Something in the air.

It’s in the air. Tonight. Today.

I’m not the only one.

Yesterday, I wrote about murky dreams. Dreams of the past. Dreams of people long forgotten. Of a time in the dim recesses of my mind.

Between online conversations and some in real life, I’ve learned that I’m not the only one. People of a certain age are going through this strange little time too. Before, we get all spooky and weird, it probably means nothing.

On the other hand.

What if?

What if we are marshalling our past resources for something to come? I’m not one who believes in all seeing third eyes, or understands why the hell WordPress doesn’t like marshalling in this usage, but something is brewing.

Since the usage of marshalling in this case, means ordering things in preparation for battle, what battle am I, are we, getting ready for?  As much as I dislike the current United States President — and, all that he stands for — and want him imprisoned, it’s not something as mundane as that. I think it’s bigger. I don’t know what it is. But, it’s coming.

As I used to say in the bad old helicopter days, “I got a bad feeling about this.” The last time I thought and felt that, a storm called Hurricane Katrina just about wiped New Orleans off the face of the earth. It’s a powerful feeling.

We’ll see.

The picture. My apologies. I went a little too far in post production. I should have reworked this picture. But, today is very, very busy. So, I moved it from my phone to OnOne and tried to make a few little repairs there. The mistakes were too imbedded for that.

Anyway.

I saw these blossoms and did the only thing that I could do. I photographed them. Then, I messed with them. I made the picture a little spooky. Then, as I wrote, I went too far. I tend to do that. I should have taken things a step or two backward. I’ll get back to it. I’ll fix it. I promise. I might even show you the revised picture.

One more thing about this bad feeling. (See how haunted I am by it?) There’s an old infantry saying, “If you can see the enemy, the enemy can see you.” The reverse is also true. I can’t see the enemy. But, I know…

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Flowers in her hair.

The thoughts came to me in a dream.

The dream wasn’t clear. It was muddy. Murky. Like something dredged out of the middle of a brackish lake.

Somewhere in there I saw a lot of my life. Not like you do at the end of a life. Little flashes. Bits. Pieces. Parts. I saw people who I haven’t thought about in years. Sometimes we talked to each other. Sometimes, we didn’t. We just passed.

I awoke with this stuff swimming in my head. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. I started thinking about anniversaries. Not like weddings or birthdays. Little things. Like the anniversary of our return to New Orleans. That’ll be eight years on July 8.

Or, the anniversary of scooping up the dog who sees stuff. She’s a rescue. When she came home with us, her person had just passed.  She was 85 and had been in poor health for a couple of years. Her person’s care givers didn’t like my dog. They treated her poorly. She was underweight. She was sick. She was scared.

Today, she is happy, healthy, and weighs what she should. She has dog friends, lots of people friends and she’s claimed me. What’s not to like? She’s a very pretty cocker spaniel. She kept the name she came home with — Sophie Rose.

There’s a lot more to write about. Changes. Anniversaries. More changes.  I suppose that I’m starting to look back with the wisdom of age. Or, just with age. Likely, that.

The picture. It’s two. The pink flowers are layered over some pure color.  You can see it here and there, in the background. I guess, I’m experimenting a little again.


Fallen.

Things fall down.

Like this flower. It fell from a tree. I don’t know its name. That’s rare. While I readily admit that I don’t know flower names, I do know tree names.

It starts blooming in late spring and continues until early summer. Streets, cars, sidewalks are cover in tiny pink flowers. I like photographing them after a rain. They glisten and glow. They stick to everything. But, they aren’t damaging. They are just pretty. Just pretty. Funny, that. If every thing was “just” pretty  we’d be far better off.

Anyway.

We had some rain.

The rain knocked a lot of these little flowers off of the trees. The walkway was glistening. Sparkling. The light was getting low so it backlighted this one little flower. I got down as low as I could go and pushed the button a couple of times. I selected another version of this picture. I struggled very hard to make it work. It really didn’t work.

I took another look. This image took about a two minutes in post production. It just sort of “was.” This is the right picture. Work is hard. The process should be easy.

The picture can never be made again. Yes. It was a moment in time. A brief flash. That’s not it.

Nah.

The dog who sees things stepped on it and crushed it.

Sometimes, that’s how it goes.

 

 


It’s the light.

It’s the light.

Light is one of the most important component of every photograph. As well it should be, since the root word comes from the Greek for “writing with light.” Without light, found or created, you would make no picture.

This picture is really all about the light, but it needed something to help us to understand it. That’s where the power pole and tree come into play.

You remember a picture I made last Sunday, while our football team was on the field in the dome? This was one of the first pictures I made. It is sort of a backup. I hoped to find something a little fuller and richer. In case I didn’t, I knew I had this one. That’s a thing that most working photographers do. At least the ones who work by discovery.

That should give you some insight into my thought process. Such as it is. Or, something like that.

All the rest. Well, it’s all the rest.

One of the things I don’t do on Storyteller is discuss gear. I’m thinking about that, as I try to grow this blog and website. I might change it.

I’m a big believer of gear doesn’t matter. Buy what you can afford, use it until you’ve outgrown it and either add to it with a purchase of a lens or some such. When your camera is no longer compatible with your work, replace it with something newer that helps you to grow.

But.

The photo blogs that really support themselves with advertising and sponsorships are gear-centric. That’s one reason to talk about gear. The other, more important reason, is to help you grow as photographers. I do field a lot of questions away from here about gear. I usually respond by asking a lot of questions. Questions like what do you like to photograph? If you travel, where do you go? Those questions raise other questions. They help me to narrow down your selections.

For the record, for digital work I use Sony mirrorless cameras. For film work — yes, I still shoot film — I use Leicas. I have a whole host of lenses to support each.

I have more camera bags than I could ever use. Most of my photographer friends and me are always searching for the “perfect” bag. There is no perfect bag. At best, there are situational bags. And, backpacks to carry your gear from one place to another. When, you arrive at your destination, you switch to a working bag.

Wanna buy a barely used camera bag, I ask in my best used car sellers voice.

Anyway. That’s it.

Would you like a couple of posts a week be devoted to gear and its practical applications to you, even if you aren’t a working photographer but enjoy take pictures?


Into the clouds.

As dusk falls. the scene turns mysterios.

Before it does, sometimes the scene looks like the picture you are viewing. Especially during late fall or winter light.  You cannot miss it. It’s just there.

For the past few days we’ve had milky clouds and some rain. Eventually the clouds broke. Golden sunlight pours through the remaining clouds and you see something like this. Wait for it. Be patient. It’ll come.

Some big time nature photographers will wait in one place for just the right light. For days. They set up camp. They figure out where the light will fall. And, they wait. It used to be that it took a long time and some education to predict where the right light will eventually break through and fall.

Now?

There’s an app for that. I’d say that is just one more thing that makes everybody a photographer.

But.

Not everybody has the patience. Not everybody is willing to camp for one picture. Not everybody is so obsessed.

That’s what separates the weekenders from the real deal. Sure. The weekender can get lucky. However, the ability to make a great picture every time is another great separator. Weekend photographers don’t. The real deal does.

This picture is a result of luck. Maybe next time I’ll miss it because I wasn’t there at the right moment. Or, I wasn’t paying attention. Or, or, or…

A little clarity.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram or are friends with me on Facebook, you may have seen the black and version of this picture. Normally, I have a pretty strong opinion about which one I like best. Not this time. They are two very different pictures that just happen to share the same file.

And, one more thing. It looks like my decision about where Storyteller lives will be resolved in the next day or two. Both WordPress and Squarespace say that it’s time for my yearly subscription to be paid. You know my argument about Squarespace and free photos.

WordPress didn’t make it any easier. This is a paid blog/website. They are making me a great offer. Or, not. If I renew now they won’t charge me for web hosting which has been free in the past. They will charge me next year.

Everybody has their hands out. They want money for nothing.

I wonder how they will be react when I tell them that I’ll bring my own — laskowitzpictures.com — and drop theirs — laskowitzpictures.org — and keep the same space. I guess I’ll find out.


Into the light.

I made a few new pictures. New work. Seasonal work. Spooky work.

You’ll see.

They say that all art is autobiographical. I agree. To a point. Even though I’m going through a burnt out phase, I’m not feeling dark. I’m not sure that you can really find that in my work because of the way I work. I photograph what I see. I suppose that I could be looking for things that are dark. However, this picture is the result of the dog “who sees things” wanting to go for a walk around dusk.

It could also be the way many people are seeing the world. Me included. We are passing through a very dangerous time. A time when lies are passed off as truth. When up is down. When we have been told to only trust one person. That’s rich. That person lies as easily as he breathes.

You know.

I’m not really feeling that way. I’m just looking for a way of moving forward. That’s hard. It’s always hard. I think it’s best to just be open and let it come to you. Just like good pictures. They are out there. They’ll find you. Just be open to them. So will the way forward.

Anyway.

This picture. It really is the result of a dog walk at around dusk. The blue hour. We were passing by a little alley and I looked up. There it was. Hanging on a tree. A picture. So, I made it. The extra bit, a balcony, was bathed in light. Red light. What a nice counterpoint. Done and done.

One more thing.

I think that we should all be a little sad right now. A president died. A man died. His last words were, “I love you too.” He said that to another president. His son. Make no mistake, I feel about him the way that I felt about the late Senator John McCain. I didn’t agree with him a lot of the time. But, I respected him. He harkened back to a time when we could disagree, and debate, politely. That may be really why I’m a little sad. I fear those days are over.

Our National Day of Mourning is on Wednesday. I’ll mourn. For about ten minutes. I strongly believe in the Chinese saying that translates loosely to, “when somebody who is 80 dies, you laugh.” It’s not as harsh as it sounds. It really means when somebody has lived a long, full life, you should celebrate that.

By all accounts, that’s what George H.W. Bush did.

Besides, wouldn’t you like your last words to be, “I love you too?”

Rest in Peace Mr. President. Be with Barbara. You’ve earned it.

 


Fall trees as I saw them.

While many of you in the Northern Hemisphere are already having wintry days with snow and very cold temperatures, we in the Gulf Coast are finally in the middle of something that looks like fall.

Make no mistake.

I’m not crowing over it. I know there are those of you who are cold. And, are dreading a long cold, dark winter. I like cold. I like snow. I get it. When you have to live in it, it’s not fun. But, it’s been a long time since I had to do that. It’s likely that my old hip and back would hate it. But…

The picture. It was almost a throw away. It came at the end of a dog walk. I never could frame it properly. I had to crop it in post production. But, I didn’t self edit in the field. I didn’t delete in camera — or phone, as was the case. I looked at it on a big screen and thought that it had possibilities. So away I went. I worked on it.

I had a funny title for it. But, I thought that nature would disapprove. I was going to call it “American Fall.” See what I did there? It’s a double entendre. The picture is red, white and blue. And, my country sure has been slipping these last two years because of the man who thinks his brain is in his gut, which sort of makes sense if you think about it.

Anyway.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t bring politics onto this page. But, well, you know…

The one thing I know is that I call these kinds of pictures, “little pictures.” I’ve been making them for so long that I don’t know if I can make a “big picture.”

Hmmm.


Reds, everywhere.

Yeah. Oops.

Today is a little fractured. As it happened, I awoke at 3:34 am and could not fall asleep. It seemed that there was a bill due today that I’d neglected to pay with all the holiday and birthday stuff going on. My brain sort of exploded and woke me up.

So. I paid it. Luckily it is bank to bank so even though I paid it on the day it was due, it’s on time. The wonders of banking technology.

Then I was wired. And, I didn’t want to disturb the house. So I decided to work a little until I got tired. That happened about 4:45 am. I awoke again around 7:30 am. I started to doing morning stuff including coffee and breakfast. I was a little woozy so I laid down to read. I awoke at 11:45 am.

The dogs needed walking so I did that. We all ate lunch. I sat down at the big machine. I read some news. I was just getting up from my desk when it hit. Where is today’s Storyteller post?

So. Here I am. Late and confused. I think I need another nap. Or, a lot of coffee.

Anyway.

Here it is. A most unusual picture for me. I generally like to work very closely when I photograph flowers. The scene caught me eye. It is a very backlighted and contrasty scene. I thought that I could make it work even though I was photographing into the sun. It’s just one of those chances you take.

I had to work hard in post production to darken the picture and bring the light on the image to about what I saw in the field. The camera’s lens and sensor couldn’t quite do it. See those purple bands and the multi-colored band on the bottom right? The strong light was too much for the sensor.

All in all, the final picture captures what I originally saw. Sparkly red flowers against a field of green.

The only thing I  can tell you about this picture is that if you want to grow as a photographer, take chances. This picture borders on the line of failure, but it was worth it.


Dark and glowing dusk.

Mysterious blue hour.

It happens like this sometimes. You look up and think, “whoa, what just happened?”

So. You take the picture. With your brand new smart phone. Amazing. The sensor seems to dig out everything. Color. Shadows. And, it holds the highlights without much work

Thank you for all of your good thoughts. As they say, no news is good news.

Update. I’m sorry to report that my friend passed last night in her sleep at 11:07 pm.