Mostly confusion.

Something awoke.

It started by binging 11-22-1963 on Hulu. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s a Stephen King book made into something else entirely. I won’t tell you much in case you do decide to see it. The title should tell you that the book is about the assassination of JFK. I can also tell you that a guy travels back in time in hopes of stopping it.  Time intervenes in many ways.

That’s it.

Anything else could ruin it for you. Don’t multi-task. Just watch it.

I’ll tell you one more thing. The very end isn’t quite what you think. It was very sad for me. It brought up distant memories of people in my past. Some were lost to events. Some were lost to time and place. Others were just lost.

Do you ever think about what it would be like if you could be with them again? Could you pick up right where you left off? Would it be awkward for you? For both of you? Would you just be reeling in the years?

I don’t know. I didn’t go to my high school reunion. I was injured. It was the start of my back problems.  I also didn’t really feel like it. Our next big one comes up in 2021. I have to think about that. It’s my high school’s 100th anniversary. It should be a big deal. I dislike big deals.

The picture. I stacked and layered four images together. I filtered it. I added stuff. I subtracted stuff. This is the picture that emerged from my experimentation.

I did another experiment. It was prompted by this very bloody weekend in New Orleans. As I write this at about noon on Sunday, 15 people have been shot. Of those, five are dead. I made a picture of a brass band playing during a second line. I layered it with red stuff that looks like blood. It is powerful. I just don’t know if I should publish it here.

To those of you who said that they wanted to see a picture of me in my seersucker suit, you should all know better. Saying “a picture or it didn’t happen” is an Instagram thing. I won’t ever play that game. And, when did I ever publish a picture of myself on Storyteller? It’s not that kind of blog.

Enjoy.

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Like a painting.

A little experiment.

I was building my new and improved website and I was uploading a lot of pictures. That took some time. To help pass it, I started playing with older pictures. You might not recognize it, but you’ve seen this picture in the past, when it was bright magenta.

I started in one direction and realized I hadn’t used a couple of photo editing tools in some time, (time is a reoccurring theme today) so I started tinkering with them. Eventually, after many, many attempts, I arrived here. I added the frame and that’s how you see it.

Uploading and downloading large batches of RAW or Tiff imagery, does take a little time (There I go again) no matter how new and powerful your machine may happen to be. I like to fill it, (time) by doing something else. In this case, I was more-or-less practicing and experimenting with image modification software.

But, once upon a time…

I used to play a lot of computer games. I wouldn’t call myself a gamer, but I wasted a lot of time. One day the lightbulb went off. “Why not do something more meaningful,” I thought.

So, I did.

I started teaching myself Photoshop. It has a really steep learning curve. Some say it takes about five years to learn completely. Once I started I realized it wouldn’t take five years because there are some things that I’ll never do. It did take a while.

Doing that gave me the basics and a little more to understand what I was doing. Eventually, I started using a new software package called OnOne. It couldn’t develop RAW images back then, but that was one the company’s big goals.

Once OnOne became a potential RAW developer I left Photoshop and Lightroom behind. Who wants to pay $9.95 per month for the rest of your life?

Today, my workflow is simple. I download and cull in Photo Mechanic and finish in OnOne. You can use both of them forever unless you want to upgrade. Actually, Photo Mechanic upgrades are free.

Oh, Photo Mechanic is software that a lot of photojournalists use. It’s fast, easy to use and you can edit a big take in probably less than 30 minutes. I lot of my friends suggested that I try it. I kept putting it off, until one day…

I should listen to my friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


It feels like music.

I made a picture.

I made a musical picture. At least, that’s how I see it.

I don’t know why, but it does. It’s very likely that it will look like something else to you. That doesn’t matter. We all bring our life, our experience and our influences to all art. That’s why you like a piece of art or a bit of music, and somebody else doesn’t like it. It has nothing to do with being good or bad. It has everything to do with you.

To do with you. That little phrase is really a mouthful. That’s the key to making changes. Rather than blame outside influences, change yourself first.

We’ve all being complaining about social media, news media and what have you. It never stops. It’s ugly. People are nasty. The change is simpler then we realize.  Adjust your thinking. For instance, I had a lot of political commentary on my Twitter feed. That just was wearing me down. So, I changed things around. Now, I mostly have people discussing music, art and photographs. Much better. I even removed the White House. 24 hours of propaganda gone. Better yet.

I did the same thing on Facebook. I’m only there to share my work and to talk to old friends. I’ve silenced any political discussions for 30 days. I expect those discussions to be even more shrill as the 2020 general election approaches. I’ll just keep putting those threads on a 30 day silence.

I feel so much better today. Mondays are usually hard for me. I start out in a bad mood. Then, the usual stuff starts. Not today. I have a smile on my face.

You can do it too. Should you? That’s up to you.

Consider this, the general din, the hollering and the continual nonsense from our leaders isn’t going to change anytime soon. Who needs to keep hearing it?

Now, about this picture. It’s really three pictures layered over each other. The base was a Fourth of July wreath. I followed that with a dirt pathway. And, finally I added the pink flowers. You’ve seen the flowers. The other two images are new to you. But, not to me. For instance, the Fourth of July picture was made before the big celebration… in 2018. I just never had a use for it.

The rest of the process is mostly adjustment. The layers have to make some kind of sense to me, and, hopefully, you. There are color, brightness and contrast adjustments too. That little extra tinkering takes some time. There are a lot of false starts. There are some close, but no cigar, starts. Eventually, it all works out.

Sounds a little like life.

There you have it.

Art as life.


Shining brightly.

Morning light.

So bright. So pretty. I don’t photograph enough of it. Lately, in an attempt to beat the heat I drag myself out of bed early. Early enough to see low light. Golden light.

In Southeastern Louisiana, and most of the south, the heat just won’t break. We are ten to fifteen degrees higher than normal. But, if I’m reading the weather reports correctly, most of the country is too hot.

Is climate change a thing?

Certainly. And, most of the people who could make a difference are ignoring, or are attacking the scientists who are telling us that time is at hand. Most of the climate deniers are grumpy old men. They don’t care. They’ll be dead before the most extreme changes occur. Don’t they care about their children? Their families? Their friends’ families?

We all gotta go sometime. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to leave something good behind. I’m not even going to get started on our current presidential administration except to ask, how the hell can they roll back clean water standards? The biggest wars of the rest of this century will be fought, not over oil, but over clean drinking water. And, they want to poison ours.

And, this was gonna be a happy Friday post.

Ha!

The picture. You know when I made it. You know why I made it. But, you don’t know what I did. I actually used the same post production settings that I used on yesterday’s picture. And, then I brought the color down in order to make my statement.

Happy weekend.


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.


Art as an experiment.

Chaos.

I was reading an op-ed piece by The New York Times’ Frank Bruni. He said that he was completely worn out. He started by saying that he logged on to his computer and there it was. The never ending chaos and drama coming from one man.

It’s daily. It never ends.

Frank Bruni needed a break. We need a break.No human mind can process the daily stream of lies, disinformation, demands and threats. As my online pal Debra said on her blog, Breathelighter, we need time to do the little things that bring us so much pleasure. Bruni is right. Debra is right.

Me? I have to create before I can disengage.

So, I made this work of art. I call it, Chaos.

It’s how the world looks to me on this day. It’s how the daily barrage of beyond weird news looks to me.

The image was created from two layered photographs. I did some fiddling. I did some tinkering. Then I found a little clarity and headed straight to the gutter as Neil Young would say. I didn’t really head to the gutter, although things are much more interesting there. Instead, I found my direction. I knew I was creating my version of the world around us.

Chaos.


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.


Sweet days. Sunny days.

Make your picture.

That’s what they say. What’s your picture? If it’s a particular project, you may have set boundaries. In general? No boundaries. Photograph what you see. Don’t edit your process before it’s time to edit.

I made this picture somewhere along the line, in the past three weeks. The minute I saw that red pool umbrella, I knew I had to do something. So I sat in the chair nearest to the umbrella. I looked up. I knew the picture. I knew what I would do with it in post production. I think I made three or four frames. Done. At the scene. A little work in post production to make the picture creamy and dreamy and I was done.

In better news.

A new more complete version of The Beatles’ Abbey Road is being released. It contains out takes and conversation. It shows The Beatles at their best. They knew the album was their last. They worked with intent. The sessions were smooth, unlike the Let It Be sessions, where they were at each other’s throats.

I watched a little preview. A little marketing piece. I was amazed to see John Lennon talking to the rest of the band. As he’s talking, the song pops out and he is singing. The band falls in without even thinking about it. That’s magic.

That, y’all, is what you want. When you just feel it. And, do it. Without thought.

I need a little break from political commentary. You do too. It’s like a horrible wall of sound. I had to laugh when one of the late night televisions hosts said that he was running for president. He had only two planks in his platform. We’d only hear from him once a month. And, we’d all get bored with politics.

Sounds right to me.

Now what are we gonna do with all those children in the state to the right of mine? The ones who were left with out families after the “Great Chicken Plant Raid?”

Peaches.


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.