There’s been a lot of big news this week. I like the news about finding a tribe in Brazil that have never seen modern man. Apparently, the government is actually doing the right thing by leaving them alone to just live their ancient lives.
You thought I was going to talk about something else didn’t you? Ha! I have one thing to say about that. MAGA. My Attorney Got Arrested.
The same thing happened. Sort of. It wasn’t a scooter this time. It was a big heavy motorcycle. I saw what I’d passed by. Fifty times. One hundred times. Two hundred times. Who knows how many times? A neighborhood scene. The kind that you never see. Because it’s always there. It doesn’t register.
Until it does.
The light bounced just right. A car parked near by was reflected off of the motorcycle’s mirror-like polished chrome. A look in the wrong direction and I would have missed it. A look in the right direction and the picture still really wasn’t there. It interested me enough that I had to bend down. So I did. The picture is what I saw.
Sure. I added some to it in post production. No picture comes complete from the camera. Film couldn’t replicate what the eye see and the brain creates. Nor, can digital capture. But, you can get closer if you work on the picture after the initial exposure. That’s what I do. For me, the real problem is pretty simple. Some times I go too far.
I’ll be doing work like this for about the next week.
If you go to my website at http://www.laskowitzpictures.com you’ll notice that almost all the work — certainly the portfolio page — is all things New Orleans. That’s my direction.
New Orleans is the biggest tourist destination in the Americas, and it comes close in world travel. From a business perspective I have no choice but to exploit that. From an artistic point of view, it’s almost the same. And, I live in New Orleans.
That said, I’ve been applying for various press credentials under the name of Storyteller. And, I’m getting accredited. That is eye-opening. I’ve long known that there is power at a certain level of blogging. You must have followers, friends, readers. I have that. A lot of that. Many, many that’s. Thank you all. For some reason, Storyteller’s growth comes in streaks. In the last couple of weeks I’ve gained about 100 readers. Next week. It could be crickets. Thank you for following me.
Rather than beat myself up over what to be, I’ll just go with what’s already there. The flow matters.
For sure, I’m not leaving my artistic pursuits. But, this place will turn a little more towards New Orleans. It’ll also be a little more accessible to every viewer. For instance, it’s one thing to photograph second lines because I like doing it. It’s quite another to force that material onto people who don’t understand it.
I’ll make the change here on August 1st. I like clean edges. And, it is the start of a new business quarter for me.
I didn’t do much to it. I didn’t have to. Nature did it.
I’ve been thinking. About the next six months. The rest of the year. What do I want to do? What don’t I want to do?
I think I’m going to be a little busy. I’ll tell you about it in a bit. But, one thing that I did do was apply for a media credential as Storyteller. We’ll see if they bite. I realized that I have far more of you than the circulation of my first group of newspapers. That amazes me.
Aside from the heat and humidity, for us it’s also the start of the rainy season. That’s what you get when you live in a semi-tropical place. That, and hurricane season. It’s normal this time of year. We start heating up around early May and stay hot until the end of October. Sometimes even longer. As the day heats up the humidity builds. It returns to the earth in the form of daily rainfall.
For me, it means a couple of things. The most obvious is that I try to find inside work so I can take advantage of air conditioning. It also means a couple of showers a day whether it rains or not. And, running through a lot of t-shirts.
Photographically it means that I make some weird pictures. Like this one. Tiny white flowers are blossoming on a couple of trees. The rain knocks them down. They land everywhere. Sometimes the land on wet cars and stick there. I see them and make pictures like this one. Yes. Of course I messed with it in post production. I didn’t have a vision that I was trying to fulfill. I just wanted to see what was possible.
Think about this one on your wall. Print it at about six feet deep and four feet wide. Hang it in your living room. It would make quite a statement. A graphic statement.
It’s the little things. That you find. In the dark.
Usually fallen leaves stick to a wet car. That usually means rain has fallen. Not this time. We’ve had no rain for weeks. This is rough. On the animals. On the plants and veggies. On me.
It’s not that I live for rain. I’m like anyone else. Too much is too much. But, the sky is muddy. It is not the normal blue. The light is overly filtered. The color tends to fade to brownish. And, it gets hard to breath. Not for me. But for some. The heat and dryness are very odd for The Gulf Coast region.
What I fear most will probably come to pass. An extra month of heat added to a very hot summer. A few years ago, in July, I was photographing a second line. It did not start on time. Even though I sat in the shade, stayed very hydrated and didn’t move about too much, by the time it started I was starting to wobble. I knew what it was. I headed for the shade, rested and walked to my car. I turned the air conditioning up and quickly drank 32 ounces of water. When my head sort of cleared I drove home.
On that day the ground temperature was 114 degrees. That included the calculation for humidity.
My plan for this weekend is to pair a second line with Westbank Super Sunday. I’ll be working from about Noon until 3 or 4 pm.
If it is too hot by the time that I leave, I won’t leave.
The picture. Leaves on a car’s trunk lid. Unlike wet days, the leaves weren’t stuck. They were just laying there. Dead. I found a good angle that didn’t include my silhouette and made the picture. The blackness on the right is reflected trees. The rest is what you think it is.
Since I’ve moved into a new series of things, I see stuff everywhere. Not only for the junk (not junk) series, but for images in general. I suppose by letting my sort of photographic malaise roll around in my head I was able to open up other ways of seeing.
This picture might not be what you think it is. For the most part, that’s one of the visions of this series. What do you think it is?
Give up? Already? Oh, all right.
New cars have a couple of headlight bulbs contained behind a plastic case. When car is really new, the case casts off a lot of reflected light even in broad daylight. If you stick your camera right up against the plastic or plexiglass case, this is what you get. Then, you just have to tone it way down in post production. You might not even have to add color because it’s hiding in the glare.
Back to the future. In yesterday’s post I wrote about how some people build followers. How some social media planning software encourages it. I received a number of comments on my various social media platforms about that.
Make no mistake, pumping out a bunch or words and unrelated pictures seems counter productive to me. It’s all noise and no signal. Some people do it in an attempt to make money using various systems. Other people seemingly just have the need to be noticed. I can’t speak to that. I don’t know those people.
Two things came up for me.
The web, interwebs or internet — whatever you want to call it — is just a pipeline. It can be used for good or bad. Or, everything in between. There is also the dark web, which — for a while — became kind of fashionable to talk about. You can buy or find anything there. Drugs. Big weapons. Even people who do dirty deeds. It’s not so easy to access. It’s even hard to navigate. On the other hand, because it take some skill to navigate it’s fairly secure.
Me? I’m fairly simple. I want to see the web as something for good. As long as… I understand it’s potential for bad.
Finally, a fellow blogger and online friend who lives in the north of the state (think of it as we do – like North and South Korea…. I’m kidding. Or not. :)) who said that she got a request to reblog her site from someone within the WordPress family of blogs. She later found out that blogger only reblogs. She was bothered by that.
That’s a little different. Reblogging — at least sparingly — is part and parcel to growing your own readership. That’s how WordPress works. I see that as unpaid advertising. If a reblogger has a good following some of their followers might become mine. I have no idea why somebody would create a WordPress blog only to repost other blogs, but so be it. I think they fancy themselves as creating fort of an online newspaper covering things that interest them. They actually aren’t hurting anybody.
And, some of the people who asked to reblog one of my posts or use a picture have become friends in real life. That’s a good thing, right?
Morning walks. When the light is low. When things turn a little magical.
That’s the prose. Here’s what really happened.
We had a little rain followed by a fairly strong breeze a couple of days ago. Any leaves that were hanging on for dear life were knocked down by the combination of water and wind. There were leaves everywhere. If they fell onto a car, they stuck to it. I had a great time photographing leaves, water, cars, reflections and so on. I even appear in a couple of the pictures. As I was editing them, I saw for the first time in the clear light of day, just how old I look. Uuuuugh.
You’ll see more of my take as the week rolls on. You may or may not see me. I’ll think on it.
The picture. I just stuck the phone down on one end of the car’s trunk and took the picture. The glow and mystery were added later in post production. I know people try to make the case that everything should come out of the camera as it was photographed. I won’t go into all the justifications for why that is wrong, except to say that it is wrong and very creatively limiting.