All a glow.

A

Sunday photograph. Something bright and colorful for those of you who are still digging out of the wintery white stuff, which is a large part of the country. It’s already been some winter. And, there is a polar vortex coming.

It’ll probably start raining fish like it did in Texas a week or two ago. Everything happens in Texas. Cold snaps without fuel. Hurricanes. Ted Cruz.

After that?

I probably don’t want to know because so far 2022 hasn’t been a whole lot better than the last two years. If anything, it’s been weirder. And, the latest variant of Covid is surging beyond all surges.

Some say this version is milder. Some say it isn’t.

All I know is hospital staffs are fighting with their very tired backs against the wall. Up in Montana nurses are coming from all over the world, but mostly from Southeast Asia.

Imagine coming from a country like Thailand where it’s always hot and humid and green. Now you are in Montana. In the winter. It’s freezing cold. It’s snowing. You have no idea where you are.

Sounds fun.

Would you do it? In reverse.

That’s mostly how bad it is out there. And yet, I look at pictures from the first parade of Carnival season and maybe 25% of the people there were wearing masks. If you’ve never been to any parade in New Orleans let’s just say it’s fun but it’s chaos. People are in your face, pressed against you, breathing on you and — after a couple of drinks — spitting in your face.

None of this is malicious. In fact, it’s all friendly. But, these days friendly can be fatal.

And, that’s why I’m on the shelf for Mardi Gras.


Light and magic.

Light, color and magic.

I made this picture a few days ago. I posted it on Instagram. That meant it popped up on Facebook and Twitter. But, you didn’t see it.

It’s a picture that surprised me when I assembled and layered it. So, you get to see it. My apologies to those of you who saw it on other social media. At least you get a chance to see it again.

That’s some ego, eh?

I generally call this picture a colorful mess. And, so it is. That’s what it makes it a lot of fun.

A local political note. Last night was a great one. Governor John Bel Edwards was re-elected by a very slim margin. This means three things.

He won in a very red state. For sure, New Orleans is blue. That’s about it.

The President of The United States came down here three times to campaign for the Republican candidate, Eddie Rispone. Many people thought that this election was a referendum on the president. Think about that.

The election was very close. About a percentage point. That’s why every vote matters. I don’t know, but it seems to me that my vote could have put him over the top. Or, my neighbor’s vote. Or, the family two blocks down. Don’t ever say that your one vote is meaningless. It means something.


Flower explosion.

This idea came to me in a dream.

I’m not sure what it means. The dream, or the work. Rather than just stuff it all back inside me head I thought it would be a good idea to explore it.

I made layers. You’ve seen both pictures in the past. Bright yellow flower and red leaves. My exploration involves basic arithmetic. You know. 1 + 1 = 2. I’ve long believed that 1+1 can equal all sorts of numbers if they are the right 1+1. This is especially true in the art world.

By layering pictures, I think I made at least a three. Maybe more.

I’ve tagged this picture, “Boom.” It looks like a firework display to me. It may look like something else to you. Likely, a mess. Never-the-less, all opinions are valid.

Somebody once asked me when I have time to do all this, especially since experiments can end in failure. It’s more or less when I feel inspired. Or, when we are watching something very light on television. Often, I’ll just listen and work on pictures. I’m great with podcasts. And, the radio.

The picture. You can do this too, especially if you use “Snapseed,” which tends to make editing very easy. The key is to find two pictures that work together. I usually work on both independently. I try to build equal light and color values.

When I layer them, I experiment with different ways of layering. After I’ve completed the layers, I adjust them together. I also make sure to trim — not crop — the final picture. Unless you have two pictures with the same shape, there may be bits of one or the other picture hanging out. I crop mostly for shape. On WordPress-based blogs, deeper is better.

That’s it. My first lesson in a long, long time. Sorry about that.


The sky exploded.

It looks serious.

It’s not. It’s what happens when you mix jazz with photo editing. Things go a little crazy.

I made this picture in Albuquerque. New Mexico. It was one of the first serious pictures that I took with my iPhone. It was an early model. And, it was the back up to the back to the back up. I ran out of storage space and batteries. If you know one thing about me, I have way too many SD cards and even more batteries. It was just one of those days.

So. I tinkered with this last night. And, even more today. It’s not what you are thinking. I just ran out of energy to keep going. I stayed out of energy this morning, which should help explain why this post is later this morning.

It’s not just that.

I went for a walk with the dog who sees stuff. While a lot of people around us in other regions are suffering, we in New Orleans are having a fall day in summer. Temperatures are in the high 70s or low 80s. Low humidity. And, a gentle breeze. When we got to this little park, she sat down. She looked at me as if to say, “there is no way that I’m leaving.” Grass, cool sunlight, a breeze. What could be better? So we hung out.

The picture. A combination of all that processing software that I’ve been using. Again. I’ve been asked what exactly I do. I don’t know. You just sort of have to play around until you like what you see. Lighten it a bit if you are going to print it. Darken it a bit if it’s going on a monitor.


Nature’s art.

Nature. And, me.

I awoke to about a billion messages. Well, that’s an exaggeration. But, all social media seemed to be blazing with screechy posts about hurricanes, earthquakes and firestorms.

Sheesh.

Maybe everybody is right. Nature is in full rebellion. Or, the end times are upon us. Who knows? All I know is that nature seeks stasis. She is neither angry or happy. She just is, and does.

All of you settle down. I wrote it yesterday. I guess, I’ll just keep repeating myself.

If nature is paying us back or the end times are here there isn’t much we can do. Enjoy the ride. Think about it. We will see what’s never been seen. We may be seeing some of that now.

The picture. More experimentation with photographs and art. A peaceful little picture. A calming picture. Look at it carefully and be at peace.

One more thing. See a comment from a troll called Amanda. What do you think? Cursing isn’t adult in my opinion. She got me interested. I went to her blog. It’s about what I thought. Especially her post about AA and NA. Very typical. Oh, after my reply she changed her icon picture from herself to a pig. Hmmmm…

 


One more flowery portrait.

And, one more.

This will be about it, for making experimental portraits. For now. I’m not giving up. Nor, am I abandoning the project. But, this work is fairly time-consuming. Stuff is piling up. Other kinds of pictures. Other kinds of projects. My half built new website. My never-ending archiving project. Other projects that are waiting in the wings.

Which brings me back to my never-ending archiving project. Again. And, again. And, again.

I’m at a crossroads. The one over which I continually trip. The overarching question.

What to keep of my digital archives?  The problem is really a good one. Kind of. I’ve always followed best practices when it comes to archiving my work. Without going into too much detail, that means I never delete images from anywhere. Good, bad, completely messed up. They all stay in my archives. In fact, in one form or another, they always stay there at least twice.

So.

What do I throw away as I build my final archives? Do I keep one set of RAW files, the working images and the final images? Do I keep everything? Do I keep only the working and final images?

Old school photographers like me usually say to keep everything because you’ll never know when you might need an odd frame or two. We talk about the Monica Lewinsky – Bill Clinton relationship, when one photographer “happened” to remember that he might have taken a picture of them together at some speech, almost by accident. It took a huge amount of manpower to locate the image which sold for editorial rates. If have to wonder if the image sale even paid for the cost of research.

That said, it costs money to actually keep and maintain large archives. Either you buy hard drive space or cloud space. Even with good free unlimited file storage using some reputable company like Google or Amazon, storage is mostly compressed and limited to jpegs. Most of the pictures that I’ve been showing you that I located through Google Photos have been compressed. That’s fine if all you are doing is posting pictures online. But, I make large photographic prints. Most of my professional work is used in printed material. My archives must be able to store large photo files saved in the Tiff format. With that I can do whatever I need to do.

I’d love your suggestions, thoughts and ideas. Sometimes, a person (me) just needs a kind of permission to move forward.

Do keep in mind that I am not talking about a few pictures. I am talking about some 50 terabytes of photographs.

And then.

There are about 30 years worth of black and white negatives. Don’t get me started. They are stored properly in groups of 5 or 6 images to a strip. Some are stored in glassine sleeves, others in plastic pages. Once they are culled to a manageable amount of negatives, they have to be scanned and a digital master file made. Talk about time-consuming. Even though my negatives are in fine shape because that old plastic lasts forever as opposed to bits of digital data which need to be reviewed and renewed every couple of years, they still have a little dust, some scratches and so on. Each image needs to be inspected and retouched before the master digital file is made.

I told you. Don’t get me started.

This picture. Well, the base image of the woman smiling isn’t 40 years old this time. It’s two years old. The flowers and other layers are a few weeks old. Sometimes this layering process comes together fairly quickly. With “quickly” being a relative term. This particular image took bits and pieces of two days to show itself in this final form. Have fun if you want to try.

 


Desert rest stop.

Way out there. Somewhere.

I don’t even remember exactly where this place is located. It’s in the desert. In Arizona. I’m betting it is somewhere near I-40. The original picture was made a long time ago. On black and white film. Apparently, I didn’t think much of it because the scan needed a lot of spotting and touch up before I could mess it up in the tinkering phase.

Even though I don’t remember the exact location, I do remember the circumstances. It was one of those classic driving all day and all night tales. At the end of the second day, we were making a run toward the border. The California border. Back to Long Beach and home. We needed a break so we just pulled off thinking there would be the usual stuff. Restrooms. Bad coffee. Worse snacks.

Instead, we found this. I think we stayed there just long enough to stretch our legs, change drivers and take this picture. Then, we headed off in search of our goal. Restrooms. Bad Coffee. And, worse snacks.

I don’t remember if we made it home that night. Back in those days, if you were driving west during the summer, you made a run to Needles — that’s in California — and hunkered down for the night. You got up early in the morning around 3 am and made a run to Barstow before the desert heat could melt your car. These days cars are better suited for all kinds of weather. Still, I remember one trip through that region, when we arrived in Barstow headed east at about three or four in the afternoon. Ground temperatures were unbearable. Somewhere in the 120 degree range. But, it was a dry heat. That’s better. At least, that’s what they say.


Wok and chopsticks.
Wok and chopsticks.

A very interesting thing happens when I complain loudly on Storyteller. WordPress changes their ways.

A few of you tried to help out. I really appreciate that. Way more than you know. The solutions that you offered didn’t work out because under the basic formatting, Laskowitzpictures.org looks a little different from your formatting. Mine costs money. I get to pay for the silliness of “the customer knows worst” scenario.

But.

You helped out in another way. Apparently the technicians at WordPress monitor certain things. Not specifically by blog or web site. Instead, by certain key words. Your comments help bring complaints to the surface. So, thank you. That should also give you an idea of why key wording is so important. Call it tagging. Same thing. Do it as best you can. It helps people find your work.

One more thing.

Don’t over tag. Write tags for what is on your blog page, not what you wish was there. And, keep the combination of categories and tags to no more than 15. WordPress told me that. The way their software works with Google searches limits us to 15 words. Anything more and the software throws all of them out and Google can’t “see” your page.

Guess what?

I clicked on my dashboard and the old formatting reappeared. Magically. Imagine that.

The actual format desktop is much more minimal and cleaner looking. But, how I see the page is how I want to see the page. After all, I’m an old guy. I don’t write code. I design by seeing and by tinkering with the page itself. Just like I do with my work. Tinker. Tinker. Tinker. It’s all just a bunch of toys. Those of you of a certain age will see what I’ve done there. Heh.

Today is about round.

Every picture has a round element in it. Even those little candy shots on the ice cream, which is on a donut, has some roundness to it. I’m not in the habit of shooting food porn and plastering it all over Instagram, I do take pictures of food when I can play with it. Just like a toddler. Playing with food.

So.

A wok and chopsticks. And, the donut-ice cream-candy shots. If I see a picture I take it. You just never know. Most of my family and friends are used to it so they don’t care. I don’t eat very many sweet things, so the sugary desert was somebody else’s. I think I know who it belonged to. She ate it in about two gulps. Big ones.

The lights are just those big paper party lanterns that you can hang in your backyard. I kind of blew the highlight exposure while trying to keep the dark background properly exposed. So, I did the obvious thing. I tinkered with the digital file. Now you have no idea what you are looking at.

Seems right.

 


art-1
Dinosaurs.

This may be it. For a while.

I begged them not to do it. But, just like every other tech company today, they think they know better than their clients. Their customers. They deleted the backdoor to Storyteller. I have no idea what I’m doing with this so-called new, improved, and fucked up method of posting. They started this last year. A lot of us complained about it. They left the backdoor alone. They said they might eliminate it. New Year. Nothing better to do. So their engineers removed what was a very elegant way to add “content.”

I have no idea what MY page looks like. Before I post it. And, I have to add all the metadata by hand. Yeah. This is better. Not. And, what’s with the “beep-bop-beep?” What am I? 12 years old?

These pictures. Hmmm. The dinosaur. That’s black and white Tri-x film that I scanned and started adding stuff. You’d be surprised how unclean black and white film looks after it’s scanned. There is all sort of latent color even when you turn all color sources off. I played to it.

Chicken Mart. A landmark. In Central City. There’s another out in the Ninth Ward, I think.

Ladders and chairs was made on Magazine Street in The Lower Garden District. On a break from Mardi Gras festivities.

Oh yeah. Sorry for the so-called “f-bomb.” I have no time to mince words anymore. It is what it is.

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Chicken Mart.

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Up and down.