Looking into the blue.

Blue sky. Gentle white clouds.

This picture was made on the day of the “big” temperature drop. The changing weather was pushing the clouds from white puffy to whatever these are called. It looks like they were broken apart, stirred by some giant with a big spoon.

That’s how I see them.

I needed some kind of point of reference, so I added a parking lot light. Its leading lines re-enforce the direction in which your eyes move. Or, at least, in the direction I want your eyes to move. Up.

This is going to turn into a little political commentary. It won’t be a rant. But, you can stop now and enjoy the picture.

Our wise and stabile genius decided, on a whim and after a telephone call, to abandon our long time allies. The Kurds. They fought along side of U.S. troops for a long time. Almost a decade. By doing that, he put our troops in harms way. He allowed Turkish troops to brazenly kill Kurdish fighters and civilians. The Kurds, in order not to be slaughtered, made a deal with Syrian national forces. By the way, the Syrian government is supported by Russia.

From day to night in a weekend.

That’s the abridged version of the past week.

U.S. troops are cut off on every side. It’s likely they’ll have to be extracted by air. This, after being shelled by Turkish forces and being ordered to retreat.

Where I come from, you never leave anybody behind, including your allies. You return fire if you are being attacked for no reason. And, you make damn sure that you have the support to retreat in an orderly manner.

How did all this happen?

The U.S President who shall not be named made a gut decision. You know, the chosen one. He consulted no expert counsel. He relied on just his gut, which he says knows more than expert’s brains.

And, what a gut it is.

Fueled by a steady diet of fast food, it’s ballooned up to at least ten normal guts. It’s flabby, fat and flaccid. It doesn’t think. It just reacts.

Between this, and all the issues being investigated in congress, the steady rolling back of laws that protect us, and the denial of climate change, we — in the U.S. — live in hell right now.

In the old days, just three years ago, I didn’t think about the president on a daily basis. But, today there is the steady sound of boots on our ground. I hear trump, trump, trump.

Happy Monday.

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Crossing a railroad overpass.

Once again. A road and sky picture.

It’s not really what it seems. It looks like I am out on some distant road. Not really. I was running errands. I drove out to Jefferson Parish. I was getting ready to drive home. I realized that I was driving up and over a railroad bridge, which made a good picture. So, I sort of did a drive through.

I learned something.

A smart phone is much harder to brace and trigger than a more normal DSLR or Mirrorless DSLR. In an effort not to drive off the road or run into another car, most of the pictures are cockeyed, pointed to the wrong place, or have my fingers in them. Even this picture required a heavy crop because too much of my car was in it. If I knew how to do a one time bit of coding, I would have made this a panorama stretching across the top of the page.

Alas, along with my inability to paint, I also barely know the basics of coding. I know just enough to do more harm than good. I did make another version of the scene, with the car hood in the picture. But, it’s too psychedelic for even me.

The good news is that in the past few days of low autumn light and cooler weather, I’ve made a lot of interesting pictures. That’s how it goes. On some days you can’t see. On other days, you see everything.

The weather is even cooler today. But, I’m not around to make pictures.

That’s also how it goes.


Bookend.

Bookends.

I made this picture during the last dog walk of the day. Yesterday. I don’t usually chase sunsets. How could I not photograph this one? Admittedly, I used a small bag of tricks to enhance the clouds. It’s small because you have to be careful. While you are messing with the clouds the trees go wonky.

Here’s the real news of the day.

Pants. I wore pants for the first time since late April in New Orleans. The long promised, and longer awaited, cool front arrive last night. The sky is a little gray and leaden, but I’ll take it. The dogs loved it. I already went for two very long walks with them this morning. I haven’t seen them walk so fast since, well, April. When it’s hot for us, it’s hot for them.

How long, you ask?

The temperature will rise to the mid-eighties by Friday and then dip again, well below today’s weather for the weekend. This means I can finally work in comfort rather than dripping and cursing.

That’s the story from this land of swampy nod.

It’s a really big deal.


Sky fire.

Like magic.

That’s what it was. That’s how the sky lit up. It fooled me. Usually to have the sky catch fire, there must rain followed by light clouds. The sunlight hangs among the remaining clouds, its rays bouncing off of them and exploding in the sky.

Not this time.

There hasn’t been rain in over a month. Some of the northeastern parishes are already declaring a drought. I’ve been talking about the heat almost daily on Storyteller. No rain combined with heat means pretty boring sunsets.

Not last night.

Admittedly, I’ve enhanced the color among other things, but the light and color has to start from somewhere. There were even god rays which usually only come in a cloudy sky. They were so low and weak on the horizon line that I couldn’t get to a place to photograph them.

Something’s happening here.

And, it’s still hot.

I took whoever wanted to go for a walk out at around 8am. They’re smart dogs. They don’t like the heat anymore than their humans do. I passed one of my neighbors who said that it was much cooler today. I looked at him like he was crazy. 8am. 86 degrees. Of course it was cooler than 95 degrees. It was 8am. Sheesh.

They say.

A cold front should move in on Sunday night. On Monday we should have more normal weather for this time of year. This will be followed by a colder front which according to the weather people will drop the high temperatures down in the 70s and the lows in the middle 50s. You know what one of the Eagles sang… “that bubbled headed bleached blond who comes on at six.”

That’s how I feel. I don’t trust them. I wish I had a job like theirs. Get their brand of news wrong 90% of the time and be called a regional legend.

And so it goes.


Into the night.

This is what I saw.

A deep blue sky at just around dusk. I was lucky to make the picture. This is one of those times when a tripod might come in handy. In my own defense, I wasn’t expecting to see such a sight. So, I did what I could.

Dan Rather tweets and posts on Facebook. Yesterday, he said that the points of light in this dark time, are the arts. He talked about any of us who keep going. To keep making work. To continue to grow. I guess that I’m one of those artists to whom he was referring.

I never really think of myself that way. I suppose that you never do when you are in the midst of your work.

Speaking of photographer’s work, I’m in mourning today. Photographer and videographer Robert Frank passed yesterday at 94. Without him there would be no me. Without him, there would be none of the guys and ladies I came up with. Without him there would be no photojournalism as we know it today.

He turned the photography world on its head when he released his seminal work, “The Americans.” The self-congratulatory photographers, and a lot of photography critics at the time, thought his work was terrible. It was grainy, sometimes the horizons tilted, he made statements about America that weren’t so pretty. He told the story of the underclass.

Basically, his work was honest but it wasn’t pretty.

That’s what opened the door for a lot of us.

You know what Neil Young would say about that. He once famously said that, “when he was in the middle of the road he headed towards the gutter where things were a lot more interesting.”

Robert Frank embodied that.

May you rest in peace, Robert Frank.


Into the mystic.

Clouds.

I don’t usually photograph them, but I happened to look up and saw the most wonderful shapes. So, I did what I usually do and made a few pictures. I liked how fast they were moving across the sky. That’s hard to show using a still camera, so I just mostly concentrated¬† on what I originally attracted me to them and to their layers.

The way that I’m working these days is almost a picture a day. I make the picture one day and publish it the next. That was never my intent. It just seems to be working out that way.

That brings me to this.

Housekeeping.

I’m about to turn Storyteller into a full blown website with my blog incorporated into that. I’m going to use an outside template designed to replace WordPress template, which should give me more ability to do what I’d like. I found one company that I like a lot. I have a number of questions for them. If they are answered to my satisfaction, I’ll start on the project. There are two big questions.¬† One is about coding. The other is about building the site and how I lay it over Storyteller. It’s possible I could be out of service for a couple of days. I’ll let you know.

And, speaking of being out of service, I’m thinking of working on a picture per week schedule. In reviewing my work, I am repeating myself. And, I’m not making very substantial work. That isn’t to say I’ll only post once a week because I can share my out takes as well as the very best picture. I have to think that through. I’ll let you know about that too.

If all goes as planned, there will be a direct purchasing tab, leading the buyer to a place where images can be bought or licensed by size, with options for paper type, canvases and framing.

All of this will take some work, but I am free for awhile.

 

 


Dusk comes to what is now called The Shrine on Airline.

Ah, dusk.

The picture almost looks like it could have been made in France. It wasn’t. It was made at a park and baseball stadium now called, The Shrine on Airline.

To me and many others, we think that’s a stupid name. It is home for the next two weeks to a AAA baseball team, called The Baby Cakes. That has to be the stupidest name ever for a sports team. The name and the team branding was created by two 22 year old designers from San Diego. They spent a whole three days in New Orleans. They thought they knew us. Anywhere is more complex than that.

The name is sort of a shortened version of the baby that comes in a king cake. It doesn’t make sense in the way that they used it. There was a big commotion about it, but team management kept the name. The sold a lot of merchandise, which is what mattered to them. After all, who doesn’t love an evil little baby holding a baseball bat in traditional Mardi Gras colors?

In two weeks, the Baby Cakes last ever game will be played in Greater New Orleans. They are moving to Wichita, Kansas, where a $90 million dollar stadium is being built for them. The team owns the name so that may travel with them. Thankfully.

At this point there is no replacement for them. There are a lot of AA teams located in the Gulf Coast. Hopefully, one will come here. I hope so. The baseball quality will be better since that’s where the stars of tomorrow play, as opposed to AAA where the stars of yesterday are rehabbing or hoping to catch another shot at the “big show.”

See what comes out of a simple little picture. Hopefully, you just learned something. Or, not.

One more thing.

I’m a New York Yankee fan. I was born to be one. Their AA team is based in New Jersey. Maybe the parish can lure them down here,

They are called The Pork Rolls.


All in one picture.

I went back.

Just in case. I do that sometimes.

Here’s a pro tip for you. If you have the time, and if you are close to the place where you made a good picture once, go back. You never know what you’ll find the second time. Or, even the third time.

You’ll never make a perfect picture, because perfection is for angels. But, you might make a better picture than your first attempt. Or, at least it will be different. That’s what this picture is. Different.

When I finally start reviewing my summer time collection, I’ll compare them. I might even let you compare them. You know. The so-called wisdom of the crowd. Storyteller and Laskowitzpictures, LLC isn’t quite that democratic, but I do listen. Because. You never know.

Anyway.

The picture. Like the first version of this scene, I stuck my lens into the scene as I saw it. The sun is a big part of the scene. They — whoever they is — say that you shouldn’t do this. I did it. I do it often. I’m still alive. So are the cameras and lenses.¬† Not doing this is just cheating yourself out of a potentially good picture.

That’s what I think. What do you think?


Summer picture number four.

Painted sky.

A particular kind of summer sky. If you aren’t looking up, it’s likely that you’ll miss it. If you don’t see light, and color, it’s like that you won’t get it.

I was talking to a somebody that I know a little. I was describing what I saw. She looked at me with a quizzical look on her face. It came down to, “Oh yeah. you’re a photographer.” But, she didn’t see it. No dramatic light. No golden color.

I did.

That’s what separates us for so many others. Us? Visual artists. We see a little differently. We feel a little differently. We see and feel with more than our eyes. We see with our brains. We feel with our hearts. With our souls.

With any luck this picture is good enough to capture what I saw. What I felt.

I feel good about this picture. It’s simple. It might be good enough to be part of my summer series.¬† Then again…