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.

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Extra special.

Flowers. Summer flowers. Two flowers in one.

I found this delicate little white flower. I made a clean version of it. I decided to play nature and added a pink flower to it. That’s how this picture came to be.

It was just that simple.

Since the flower was above her height, the dog who sees stuff didn’t help.

And, speaking of dogs, if you are on Twitter, please follow Keith Olbermann. The one time political commentator and always sports analyst has been doing something new. He tweets to save dogs who are in kill shelters. He says that dogs teach you all you need to know about essential truths. Those of us who follow him, usually save about 12 dogs a week through donations and retweets. You can help too.

That’s it.


On early morning walks.

It’s only love
It’s only love
You know how it feels
Feeling is easy
I know
When I was young
When I was young
You know
It was real
My heart was open
But now
I know
I know
I know
I know better
I’ve been shown
The other side
And now I see the way
Things are
It’s only love
It’s only love
You know how it feels
Feeling is easy
I know
Feeling is easy
I know
Feeling is easy
I know

— Melody by Anoushka Shankar, Karsh Kale, and Guarav Raina. Lyrics by Norah Jones

Easy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Walt Disney Music Company, Universal Music Publishing Group, A Side Music LLC D/B/A Modern Works Music Publishing

Man. All those publishing credits. And, you think I’m crazy?

Sunday. Either a day of rest. Or, a day of fun work. I think the later. Especially after yesterday.

When we were are out roaming around running errands, I always carry a real camera. Jokingly, I say I do that in case a second line pops up.

Well.

One did.

A four lane blocking, jazz funeral with a brass band and the old fashioned carriage drawn by a mule. There was no way around it, so I parked and made pictures.

The photo gods were talking to me. They were saying get off your butt and get back to work. They asked what would Chef Chase say? Oh, I know, I know. Hand raised in the air trying to catch someone’s attention.

“Pull up your pants and get to work.”

Uh huh.

Unless the world falls in, I’m back on the street today and tomorrow and whenever. Once thing did float through my mind. While we are all about mourning our local heroes, we are forgetting that life and death goes on. The second line was for a Zulu. An honored member of our community. On any other Saturday, there might be ten of fifteen photographers making pictures. There was only me. By accident.

Think on that for a while.


Into the purples.

Friday flowers.

There. Maybe I’ll start something.

Spring is really upon us. You know how I know? My daily viewers have dropped by half. Rather than think y’all were mad at me, I poked around. A lot of the blogs that I read have a much lower readership as we crossed into May.

So.

It’s either better weather and people aren’t staying inside as much. All good.

Or, along with removing spell check, WordPress is messing with the math again, making it harder to find some blogs. Very bad.

This is typical with all social media. A while back, before people really started to distrust Facebook, they admitted to changing certain search parameters. They admitted that they were experimenting with us.

Social media has become ubiquitous. Most of us need it for something. To show artistic work. To keep  in touch with friends. To find long lost friends. The list goes on and on.

It may be worse than we think. In a long piece written in The New York Times, the former co-founder of Facebook admits that all sorts of staff can read our PMs. Ever wonder how something you wrote in confidence ends up being in an advertisement on Facebook, or worse being in an ad someplace completely unrelated? That’s your answer.

I have no reply. The co-founder suggests breaking up Facebook. I’m not sure what that’ll really do. Sheesh. There are rumours of some kind of penalty for Facebook. A fine. $5 billion dollar fine. That’s a drop in the bucket for them. I suggest something a little stronger. Prison terms for the people who want to make us their products and make money from us. Five to ten years for starters. No possibility of parole. No digital devices. Oh yeah. General population. No fancy federal country clubs.

If I sound angry, I’m not. I’m resolute. It’s time to take back our lives. From everybody who seeks to control us. The real problem is simple. We gotten used to these easy ways to communicate. How do we replace them?

The picture. Photograph it. Process it. Carve it up in post production by removing as much of the mid-tones as possible and see what happens.

I’m excited. I was able to get back to the old abandoned railroad cars that I once photographed along while back. There are more of them now. Some old Southern Railroad steel passenger cars have been added to the mix. The baby Leica got a workout in the light rain. The camera and I had fun.


Purple day.

Ah yes. Purple. Purple Furble.

I don’t know why that old joke came back to me. Back in the old folkie days, when songs were heard in a haze, a friend with whom I grew up heard the wrong words to a song and said, “Oh wow. Purple Furple.”

This may be due to “learning.” As I wrote in any earlier post, the koan has opened me up to a lot of things. Including bits of memories of things still to come.

This is all very interesting. We’ll see what becomes of it.

So.

The picture. I made this picture a few weeks ago. I let it sit because it was too similar to others I had just posted. While it sat, I played. I made some extreme experiments. More extreme than this image. When I got all the way out there. I reversed course and headed back. This image is the result.

If you were to ask me what steps I took, you’d have me a disadvantage because I let the picture lead me. I don’t write down what the picture and I did. I save each step. I suppose I could post a whole lot of little pictures if someone insisted. I’d rather not. After all, had you lived back in the 1880s you wouldn’t ask Van Gogh each step to his paintings.

Wait. I’m not comparing myself to Van Gogh. That would be a big stretch on my part. Besides, I have two ears. Still.

That’s it.

Parade season — the real one — not all those downtown walking parades, starts tonight. This continues, with a few breaks, for the next ten or so days when we all end up on the streets for Mardi Gras Day. Wish me luck. Right now, I feel pretty good. My back and hip seem fine, or as fine as they can be.

The dog food is almost cooked for most of those ten days. The dogs are nagging me for a walk. So…


YMO Second Line.

One every Sunday.

Sometimes.

The Young Men Olympians second line parade was postponed because — you’ll love this — their shoes didn’t arrive on time. Missing shoes caused scheduling problem all down the line.

They made it out on Sunday. The second line was worth the wait. Six divisions, composed of groups who joined YMO. One division was made up of the children. You’ll see that later this week. It’s enough to say that, man, they could really dance. Almost enough to make me considering making videos.

For me, personally, it was an interesting day. I started photographing from almost the minute I got out of my car. I walked with them for a long ways. Most telling, I didn’t have my usual hurts and pains. I felt so good that I didn’t even need my usual recovery time. Of course, everything tends to equal out. I slept way too late today. Now I’m racing to catch up.

Oh well.

The good news is that I also feel pretty good today. My exploring dog was patient and was rewarded with a very long walk. All still good.

The picture. Not much to say. It’s just straight photojournalism. No improvements were needed. Notice my choice of genre. I didn’t use street photography because that term has become so broad that it has become meaningless. Crowdsourcing isn’t always right.

 


 

Summer growth.

 

Unfortunately, this is about the end of these wonderful purple flowers.

I finally found out their proper name when I saw a post from a professor friend of mine. She had it half right and then she used the random apostrophe, which drives me and a lot of my friends crazy.

This is what she wrote. Mind you, she is a PhD, a tenured member of her staff and was a pretty prolific researcher.

She started the sentence by calling this flower a “Lilly’s” because there were multiples of them. Hmmm. I probably shouldn’t be any kind of grammar cop because I am lucky that I can write in the English language. But, if you gave a bouquet of them to my mom, they would be Lilly’s flowers because her name was Lilly. And, they would be her flowers. But, what do I know?

I probably wouldn’t even have mentioned it but WordPress has made it abundantly clear that they are a writer’s platform, not a visual artist’s system. For me, it really came to a head a couple of weeks ago when one of their Automatic People proudly said in an email that WordPress was now going to start showing aspiring writers where to find free photographs for their blogging and book projects. I responded with a simple question. “Why do you hate photographers so much?” I’m still waiting for a reply.

And, you wonder why I’m uninspired to do much right now.

I’ve been in the middle of this battle for most of my career. During my newspaper days, I was on the leading edge of what I can now call the drive to let the experts be experts. In other words, we questioned why a writer or reporter, as good as they might be at their jobs, picked our pictures and design newspaper pages. We won that battle for a while. Now, printed newspapers are almost irrelevant.

And, so it continued.

I’ve come to the place in my career that almost every thing I do, or did, has become irrelevant. Even if I make the world’s greatest picture on one day, it’ll be drowned by 19 billion other pictures and never seen or thought of again. Even with heavy marketing, you get like a bounce for a day.

You don’t even want to get me started on gear. You know me. I think the best gear is in your head, heart and soul. But, technical requirements being what they are, new gear is much improved over even something released a year or so ago.  In the old days, you bought a camera, maybe a Nikon F2, and you could use it for a decade. In fact, you could still use it today. You can still buy my film of choice from those days, which is Kodak Tri-X.

No big deal.

Not so much today. I’ve been shopping for the latest Sony release. An A7III. It’s the third of a series. I bought the first of that series back in oh so far back, in 2014. Four years ago. True, it’s technology has improved in about a billion ways. It costs just under $2,000. When I asked about trade in value for my four-year old camera body, the dealer told me I might as well just keep it because it wasn’t worth very much. Maybe $250 to $400. He’s right. I might as well just put it in my defunct digital stuff drawer.

And, you wonder why?

That’s why the transition from a WordPress blog to a http://www.Laskowitzpictures.com blog has taken so long. I’m having a very hard time keeping my head in the game.

And, so it goes.

Again.

 

 


Looking down into the flower.

Summertime.

And, the livin’ is easy. Around here, we’ve been livin’ easy for the last month. Memorial Day sort of marks the emotional start to summer. June 20th  marks the summer solstice. The longest day of the year. From there the days grow shorter. Of course, we don’t realize that until the days are short.

This purple flower marks the end of the local flowers. I can’t think of any around here that will have new blooms this late into the year. Everything is green. Even the green is starting to wear because summer came a little early this year. Even for us. In the swamp.

It also marks the formal start of my “ten great summer pictures.” Not that I feel like it. It is so hot outside. How hot is it? Dogs don’t want to go for walks after around 9am. In fact, last night when they usually go out for their final business, they all wanted to go for a long walk. At 11pm. I thought, why not? Nobody really had much exercise during the day.

It was great.

The first thing that I noticed was that everything was bright. There were shadows where there normally wouldn’t be. Huh? I looked up. Even though there wasn’t the usual pre-jabbering about super moons and all of that nonsense, I saw the biggest, fullest moon that I’ve seen in a long time. It was huge. It lighted everything.

Of course, I was unprepared. After all, I was just out walking and smart phones just won’t do it with moonlight. No worries. I’ll be better prepared tonight. The moon won’t be quite as full as it was last night. But, I’m willing to be that it will still be something to see.

If you take nothing else away from today’s post, if you live in my part of the world, go outside and look at the moon tonight. It’ll make you smile. I promise.


Flowers for the fallen.

Memorial Day.

Flowers for the fallen.

I participated in a couple of events today, so I’m a bit late posting. No matter. Those that I honored are late every day. Or early. Depending on how you look at it.

After a quick scan of Facebook, I saw about a million posts of flags. And, crosses. And, memes. So, as usual, I wanted to do something a little different. I offer these flowers to our fallen heroes.

Two things about service member heroes. Today’s honorees are the only ones who you can legitimately call heroes. It is for those who died in combat. I’m still amazed at the numbers of posts that want to thank a vet or a service member. There are days for that. Today is about those who never made it home. Full stop.

I wish them, as I wish you… Peace.