At the counter.

S

ometimes, I can tell you everything about making a picture. You know, the how, what, why, when and who of it?

But, not this picture.

I know where it is located in my archives. But, it doesn’t fit with the rest of the take. My big goal during the lockdown was working on my archives. Some got done. Most didn’t.

To tell the truth, I have no idea where this picture belongs. But, I like it. It brings back feelings of traveling and memories of driving all night and finally stopping for breakfast in some little town.

Somewhere.

I’m sure many of you have done that too. You walk into a place like this and your body is still all jangly from the wheels on the road. You look at the menu and the type swims before your eyes.

You give up. You order the old standby. 10,000 eggs over easy. A hunnert pieces of bacon. Five pounds of has browned potatoes and toast, or biscuits if you re in the south.

Oh, and coffee. About five gallons of strong black coffee that leaves you with a stomach ache.

You leave the way you came in. Instead of swaggering you roll.

And, on the road you go.

M

aking this picture was easy. It was sitting there staring at me.

I raised my camera to my eye and snapped away. The counter person asked why I took it. I said that I liked the scene. She walked away shaking her head.

I ate, paid the bill and left.

All of that is great. But, I have no idea where I took the picture. I’m pretty sure it was in the West. That’s all I can tell you.

I’m mostly just wondering what the hell Numi Tea is supposed to be.

Anyway.

The post production is minimal. I darkened it and added contrast and all that color popped out.

Oh yeah. For those of you who just love the block system, he said with an evil gleam in his eye, WordPress sent me an email. They improved it.

Oh, God.


Stars and bars.

Sometimes just leaving Orleans Parish is like going on a road trip, not that I drove very far, maybe 12 miles. But, it’s another world.

I had to buy some electronics and a paint bucket. Best Buy is the best place for digital gear. I was grumbling while I drove. I had to buy a charger for my new iPhone 12. Who sells a phone without a charger?

Apple, that’s who.

Even the folks at Best Buy laugh about it. Of course the store makes money, but the people who work there think that Apple is just greedy. And, their charger costs twice what other legit makers charge.

Oh, they do give you the charging cable.

I actually like going to that big shopping center except for it’s organization. It was built in stages by different developers. To go from Best Buy to Home Depot required me to drive through two parking lots and work my through two stoplights.

Uuugh.

But, I was able to stop by a cool little restaurant that we used to eat at when we first returned from New Mexico. Entering it is like stepping back in time.

I took a look around and asked the guy behind the counter if I could take a few pictures. He shrugged his shoulders, so I did.

This picture makes me think of trips through tiny little midwestern towns. It sort of excited me when I looked the finished product.

Stopping and eating here was a big deal for me. It was my first time actually eating inside a restaurant since the start of the pandemic. It’s true that we have eaten at two restaurants previously, but we were outside and about 6 miles from the next table.

Let me tell you, it felt really good. Better yet, the food tasted really good.

Now that’s something to feel a large measure of gratitude for being able to do.

Now you know why I’m late with this post. I ate lunch. Sorry about that.

No. I’m not.

Heh.

There is nothing to this photograph other than that I like the subject matter.

There is little to no work done in post production. Mostly, I brightened and sharpened it a bit.

That’s it.

Stay safe. Stay strong. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Keep your distance. Get your jabs. Look after each other. Be patient. Enjoy a restaurant or two. They need us.


Let it rain.

More about the reckoning. I’m starting to poke around a little deeper. It started last night or early this morning when I awoke from a delicious dream.

It was about my newspaper days. For some reason the newspaper photo staff was made up of about everybody with whom I ever worked.

We were sidelined. The new, young staff was sent on assignment. They couldn’t complete it.

Some editor came back to the photo area to ask us to finish the assignment. Off we went, the pros from dover. The heavyweight veterans. Heh, heh.

Mostly, our hair was silver and our beards were white. Veterans, indeed.

It was some huge event, but I don’t remember what. I do remember that there was color exploding everywhere. It wasn’t violent. It was pretty and awe inspiring.

We divided up the coverage and came back with every possible picture. The young guys didn’t know what to think. We, the old guys, knew what to think.

All I can say is that it was very good seeing those guys again. Sheesh. Some of them had to come back from the grave. That was even better.

A few words about the picture since I completely ignored it in the left column.

I’m back to the project. I realized that I just couldn’t force it.

I always say to let the picture find you. I wasn’t doing that.

This time it did. It was so stealthy that I didn’t even realize that it did find me.

It took a review of work to actually see it.

When the picture really does find you, there is no need to overwork it.

It just is.

Even the little raindrops are nicely shaped.

Okay. Picture number three.


A late dinner.

Dining. In The French Quarter.

We don’t usually eat in the Quarter. Often many of the restaurants are geared to the tourist trade. But, some aren’t.

The cool thing about eating in a touristy place is that often a waiter will engage you. He or she will ask you where you are from. If you answer from here. They’ll ask you a couple of follow-up questions. Like where did you go to high school. Or, they’ll ask other more local flavored questions, just as part of a conversation. You might not know what they are doing. If they are satisfied, you’ll get the locals price. Usually 25% off your bill. You might even have your food cooked with a little more care.

I know, I know.

It doesn’t seem fair.  But, that’s New Orleans. We look after each other. The waiters know the food prices are a little higher in the Quarter, so they take care of folks who live here. In appreciation many locals add a tip that is based on the full price. I do. As I said, we take care of each other.

The picture. It is influenced by “Nighthawks at the Diner.” I’m pretty sure you’ve seen it. As I recall, I might have been looking for something like the picture. I found it. I made the picture quickly because the subjects won’t wait. One of the magical things about digital photography is that the sensor loves darks and shadows. I probably couldn’t have made the picture on film without a lot of work in the field.


Breakfast at the Clover Grill.

Sunday morning. In the French Quarter.

The tourists haven’t awakened yet. The only folks out are locals. Either they are getting ready for church. Or, they are getting ready to work. Or, they are just coming come from a long overnight shift somewhere in the Quarter.

Before they go where ever they are going, they stop for breakfast. At the Clover Grill. They can eat heartily. They can eat 24 hours a day. And, they can eat in a place that has been around for a long, long time. It’s one of those places where everybody knows your name. And, you’ll never know what will happen. I’ll leave it at that. If you ever go there I want you to be surprised.

Oh. You want to know where it is? Lower Bourbon Street. At Dumaine. On the corner. You can’t miss it.

The picture. One from the archives. When I first returned to New Orleans I used to go walking in the French Quarter on Sunday morning. The light was wonderful. There weren’t many people on the street. It wasn’t too hot, but I did have to deal with the early morning goopiness. Eventually, I stopped doing that in favor of photographing second lines. Because of the decline of the number of second lines, I may resume walking the Quarter on Sunday morning. We’ll see.

 


An old fashioned commercial coffee pot.
An old-fashioned commercial coffee pot.

It just must have been the day. A little weird. It seemed that in every blog, on every photography website and even the couple of paper magazines that I read, the main writer was talking about having to go someplace far away in order to take pictures. Or, being completely unprepared when they saw something that caught their attention.

Huh?

Pictures are everywhere. Sometimes, they are hidden in the details. Sometimes, they are hiding in common everyday sort of items. Like this commercial coffee pot. They are in your house. They are just outside your door. Everywhere.

All you have to do is look. And, see. And, react.

Of course that means carrying some kind of camera with you. Always. Or, at least most of the time. It’s pretty easy these days.You can make some pretty good pictures with the smart phone that never leaves your side.

Because?

The moment happens when it happens. Once it’s gone it’s lost. Maybe you can take a picture of something similar, but the light, the timing — the moment — that caught your eye in the first place is gone. Forever.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s up to you. Not everybody is driven to make pictures all the time. Not everybody wants to think about what they are seeing or the quality of light, or, or, or… But, you don’t have to travel a billion miles to some exotic location to take pictures. You don’t have to go on some kind of picture safari or walk about. Quite frankly, some of those kinds of pictures are so overshot that unless everything is perfect and you get really lucky, they are really boring. I think — “little pictures” — the ones of every day life or every day things are far more interesting. Especially if you put the same effort into them that you do with something exotic.

That’s it…

One more thing. Let that be a reminder to me.

 


Australia
Melbourne’s City Alleys

Australia
Melbourne’s City Alley

Sometime. Just when we are trying to get out-of-town and go work some place else for a few days, my email starts burning up. My text bell starts humming. My phone doesn’t ring. Nobody talks on the phone anymore. So. I had a bunch of client requests that had to be filled today. Couldn’t wait until I returned. One potential wanted picture of Melbourne Australia’s lane ways and alley ways. They are a major tour attraction. They also serve the people who work in the business district. For some reason, no other photographer’s seems to be interested in them. I liked them so much that I kept returning to them. I guess there are better places to work in Australia, but I’m an urban guy. I like little alleys and dives and bad cafes. But, what do I know?

The pictures. They were just made by photographing what I see. If there is a recognizable person or two in the picture, I ask them to sign a release. I added a little glow to the second picture. Mostly to hide its deficiencies. At any rate, my client loved these two frames. And, the deed was done. Then I got on an airplane where my government helped us out a lot… by making us two hours late. Where did those air traffic controllers go?  Oh yeah. They stayed home. They were furloughed.


New Orleans Color
Yellow9Ward-1

Remember the yellow picture? It’s posted on my Laskowitzpictures page on Facebook. A lot of readers have commented on it. Well. Many people think New Orleans really doesn’t change all that much. They think we are steeped in tradition.  In many ways we are. And, we probably would have remained remain that way. But, Hurricane Katrina changed things. A lot of things. Many people left. New people arrived. People started businesses. Some failed. Some prospered. Even though The Joint opened a few years before the storm, it became very successful after the storm. It grew so big that the owners found a much bigger building and moved. It is still located in The Bywater, which is also experiencing huge changes and growth. It’s those hipsters again.

Anyway. The bright yellow wall was painted bright blue. The funky, painted garden chairs became red and black kitchen chairs.

Everything changes. Even the little things. Even in New Orleans.