Along the way.

Yesterday is gone. And, good riddance. It started bad and it ended worse. You didn’t see me here because my Cox modem/router failed. They wanted $75 because I didn’t have customer care. Okay, okay. I have a good idea of what this gear costs.

But, when I said yes to having a technician visit, he or she couldn’t be scheduled for almost two weeks.

Uh, wait a minute.

Off I went to the store. The first modem didn’t do what it was supposed to do, so I traded it for another one. I had the COX gear for so long that I forgot that it is a combination modem and router.

Back to the store I went.

New router in hand, I thought, “ah ha, I’me done.”

You know the saying, “If you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans?” It turns out that also includes making modern digital things work properly.

I called a Cox online tech who was helping me through the installation. It turns out two techs didn’t know what they were doing. Sure, my main machine — this one — was working. Somewhat. Safari couldn’t load a lot of websites, including WordPress. However, I had no signal to our televisions or our phones.

Luckily, there was a shouting mach on celestial television. When that was done I watched the end of a bad football game. And, finally Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone.

I went to sleep early. Midnight. Normally that would mean I’d wake up around 5am. For some reason I slept until 9am.

During that long sleep I had a dream. In it I figured out how to make every work. Maybe.

It came to me that it had to be the router since nothing but the main machine was getting signal. I Googled around for Linksys and found their website. It turns out that they have an app for my phone. I downloaded that, followed step by step instructions and, ALL JOY.

I do have to adjust each machine’s settings but I expected that.

You know how I say that we should let our pictures marinate? Maybe we should do that with all seemingly complicated issues.

Just a thought.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, er, in front of the porch, who’s the best photographer of them all?

Not me, that’s for sure.

I resurrected this picture from the scrapheap of time. I liked it t the time, but I didn’t share it.

Now I am.

I was walking around The Bywater, which is a realtor’s name. It’s really just a section of the 9th Ward.

I stumbled on this scene. I couldn’t believe my luck… until there was almost nothing to show in the mirror’s reflection.

I did what I could and called it good.

You would have seen another picture today, but it got lost in digital space. Likely, you’ll see it tomorrow.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wash your hands. Wear your mask. Keep your distance. Look after each other.


All about rain. No. This isn’t Hurricane Sally. These pictures were made during a typical gulf coast summer storm. Usually, the humidity collects and sometime in the afternoon all that water needs a place to go.

It’s interesting to see. These pictures were made in a grocery store parking. It was raining pretty hard where i was parked.

At the other side of the lot, nothing. The pavement wasn’t dry because there had been rain earlier. But, nothing was falling while we were getting soaked.

Waiting game.

Anyway. Hurricane Sally may not be much in New Orleans. She’s slowed way down, picking up more water from the gulf. She’s also turned further east. We are not even in the cone any longer.

We’ll probably get a little wind and some rain, but nothing like we were expecting earlier this week.

Droplets on the windshield.

The pictures. I decided to wait out the hardest rain. I get bored easily so I decided to make a few pictures. These are mostly just point and shoot. I see this kind of work as being close to photojournalism so I don’t tinker with them.

The real trick is to get as much information as you can into the frame. That means a wide angle lens. Smartphones usually have the equivalent of a 28mm which is intended to keep every part of the subject sharp.

Some smart phones have an adjustable lens. Mine does. The lens “sees” anywhere from 28mm to 600mm. This gives me some great reach, but good luck keeping it steady. Generally speaking one out of about every six images is sharp, and that’s with good bracing technique.

I could use a little tripod, but who does that while you are carrying your phone everywhere?

Looking back.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Enjoy every burrito.


Sometimes you just feel like it.

Because… why not?

I was working on the original version of this picture in color. A light bulb went off. Experiment in black and white, I thought. So, I did. I liked it. I smoothed it out a bit. I helped you to see some of the rain drops and that was it.

I’ve been reading about pictures. They seem to be flooding everywhere and everything. Apparently, about 30,000,000 pictures are uploaded to somewhere every single day. That’s amazing to me. I suppose, in one way, that’s a good thing. In theory we should all be speaking the same language. Unfortunately, we aren’t. Most of the pictures are made by people with phones who really don’t know the first thing about photography. That’s okay. They mostly take pictures of their friends and family. And food.

What it does mean is that pictures aren’t worth much these days. Maybe ten years ago, Bob Dylan said “music ain’t worth nothin’. ” I’m sure that except for the very elite most art isn’t worth much.

There’s just too much of it.

The best thing I can suggest is to find your niche and build your community. That’s a big reason I don’t shut down Storyteller. I’d love to move it to my more commercial site, but I lose all of you. There seems to be no way to convert you to Laskowitzpictures.com. I’d have to do it by hand. Email address by email address. Some of them are imbedded when you comment. Some are not.

It cuts both ways.

Some of you rarely comment and I can’t really see who stops by just to visit or hit the like button. But, I enjoy visiting your blog. I’d lose that. I don’t want to lose that.

One more thing. There seems to be a move towards making slim volume photo books on very short press runs. I feel about that just about the same way I do discussing the release a music album and spending a lot of time promoting and supporting it. It doesn’t work anymore. Marketing music is best done one song at a time on some streaming platform. That keeps your name out there, driving publicity. And, you are making new music every month.

Writing that just cleared my head. How would you feel about subscribing to something like one picture per month?

Instead of a book, you get a portfolio of 12 pictures over the course of a year.

There are some logistics to think through, like the size of the print, the selection of the image and the cost. I have some ideas, but I want to mull them over.

There other questions like matting, glazing and framing. But that could drive the cost through roof. Besides, odd as it sounds, that’s more personal than liking the art. Ten people can agree that they like a picture, but each of them will have their own ideas about hanging it.

Hmmmm.


My summer.

In the summertime.

This picture does it for me. This is what I meant by a summertime picture.  My pal in France liked yesterday’s picture of a tree and said that was summer to her. I think that’s a good place filler. A place to get started. A place to wrap my mind around what comes next.

But.

This picture. This is what’s in my mind’s eye. Or, something like it. A hot summer day after a heavy rainfall. A kid on a bicycle. A passing train. A school bus in my rearview mirror. Even a little piece of me. This picture.

Yeah. Sure. If it’s summer, what’s a school bus doing in the picture? It takes a caption to explain that this bus serves a private school and they are having summer camp and workshops.

I came to make this picture in a roundabout way, and by luck. I was running errands. I was a bit late. I took a shortcut. A shortcut that turned out to take more time than if I went the long way around. You know. Railroad crossings. This one is particularly nasty because the trains that pass through are long. People are in a hurry, drive around the gate and… never do that. Ever.

So. There I sat. Being patient. I started looking for pictures. The kid and his buddies peddled around the corner so fast that I almost didn’t react. Luck was with me. Photographer’s luck. Luck that was trained into me for years and years. As I tell photo-blocked folks, pick up your camera, open your door and go outside. Take a walk. I’m pretty sure a picture will find you.

The only down side to this picture is the file. I made it on my super duper smart phone. I did no work on the phone. I downloaded it to my main machine. I processed it in OnOne. The software calculates and creates data about all data. This picture’s file size is 42.8 megs. Sheesh, my first DSLR made a 6 meg file.

That’s the story of what I think is my first summer project picture. Accidental to be sure.

Then I left town.

That’s a story for another day.


In a crowd.

The deep freeze is really 42 degrees.

One day the talking weather people heads will get it right. One day. Last night they were predicting starting the day with temperatures in the low twenties. That may be true somewhere. They said we might have snow. Somewhere else too. Wind was going to coming ripping through. Not here. Not in New Orleans.

I want their jobs. Say whatever you want and get paid for it.

I made this picture yesterday, while I was running errands and pretending to be productive. At first, all I really saw was the traffic and the trucks. Since you can  barely see the LCD in bright light, I didn’t see that I was in the picture.

No matter.

Upon closer inspection, this picture wraps up the day very nicely. Leaving nice blue skies and heading into the storm. With me in the middle. With my phone hanging out the open window. Yes. The case is purple. I thought that I was being different. I thought I could pick it out in the crowd. No. It seems purple is a very popular color for phone cases. Who knew?

So.

More about the picture. No. I’m not doing a drive by. I’m waiting in the left turn lane at a full stop. The trucks are moving while I was sitting there making pictures. I originally wanted to make pictures of the amazing sky that you can barely see. Then, this happened. I took advantage of it. Eventually, I also made the picture I wanted to make.  A window opened and I jumped through it. The door didn’t close. I drove through that a few minutes later.

Sometimes one thing doesn’t have to close in order for another to open. You can have both. You have to be ready for that. You have to accept winning. You have to accept success even when you aren’t sure that you deserve it. For instance, I thought I was sort of a fraud because what I did came easy to me. That happened in photography. That happened in academia. In three post bachelors degrees, I earned almost perfect grades. It seemingly just flowed out of me. It took awhile for me to realize that I started my degree programs later in life. I had real life experience in the subject I studied. All I really did was codify my knowledge with academic work. It was a lot of work. It was easy work. Like working at a hobby job.

That happens in a lot of subjects with which we are involved. For instance, we think that a new musician on the scene broke out easily with one popular record or song. We forget that they may have been singing and learning to play an instrument since they were four or five. They practiced every day. They woodshedded. They played in small public gatherings. The practiced some more. Somewhere along the line, they discovered they could write songs. They made a demo. They got lucky. Somebody liked it. Their career was born.

Same with other careers. Same with me. Those of us who broke through early tend to wonder. Was I lucky? Am I really good enough? Am I a fraud? The answers to those questions are yes, yes, no.

I’ve simplified the process. The path. There is a lot more to say on this subject. Not today. Eventually.

Just know this. Easy or hard, anybody who is productive in whatever they choose to do is not a fraud. We worked hard to get wherever we are today. Even me. Even me in the freezing (kinda) swamp.

Peaches. Oops. I meant peace.


An American flat poking through the summer growth.
An American flag poking through the summer growth.

I got out of the car. I took the American flag picture. I didn’t like the framing so I got back into the car and changed lenses. If I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t have looked in the right hand side mirror at an odd angle. I would not have seen the reflection picture.

So many times, it’s just a matter of luck. Timing. Looking in another direction. Turning your head. Standing up. Sitting down.

Often, when I see another photographer shooting a sunset, I suggest that they turn around.  If  it is one of those amazing, glorious events, then that light is falling on something behind you. Lighting it up. Even if you are determined to photograph the sunset, you might be amazed to see the “other” subject. It might have even been a little boring in high, white light. But, with that golden sunset light falling on it… well, you just never know.

Same thing with this.

I was focused on that flag through the foliage. I didn’t even look around… except to see that I was safe in what is a somewhat sporty neighborhood. I headed straight to my intended subject. Yes. I do that too.

These are still “extras” from fifteen days of post storm coverage. The flag picture meant more at the time than it does right now. Paring both pictures seems to help both of them. You know. 1 + 1 = 3. It’s also a lesson. For you. For me.

Looking back.
Looking back.


Mirror... on the street.
Mirror… on the street.

Walking. That’s the best way. You can see things. Details. Little bits of stuff. Life. Evidence of life.

On this little walk through the French Quarter, I was mostly just chasing light. While I was doing that, little things found me. Like this mirror just standing on the street wrapped in beads waiting. For me.

This picture, with the reflected background might say New Orleans. The beads. Well, they closed the deal.

 


Rain, traffic, rain...
Rain, traffic, rain…

This is my secret fast way home when I’m out in Jefferson Parish.

I use it to avoid traffic on I-10 when I’m going to the airport. Usually, I can zip along at just about any speed I want. It’s called Earhart Expressway. Yep. Named after the famous aviator. Or, Aviatrix in the terminology of the 1930’s when she was lost to history.

The word expressway is what’s most important to me. There are three entrances outbound and two inbound to New Orleans. I think the entire thing is about  six or seven miles long. You can really move along if you like that sort of thing.

Once, in its original planning, this was going to be a two or three exit roadway from Tulane Avenue in the city directly to the airport. But, something happened. I don’t know exactly what. Today, it stops at a street called Dickory. It just ends. There are two other streets that sort of work their way into Dickory. Hickory and Dock. I’m still looking for the mouse that ran up the clock. I doubt the original plan could be completed today. There are apartments, and little neighborhoods in the way that were built since this “fast-moving” expressway was planned.

Anyway.

When I was out in “da parish” dodging tornadoes and photographing rusting trains, I thought I would the “super secret” on ramp right near the train yard. From there I would be home in 10 or 15 minutes. Easy. Breezy.

Oh no.

With a lot of surface streets partially flooded it seems like EVERYBODY had the same idea. It took me well over 25 minutes just to reach the end of this thing. Then I got to the New Orleans city streets, many of which were flooded. Whew.

I guess I took the long way home. Or, at least the crowded way home.


A giant parking lot, storm water and a sunset.
A giant parking lot, storm water and a sunset.

Chasing light. Even though our prime motivator the other night was to go to the lake, my unspoken and constant motivator is always to chase light. Especially when the light is turning as crazy as it was. Before we ever got to the lake, I saw the sun popping through the clouds and raced to photograph it. With light like it this, it is here today and gone tomorrow… or really, here now, gone in a second. If you look, you’ll note that the sun is dropping through the clouds into a clear sky. That means, bye-bye magical light, at least until the clouds on the left blow over to the right. They did. This picture was made during the earliest part of the evening. But, you never know.

So. This is a drive by picture. I wanted to waste no time. My hand in the mirror is evidence of that. Luckily, and as usual, I was wrong. The light lasted and I made another version of this scene. I even had time to change lenses. And, get out of the car and work a little more properly. I’ll show you that picture tomorrow.

What are you looking at? Simply, a parking a lot. A big one. It serves a convention center that I didn’t know about until I got there. There are rain puddles in the foreground that make wonderful reflectors. Way in the background is yet another levee. Yep. Levees protect us on almost every side. This one is designed to keep storm surge from Lake Ponchartrain flooding Kenner.

The picture? F8 and be there. I mean, really. What else could I have done? The color is all nature’s handwork.