All in one picture.

I went back.

Just in case. I do that sometimes.

Here’s a pro tip for you. If you have the time, and if you are close to the place where you made a good picture once, go back. You never know what you’ll find the second time. Or, even the third time.

You’ll never make a perfect picture, because perfection is for angels. But, you might make a better picture than your first attempt. Or, at least it will be different. That’s what this picture is. Different.

When I finally start reviewing my summer time collection, I’ll compare them. I might even let you compare them. You know. The so-called wisdom of the crowd. Storyteller and Laskowitzpictures, LLC isn’t quite that democratic, but I do listen. Because. You never know.

Anyway.

The picture. Like the first version of this scene, I stuck my lens into the scene as I saw it. The sun is a big part of the scene. They — whoever they is — say that you shouldn’t do this. I did it. I do it often. I’m still alive. So are the cameras and lenses.  Not doing this is just cheating yourself out of a potentially good picture.

That’s what I think. What do you think?

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Clouds in another place.

Another time. Another place.

Did you ever wonder how you got here? I don’t mean here as in location. I mean the twists and turns that your life took to get you to your place right now. Right this minute.

Lately, that’s what I’ve been doing.

It started with the koan, “learning.” That is my word for the year. I wasn’t sure exactly how that word would work since I’m a lifetime learner. I try to learn just a bit from everything and everyone. It might be just one teeny tiny thing. That adds to my body of knowledge.

Then it came to me.

Learning meant from the inside out.

That’s fine as far as it goes. And, it goes on forever.

Then, something started to change. I started wondering how my life got to the place where it is today. Everything seemed to be a cue. Music. A bit of an old television show. A movie clip. An old photograph. A smell. A road less traveled.

So far, not so good.

Oh sure. I’ve had a great career. But, not the best. My personal life has been okay, but it could have been better. And, so on and so on. I’ve let too many opportunities pass by. Even those that were a sure thing. We all do it. I did it.

It’s easy to get worried or even depressed using this line of thinking. I’m not that guy. I know that the past is the past. I can’t do very much about it. Nobody can. I can really only live in the present. But, I can be my best self in the future. The question isn’t why. It’s how. It’s where. And, it’s when.

After all, no one person can do everything.

I think you make life choices based on priorities. I can work those as far as they go because there aren’t many. Likely, they mostly flow from one or two very important cares or concerns. Working with those takes time, effort, focus and maybe even a little money. It may take a plan. How do you get from point “A” to point “B?”

That’s where I am right now.

My thinking may be easier than other people’s.

Because.

I reckon, even in this age of high end medicine, medications and procedures, I’ve got about 15 years or so. That’s not discouraging to me. We all pass off this mortal coil.

The question is how well do we live out our time.

I do not want to do what my dad did. After he retired, he and my mom moved from Long Beach, California to Reno, Nevada. There is so much to see and explore in, and around, Reno. My dad mostly stayed at home. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. For what?

You know for what.

I’m not doing that. Not now. Not ever.

That’s another way of learning. Sometimes you learn what you don’t want. What you don’t want to do.

Anyway.

The picture. You can learn a lot about light if you look closely. You see that big power pole? You see what’s next to it in the sky? Do you see what happens to the white clouds directly next to that? It’s all about sunlight bouncing off of the whiter clouds, hitting that the clouds around it and reflecting and refracting its own light.

That is a great example of one thing I usually say. When you are looking at the great sunset that you want to photograph, you should turn around and see what that wonderful light does to the scenery behind you. For sure, photograph the sunset if that’s your thing. But, look around as well. You may be surprised. Pleasantly surprised.

 


Summer picture number four.

Painted sky.

A particular kind of summer sky. If you aren’t looking up, it’s likely that you’ll miss it. If you don’t see light, and color, it’s like that you won’t get it.

I was talking to a somebody that I know a little. I was describing what I saw. She looked at me with a quizzical look on her face. It came down to, “Oh yeah. you’re a photographer.” But, she didn’t see it. No dramatic light. No golden color.

I did.

That’s what separates us for so many others. Us? Visual artists. We see a little differently. We feel a little differently. We see and feel with more than our eyes. We see with our brains. We feel with our hearts. With our souls.

With any luck this picture is good enough to capture what I saw. What I felt.

I feel good about this picture. It’s simple. It might be good enough to be part of my summer series.  Then again…


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.


Shimmering tree.

Something like good vibrations.

The shimmering tree is an experiment that I’ve tried once or twice in the past. That’s about it. Point the lens at a tree and photograph it. Do some magic in post production and away we go.

That’s the picture.

The rest of today’s mumblings are about the weather situation.

We pretty much dried out after yesterday’s deluge. The city’s pumps actually worked about as well as they could. We got 9 inches of rain in in three hours. That overwhelmed them. There are two solutions going forward. Tear up every pipe in the city, install pipes that are about double in size and hope that works.

Or, we can adopt the Dutch system which means that we embrace water and build holding ponds, greenways and water features that actually do something with extra water. We had that option once in the years following Hurricane Katrina. We should revisit that kind of thinking.

And, speaking of hurricanes. Hurricane Barry is still not formed as I write. There should be a NOAA update in a little bit.

Currently, it’s projected to make landfall near Lafayette, Louisiana, which means that it has moved to the east. In New Orleans, we should get some rain and some wind. Our fear is still overtopping levees. It looks like there are two places where the levee is built only to 20 feet. They are not near us. One is at the Industrial Canal near the Upper Ninth Ward. The other is at the Jefferson-Orleans Parish border. The people there have a double problem. Not only will the levee overtop, but they’ve built homes in the battature, which is the ground between the river and the levee. It is almost certain that their homes will be flooded and destroyed.

The Army Core of Engineers said that there is no chance that overtopped levees will be broken. From the moment they said that, I revised my estimate from 50-50% that we’ll be okay, to 20-80%. I don’t trust them as far as I can throw this house.

That’s it.

The storm should make landfall on Saturday, sometime in the afternoon. Unless the power fails, I’ll just keep going. Everybody has been shipped to safety. I’m hanging out until the storm passes. Somebody has to close the storm shutters. Then, it’s on the road again.


Drifting in the darkness.

A single cloud.

With the face of a dog. Drifting in the early evening.

As a prelude.

To the storm to come. There are two. The big one, that I mentioned yesterday.

And, the little one, which arrived in the early morning. Within three hours it managed to dump nine inches of rain in our neighborhood. The entire city, and outlying regions, is flooded with about two or three feet of water. Even our street, which never floods, is overwhelmed. Water is up to our porch and well into our driveway. The pool is overflowing.

We had a tornado warning, a flash flood warning, a high wind advisory and a lakefront overflow warning all at once. We are a very special place.

If this keeps up, and with the big storm arriving Friday, it is very likely that the levees holding back The Mississippi River will overtop. That’ll be something. Low lying streets along the river will be flooded with I don’t know how many feet of water.

The big storm is going to make landfall as Hurricane Barry, a Category 1 storm somewhere near Lake Charles Saturday morning in the daylight hours. It will dump anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of rain inland. I have a very soft spot for Lake Charles. That’s where we finally made our temporary shelter after we evacuated following Hurricane Katrina. The folks there took good care of us. I wish them well. And, prayers.

That’s our story.

Have a good thought for us.


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…


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.


Original flower.

The other one.

Yesterday, I wrote about seeing a delicate white and yellow flower. The one that I used as a layer behind a pink flower.

Welp.

This is the original flower with a little post production work done to it. I made it more colorful. I made the file a little more meaty. And, I gave the white areas more shape and definition.

That’s really what caught my eye.

I reckoned that you should see it. The way that I saw it. The way that it inspired me to go further.

A little bit about the gear. My smart phone is a Samsung Note 9. It is not a great phone. That includes both talk and text. It is a great little handheld computer. It also has a wonderful camera that allows me to do a lot, from just using the onboard lens as a zoom, to turning it into a fully manual handheld camera. And, lots in between. Video. Pano. Other size formats.

I’ve mostly been photographing with it even though I’d really rather use some kind of mirrorless body and interchangeable lenses. I don’t always carry that kind of gear. I do carry my phone. Everywhere.

I have this little baby Leica. It’s a great little camera. And, with Leica glass it probably out performs just about most cameras out there. It would be very easy to carry everywhere. But, It’s 965 degrees outside, with a humidity factor of about 10,000, making the
“feels like” temperature about 900 billion degrees. Anything I don’t have to wear on a strap over my shoulder is better.

And, you think it’s hot where you live.