Green to orange.

L

earning. Always learning. Practicing. Always practicing. Mostly trying to have fun with the pictures I make. It wasn’t always that way. Pictures were how I made my living. I don’t do that so much now. For sure, I still accept assignment but I don’t go courting them.

That is too much work.

As you know, I’m lazy. Maybe not so much, but if you are busy chasing assignments and all of the rest of the stuff that goes with it, you spend 80% of your time working on business and 20% of your time making photographs.

How much fun is that?

These days, if there is something I really want to photograph for someone, I’ll build a campaign which could take months to come to fruition. That’s really old school, but I’m not looking to be discovered on Instagram. A lot of picture buyers and assignment makers used to troll there. I’m not sure how many of them continue to do that.

A lot of younger photographers still think that they do. At least that’s based on their tags. They won’t tell you a thing about the picture. Instead their tags are directed to various publications. That may be the big difference. Publications still pay pretty much what they did when I was getting started.

Who wants to work for that?

Meanwhile corporate clients, the kind that I want, understand that assignment fees rise just like everything else in a normal economy. They aren’t on IG looking for the next great photographer.

That’s a good thing.

You should earn your way to that level. Photographers shouldn’t be famous because of the number of followers they have or the number of likes and shares they generate. Photographers should be famous for the work they generate over a long period of time.

At least, that’s what I think.


More and more and more.

L

et me tell you a story.

A little over six weeks ago Hurricane Ida blew through. While her rainfall didn’t do too much in my neighborhood, 155 mph winds did.

They blew down almost every kind of cable and power source. Our power company, Entergy, did the best the they could and had us repowered in about two weeks. Cox followed right behind. They all picked up their damaged goods and cleaned up their messes.

Along comes AT&T. They got their service repaired but picked up nothing. The foreman flat out lied and said they would pick it up the next day.

Nope.

Now comes my calls to their corporate office. Do you know how hard it is to reach an actual human being at AT&T? I lied my way through their switchboard when I finally reached a maintenance and repair division of business accounts.

I reckoned I was trying to get a business account — AT&T’s — looked after. Heh. They said the problem would be taken care of within a couple of days.

Nope.

Yesterday I called The District Attorney of Orleans Parish and filed a criminal complaint. At their suggestion I also filed a civil suit.

Since their corporate headquarters are located in Dallas, Texas, and my attorney’s office is also located there, I filed in Dallas County, Texas.

Nobody wants to go to court there.

I doubt that I’ll recover the ten million dollars in damages I am asking for, but I’ll finally get their attention.

Dumbasses.

All they had to do was finish their job.

L

et me tell you another story. A better one.

I took a stroll in a place that I rarely do.

Look what I found. I found autumn in the pine needles and mud.

That made me happy because we are drifting between the moment of early fall and real fall.

This is when I get really impatient. It’s not cool and there aren’t enough red leaves. t’ll get here soon enough, but until then…

Grumble, grumble, toil and trouble.

The picture is easy. Expose properly and there is no work in post production.to speak of.

There is an interesting thing happening with the block design. Every time I try to do some actual design, the system messes with me so I eventually give up and go back to this kind of page layout.

It’s boring, but at least I can do it.

It’s clean and minimalistic.

That’s good.

For now.


What happens when…

S

ometimes I forget the work I’ve already done. If you recall I wasn’t posting everyday. That didn’t mean I wasn’t making new pictures and working on others.

I was. And, I forgot about it.

I was looking for something else when I stumbled upon a little group of pictures that I had forgotten about.

This is one of them. Well, three of them to be precise. They are layered and combined. I’ll get to that on the right side.

Questions. I have questions.

After reading the testimony of the former Facebook employee and their crash the other day, I’m thinking about giving up on their products. There’s more to that. Facebook is pushing those of us who post our still photography into posting videos.

I’m not a videographer. I’ve made two videos in my lifetime. They are unedited. One is just a bit of Hurricane Ida as she blew through. The visual isn’t much, but the audio is terrifying.

That said, I’m not posting videos anywhere. That’s not what I do.

The reason to stay with Facebook/Instagram is to show my work. I have a place for that. Right here. Oh, for sure, I get likes and hearts and a few comments. Mostly, from my friends.

Originally, many years ago, I thought that it could be a marketing and sales tool. That hasn’t worked out. So, what’s the point?

I can be found here if anybody wants to find me.

What do you guys think?

T

he work. That’s what matters. Doing it. Practicing it. Do it for long enough and you might get good.

That’s one reason that Storyteller exists. There are a lot of other reasons, but that’s one of them.

As I wrote over there, this is image is layered and created from three photographs.

There was an adjustment phase because not all of them were the same size or shape.

Once that was completed, I adjust for density first, and color second.

I tinkered with them to sort of smooth them out.

Then, I published them right here, on Storyteller. As if you didn’t know that.

By the way, the title is a title of a song by the same name recorded by Roseanne Cash. Sometimes, I steal — er — borrow things.


All the red that fits.

F

inally. The big machine starts. I came to realize that I couldn’t type in my password because the magic keyboard couldn’t type anything. I’m not sure if it gave up the ghost or there is a bluetooth setting that is turned off.

After poking around endlessly on various computer repair suggestion pages I found something that kinda made sense.

So, I did it and it worked.

I went to a big box store and bought an old school wired keyboard for all of $10.99. The end has a usb plug so I plugged it in. Viola. It worked.

Now, I can work.

You have no idea how hard it was to work using a phone. I realized my posts were getting shorter and shorter as I became more frustrated using the phone.

Now, I’m back. And, I’m noisy.

I

made this picture on a walk. This is autumn. It may be all that you need to know about the season.

It’s a beautiful bridge between summer and winter.

It’s my favorite season. The color is wonderful. The light is even better. It’s low. It’s golden. And, it illuminates everything.

So.

I’ll do my best to work a little every day. Yeah, that’ll help my mood.

I hope.


Suddenly it hits you.

L

isten to it. This photograph feels like a song. For me, it’s a Steely Dan song. For others it’s probably something different.

It helps that Sunday afternoons — when I write Storyteller’s Monday post — is generally Steely Dan day. I usually listen to one or two albums will I develop, process and work on post production before I get ready to write.

When I write, I turn the music up louder. It works. I tried to listen to podcasts while I wrote. My words got confused with their words so I gave it up. For a while I tried listening to a podcast while I read something else.

Can you say word salad?

It sounded like a politicians trying to speak out of both sides of mouth at once. Or tweeting, or something like that.

Anyway, Steel Dan seems to work with this picture. I could drop lyrics anywhere into my so-called prose and it might make sense or certainly fit.

Drive west on Sunset…

A little more Sunday magic.

Y

ou’d think this was some super duper post production thing.

Maybe a layer or two.

It’s not.

The entire image was made in camera. It was adjusted in post, but it wasn’t added to, subtracted from or layered on any way.

I swear.

Let’s talk about another technique.

Writing.

It seems brighter to me today. I suppose it helps that I drank a double espresso before I started writing.

The thing is, I’ve been sleeping too much. I’ll sleep for 9 or 10 hours, start reading and sleep for 2 or 3 more.

I suspect it’s simply the stress of these last 18 months leaving my body.

There could be worse ways.


Magical night.

P

laying. Having fun. Tinkering. Messing around. That’s some of what we should be doing. But, often we get sucked into making a living. Or, we really get sucked into the gear of the thing.

Experimenting and playing is what Storyteller is about, has always been about. Oh sure, a client or two has found me here. Or, I’ve sold a couple of photographs to private collectors.

That’s it.

I’m trying to make a big decision. You heard about this in the past. I’ve been quietly building a new website.

It’s a portfolio-commercial site that contains a blog within the website itself. Oh for sure, I’ll take all of you with me who want to come along.

Some of you would like me to stay here. That’s humbling. If I send you an email link that takes you to the new site you shouldn’t see a difference, except you probably won’t be able to “like” a post without commenting.

That’s not the real question.

Actually, there’s two. Will a semi-folksy blog like Storyteller confuse the commercial users? Will LaskowitzPictures confuse the folksy readers?

And, the bigger question.

What is this new website? Do I continue to publish a lot of New Orleans pictures? Or, travel pictures? Or, a giant portfolio from 45 years past?

Or, should I go with my instincts? And, make the site about artistic pictures?

Or? Or? Or?

Please, you tell me what you think. Please.

L

et’s assume that Storyteller becomes an art website and an artistic blog.

See where I am really going with this? Heh!

There are many forms of art.

Some are like these layered things that I’ve been doing a lot over many years. See the picture.

Others are minimalist, almost Zen-like in nature.

Others are a collection of dark, moody and mysterious pictures that I’ve been making.

Do I show a small portfolio of each of them? Could I turn those portfolios into more pictures with a click on the original image? Like a tree with branches?

Do I know how to do that coding and linking?

Does anyone?


An autumn walk through a forest.

O

nce, awhile back, I used to walk through a forest like place. In truth it is a park but most of it was left as wild land.

It’s a great place to walk because there are measured distances. You chose the trail that you wanted and you could walk from one to three miles.

Along the way you could walk near railroad tracks, you could see a modern all metal sided performance venue. Or, if you walked further you could see the New Orleans Saints training field and their business offices. You could even see the so-called Shrine on Airline. That was a AAA baseball stadium.

Unfortunately, the team called The Babycakes — Yeah, I know what kind of name is that — moved on to greener pastures.

There was hope of getting a new team, but first MLB cut the number of minor league teams and then the pandemic arrived. We’ll see what happens next.

It is currently used as a rugby pitch and for local high school football games.

I like walking through the most natural areas which is how I found this scene. Obviously, it was autumn when I did that. And, yes, this is another “lost” photograph that Amazon Pictures found.

T

he biggest issue in making this picture is one of focus.What stay sharp?What goes soft?

In those days I used a Canon G9 as a walk around camera. It worked like any DSLR. I loved that little camera to the point that I used it up

Anyway.

I decided to keep the bark and moss as sharp as possible because it’s in the foreground and let rest go a little soft in order to make the details in the tree pop out.

That worked.

Post production work was fairly simple. I toned down the red leaves because they were too bright and too red. I sharpened the tree as much as possible without going too far.

I usually go too far.

E

ditor’s note.This is the closest that I’ve come to giving up and thinking the hell with it. For some reason unknot to me, the paragraphs became trapped in a little block. If you tried to edit the words, the entire paragraph was deleted. I have no idea what I did to restore it back to normal.

I also found out why I kept think the text seemed light. That because it was. Apparently, the default setting is a light gray. Black text on a white background is considered to be the easiest to read. Of course, Word %&@# press knows better. I’d better tell all the designers with whom I’ve ever worked.


Smell the roses.

You’ve heard it before. Stop and smell the roses. I did that. I also made this photograph. It’s my version of art.

I made it soft, dark and velvety. This image makes me want to touch it. No worries. I didn’t. I like to make pictures, not touch things.

Which brings me to this. Somehow.

The CDC issued a new directive. No masks with few exceptions as long as you have been vaccinated. This confused me and just about everybody else including some very highly thought of doctors.

For some reason I’ve lost my faith in the CDC. This directive just doesn’t sound right. Until Orleans Parish relaxes the mask requirement, I won’t be walking around barefaced.

Ask The New York Yankees about this. They have seven staffers and on player isolated because of positive tests after being jabbed. They call it breakthrough contagion. Call it whatever you want. It means that there is no certainty of anything pandemic related.

It seems that everybody is rushing to open up far too quickly. I have a bad feeling about this.

Meanwhile, on Facebook, everybody is cheering.

The damn block system won’t let me edit to fix typos. Damn is not really the word I’m thinking of but this is a family blog.

If this keeps up, community or not, WordPress is going to drive me away.

Get close I always say. Fill the frame I always say.

I took my own advice and did that. I worked so closely that the purple background is really a bit of another rose.

After that I made sure to keep a little separation in processing.

There you have it. A rose.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty, Wear your mask, Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Ignore the CDC. They’ve become politics over science.


All the reds and oranges.

Tomorrow is Earth Day. Normally, I’d post something on the day of the event. This time, I thought I’d give you a little time to plan.

What are you going to do to make the planet a little healthier?

Me? I’m going to pick up trash.

It’s locals and tourists.

Once, I heard a tourist in The Marigny say that all this trash on the ground was just terrible as she proceeded to throw her trash on the ground.

Huh?

Once, after watching a guy throw trash on the street in front of our house, I asked him to pick it up. When he refused I said, “Pick that up. This isn’t your mama’s living room.”

He did.

It doesn’t matter what you do, but do something.

On another note, justice was served yesterday. Derek Chauvin was convicted on all three charges: second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter.

At the time that George Floyd was killed, the Minneapolis police department claimed that he died in transit. Their lie was exposed by a courageous 17 year old teenager named Darnella Frazier. I think I read that the city honored with a medal.

I agree with Stephen Colbert. I find it hard to celebrate when a man is still dead. I think, like many people do, that this is just a start.

Of course, just as the verdict was being announced, another teenage girl was killed by a cop in Columbus, Ohio. The police department immediately released the body camera footage and it looks like the shooting was clean.

I have some thoughts about that.

When I was a young man — a teenager — cops were not so heavily armed. They didn’t carry tasers and their weapons were a revolver and baton.

Back in the day, they would have tried to talk her down. If they couldn’t do that and she threatened them, they’d hit the arm holding the knife with their baton. Likely, they would have broken her arm.

A broken arm isn’t dead.

Maybe that’s how you reform police departments. Go back to the basics. Most departments are way too up armored. They often look like soldiers going into combat. They are on the street to protect and serve, not kill people.

Now is the time for technical comments.

But first, a rant.

This damn block system has got to go. Once again, it put a box around my writing. Click anywhere near the box and everything is gone.

I’ve been having what the Brits call a spirited conversation with a “happiness engineer.”

The picture. It’s really two layered horizontal pictures. I twisted them up in a program that is designed to help you correct compositional problems like a tilted horizon line.

Then, I turned the horizontal picture to the vertical. I corrected whatever I thought was a problem and pushed the contrast and sharpening until it looked like an illustration.

That’s it.

If you want to learn about actual settings I’ll tell you, but first make sure that your phone is equipped with Snapseed, which is a free product.

Then, ask me questions. I’ll guide you through the process.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. (Don’t turn red state on me) Look after each other. Be patient.