I Feel Lucky


Autumn air.

I started tinkering last night. I made this artwork. It was accidental, like so many things in life.

Even the title of today’s Storyteller is an accident. I asked Alexa to make a playlist of Mary Chapin Carpenter songs. I think she liked doing that. When I asked, her response was “Hmmm.”

“I Feel Lucky” was playing when I wrote the title. Accidental.

That’s a thing that I know about. Accidents. Happy or other wise. They happen the minute you put your well thought out plan into action.

As retired boxer Mike Tyson says, “Your plan changes the minute that you get punched in the face.”

The same thing happens in photography especially if you work with people. The minute that you show up with a camera everything changes. You don’t even have to point it at anyone. They just know that you are there.

That leads to another question. Can any picture really be spontaneous?

Sure.

That’s why NGS photographers have 16 week assignments. It’s why I suggest photographing your world when you start out. The people in your life will ignore you, mostly because they always do.

No. I’m not being snarky,

They are used to you. That’s why I try to stay around for a long time. I hope people will get used to me.

But, they never do.

It’s the camera.

Sometimes working with a phone is a better idea. First, they produce pretty technically good pictures. Second, everybody is taking pictures of everything. Nobody notices.

That’s the goal.

About this MCC thing. Somehow I managed to miss 30 years of her music. When I first saw her play her songs from home. I was enchanted by the peaceful feeling that she brought to me, just like listening to James Taylor does.

I watched some more and thought where have I been all your life?

I know now what happened. I relocated to Hong Kong in 1993. Until Virgin records came along, we were lucky to find western music, especially country.

So, now I’m a little obsessed. I just wish that Alexa would have made a playlist that had some of her new music on it.

It’s always something.

Trees. I like trees. They are symbolic of a lot of things. One of my favorites, rebirth, is among them.

As I said, I was tinkering last night. Even though you can barely see it, this image is made from two layered pictures.

I worked to create the color palette that I though suit the picture.

That took some doing. Balancing the lights and darks was a project in itself.

For those of you who are wondering, I started Snapseed and finished in OnOne. I have other editing software, but why confuse myself?

Stay safe. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy every sandwich.

This Day


All the junk that fits.

On a day like this one. Back in 1953. At 10pm. I made my appearance. Here I am in 2020, one of the worst years in at least a century, still going.

I’ve pretty much lost any sense of time. The calendar means very little. Clocks keep turning. The only sense of time that I seem to have is what occurs in nature.

Nature never slips up. She knows what she is doing. Even during the worst catastrophes, she knows. Fires, floods, hurricanes, and now a pandemic. She knows. She’s telling us. Mend your ways. Don’t make me come up there and destroy your home.

She will. Just to get rid of whatever annoys her. She doesn’t care. She seeks stasis.

Into the beginning of this current world I was born. In 1953. On today’s date. I guess that I have some sense of time. Or, Facebook told me. I could have sworn that I removed my birthday from my personal information. But, Facebook knows. So does Google. Ans, Amazon.

Anyway.

We could have a discussion of privacy. But, I don’t feel like it.

You know why.

Broken stuff city. I could be talking about New Orleans in general. But, I’m not. I’m not working that broadly.

I’m just talking about a truck that I saw loaded with broken bikes and parts.

It’s in my nature. I’m drawn to these things.

I let my inner self make this picture. Then, I tinkered with it.

WordPress helped by compressing it to the point where it has no highlights. I really wish all these digital companies would turn off the AI. You’d be amazed at some of the words I don’t type. That I fix when I edit the stories.

Anyway.

Enjoy the junk

Stay safe. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Look after each other. Enjoy all the cake.

Mystic Month


Morning art.

The business week begins. The most important week. We vote for the president. Many frame it as a vote for Democracy. Many see it as a choice between good and evil. No matter how you see it this election is as an important an election as I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.

We also vote for down ballet candidates. This, too, is very important because that can change the complexion of the country.

I have never done what I’m about to say, because I’ve always voted person, not party. Not this time. Straight ticket. All blue.

The current president keeps saying that he wants to make America great. He seems to forget that he is the president. That he can make America great. He hasn’t. He won’t. He can’t.

He made America worse. Way worst.

At best, he’s incompetent. At worst, he is the most evil creature ever to walk on this planet.

I have a couple of friends who will jump right in here and tell me that I’m drinking the kool aid. Since this is a family storyteller, I’m gonna say screw ’em. If I said to their face, I’d use another word.

There. That’s where I stand.

I’m too old to put up with this nonsense. It’s time to start rebuilding my country and rebuild trust throughout the world.

It’s time to get back to the good work of rebuilding and repairing.

And, you thought after looking at the picture that this was going to be a nice little candy cotton wrapped post.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. VOTE.

Picture, picture on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Might as well be you, because I’m sure it isn’t me.

But, first a little housekeeping.

We got power back about 10am yesterday. That was something worthy of hoots and hollers.

But, no internet. I talked to Linksys. I talked to Arris, the folks who make my router and modem. We did everything we could. At one point, they asked if we could have a three way conversation. We did.

No joy.

They believed that I wasn’t receiving signal from my internet service provider. So, I called them. Cox. They were their usual helpful selves. They wanted to run through their checklist to find the issue.

I said, “Whoa, slow down little buddy.” I’ve already done two versions of that.” He asked what then, did I want him to do.

I asked him if there was a work group or news bulletin board that he could talk to. I wanted him to see what kind of damage their towers and system received in New Orleans during Hurricane Zeta.

A few minutes later… joy. Sorta. They were down and rapidly rebuilding and restoring. I asked him when we might expect a return of signal. He replied sometime tomorrow (Sunday).

Fair enough.

I checked my phone at about 9am, and, sure enough. Internet signal.

I wrote in an email to a friend of mine that 25 years ago having the internet wouldn’t have seemed vital. I used it, but it was accessed through telephone lines. It was slow and there wasn’t much that interested me. And, I got tired of receiving CDs from AOL.

Today?

Well, that’s another story.

Why is it important to this picture?

The picture lives on my phone. In order to get it here I need the webinet (If G.W. Bush can say the interwebs and it becomes a thing, I can make up webinet.

It needed work on the big machine. Can’t do that without the webinet.

The picture is art, much in the same vein as that speeding truck. It takes some time and a lot of adjustments, but I got it to what I wanted. It might not be what you want, but enjoy it anyway.

All A Dream


Like a painting

All the news that fits. But, first the picture. It’s actually a layered picture containing a scene on a New Mexican highway and a Jefferson Parish expressway. Mostly, it’s the New Mexican photograph that rose to the top of the layer. Obviously, it’s heavily worked over in post production.

I wasn’t sure how far to take it, but the further I went the more I liked what I was doing. That’s important. If you don’t like your work, stop doing it.

Eventually, two photographs became one and became a watercolor painting. Or, something like that. It also became mostly about the gentle color since the main subjects are almost blurred beyond recognition.

That’s the picture. The painting.The watercolor. Here comes the big news of the day. I’ve been struggling for the last few years to decide the viability of having two sites. Storyteller, a blog site. Or, Laskowitzpictures, a website that contains a blog.

WordPress made the decision for me. I received an email saying that they couldn’t bill me for next year, starting on November 18th. They also commented saying almost the same thing except my new year started on December 18th.

They can’t bill me because I intentionally disconnected the link to my credit card because I wanted to know when my billing date was due. In the past they’d bill me and then tell me that done that. Of course, I could dispute it but that’s a PIA. Or, they’d tell me way in advance and I’d forget about it.

I need the Website more than I need the blog site, so I won’t be paying for what you see currently. I think what I’ll do is downgrade to a free version of Storyteller, post less, maybe three times a week and remove my images from the WordPress archive. That’s not a big deal because every picture I publish here goes into a file on my desktop.

Once I can figure out how to link you to Laskowitzpictures.com then I’ll let this version of Storyteller drift away into the clouds. That may take a while. Or not, since my energy will only be focused on one site.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Look after each other. VOTE.

Sleeping


When I began.

Sleeping.

After working to get ready for Hurricane Sally last night, I went to bed. I slept. I awoke at my usual time. That was nowhere near enough sleep. I did some morning work, walked Sophie and came home. I finished reading the news of that day. Sophie was sleeping on the bed. That looked good so I laid down thinking that I’d rest my eyes.

Three hours later.

Here I am.

So.

Hurricane Sally. Late last night she turned a little more east. That means although we are still in the cone and will get wind and rain, the bulk of the water and wind will mostly hit Mississippi. I wish them no harm. But, I’m grateful. Things could change. Nature does what she wants to do. Right now, I’m convinced she’d like her planet back.

That’s the weather report for yer man in New Orleans.

I’d discuss something from the news, but luckily I forgot what I read.

The picture

I found a parking lot with freshly painted yellow lines. This being the greenhouse south some grass had already grown up on one edge. I photographed that. After a little work in post, I created something that could have stood on its own.

You know me. I can never leave well enough alone.

I found a picture in my archives that I thought might work as a layer. It did. I adjusted it, put a border around it and you are looking at it right now.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Stay dry. Enjoy the fish that washed up on your lawn.

Round Here


Maybe. Just maybe, I can make this block system work for me. I am enjoying other kinds of design formats. This reminds of my last days in the newspaper world when I started hanging pictures in different places on a designers grid.

For now, everything is experimental. If I like what I’m doing and you like it too, then I’ll keep going. I’ve hear from a lot of writers. Most of them hate it. I expect that they will not like it. They don’t think spatially. They use other intelligences to do what they do.

I only started thinking about embracing this after I re-read Garner’s theory of 11 intelligences, which reminded me that I see and think differently. So, why not use what I’ve been given? I can talk more about this if you’d like.

I think, like anything, you have to work through the “five stages of grief.” Not that WordPress is causing me emotional grief. I’m at the acceptance phase right now so this has become easier for me.

So too, with the pandemic. I’ve accepted the fact that it will be around for a while. Dr. Fauci said not to expect any sense of normalcy until mid-2021.

I wear masks without thinking about it. I keep my distance without thinking about it. And, at the grocery store yesterday I realized how nice we were being to each other.

That’s all good stuff.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Look after others. Enjoy every drop of rain.

The picture. I made this picture by looking on the ground. The subject is a Live Oak seed pod. The background is really just concrete. There are a couple of pocket parks along one dog walking route. Sometimes we stop and sit.

I didn’t even think about what I was doing. I just made the picture. That’s how ingrained the action is to me.

Obviously, it wasn’t much. I forgot about it until I didn’t. I started tinkering with it. One thing lead to another and pretty soon I arrived at this image.

Once again, WordPress stepped all over the color and contrast even though I tried to account for it in post production. They are getting as bad as facebook.

This Life


Is it art?

The inside.

That’s where I’ve been for the last few days. Taking stock. Reviewing. Remembering. Celebrating and mourning.

The totals don’t look so good.

There may be a great opportunity to do something about that. As you know, I don’t ever want us to return to normal if we ever manage the virus. And, I don’t think we will. Normal is the past. I’m coming to believe that the American Age is coming to an end. The Asian Age is almost upon us.

While I don’t like the brutality, the Chinese have built a modern country. While we spent trillions of dollars on bullets, they spent it on cement. Think about our infrastructure. What could we have done with a trillion dollars?

I read another little tidbit. I checked it twice. It’s pretty much well known. Except to me.

Since the end of World War II, when America emerged as a superpower, there have only been 16 years that we wren’t engaged in some kind of war. 16 years, of peace. What a waste of human beings. What a waste of money. What a waste of time.

Based on everything that I’ve read, when we finally emerge from the pandemic, or at least from the horrific infection and death rates, America will no longer be a superpower.

Where to, from there.

That’s when the real changes start. I’d like to think that we all could do this together. I think that we are so polarized that we can’t even agree that a mask might help save lives. Or, that social distancing is needed. Crowds gathering proclaim that they are speaking for freedom. I think they don’t have the stoicism and fortitude to defeat anything.

I guess the good changes, whatever they may be, will be reserved for people who believe in science. The rest will start a war trying to enter the good places. They were mad from the start. That was their choice.

The Picture

We had a really cool sunset two days ago. The sky was bright blue. The clouds were orange and fluffy. I made a lot of pictures. I did a little work in post production mostly to give the image a more cotton candy-like feel. That’s all it needed. That’s all I did. It’s better to let nature do whatever she wants to do.

Stay safe. Stay masked. Keep your distance. Defeat the virus. Enjoy every cloud.

Naked To The Eye


A study in colorful motion blur.
Life in a blur.

Walking.

It seems that the only pictures I make these days is on a walk, mostly with the all seeing dog. That isn’t working. I’ve been hinting — or, maybe I’ve been clearer than I thought — at not being all I could be right now.

I read a longish article in The New York Times. Basically, the writer reported statistics, not what to do about it. Fully 33% of all Americans are depressed in the age of the pandemic. That’s a lot of people.

The causes? They stretch across a broad spectrum. Things like the loss of a job, the loss of income, fear of getting sick, getting sick, seeing things change so quickly, empty streets of your favorite city, being cooped up for months. The list continues.

I forgot the most important cause. The death of someone close to you when you never had a chance to say goodbye.

For most people, it is situational depression and it’s mostly mental. For another select group time has hardened feelings of depression into something more clinical, more physical. If you think you are on the cusp of this talk to someone. Anyone. Where I come from they say talk to another human being.

Me? I’ve got to make real pictures, with a real camera. That helps a lot. Speaking of pictures…

The Picture.

This is what tells me that I need real pictures. I’ve seen some pretty good motion studies made with smartphones but making them that way isn’t easy for me. I can do them fairly well with a DSLR.

I know where the controls are on a DSLR. The controls on my phone are mostly on a touch screen. My big hands don’t often like that. You’d be amazed at how much video I’ve made of my feet.

There is no post production to speak of. In fact, the more I tried to help it, the worse it got. So, I left it alone.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every scoop of ice cream.

Wildflower


Master of space and time.

When?

That’s what everybody wants to know.

One of the things that I get paid for its my ability to understand the future. No. I’m not a seer. Not a guru. Not a clairvoyant. I simply do a lot of research. I listen a lot. All the while I’m letting the information roll around in m y head. After that, my ideas comes out. Anywhere. Anytime. In the shower. While I’m cooking. While I’m walking the dogs. Most of them are terrible.

The pandemic isn’t going away soon. Or, even in a few months. Maybe, not in years. I don’t know exactly when. Sheesh. I’m not that good.

New Orleans started to open. People turned stupid. They partied too much. They were photographed in a packed Bourbon Street.

Our per capita rate of infection is the highest in the nation.

The governor got very angry. So did the mayor.

The governor closed the bars. Mandated masks. Reset the opening time table. The mayor cut the bars ability to sell curbside drinks. Between the two, they effectively closed our bars. Restaurants are closing too. Some forever. Some until restrictions loosen. It’s too hard for owners to make any money with a limit of 25 people.

Music venues are closed too. Musicians aren’t able to earn anything. One, who worked a lot including Jazzfest and French Quarter Fest, is leaving NOLA for a while. She’s selling all of her stuff.

As most of you know, I’m not a fan of the president, but I agree with him on one thing. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Most music tour leaders agreed that tours wouldn’t start until October, 2021. Now, touring might not start until late spring 2022. It’s getting worse. Not better.

Humans are impatient. We are angry. We are angry with our leaders, the police, our structure, abuse of black people, the abuse of women. The list goes on. What started as peaceful protest has turned into battlefields. In Portland, some kind of federal storm troopers are beating and detaining people for no reason.

For every action there is a reaction.

The protests are heating up again. Protesters are fighting back. I truly fear that my country is going to turn into a battlefield. That a shooting war is going to break out. Combined with the pandemic my country feels doomed. It’s like we are falling of a cliff.

Fixing this beyond my pay grade. But, I know those of us who have a little hope left must work together, communicate, try to build the house while the house it’s burning down, and look after each other. I’ve said that before. I think it was abstract. Now, it’s real.

The Picture

I made the base picture of the Black Masking Indian Queen at Uptown Super Sunday 2019. I’m not sure when or if I’ll ever have that chance again. The event would be called a super spreader unless the virus is stopped. During the parade you are shoulder to shoulder and face to faces with everybody. One sick person…

I made the clouds that surround her a few days ago. I’ve been doing this kind of experimentation for the past couple of months. I usually post it on Instagram, but I realized that many of you might not be there and that you should see it. Now you are.

Working this way is a process. It’s using my archive to locate the right images. It’s layering and blending two pictures. And, about finishing them properly. It takes time. And focus. And, intent.

Stay Safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy my photograph.