Souls Dirge


The power of purple.

How it began. I talked to a friend of mine who suggested that I make some changes in how I look at my world. His thinking is solid. I fear that I’ve already worked through the process, at least as far as Storyteller goes.

He did offer me another idea. In order to do that I guess that I’m going to have to leave my compound and start looking around. A lot of people seem to be moving about in order to make pictures. Or, do anything. Like travel.

I’m not sure what my fear of doing that is about because I really don’t need to be close to very many people. That should keep me safe. After all, we run errands, go grocery shopping and the like.

We mask up. We use sanitizer and wash our hands when we return to our home.

And, yet.

I suppose it comes from one underlying condition. CLL. It’s a kind of Leukemia that doesn’t do much. It won’t kill me. It might not even make me ill. But, I produce too many white blood cells and not enough red platelets.

It’s the later that could kill me if I caught the virus. Bottom line, my body can’t defend itself from something like CoVid-19. Or, if it could it would be a big fight.

So. I sit. I want to go out and make pictures away from my neighborhood but I have some fears.

Even though there is some logic too them, they also seem to be a little irrational, especially if I’m 50 feet away from the next person.

What do y’all think?

Magenta. As I’ve said about 100 times, we don’t have a very cold autumn or winter. We do have a few days when the temperature might dip into the teens, but for the most part the weather is pleasant this time of year.

Right now, the temperature is in the low 60s. The windows are open. Cool fresh air is cooling the house.

That’s the long way of saying that flowers are still blooming.

And, that’s what I saw. New blooms. New Camellia blooms.

I haven’t made a detailed, macro picture in a long while so that’s what I did. I set out with intent.

Working in that way allowed me to not have to work much in post production. I developed and fine tuned the file and away I went. It is how you see it right this very minute.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Look after others. Be kind. Don’t follow leaders. Pay your parking meters. Enjoy every bowl of gumbo.

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.

Not Too Late


Summer’s end.

Labor Day.

We honor our workers, no matter what their work may be. However, I fear that like our military, we could be described describe as “suckers” and “losers.” After all, why work for a living when you can scam for a living?

But, that’s not what I want to talk about today.

I’d rather talk about the change of seasons that Labor Day represents. For many people when the calendar turns from Monday to Tuesday, summer is over. For them. According to the calendar, summer ends on Tuesday, September 22. For nature.

We know that during the pandemic time numbers mean nothing. Nature does.

Down here in the Deep South — there, I said it — even though the sunlight is getting lower and more golden, the temperatures really won’t start cooling down until mid-October. I suppose that means our summer lasts a month longer than many of the rest of you.

That sounds great, right?

Trust me, as the calendar gets closer to the end of this month a kind anticipation sets in. Typically, I go outside and start looking for cooler, dryer weather. After a few days of hot, humid weather, I start to grumble. After a few more days, my grumbles turn nasty. No worries. I’m a great mutterer. Nobody hears my words but me.

Finally.

Ahhhhhh. Cooler air.

Our walks become dances because guess who likes cooler air too. The all-seeing cocker spaniel. We’ve been averaging about a mile a day. As it turns cooler we’ll work up to over three miles a day. She would probably try to walk three miles a day in the heat because she thinks that she’s pleasing me. I won’t let her. She’s 12 years old. You know the rest.

The picture.

It’s Sunday. We all need something pretty. Making and processing the picture was straight forward. I have been using a little trick in post production to make the image tack sharp and richer in color.

However, something is going on. My smart phone is back focusing. The back detail is sharper than the front detail. It should be the other way around. If I was using a camera I would know what to do. I suppose somewhere deep down in the online instructions there may be something to help me make an adjustment.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy your all of your barbecue.

The Calling


As the season change.

Staying True.

I’m having a conversation with some Photoshelter folks about the so-called Photographers Bill of Rights via a comment section. Most of it concerns photojournalism. That’s where my career started. That’s where my heart lies.

I read the entire document. If I’m going to talk about it, I should read it. That’s only fair. I have questions.

Let’s start with this one.

Why is a portrait photographer — a good one — telling photojournalists how to be? This is the same guy who wants working photographers to seek permission before we photograph someone on the street or at an event like a protest.

I’d like to know if he’s ever worked on the streets. He has no idea what that world is like.

Then, there is the term that the authors want to use for us. “Lens Based Workers.”

Oh really?

They claim that they want to be all inclusive. They want the term to be about photographers, videographers, picture editors, and so on.

Great !

I like inclusiveness. But, why such a low end blue collar name? Most of us attended universities. We are, at the very least, professionals.

Some of us have more advanced degrees like a Master of Science, or even a doctorate. That would be me. Laskowitz, PhD. I don’t use my title very much because my work has nothing to do with my degree.

You don’t get to call me a “lens based worker.”

If you push me, I’m going to insist that you call me, Dr. Laskowitz. Nobody wants that. Least of all me.

At the end of the day, I see this as an attempt to quantify what most of us in my generation have known for most of our lives. I don’t want that. I bet the young men and women won’t either.

I learned how to be a photojournalist/photographer from those who came before me. My elders. I’m willing to be a young photographer’s elder. Mentor. Guru. All they have to do is ask.

Just don’t call me an old white colonialist.

You have no idea what I think. As little as I know about my heritage, I know this. It’s very likely that my grandfather was a kind of serf. He left because Communism was raising its ugly head. He wanted to be free. Just like me.

What kind of colonialist is that? White? I’m sorry (not sorry). I was born this way. Old? I hope the writers of the document get to be old. Like me.

I had to think about why I take offense at the so-called bill of rights. The headline says it all. What I do is my calling. My work is what I was given to do. If I’m any good at all, it’s because I worked hard, listened to my elders and took a few chances.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy your own photographs.

New Blooms


Sometimes in winter.

Bold color.

That’s what I promised you and that’s what you’ll get. Today is day three of our thirty day pause. Luckily, there is so much to do around this place, so much to read, so much to watch and so much organizing of my archives that I doubt anybody will get bored.

Eventually, we’ll have to sneak out for groceries.

We appear to be self sufficient, but are in a place to help our neighbors and community if they need it. That is so important. And, around here there are so many very elderly blue bloods that I’m sure someone will need something.

So.

For now, we are good. I hope all of you are too. It’s an eye opening thing to realize that I don’t have to explain the feelings or how we are responding because this is global. It’s universal. Hopefully, this will make us realize how alike we are, rather than to drive us further apart.

The picture. See it, photograph it. Unlike yesterday’s picture, this image needed nothing right out of the camera. I did add a little glow to it to make it a little more gauzy and romantic.

Oh yeah. I almost forgot. Music. We have so much music that we couldn’t listen to it all in a lifetime. But, I’m finding music that I’d forgotten about. Now, that’s really cool.

Night Life


Made at night.

Night walk.

I like working at night. I made a career of it. This picture wasn’t made very late at night, because the dog who sees stuff wanted to go out at just around dusk. I don’t mind that, but with our broken streets and sidewalks I prefer not to walk in the dead of night. Even though our street Iights are fairly bright, they cast weird shadows and I could end up on my face.

That’s something I have to think about these days.

Another thing to think about is the coming CoVid-19. There are no patients at all in the state. That didn’t stop people from wearing masks and surgical gloves while they were grocery shopping. I suppose that might be a good idea since you can be asymptomatic and still be contagious.

Like everywhere else there was a run on toilet paper, sanitizer and soap. Ironic, because a week ago there was a million people in the streets celebrating Mardi Gras without any thought of a virus.

I really don’t understand the panic. The virus isn’t nearby and people are acting silly. However, if and when it does reach us, we’ll be in trouble. Our main industry is tourism.

According to what I’ve read, planes are mostly empty as are airports. Since we travel a good bit, I get emails from various airlines. American Airlines will not charge change or cancelation fees for tickets booked now through the end of March, with flights from now until January 2021.

Back to the city. Already two major conventions have cancelled. We are headed into festival season. If French Quarter Fest and Jazzfest should be forced to cancel that will just about kill the hotel and restaurant business. I can’t speak for hotels, but most restaurants run on paper thin margins. We could see the loss of quite a few smaller ones.

The say the waiting is the hardest part.

Yes, it is.

 

 

So Pretty


Something to enjoy.

So pretty. So pink.

Yesterday’s sunset was stellar. The sun was hidden by drifting clouds. And, then it wasn’t.

Just then.

Right then, the Japonica (Japanese Magnolia) trees were lighted by wonderful late afternoon golden light. I was lucky. Ten minutes either way and I wouldn’t have seen this little bit of prettiness. I wouldn’t have been able to make this picture.

I know.

You make your own luck. That’s really what photographer’s luck is about. I see that as getting out of your chair and going outside. Not this time. I was outside. I saw the Japonica trees. They were in total shade. I turned around to keep walking and the light broke through. I wasn’t ready and it didn’t last. Then, the light broke through again. I was ready.

Writing this reminded me of something one of my mentors used to say about travel photography. Rather than chasing around trying to find stuff to shoot, and going to tourist sites, he’d find an interesting coffee house or a ┬ábar with a view outside. He’d sit there and wait until something interesting passed by. Then, he’d make pictures.

Sounds strange, yes?

I think he’d have some idea of what he was doing, being both a Magnum and a National Geographic photographer.

Try it. You might make the pictures of your dreams.

 

Cotton Candy


Wonderful winter light.

What a day can change.

Two days ago, the sky was muddy gray. There was rain in the air. It was, in a word, yucky. Then came yesterday. Wowzer! Beautiful cold air. The sky turned blue. The light was spectacular. It turned even better around dusk.

Cotton candy.

Cold. Like winter is supposed to be. But, not so cold that you didn’t want to be outside. What a show nature put on for us.

In case you are wondering, I’m ignoring the news. I suggest that you do it too. Besides, it’s Sunday. The New Orleans Saints are playing in the wild card game of the playoffs. What could be better?

Oh yeah. I’m not the biggest football fan. I am a big baseball fan. Only six weeks until the pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Then it starts. Soon after we’ll all be complaining about New Orleans Heat.

Heh!

Colors Dance


A flower’s grace.

Another is a series.

The series of wouldn’t you like to be like us… in the cool months of the year. I found this little beauty in our street side garden. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe it. Then, I thought, wait a minute . October wasn’t normal. The weather was hot and dry. That’s our second growing season. Not this year. So, maybe our second growing season is now.

Anyway, there are flowers blooming everywhere. Even the Japonica tree, which normally blooms in very early spring, has new buds on it. The last that I heard is that we haven’t even reached winter yet.

The picture. I was surprised, the phone has a macro function. I used it. This is the result. I worked on the picture a little bit. I wanted it to be very graphic. I cropped it. I made sure that the shadow is dark and that the flower is very gently soft.

I think I got it. You tell me.