A little magic for you.

Magic.

The Grateful Dead’s late Jerry Garcia said that we all need a little magic. I think he’s right just about now when the world seems to be spinning off into every kind of chaos.

I’m not going there today.

This is just something that I’ve being tinkering with until I got it to this point. It makes me smile. I hope it does the same for you.

I was hoping to photograph the first second line of the new season, but according to predictions, a hard rain is gonna fall. Maybe three inches in a couple of inches. You know what that means. Most of the city will flood. I’ll hang in for a while. Sometimes the timing is way, way  off.

The picture. A little of this. A little of that. A pinch of this. And a little wizardry mixed in.

Happy Sunday.

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Well enough alone.

Ever wonder why your phone service is so bad?

Even your local cell service?

Ask AT&T.  I was out walking. I’ve been seeing this cluster for a while. I decided to take a few snaps. Since I’m feeling a little salty today, I thought that I’d share one with you. This is a cluster of wires to a still working copper wire system. Unless you have upgraded to their fiber optic system, this is part of how AT&T provides your cellphone and internet service.

When we used AT&T, our inbound  services dropped about five times a week whether they needed to or not. They installed fiber optics. Their agents didn’t know about it. I gave up. We switched to Cox. Many people hate Cox. We love them. Cox has dropped once in almost two years. They’d dropped a couple of other times, but that was due to power failure. You know. The New Orleans thing. Two squirrels on the wire.

When you look at Cox telephony boxes, they are enclosed and weather proofed. When, you look at At&T gear, well…

Of course it works well. Not.

The picture. aside from my previous comments, I do sort of like it. I started post production in Snapseed and finished it in OnOne. I’m glad that I did. It’s much richer in this form.


In the shadows.

It seems that digging into my past work is necessary, but not rewarding.

I can’t keep posting it. For sure, you’ve never seen it. It’s new to you. But, it’s not where I’m at now. In the summer of 2019.

This picture is brand new. As usual, I saw it on the way to some place else. I was in a hurry. I was lucky that the cross caught my eye. Photographer’s luck. When I actually pressed the button, I didn’t see it for what it was. I saw it for what it could be.

Finally.

Vision aligning with reality.

And, then going further.

I’m not making a statement about religion if this gothic cross means that to you. I don’t attack other people’s belief systems. As the late John Lennon wrote, “whatever gets you through the night.

I am making a statement about my sense of the world right now. We are broken. Everybody seems angry about even the littlest things. The doors and windows are closed. We are taking extreme positions about almost everything.

There’s no point in this.

I’d like to see the window frame painted nicely. I’d like to see the cross glowing. It like to see another version of this picture where everything is sparkling.

We can do that, you know.


It’s all in the details.

Details. Details. Details.

I was wondering just how many pictures of old couches, chairs and furniture would hold a readers interest.

My answer?

Not many.

I wasn’t sure what to do about it until I saw this scene.

It hit me.

Details.

A picture like this holds the reader’s interest in many ways. Not the least of them being the human need to understand the photograph. To study it. To spend some time with it. To let your brain grasp the details within the details.

The first couple of pictures that I made for the “Junk Project,” were mostly overall scenes.  You look at them once, quickly, and you are done. You see everything that needs to seen in less than a second. They rely on color, shape and hue.

This picture relies on content. Subject matter.

This picture would work in black and white, as well as in color.

This picture is also harder to find. Even harder for it to find you.

If somebody wanted it for their wall, I work hard to convince them to use the horizontal version and turn it into wall paper. Something that is about twelve feet wide and eight feet high. Something that when you came home at night, you could stare at and forget the day. You’d mumble to yourself, “Oh wow. I didn’t see that before.”

Just like I’m doing now. That light bulb. They are expensive. It isn’t broken. What was I thinking?

Oh yeah.

Pictures.

 


Working tools.

Painter’s tools.

Paint brushes waiting to be called upon to make art.

No. They aren’t mine. You know better. I was walking a couple of the dogs when we came upon our neighbor who does paint. She likes to say hello to the dogs so we know each other a little bit. Her studio is located in a screened-off section of her porch. When I asked her about summer’s heat and humidity, she said she didn’t mind. It helped her to feel. To feel more connected to her work.

I asked her if I could photograph her studio. And, maybe her. She declined on a portrait saying she looked like a mess. I tried to counter that with you look like a working painter. She’s smarter than that. But, I did make pictures of stuff in her studio.

This is one that I like best.

My post production is kin to something that many photographers have forgotten about. Painting with light. It’s always been around. After all, the word photography is Greek for either painting with light, or, writing with light, depending on who is doing the translating.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it really burst onto the photo world, in part because a photographer-inventor created a machine that controlled how the light fell on a scene.

It looked like a giant vacuum, with a large hose attached to one side. You pointed it and controlled where the light travelled. There were additional tools that you could attach to the hose to create different light shapes. Just like a vacuum and the tools that came with it.

Like all things trendy, it fell out of favor after a few years of everybody doing it. What was art became technique. Sort of like those star field pictures that are so popular today.

I haven’t thought of that machine in years. I’m going to have Google around to see if I can find an existing example.

Anyway.

This is my take on a vase full of paint brushes.

If I can’t use them, I can photograph them.


Flowers in winter.

Sunday’s art.

Flowers in winter. Not your usual winter. New flowers. Bright and pink. Growing in the cold. Growing in the swamp. To brighten the landscape. To brighten the day. To lift a mood. To make you smile.

Yes. I know that a lot of you are snowed in today. I know that the snow keeps falling for others. I know that the roads are frozen. It’s seasonal and predictable. Just like the heat of six months of summer is down here in the swamp. That’s also our rainy season. Our storm season. Our hurricane season.

You know what they say. It’s always something.

It’s just part of life. I say enjoy it. I like working in the rain. I used to work in the snow. I enjoyed that too. There are days when I wish I was doing that again. All of it eventually passes. Seasons change. So do we all.

The picture. A dog walk picture. She was sniffing around. I saw a bush full of flowers. I wasn’t going to make a picture. How many flowers have I photographed over the past couple of years? I’ve been repeating myself. At least by a factor of four or five times. The light was right. I saw the crop as I made the picture. I also saw the post production at the same time.

It’s a Sunday picture. A pretty picture. One that could hang on your wall. I could see this printed on aluminum or on glass. A  really big picture. At least three feet deep. Hung in a sunny room where it would sparkle and shine. Think about it. The purchasing function is only a few days away. Patience.

Yeah, I know. What did the one buzzard say to the other buzzard? “Patience? Hell. Let’s kill something.”


Finally, leaves on top of leaves.

The light was flat and formless.

I wasn’t expecting to make any pictures. But you know what I say. Make the picture first. Worry about it later. Never self edit in the field. Never chimp. Never delete. If you must delete a really bad picture, do it after you’ve had time to look at on a bigger monitor.

That’s really sort of the basics.

The rest, like camera and lens selection is really just stuff.

I always suggest that a new photographer have one body and two lenses. The two lenses are the kit lens that came with the camera. The second lens is one of your choice. Right now the so-called “nifty-fifty” is popular. 50 mm lenses are great. But, when I was young and still learning the very basics, it was out of favor. I trained myself to see another way. My second basic lens is either a 20 mm, a 24 mm, or a 28mm.

The 28mm is the lens of choice for most serious street photographers. It sees more like our eyes do. It is not so wide as to distort a subject to whom you are very close. And, it’s generally sharp throughout the frame when you set the  aperture  at f 5.6 or smaller.

Some people like an 85 mm lens because the background is softer and you don’t have to work closely to film the frame with the subject. I think that it is a great portrait lens.

As usual, it all depends.

On to this picture. I made it while walking. As I mentioned the light was flat and gray. Just like it is today. When that happens I look for details that I can enhance in post production. It wasn’t happening. Then I saw a bunch of newly fallen leaves covered with water droplets. That was better. Than I found the picture you see. The original capture was light and lacked contrast. I helped it along in post production.

That’s the story.

Oh. One important thing. Tomorrow is my birthday. Don’t forget to buy my a coffee. 🙂


Portrait in the second liners.

Day two. The Valley of the Silent Men second line in Central City.

New Orleans.

I thought I would publish a few more pictures of the day. A good day. A happy day. And proof of a hot day. At least one picture, where my buddy’s wife is wiping his face with a towel.

Of all the pictures, I like the top one best. It’s a little subtle, but to me it’s one of those pictures that says a whole lot. From a technical standpoint I almost didn’t select it. The man in the foreground looked like he was buried in shadow. But, deep details in shadow is where digital capture just shines. I opened his face, and the man standing behind him, just fine. Should they be lighter? No. They are backlighted.

So now you know what it’s like to stand in the heat, with the entire second line snaking around in front of me after making its first two left hand turns. I will say that this picture was lucky. You know, photographer’s lucky. Look a different way and it’s gone. Think too much and it’s gone. Try to catch up and its gone.

The rest of the pictures. I wanted you to see — once again — what it looks like between the ropes with the first liners are coming out. I also wanted you to see that it really was hot. This man and I have been on the injured reserved listed for a while. He had shoulder surgery. You know about me. We were as happy as we could be to see each other.

And finally, the spiritual bling. On another day this would be a stand alone picture. But, I wanted to work it in with the rest of what I saw. Funny. This guy was walking with a cane. I sat down next to him because my hip was starting to ache. I needed another pain med. I took it, looked up and saw his chest. I asked if I could photograph it and he proudly answered yes. Then, we limped away from each other.  My hip felt better in like 20 minutes. Nothing like extra strength Tylenol.

That’s my story. Today.

Spiritual bling.


Glowing.

One of those things.

That you walk by a hundred times. You never really notice. It’s become invisible to you. You see it. It doesn’t register.

Then. Maybe the light was right. Or, a reflection caught your eye. Something happened. Something changed.

You see the thing you didn’t see.

That’s what happened in this picture. There is a little scooter parked along one of the streets that has become a dog route. We don’t always pass that way. When we do, it’s just an obstacle to walk around. Not the other day.

Something caught my eye. I stopped. I made a few pictures. Of the scooter’s headlight. Dogarito wanted to move on. So we did. I didn’t know if I had the time to make any sort of picture. When I finally looked at the LCD I was happily surprised. I get lucky that way. Sometimes.

I did some work to it. That’s what you are looking at. A quick view. A little work in post production and away we go.

One more thing.

A bit of news. A bit of housekeeping. For those of you who find Storyteller on Facebook, it’s is changing. Yes. Again. They are no longer allowing auto distribution starting August 1. If you follow Ray Laskowitz, you will no longer see Storyteller posts unless…

It gets tricky.

I can post by hand adding extra work to my social media workflow. Or, if you follow Laskowitz Pictures on Facebook. That’s my business page. I think, but it is not clear to me, that once a new post gets there it will bounce to my personal page if I follow Laskowitz Pictures. Ugh.

Once again Facebook shows the world that it really doesn’t care about anybody but them. I suppose this is their ham handed way of preventing trolls, Russian bot and fake news. If they keep going in this direction they’ll drive small business away.

In many ways this is good.

I really only post Storyteller on Facebook to lead you here. Some people come. Some don’t. It gets confusing sometimes. A friend of mine posted the video that I couldn’t show you here. He posted it on Facebook.  All I could do was hold my hands up in the classic what do you want from me pose. That doesn’t help me here.

After all, Facebook and WordPress don’t like each other. Actually, Facebook doesn’t like anybody. Like Apple, they really wanted a closed system. Their own little world.