The depth of green.

As green as it could be.

I wasn’t sure about this picture when I saw it. Then I saw nature’s perfect symmetry . I made sure to frame the picture as carefully as possible. This is the result. For sure, I tinkered a little bit in postproduction, mostly so you can see what I felt.

This is the hottest couple of days of the summer. A weekend when nobody wants to go outside.

I am going to try to photograph a second line. The YMO Benevolent Society and Social Club is walking on Sunday. It’s a huge parade, with six divisions. That means six individual units, each with their own brass bands. This BS&SC is the oldest club in the city. This is their 130th year. In an effort to deal with the oppressive heat and humidity, the second line starts at 5pm. I’m not sure that really helps. I was outside yesterday at that time, it was hot as hell.

We’ll see about me going. A few years back I was minutes from heat stroke. I don’t take this kind of weather lightly. Even though it might not seem very physical, it is. We — the photographers — walk with the parade. As I’ve said in the past, it’s like being in a rugby scrum. The parade route is about four miles long.

Yes. It’s Autumn. Everything in nature is changing. But, not the heat.

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Like little sparkling jewels. 

After a hard rain.

The jewels of nature. Sparkling like they have their own light source. Laying on wet pavement for all to see.

We are at that weird point of summer merging into autumn. It is very hot. The light is getting low and golden. Leaves are starting to fall. A leaf fell on the all seeing dog. She shook it off and barked at it. How dare that leaf invade her space.

You see pretty little scenes like this one. Wet pavement. Wet bits of flowers. Wet leaves. The scene turns sort of magical. If you have eyes that see. Really see. Or, if you have an imagination to take you away from the mundane.

The picture. Wet pavement and brightly colored bits of nature make for a very nice picture. A little work in post production to tune things up a bit and away you go.

Housekeeping.

I spent the better part of yesterday working on my new and improved website. There were a number of technical difficulties that were mostly caused by unique terminology. The basic format is done and there are some pictures, mostly older ones. I invite you to come see for your self at http://www.laskowitzpictures.com


Nature sparkles.

Magic.

Just call me Mister Lizard. Oops. I meant wizard. The work really isn’t so wizardly. It’s just a matter of seeing in the field, knowing what you want to do in post production and executing.

I wish it was just that easy building websites, or adding on to a WordPress blog site. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

I spent a good part of yesterday fiddling around. First, I tried an outside template company. All was fine except that they wanted too many changes. Some changes that I’m unwilling to do.

Okay.

Start again.

I thought that I could just do the same thing using WordPress. After a couple of hours I learned why normal coders pull their hair out when they try to use WordPress. It is so hard that very few people understand it. Those that do, specialize in just a few templates and know the inner workings inside and out.

I’m not one of them. I don’t code at all.

It came to me. I have a website that I’ve sort of just let languish. The templates there are very easy to use. No coding needed. I decided to refresh and rebuild. It even has a blog component. You can see it as it stands today at http://www.laskowitzpictures.com. For sure, it’s changing.

I just can’t import all of you. I’m not sure that’s necessary. I have around 15,000 followers. About 90% of those are ghost followers. Maybe more. I have no idea why they followed me. Many of them don’t exist except in my numbers.

For those of you who really do follow me and comment, I can easily send you all an email telling you how to follow me again. You’ll get emails just like you did in the past. And, Storyteller on WordPress? I have a business account that I pay for. I’ll downgrade to a free account and post from time to time.

How’s that sound?

The picture. No real wizardry. Just some layering and tinkering. And, adding a little color and brightness. Not wizardry, but a little white magic.

Oh, one more thing.

I want the renewed website to be simple. I don’t want to post everything I’ve ever photographed. If you were me, and having seen my work for a bit, what direction would you go? There are no wrong answers.


After a hard rain.

After a hard rain.

You find… pictures.

Everything is crisp, bright, colorful. Even the moss is emerald green. This doesn’t last for long. What falls down must rise up in our heat and humidity. An hour or two after I made this picture everything calmed down. The brightness was mundane again. An hour or two after that someone came along and cleared their drain. That’s a big issue around the swamp.

Because we flood so much, the city — meaning we, the people — do whatever we can to keep rainfall from pool and building until we are underwater. To be sure, the city government is complicit in this too. After finding that car in a storm drain, and determining that it was a Katrina car, we know the city hasn’t even inspected that drainage system in fourteen years.

Now that the city has been busted, they are looking at all the main drains. As they worked through the drain where the car was found, the pulled out some 470 tons of stuff including shopping carts, the remains of two more cars, a huge amount of Mardi Gras beads and so on. This must be an ongoing program. The city is trying to find the money to pay for it. Not only have our property values been increased by big percentages — our went up by 65% — but now the city is talking about increasing the property tax. This amounts to a tax on top of another tax.

The funny thing about this is that the financial people I trust say that unless we made capital improvements on the house, the increase in property values is unknowable until we sell the it. Houses in our neighborhood have not turned over, so there is no comparable real estate values. Anything is a shot in the dark estimate.

That said, if our property value has increased by 65% and the city raise the property tax, I guess will find out what our house is really worth.

The picture. It’s the damnedest thing. I had another picture planned, but every time I tried to download it from the picture editing software something happened. The picture went from bright and colorful, to something muddy and flat.

So, I used a backup picture that I made last week when there was a lot of rain. You know, on a dog walk.

I’ll have to figure out what’s going on. I have to know if it was just that one picture, or if the picture editing software having a problem. I’ll start with the original image and work backward.

It’s always something.


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.


During a walk, I saw a little hope.

Morning light.

The day looks good. My country doesn’t look so good. Normally, we’d have a leader who would guide us through mass murders. In my lifetime, every president has spoken to calm the country. To bring us together. To let us know that he has our backs.

Typically, they travel to the scene and talk to us from there.

Not this president. He tweeted a couple of general thoughts. He didn’t stop playing golf. He went dark. His supporters are trying to spread the blame. They said just about everything but the truth.

Here’s the truth.

Guns are too easy to obtain. That’s legally. They are even easier to obtain on the streets. Illegally. There are more guns than people in The United States.

The President of The United States is a racist. He’s hateful. He’s bitter. He seeks to polarize my country. His speeches and tweets are designed to denigrate “others.” People who aren’t White. People who are immigrated from someplace else. With brown skin. With black skin.

He’s given unspoken permission for every white power extremest to come out of the sewers where they’ve been hiding. The two mass killings on Saturday and Sunday are examples of that.

Our Congress isn’t helping. They are too fearful. Bought and paid for. Too compromised. The Senate Leader Mitch McConnell will not let bipartisan legislation come to the floor to be voted on if it affects positive change. His new nickname is Moscow Mitch. He blocked legislation to prevent the Russians from interfering with our elections.

With Karma being the bitch it is, he fell at home yesterday. He broke his shoulder. Knowing what I know about joint breaks, he’ll live the rest of his life in pain. Damn.

The only option is to vote all of these people out of power. Vote POTUS out of power and then send him to prison.

If I sound angry. You’re damn right I am.

It’s bad enough that this president is trying to bring down democracy. But, too many people are dying because of his words. Because of his racism. Because of his corruption. This must change.

We must change.

Now.


All the green.

Green. Green. Green.

Yep. That’s about it.

I saw this cluster of green leaves and thought that a wide shot might work. Looks like I might be right. The picture, with a little post production, is striking. And, it really wasn’t all that much work in the studio. I just went in the direction that I intended.

That’s it.

Let’s talk about WordPress.

It seems that every time they make a change there are unintended consequences. This time, the page sort of jumps… and posts. When I’m nowhere near ready. Usually, it’s after I’ve uploaded the picture and started writing tags. But, it always happens when my hands are away from the keyboard and mouse. It’s not me. It’s them.

I’d reach out to a WordPress agent, but they’ll just try to find a way to blame me. I’m used to that. It’s their way of making us give up.

If any of you have had this problem please let me know. And, how you resolved it.

I may just take a break until whatever is happening stops happening. I’m getting tired of my work. I might talk about making pictures that I improve intentionally, but that doesn’t inspire me. It is, as the late great Ernst Haas used to say, just stuff. The content and the subject matter isn’t there. There are a few reasons for this. I’m in the middle of sorting that out as we speak.

Maybe a break is in order. Maybe a change in the frequency of posts might help. That means fewer, not more posts. We’ll see. The problem with that is that I’m kind of OCD… it’s all or nothing. I was telling a friend of mine about that when it comes to photographing second lines. I either walk with all of them or I don’t walk with any of them.

I think I should work to change that.


About freedom.

Floating.

Above it all.

I was walking and I saw a balloon drop out of the sky from nowhere. It was sort of stunning. It was so unexpected. I made a couple of pictures. It floated away.

Just like that.

Sometimes, that’s how things happen. It’s up to us to accept them, exploit the moment, or do nothing. For me, the last option is unacceptable.

I’ve had two occasions in the last few days to offer my “wisdom of age” to guys younger than myself. Normally,I don’t think it’s my business, but they asked.

The first guy is very overweight. He had an electrical heart issue. That was fixed. Now, his blood pressure spikes for no apparent reason. His doctor gave him a couple of options. He asked what I thought. I told him it was really simple. He only had two choices. Live or die.

Yes. It’s that serious.

The other guy wants to move really badly. He doesn’t know where. He likes the beach. He is getting older. His life is slipping by. I suggested that he travel some. To see if what he thinks that he wants, he really wants. And, then do it.

This has been going on for years. We’ll see what happens.

Now that I’m old, I see my options fairly clearly. I’m starting to get clarity on a couple of issues. I’ll make up my mind in the next day or so. Then, I’ll do it.

Time is always short. No matter how old you are. Use it. Don’t waste it.


In space.

A little bit out there.

I keep trying to reach some kind of experimental art. Work that has nothing to do with my photographic roots.

It doesn’t come easy.

I can’t just say something like, “I think I’ll go make art today.” It doesn’t work that way. I have to find it. Or, it has to find me. It can’t be planned. It can’t be orchestrated. It just happens.

Like life.

I have friends that try to plan every detail of what they are doing. Like traveling. Every detail from air travel to car rentals, to hotels and then a daily itinerary. That’s great. The plane arrives late. They miss their connecting flight. That blows their other reservations. When they arrive at their destination they are scrambling to keep up their daily schedule. They think their trip is terrible.

Not for this boy.

Sure. Plan the travel arrangements. Without reservations you could be sleeping on a park bench. Plan an outline of what you’d like to do. Let the day intervene. If you really like something why leave it to keep a schedule? If you dislike something, why stay? Besides, a lot of what I do is determined by light. Sometimes, by nature. My trips just sort of flow. They are never terrible.

That’s for me and mine. Your mileage may vary.

Business trips are entirely different animal. But, usually everybody understands travel delays.

The picture. I walked by it a couple of times. I was carrying stuff. Suitcases. Anvil cases. Gear bags. Finally, I stopped. I saw the picture for what it could be. It took the picture as it was. I went to work in the studio. It took some time. I knew what I wanted. I understood my intent. And, my vision. I just had a hard time getting there. It wasn’t until I tried something radical that I finally came close. This is what I came up with.