He Thinks So


Some assembly required. That’s what was needed on this artistic experiment. In an effort to tie some life lesson to this picture, I think that most of our lives require some assembly.

I’m not just ruminating about the times when the cracks appear, but when the light shines in as well.

In fact, if you alternate light and shadow making their way through our cracks you could say that we are always in some stage of assembly.

That’s a good thing.

Without that constant work, I for one, would be bored.

Often, I marvel at folks with whom that I attended high school. They graduated from high school, they attended a local college, they married their high school sweetheart, worked for 40 years and are now retired.

I really have no idea what challenges they were presented in what amounts to 50 years, but they really seem settled. Or, did they settle?

I, on the other hand, never stayed in one place with the exception of now. I couldn’t stay with one women. I had a lot of adventures.

Which is the better life? For me it depends on which day you ask that question.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Enjoy every sandwich.

Experiments. A friend of mine seems to think that I have a collection of these. If I do it wasn’t intentional. I do them so infrequently that I’d have to search to really know.

They are time consuming to make and their really is no pattern.

This is a combination of two pictures. One, is obviously a stand of trees that has shed its leaves for winter.

The other is undetermined in this picture. It’s really a Camellia that I photographed very tightly. You may see that picture this week.

I layered and adjusted them. You see the result.

I’d ask you like it and if you like to see more, but I never do it until the pictures are ready.

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.

Above Ground


Every green.

Starting the month with something a little peaceful.

I have a suspicion that things are going to get much worse before they get better. So, we start with a peaceful picture.

Things are going to get worse at every level.

Locally, many of the schools opened today. They are woefully unprepared. There is a very good possibility that the virus is going to explode in the next couple of weeks.

This will happen across the nation as schools begin to reopen.

There was a story on NPR about a school district in Georgia whose school board told the teachers to limit classroom size to 25% of normal. Then, they said not to do that while the principal was talking to the teachers about the new limitation. Their final statement was that as many teachers who wanted to, could teach remotely, from home. So many teachers chose that option that there were only enough in classroom teachers to teach 10% of the students.

Do you ever get the idea that the leaders are just flat out terrible? I get it. This is new to everybody. The administrators had since March to work on this. They had the time to formulate plan a, b, c, and d. They had the time to acquire new equipment. They had he time to test it, teach, and refine.

In Louisiana, we also have Hurricane Laura evacuees. Some will stay in crowded shelters with almost no way to protect themselves from the virus. Some came here to stay in hotels that have no business because of the pandemic. I predict those hotels will have their own mini-pandemic.

That’s not all.

The country seems to be at war with itself. You know the details. The moron in The White House is egging it on. He’s so desperate to win in November that his only option appears to cast himself as a law and order president. The would be great if…

He wasn’t egging on violence.

And,

If pretty much the entire administration had not broken as many laws as they could get away with.

This is only going to get worse as we get closer to election day.

Did I mention that the United States Post Office problems were further exacerbated by this administration? Talk about voter suppression.

This country need an entire house cleaning. You know, like the one you do in spring when you throw out boxes of stuff you no longer use so you stored them?

That’s my take from my basement room.

Wait? What?

There are no basements in New Orleans.

The picture

I made another picture of a group of ferns. It was backlighted slightly to create a nice highlight in the middle. I decided to add something to it. I found that bare tree image that I’ve posted in the past. I layered them. I blended them. I enhanced the color and contrast.

That’s what I did.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every sandwich.

One more thing.

The new and improved Block system was at its worst today. At first, it wouldn’t properly open the page after I added a new block. It created black spaces where type, the picture and the sidebar information should be. Sometimes, they were squares. Sometime, angles. Once I managed to get it working it gave me problems editing text. I wanted to edit a word, it put a box around the paragraph contain the word and wanted to delete the whole thing.

Aaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh.

In The Way


Tinkering around.

Leaving well enough alone.

I just can’t seem to do that. Have a look at the picture below this little bit of text and tell me why I just had to go further. Puleeese.

Better, best.

See?

It just seems like a lot of extra work for not much return.

The top image was layered three times. I used the same image and sort of stepped and repeated it. It’s interesting and experimental, but for pure colorful power, the bottom one is the picture. I wasn’t even going to show you the bottom version until I saw them side by side. I wanted you to see what I did.

What do y’all think?

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Stay on higher ground. Look after one and other. Speak your mind. Enjoy every bowl of homemade gumbo.

Behold The Summer


Nature’s power.

Nature.

I made this picture as an attempt to describe nature’s power. I’m not sure if it works, but I had fun doing the post production.

Post production beyond developing a digital image should be just that. Fun. And, it’s just that that makes working this way easy to do.

That’s another thing. There are photographic processes that are a struggle. They should be.

Other technical phases should be so much fun, that as my old Singaporian friend said, they are hobby jobs. Something that you work at that doesn’t feel like a job. That’s what most of the basic phases of photography are to me.

Of course, that came from years of working at them.

Like, that 10,000 hours thing. A lot of people set out to debunk that theory by doing it. They said it didn’t work because they didn’t improve. Of course it works. It works when you focus on which 10,000 hours. If you are just putting in the time without concern for quality it can’t possibly work. If you are focused on your work the process takes over. You learn. You grow.

That’s how photography became fun for me. It could be for you, too.

There are other little pro tricks.

Get out of your comfort zone. Work when you don’t feel like working. Learn the tools while you are doing something else.

The picture

I call this a video picture. I made it while we were watching a video. I don’t remember which one, but it’s likely something on Netflix. It’s also likely that it was something in English.We do watch a lot of foreign movies, but you have to concentrate with while watching them.

It starts with a base image. In this case, those bursting purple flowers. Then I add layers. If they don’t work I remove them and start again. The shape and color matters. Eventually I get to a place where adding anything else is too much. I fine tune them and give them to you.

Stay Safe. Stay mighty. You know what to do. Enjoy working on your art. Whatever it is.

Say No More


What does it mean?

What does it mean?

It means whatever you want it to mean. Me? Current situation. It could mean some high techie thing, but my interpretation Is about the world as we currently find it.

Confused. Too much information. Not enough information. Too much noise. No signal. It seems that the world has become an unforgiving place.

Social media hasn’t helped.

Facebook has become a hellhole. You can’t post anything without being attacked or belittled. You could say that the sky is blue and you’ll be called a Democrat, liberal, terrorist, a Republican, right wing, fascist, atheist, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist. And, those are the good words.

It’s the same on other platforms.

Sometimes people are followed from one platform to another. They are trolled to tears.

Why?

There are too many people who never had a voice, never had group of friends, and are now sidelined because of the virus. They are taking out their frustrations online, hiding behind their screen. They don’t even use a real name. No platform can tell if your screen name is your name.

So.

Although Storyteller is distributed to Facebook and Twitter, I mostly play on Instagram. For the most part, people are civil. I also hangout on Quora, where there are experts in just about every topic who are civil and generous. Even disagreements are “gentlemanly” and last for about two posts.

Just don’t go to any photo group. Most are kids who want to know what the sexist picture is of some unknown model. I’ve yet to find a group that wants to talk about actual photography.

For the rest Quora is great. Just go when you have some time.

The picture

Experimentation was the rule last night. I started with one version of what you are looking at and just kept going. The finished image looks nothing like the original or many of its subsequent versions. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many layers there are in this picture. I did it because I felt like doing it. That’s enough for me.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. You know what to do. Enjoy every minute.

Hip To Be Square


Spring flowers all layered together.

As days go by.

We’ve discovered an interesting little unintended consequence of living in a bubble. Time is melting. Each day is the same as the next. Unless I make notes about what I am doing I have no idea what day it is.

I do have some idea of time because I continue to wear my watch and because every digital thing tells you the time.

I was late to a Zoom meeting because minutes turned into hours and it happened in a second. I looked at my phone and 5pm turned into 6:15pm before I knew it.

Has that been happening to you?

There are other things that have gone upside down. Some for the better.

Most cities around the world are featuring very clean skies. People aren’t driving or traveling much. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m getting three weeks to the gallon. Of course, that’s balanced by the crash of the oil industry. Oil is selling for negative numbers which means oil companies have to pay the user to buy it. Many people are getting healthier because they are cooking more. Others are getting more outdoor exercise. Not traveling means airlines are struggling. Airfares are cheap but there’s nowhere to go.

There’s more, I’m sure. Feel free to add to this list.

The picture. It’s really three layered pictures. In my semi-boredom I fill some time by really experimenting with pictures. After all, what have we gained during our bubble time if we don’t learn something new? After I found three pictures that worked togther, I did my usual thing. I started tinkering. The difference this time was that I didn’t head in one direction. I worked backward and forward until I created the picture that I liked.

One more thting. I’ve gone back to using just two phrases in my sign off. All those words were becoming annoying even to me.

So.

Stay safe. Enjoy every sandwich.

Alchemy


Friday follies.

Prettiness on a Friday.

I actually planned this picture for earlier this week, but CoVid19 killed John Prine. So, I waited. Call this his funeral flowers. Call it art. Call it a confusing mess. Call it whatever you like. I just hope that you like it.

Some of the news that almost fits.

Two things today.

From the city of my birth there is concerning news.

The coroner’s office is taking bodies from homes where they died. The numbers are astounding. Normally, they retrieve bodies at the rate of about 138 per week, which isn’t much considering the population of New York. Now they are retrieving at least that many per day. Common sense says that most of them are virus victims. They can’t be counted as such because the mortuary staffs just don’t know. Think about that. That’s almost 1,000 per week. In six or so weeks, that’s almost 6,000 bodies that are likely not counted as CoVid19 deaths. That’s probably happening in other cities as well.

In New Orleans, at least, some people are dying from something other than the virus. It’s pretty clear cut. You can’t miss the cause of death. Gunshot wounds. For a couple of weeks, the streets calmed down because of the stay at home advice.

Now? Not so much.

The drug dealers are losing money just like every other small business. They are doing something about it.

Meanwhile, back in New York City, mass graves are being dug on an island where there is an ancient potter’s field. Since victim’s families can’t collect the bodies of their deceased because of fear of infection, the city has to do something with them. That is horrible.¬† You can’t say goodbye and you can’t memorialize them properly.

In New Orleans, we’ve had seven Zulus die, one big chief and a man who meant everything to the social clubs. Normally, there would be a second line for each of them. You know, a jazz funeral. Not Now.

I suspect — no, I know — that when we finally can gather, when the virus is behind us, there will be the mother of all second lines. It will be a combination of celebration and memorialization. As the Indians say, “Won’t bow down, don’t know how.”

That’s pretty much how the city feels right about now.

Stay safe. Care for others.¬† Wash your hands. Wear a mask in public. Keep your distance. Don’t gather. Enjoy all the cheesy shrimp and grits.

Bye & Bye


Smile though your heart is breaking.

I needed this picture.

The news is grim, getting grimmer. The virus is growing exponentially in New Orleans. I live in a country in desperate need of a leader. Many people, most not from NOLA, are trying to blame the mayor for not cancelling Mardi Gras. None of us knew. We certainly had no direction from the president or even FEMA. I’m not the mayor’s biggest supporter. I stand with her this time.

I followed my own advice. One day at a time. Doing what I do. Making art.

I started tinkering with the base picture which is a very tightly composed and cropped picture of a rose. You’ll see other versions of it eventually. I added the little tiny flowers on the lawn. You’ve already seen those. I started¬† working on the color, brightness and glow.

I started smiling. I started laughing. This picture is so whimsical that it brought out my hidden happiness. I hope it works for you.

Stay Safe. Care for others. Enjoy every sandwich.