A sunset bike ride along the levee at Algiers Point.
A sunset bike ride along the levee at Algiers Point.

This is a good Friday picture.

Check it out. A lone bike rider silhouetted against a wonderful sunset while he’s cruising along the levee with the Crescent City Connection spanning the Mississippi River in the background.

Do me a personal favor, please. Open this picture up. By doing that, you’ll be doing yourself a bigger favor. It’ll make your day.

This is one of my favorite ways to compose a picture. There are a lot of names for this style. For me it’s just contrasting the smallness of a human being against the larger background of nature. Yes. The bridge is man-made, but it’s simply a part of the overall scene. And, the human is tiny. There is a lot of truth to be found in images like this one.

The picture. This one took a little patience. I had to wait for somebody to walk, run or ride through the scene. Unfortunately, I sort of got in my own way. It took a while. I got a little bored. My mind started wandering. All of a sudden the bike rider was there. Wham. Bam. I came dangerously close to missing the point of the entire picture. Sheesh.


Mardi Gras celebration.
Mardi Gras celebration on Royal Street.

Well, well, well…

There is a backdoor. It’s not quite where some of you suggested. But, it’s nearby and it got me to the so-called classic desktop. However, it took a lot of time to use. That’s fine. But, I’d rather spend my time taking pictures, working on pictures and planning my next shoot. If I’m not doing that, there is other stuff I’d rather be doing than mess with formatting Storyteller posts. After all, pictures are what I do. Not coding. And, I have no idea how long this will last. WordPress could de-link it at any time.

This experience has also been quite humbling. So many of you either offered suggestions about formatting or asked me not to leave.  As I wrote yesterday, I’m not burnt out. I’m energized. I want to show you New Orleans. I’d rather do that than argue with WordPress. I’d also prefer that WordPress would actually treat us — the supposedly important content creators — like human beings.

Even my gallery partner, Robert Moldaner, added to the mix. He suggested this kind of material should be our next show. Actually, yesterday’s material. I don’t know about that. Yes. I like the pictures. Apparently, so do you. But, even though the actual picture is very simple, making it is very hard. I have to be in the right place. The light has to be right on. The moment has to be special. And, so on and so on and so on.  As NGS’ Jim Richardson says, “If you want better pictures, stand in front of better stuff.”

I’ll tell you a little about each picture. But, there is a caption hiding with each picture. You have open the picture that you like and the caption will open with it. Admittedly, the captions are short, but they’ll tell you a little something about the picture.

First.

You can go to every one of these places while you are visiting. Of course, the timing for seeing a real jazz funeral is a little iffy, but that’s it. If you come early for Carnival, you can see people dancing in the French Quarter streets for Krewe du Vieux. Or, if you are here on Mardi Gras Day, there is plenty of French Quarter dancing going on.

“Low Sunlight,” “Through the Fence,” and “Motion and Color” are really a matter of being on the scene when the light changes. Again, even though they were made in the Quarter, I still like the images. And, they weren’t taken on Bourbon Street.

If you are roaming around the city, you can go to the 9th Ward and turn right towards the river levee, drive through Holy Cross, climb up the levee and see, “From Holy Cross.” I can’t  predict the light. But arrive as dusk falls and you might see something like the picture. The same thing with, “Crescent City Connection.” Drive across the bridge towards Algiers Point, follow the signs to the levee and you’ll see what I photographed.

Visitors tend to forget that we have a fairly vibrant business district. If you are staying in the Quarter, walk to Canal Street, catch the green streetcar (the last picture) and get off around Lafayette Square. Wander around and you’ll see our version of big business. If you are here in spring and early summer there is plenty of music at Lafayette Square. By the way, this square was the American version of Jackson Square in the French Quarter. The neutral ground on Canal Street divided the two neighborhoods.

That’s it. Happy Sunday.


Freight trains in Algiers Point.
Freight trains in Algiers Point.

I’m really into these pre-school train songs. I’m not sure why. It’s probably because they suit my emotional level. Or, something like that. Here’s one about freight trains.

“Clickity, clackity, clickity clack!

The train speeds over the railroad track.
It rolls and rattles and screeches its song
. And pulls and jiggles its freight cars along.

Clickity, clackity, clickity, clack!

The engine in front is big and black. 
The cars are filled with lots of things. 
Like milk, or oil, or mattress springs.

Clickity, clackity, clickity, clack!

The engineer waves, and I wave back. 
I count the cars as the freight train goes 
and the whistle blows and blows… and blows!”

I wish I knew who wrote this song. But, it just seemed to bubble out of a school room door.

As far as the picture goes, one of my favorite times of day to work is after a big storm. Colors are rich. There is water on the ground which helps with reflections. The sky is filled with big bold clouds. Everything is freshly washed. Yes. That’s a good time. I just wish that there was more of it.

 


Summertime Greens
Summertime Greens

Yes. Accidental.

I wanted to photograph that bridge in the background. That’s the Crescent City Connection. Normally, I would have just walked across that field.

But.

That land is being developed into yet another tourist destination. That’s fine. The city needs the money. I’d like the pot holes in front of my house fixed. I’d like more police patrols. It takes money. However, I did not expect that field to be fenced off quite yet. Looking at the light and that background, you know I was a little disappointed. Never mind. I did what I could.

I photographed the beautiful green summer growth in the foreground. I let the background fall out of focus. Way out of focus. That, my friends, is bokeh. The way it’s intended. There is shape and form. You know what it is even though it is soft. It’s almost painterly.

You know what?

Sometimes things happen for a reason. This might very well be a better picture than the one I wanted to take.

 


Winter at the levee.
Winter at the levee.

I took this picture less than 24 hours ago. At the time, the temperature was 81 degrees. Now, it is 29 degrees. At least, we don’t have snow and ice on the ground like so many other places in the country.

This is the Crescent City Connection with the bare trees of winter, photographed from Algiers Point with the Mississippi River drifting by in the background.

New Orleans. Winter 2015.

 


View from the rainbow shaped bridge in the Bywater.
View from the rainbow shaped bridge in the Bywater.

I couple of days ago, I told you about walking on the “rainbow bridge.” I mentioned that it has an amazing view. Well. Here it is. If you turn to the right, you can see the city, and the big boats coming down the river. Well, you can’t in this picture. But you could if you were standing on the bridge. And, you will in the next few days.

I made this picture in silhouette because I shot it at the worst possible time of day to take a picture. Especially anything that is scenery dominated. Around high noon. In very bright sunlight. When I go back, I’ll go specifically for this place. I’ll go around dusk which means in the next week or so because the bridge is gated. It’s locked at 5pm. With the huge uptick in crime in the city, that’s probably a good idea. Walking along the river’s edge in what was an industrial area could get a little sporty after dark. But, during daylight hours there are lots of people and it seems very safe. Must be. A lot of people from Texas were there. Some people who came for the Sugar Bowl were there. Young families with babies were there. It’s a very nice park.

 


On the levee.
On the levee.

A lot of people in a lot of places say it.

It is something along these lines. “If you don’t like the weather wait an hour and…” Yeah. Well. In Southeast Louisiana, the weather really does change in an hour. Or, in five minutes. Especially if you are traveling into or out of it.

I made this picture a couple of hours before I made the rain picture on the Crescent City Connection. I took it because I liked the white puffy clouds. I also liked being directly on the levee when I took it. That yellow leading line is really something.

No. Most of us can’t drive on this little road. Only people driving official cars and trucks can do that. Not only will you or I get a ticket if we drive up there, but we can end up in handcuffs and in jail.

The top of the levee is also a biking, running and walking path. I’m not sure how far you can bike, run and walk, on the Westbank.  But on the Eastbank — the News Orleans side of the river — I believe the path is about 21 miles.

Of course, in New Orleans where The Army Corps of Engineers rules things with their usual clumsiness, the trail is closed for levee raising. It doest need to be raised. It never overtopped. They just have some money to waste, er, spend. But, that’s nothing. River Road is also closed. I just read the latest update. It will be reopened, “soon.” What does that mean? Soon next week? Or, soon during the later half of this decade? Knowing them, I’m betting on the latter.

The picture. The cool thing about many newer cameras is that the lcd screens on the back of the camera are articulated. That means you can turn them in many directions so that you can see what you are doing with laying on your belly. Or, standing on a ladder. That’s what I used with this picture. I just squatted down in something like a baseball catcher’s position, put the camera on the ground and looked down at the screen. Much better than crawling around on my hands and knees. Much better. The rest is just pretty much as I saw it.

One more thing about the weather. When it is “fixin’ to rain,” as they say around here, the humidity rises to beyond unbearable levels. Then the sky opens up, releases the moisture in the air and cools everything down. Of course, what comes down must go back up. So evaporation begins. It’s a different kind of humidity. It just feels the same.


A rainy night on the CCC.
A rainy night on the CCC.

I went to Point Algiers yesterday. Twice. It’s a great place to photograph the New Orleans skyline. We had one of those days when the clouds were perfect. They turned from white puffy clouds to storm clouds without rain. This went on all day so I decided to return around dusk. I was thinking that with those clouds, there might be a great sunset.

Things changed a little. The clouds opened up. There was rain. Lots of it. I made this picture on the way home on the bridge know as the Crescent City Connection. It was a little bit scary. I know my technique when I do this. But, I don’t know when somebody who needs new tires is gonna slide across a couple of lanes and skid into me.

The picture. Auto everything. Point the camera. Do not focus. Do not compose. Look at the road. Hang on to the steering wheel. Pray to whatever god you believe in. Or, Ronald McDonald. Or, Homer Simpson.

A little housekeeping. Things are heating up. No. Not the weather I keep complaining about. My work. Between photography and music, I’m a little slammed from now into mid-November. Rather than take a short hiatus, I’m changing how often I post. If I take a short break, I might like it. I might never come back. That seems to be a trend with people who take breaks from their blogs. I’m thinking about posting every three days. As I said, the professional things I do pay the bills, puts kibbles in the dogs’ bowls, provides hay for the cows. Wait a minute. We don’t have cows.

Besides — when somebody wants to commission me, or license a picture, they go to http://www.laskowitzpictures.com. You might check it out. It’s newly reworked. I’m pretty proud of it.

 


Driver's eye view on the Crescent City Connection.
Driver’s eye view on the Crescent City Connection.

After working for a couple of hours on Algiers Point it was time to go home. I felt photographically fulfilled. That’s pretty much the whole point, isn’t it?

Since the golden light seemed to just crash into the ground, we left the Westbank before darkness actually arrived. As usual, I propped the camera on the dashboard and pushed the button. No, no, no. I don’t raise the camera to my eye. I just set everything on auto-something and let the camera do its thing.

In order to help orient you, the Central Business District and the French Quarter is on the right. We are heading to the left side of the picture toward Uptown once we get off the bridge. In case you are wondering, this is the Crescent City Connection on Sunday evening. Normally, it’s a parking lot around the time we passed over it. That probably would have been better… if you are trying to make pictures. Most people are just trying to go somewhere.

So.

A change is gonna come.

Before we hit the road again, I did a lot of work in The Lower 9th Ward and in a bit of the 7th Ward. One of my favorite abandoned houses in the 7th Ward is starting to be demolished from neglect. The second story fell off. Into the street. The entire second story was laying in the street when I passed by. Of course I stopped and took a few pictures. Well, more than a few pictures. I guess part of a building laying in the street will get the fine folks in city government to actually do something. Or not. What am I thinking? The is New Orleans. Not.