What is left.

On a very humid walk.

We found these branches that were what remained of our storms.

Wasn’t sure about them until I photographed them and started processing them. Once I started stripping them back and allowed their natural color to emerge I knew the picture might work.

That’s one of my secret sauces.

I don’t add color. I remove color. Often times, adding color makes the image look too rich, too bloody as a friend of mined used to say. So, I’d rather subtract color and see where that takes me.

You can also tell that it’s late summer around here. Look at the background. It’s greenish. That’s the sidewalk and it’s mossy. Nothing in the shade ever truly dries out around here until sometime in late autumn when the humidity morphs into cold fog.

Even though the numbers seem to have blurred, the weather remembers. The weather tells us that we are still in motion. That there are still shadows and light. Good and bad. Let’s hope the tide changes and the goodness wins. And, the light shines.

Vote.

The picture

I pretty much explained the picture to you. At least my theory of unhancement. Spell check is going crazy with the word I just made up.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Enjoy every bowl of gumbo.


Clean these drains out or your house will get flooded.

I’m not kidding.

If you don’t keep the drains cleaned near your house, your street will flood. If your street floods, your house will flood. And, so will your car.

You won’t be happy. Neither will your insurance agent. And, your insurance company will probably drop you for making a claim, leaving you to ask “what’s insurance for if I can’t use it?”

That’s a story that never ends.

Here’s my last insurance company story.

About nine years ago my car was parked in a shopping center lot.¬† I was still inside. The ignition was turned off. I was unstrapping my seat harness when some guy backed into my car. We did all the right stuff. We exchanged licenses and insurance information. His car was fine. Mine was dented. I filed a claim with my insurance company who collected from his insurance company. Everybody agreed that it was the other guy’s fault. Including him. He tried to get out of it, but his wife gave him “the look.”

What do you think happened?

If you guess that my insurance company raised my rates because of a no fault accident, you would be right. WTH?

I want a business like insurance companies have. If you drive a car, most or all states, require you carry insurance. You are smart if you carry far more than the minimum. You pay monthly, or as frequently as you can over a years time to keep the rate down. You pay for years. In my case, I hadn’t been involved in anything for at least a decade. Until that little fender bender.

Okay.

Let’s keep the numbers simple. Let’s say I pay $100 per month. Over a years time that is $1,200. Over ten years time that is $12,000. I have a minor fender bender that cost the insurance company maybe $1,500. I’d say that their ROI was pretty good.

The insurance company will either raise my rate or drop me.

The insurance company’s gross return is at least $10,500 over ten years time. I’m sure their are some administrative costs incurred by them. Those are offset by investment packages that my money finances. At worst, it’s a push. At best, they are making money on administrative costs.

I want that kind of return on my investments. On my business.

No. I didn’t get in an accident. I was looking at the last quarter of the year. Grumble, grumble, grumble.


After the storm, comes this.

Then, comes the sky show.

After a storm and as the cold front arrived we had a little color in the sky. I did what I could to photograph it. I really need to understand nature a little better in order to be in better places, to stand in front of better stuff, in order to make better pictures.

I’m starting to get bored with trees and power lines.

Actually, light will get better and easier to predict once we resume Standard Time at 2am this next Sunday. The evening sunlight will drop even lower in the sky. And, I can get ahead of rush hour traffic as I travel around from place to place in town.

There is some strategy to making pictures at the right time of day. A lot of it is simply the time of year.

Of course, there is standing in front of better stuff. That’s just another kind of planning or traveling.

There is lots to do. I’ve been biding my time.

 


Storms come, storms go.

We had a storm.

Storms aren’t unusual this time of year. We are in the rainy and hurricane season. Lately, our storms are overwhelming all of our drains, canals and pumping systems.

We accumulated five inches of rain in about 90 minutes. Everywhere Uptown was flooded. I don’t mean with a few inches of water. It was more like two to three feet. I had to walk through it. The water is dark, muddy and who knows what’s in it. I was marking potholes so young drivers wouldn’t break their car axles not being able to see where they were. I made one picture. I showed it to a friend of mine who liked it. I’m not so sure.

Once things started drying out, I made a few more snaps. I had some intent in making these three pictures. I had to wait until the sun popped out after a big storm because I knew what to do.

Here’s the deal.

The picture I showed my buddy is documentary. It’s just fine as far as it goes. But, I’m really trying to reinvent myself into some kind of artist.

Make no mistake. I’m not a photographer who takes normal pictures and labels my work as fine art photography. What so fine art about pictures that look like normal photographs showing no intent?

Fine art photography to me is like the early work of the late Robert Mapplethorpe. His work hangs in museums. I don’t believe photographers like Ernst Haas, Jay Maisel or any of my heroes call themselves fine art photographers.

This isn’t that.

This is my attempt to be a painter. Maybe a water colorist. At least that’s what this work looks like to me. I’d actually paint these if I could. Years of attempts have taught me one irrefutable¬† fact. I have no painting skills at all. Except to paint a wall.

So, I modify photographs to the point where they don’t really look like something made with a camera. I was lucky that these three pictures could take almost the same style of post-production. Often, a series takes a huge amount of work to make them look like sisters.

Enjoy them. Please let me know what you think.

Skies after the storm.

Through the trees.


In the summer, after a storm.

Beneath summer skies.

With daily rain often comes drama. Usually, around dusk when the storm clouds are moving towards the west or upriver.

I can see some of it forming from my windows. But, I really see it on dogarito’s second — or sometimes — third walk of the day. Luckily, she’s pretty patient. So, I can make a picture or two.

This is one of the pictures. Not only do I see the sky and the framing silhouetted trees, but the image almost looks three-dimensional to my eye. There are natural layers upon layers hiding in this picture.

And, another word.

I see that our government has reached out to the DOD and are having immigrants discharged from the Army for no real reason except meanness.. Not only are they being taken out of their path to citizenship, but they are being classified as a security threat, which will get them a dishonorable discharge, hurting their lives going forward. In the ultimate Catch 22, anyone with dishonorable discharge cannot apply for citizenship.

Great.

This means a guy who wants to do the right thing, protect me and become a citizen can never do either. My God.

I don’t talk much about my life here. I see Storyteller as a place for pictures, art, discussion.

But, there’s this.

My paternal grandfather served in the Royal Russian Navy. In 1905, during the first Russian Revolution, his ship was ordered to fire on Russian people.  Rather than do that, the crew scuttled their ship and left the country. My grandfather made his way to Hamburg, Germany. He caught a tramp freighter and sailed for New York.

He passed through Ellis Island. He had no real papers since he had already jumped ship in Russia. He spoke no English, so my name became Laskowitz from whatever it really was. I still don’t really know. In 1917, when The United States entered World War I, he enlisted to serve his new country. His reward? Automatic citizenship. He died in 1949. I never met him. But, I am him. I’m the grandson of an immigrant.

Oh. About the family name. I’ve done a lot of research. The best I can come up with is that I am really Belorussian. I think our village was Horodak. In Russian that means little village. In Belorussia, it is a village. After that, I know nothing.

Oh. My family were sausage makers in the “old country.” This explains a lot. Like, why I can grind it out here. Heh!

 


Cloud play.

I talk like it’s spring. With colder temperatures and big rain storms mother nature reminds me that we are still officially in winter months.

That’s a good thing.

Because.

Low winter light makes pictures like this possible as it bounces through the remaining clouds of a fleeting storm.

Yeah, I enhanced it a little bit. But, not much. I didn’t need to. Nature saw to that.

Wowie Zowie.


After the storm.

I knew this would happen.

We had an afternoon storm that kept up until about 8pm. Unfortunately, I was spoken for so I could only go back to the scene of many crimes. This is what I saw. In my head. It’s what I felt. The original digital file is colorful, but fairly bland. It was what I saw with my eyes. My brain saw and felt something else. This picture.

I have a buddy in New Orleans. A photographer. He said something like sunsets never get old. Yes they do. Unless… you follow my line of thinking and turn around. Check out what the sunset is lighting up. That’s what never gets old because it’s unpredictable. The sun hits some highlight and blammo you have some wonderful reflection. Or, specular highlights. That’s what excites me.

There you have it.

Enjoy your day. Or night.


Too many leaves.

It looks like a whole lotta work.

You’ve seen the place. Normally, I make a Zen-like picture with something like one leaf twirling around a sparkling bit of water. That’s not what we saw yesterday.

The winds ripped the leaves from the trees. The rain pushed them into the little stream. The stream backed up. And, so it goes.

That’s the nature of things.

And, that’s it. A quiet day. I have to make up for the couple of days of lost production, which includes the mundane. You know. Like making groceries. Paying the bills. Scrubbing the kitchen floor.

These things could have all been done while Harvey was passing through.

But, well. You know. You know that you know.


Color in the sky.

Cotton candy. In the sky.

Sometimes this happens in between storms. Around dusk. When the air is heavy and still carries a lot of water droplets to reflect the low sunlight. Sunlight that bounces around like crazy and paints the sky with amazing colors.

Sometimes, I have a great foreground. Usually, I’m completely out-of-place and I have to go to where I know. At least I wasn’t in a Target parking lot like a friend of mine was. But, it wasn’t much different.

It really was just point and shoot. And, hope for the best.

The pictures. Funny. Normally, I tune my pictures up. I want to bring out the color. The contrast. And, the shape.

Not this time.

The natural color was so bright and contrasty that I found myself working backwards. I removed contrast. I took the saturation down because everything looked garish even with just a tiny hint of extra color.

Nature took over. As usual.

Soaring in purple.

As dusk falls.