Night magic. Tree shimmering at night.

S

ometimes, I talk about experimental pictures. Mostly that just means I’ve done something odd in post production.

Not this time.

I wanted to learn something about my smartphone camera at night. How would it hold up from a proper exposure standpoint? What would happen to the color? Would the image remain sharp enough.

The exposure is fine. The color is distorted because of night light reflecting off of almost everything. It is plenty sharp.

Then, I set out to tinker with it. I pulled the color this way and that. I sharpened it to the point that the leaves look like little sparkling blobs. The sky turned purple.

I’m not sure what I think. I’d like to know what you think.

What do you think?


Sunlight sparkling at dusk.

T

his almost didn’t happen. I had so many problems rebooting and reinstalling software that I was about to give up. For instance, OnOne took just one hour and fifteen minutes to load. I have no idea why. Most everything else loaded in a reasonable amount of time. But, there was a lot of it.

That said, I really wanted to publish this photograph. It’s fall personified. I needed to show it. You needed to see it.

And, that’s all.


Like little sparkling jewels. 

After a hard rain.

The jewels of nature. Sparkling like they have their own light source. Laying on wet pavement for all to see.

We are at that weird point of summer merging into autumn. It is very hot. The light is getting low and golden. Leaves are starting to fall. A leaf fell on the all seeing dog. She shook it off and barked at it. How dare that leaf invade her space.

You see pretty little scenes like this one. Wet pavement. Wet bits of flowers. Wet leaves. The scene turns sort of magical. If you have eyes that see. Really see. Or, if you have an imagination to take you away from the mundane.

The picture. Wet pavement and brightly colored bits of nature make for a very nice picture. A little work in post production to tune things up a bit and away you go.

Housekeeping.

I spent the better part of yesterday working on my new and improved website. There were a number of technical difficulties that were mostly caused by unique terminology. The basic format is done and there are some pictures, mostly older ones. I invite you to come see for your self at http://www.laskowitzpictures.com


Glowing after the rain.

Storm, after storm, after storm.

That’s what you get down here. The rainy season. Like many tropical or semi-tropical places, summer is the wet season. And, the most humid season. Oh yeah. It’s also hurricane season.

I’ll worry about that later.

For right now, it means a lot of chances to photograph wet stuff. Sparkling stuff. Glowing stuff. Brightly colored stuff. It’s nature’s way of using an old photographer’s trick. If you want something to shimmer and shine, wet it down. If you want reflections where there are none let the water pool and shoot into it. For movies you may see whole city blocks soaked so that light bounces off of the pavement.

Me? These days I’m lazy. I’ll just nature do the work. And chase the water and, most of all, the light. That’s what I did here. Then, I layered three pictures. Many people think that those little white flowers look like ghosts. At least they did on the bridge picture. Okay. Now, you have a lot of ghosts.


Another springtime look.
Another springtime look.

Another lazy picture. Made at the edge of our garden. In late afternoon, but not as the sun is setting. A little before that.

Let’s all just look at the subject matter. It’s a nice, peaceful Sunday picture. That’s all it is. And, that’s what I intended.

Photo lesson coming. You can stop right here and ignore it if you wish.

Let’s forget about the so-called bokeh. It is an overused word that just means the out of focus background. Yes. There is a certain kind of quality to it. It can be smoother and creamier depending on the lens construction, the F stop and the length of the lens. It can also get pretty ragged depending on your skill level with the camera and the lens.

In any case, it’s not the defining quality of this or any picture.

I also just read that, “rules are made to be broken.” Yes, they are. I break them all the time. I’ve made a career out of breaking them. A long career. Almost 45 years long.

But you know what?

In order to break the rules, you have to know what the rules are. You have to be able to duplicate the results of your experiment.  If you are going to make a career out of photography, you have to understand one overarching rule.

This.

No matter what clients think about your portfolio, they really and truly hate luck. They want to know that you can do the job in a somewhat predictable fashion. They don’t like surprises. They don’t like jumping through hoops to make your image be reproducible on their project. And, they really, really hate reshoots.

Even now, I still follow one rule that an old photo department boss taught me. It’s fine to experiment, and to take chances. But, always shoot one for you and one for them. Let them choose.

Have a good Sunday. Try not to worry about the bokeh.


Beads on Trees-1
And, you thought that it was just money that grew on trees.

While I was out and about chasing Mardi Gras Indians and rolling food trucks, I came to lower St. Charles Avenue and saw trees drenched in beads. While I was making pictures, a little girl walked by with her mom. I told them these are Mardi Gras Bead Trees and the beads were being grown for next years Mardi Gras. So, now I can tell all of you, dear readers, Mardi Gras beads grow on trees… just like money.

The picture. Pretty much point and shoot. I just had to wander around and find an angle that would catch the right light. I can’t imagine what I looked like walking around — no, make that stumbling around — looking up and pointing my lens skyward.

By the way, the little girl was maybe three years old. She thought that beads growing on trees was great. Just like Santa Claus coming down the chimney with gifts or the Easter Bunny leaving colored eggs, chocolate and stuffed animals. I made her day. I’m glad I made someone’s day. I also made her mom laugh.


If you ever happen to find yourself in Tokyo and you’ve come from the west, you will probably wake up very early because of dateline and jet lag issues. The thing to do is to head to the to the Tsukiji Fish Market. It is the biggest wholesale market in the world. But, you have to get there early. If you get their much later than about 5 am, most of the fish will be sold and on their way to every kind of restaurant. I know what you’re thinking. “How can I get up at maybe 4 am to get there by 5 am?” Don’t worry. Your body won’t let you sleep. Your mind and body will think that it’s about 3pm and will get you moving. Getting out that early is worth it. It’s an amazing place. But, that’s not all. Since your body thinks it’s maybe close to dinner time, it won’t mind you eating sushi for breakfast. And, what sushi it is. Big giant baseball sized pieces of sushi, as fresh as you could ever dream of. How could it not be? The restaurant sushi chefs walked across the street and bought it ten minutes after the boats docked. If you drink beer — I gave it up years ago — you order a giant, liter-sized Sapporo and enjoy your meal. One problem. I’ve been going there for maybe 20 years. When I first started that sort of ritual, it was me and a bunch of Japanese fisherman. No waiting. You walked in and sat at the bar and ordered. Now, there is a line of Western tourists out the door… from Omaha, or Ann Arbor or some place. It’s gone from no waiting to waiting forever. Oh well. Call some place paradise. Kiss it goodbye. 


So. I was in a little store on Magazine Street in New Orleans with a friend of mine while she was searching for a belated Mother’s day gift when I spotted these colorful little bracelets hanging on a little tree. They come in all sorts of bright colors. You know me and bright colors.  I asked for, and received, permission to take a few pictures So, I did. Armed only with a Canon G11  (I blew up my original G9), I made this picture using the macro function. The owner was impressed. I guess that made up for my friend’s snarky reply when she was asked why she wasn’t interested in a particular item. Oh yeah. What was her reply? It was straight and to the point. “I don’t like it.” There you have it.