Into the light.

Finally. Fall.

A look at morning image made as the sun peeks through the golden leaves of Autumn. As a wise man once said, “If you want better pictures, stand in front of better stuff.” That is so true. I would add to that, have some patience. Wait for the light you want, no matter how long it takes.

I once worked with a former National Geographic Society photographer who was known for his desert work. His trick was to get to the place where he wanted to work. And wait. And wait. And wait. For days. Sometimes weeks. For the light he wanted. He reckoned that since you can’t control nature, you might as well control yourself.

There is another approach. Know the place in which you are working. Make yourself available for the light and whatever else you want in the picture. The first time I thought about that was during my days in Hong Kong. At the time, as a western expat, I made one of the best collections of pictures in a foreign place. It wasn’t due to extraordinary skill. It was due to just being there. When I think back to that time, I realize that I wasted a lot of precious moments.

I try not to be so wasteful now. Even when I’m not working for a client I try to be photographically productive. Hopefully it shows in the work that you see.

The picture. You know what I did. F8 and be there. I didn’t do so much in post production because I made most of the picture in camera. I darken, sharpened, and brought the color out a little. Nature did the rest.

One more thing. I posted the black and white version of this picture on Instagram. If you want to see that version, please follow me there.

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Shining brightly.

Morning light.

So bright. So pretty. I don’t photograph enough of it. Lately, in an attempt to beat the heat I drag myself out of bed early. Early enough to see low light. Golden light.

In Southeastern Louisiana, and most of the south, the heat just won’t break. We are ten to fifteen degrees higher than normal. But, if I’m reading the weather reports correctly, most of the country is too hot.

Is climate change a thing?

Certainly. And, most of the people who could make a difference are ignoring, or are attacking the scientists who are telling us that time is at hand. Most of the climate deniers are grumpy old men. They don’t care. They’ll be dead before the most extreme changes occur. Don’t they care about their children? Their families? Their friends’ families?

We all gotta go sometime. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to leave something good behind. I’m not even going to get started on our current presidential administration except to ask, how the hell can they roll back clean water standards? The biggest wars of the rest of this century will be fought, not over oil, but over clean drinking water. And, they want to poison ours.

And, this was gonna be a happy Friday post.

Ha!

The picture. You know when I made it. You know why I made it. But, you don’t know what I did. I actually used the same post production settings that I used on yesterday’s picture. And, then I brought the color down in order to make my statement.

Happy weekend.


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?


Spring skies.

I looked up.

I liked the sky. It needed a subject. I framed that lone tree into the picture. I never saw the sun. I knew it was there because of the bright highlight in picture. But, the sun didn’t show up in the LCD.

When I developed the image, there it was. A little, tiny circle in the highlight. I helped it a little by toning down the highlight. That’s it.

I was lucky. The sensor saw what I couldn’t. It’s very hard to use a LCD in very bright sunlight. That’s why I mostly use the eyepiece.

I could tell you that I’m a cynical guy. That I always try to look beyond false truths.

Not today.

I’ll save that kind of post for the weekdays.

Instead, I’ll look at a book that just arrived. Not a photo book. A children’s book. Written by Julian Lennon. The oldest son of the late John Lennon. I bought it through his sales agent. Jules signed it.

How cool is that?


No rain. No wind.

They said.

They said it as late as last night’s 6 pm news. They said a hurricane was coming. They said a tropical storm was coming. They all lied. At least they did that late in the day. When anybody could log into NOAA, the national weather service, and see nothing was coming.

No rain. No wind. Not a drop. Not a breeze.

For the weather folks on all the local channels it’s about market share. They howl. They scream. They scare people. For bigger ad revenue. You wonder why the guy in The White Houses whines so much about fake news. This is a perfect reason. And, it’s getting worse everywhere.

They used to say in the HAM Radio world, “all noise, no signal.” Back then it meant all they could get was static and couldn’t find a clear signal to communicate. The internet latched onto that saying a few years ago. With all sorts of social media to compete with traditional mainstream news sources, it ‘s gotten much worse. It’s gotten to the point that everybody has to scream in order to be heard.

And, nobody is heard.

But.

Nike and Colin Kaepernick did an end run. One advertisement. No words from Kaepernick except retweets. Silence. Golden silence. And, the whole world is listening. Some people are destroying their clothes. How silly. Some people are burning their shoes. I just hope they aren’t wearing them while they do that. Other people, like me, think it’s great. Since Nike provides NFL uniforms, they put them back on their heels by taking a stand. A strong stand.

My point isn’t about the rightness or wrongness of Nike’s or Kaepernick’s actions. My point is that he and they broke through all the noise. They were quiet.

Maybe we should take a lesson from that.

The picture. Clear, wonderful skies. Just like last night, just like this morning.

One more thing. I am not saying we shouldn’t talk when we have something to say. Absolutely talk. Don’t be silent about what matters to you or to me.

And, yet another thing. Make no mistake. I’m grateful that nothing happened here. Where the tropical storm did land, a child was killed in a mobile home. I’m very sorry for that. Even then, I’m happy that was the extent. It could have been a large number of deaths. Think Puerto Rico. Think Hurricane Katrina. Yes. I’m very grateful.

I’ll shut up now. It’s time to listen to my own words.

 


Heading into New Orleans.

I used to do this a lot.

I’d brace my camera on the dashboard of the car, set everything to auto and let the camera do its thing. The only part of my that ever touched the camera was one finger. The one I used to push the shutter release button. I didn’t even look where the camera was pointed. I was focused on driving and the traffic around me.

It came to a natural end. I guess I got bored with it. No. I didn’t get in an accident. I didn’t hurt someone. Boredom just set in.

But, this picture.

Whew.

Talk about luck. Photographers luck. Now If I can just find the original file. It’s attached to some event that I photographed. I’m thinking it was a commercial second line in The French Quarter.  Neighborhood second lines and Indian events don’t usually happen after dark.

We’ll see. As I plow through my journey through the past.


In the summertime.

I’m trying to make ten great summertime pictures. This could be one of those pictures.

It speaks to me about the hot sun, the wild plants growing along fences, buildings and up and over anything that has been abandoned. We don’t really have Kudzu down here in the swamp. But, just about everything grows.

For me, all this picture really is, is a good start. It means that I got outside and had a look around. Summer says and means a lot more to me that just wild plants reaching toward the sky. That’s one thing, but it’s easily replaceable by a better picture. The best thing about our summers — and there isn’t much — is that they last so long. Almost six months. That gives me a little time. Or, I can do what i usually do, and waste a lot of it.

The picture. It’s a dog walk picture. But, she didn’t see this. It’s a good six feet above her head. I saw it. But, if truth be told I was just grumbling about the sun in my eyes. Eventually, my brain clicked in. Oh yeah. That.


Sun on a sunny Sunday.

The big storm came and went.

The winds were strong. So was the rain. The meeting of cold and warm air was violent. Thunder. Lightning. The skies got very dark and rain fell for about 12 hours, from about 11 am until 11 pm. Sometimes it fell in sheets. Other times, it fell sideways. Most of the time, it was just steady. We got, as they say, a good soaking.

I suppose that the water pumps in two parishes were working fine. Although there was some minor local flooding, there was nothing like the floods of last summer. Local flooding is normal. After all, we sort of live in a bowl.

When storms pass through at this time of the year they leave good, clean cool air in their wake. The temperature dropped by about 20 degrees. The morning is glorious.

This picture is the result of nature’s handiwork. A few remaining clouds early in the day and then… wowie-zowie. Wonderful light. You are seeing the result. Oh sure. I helped it along some. But, only enough for you to catch the feeling.

Enjoy it.


And then the sun…

Low winter light. It’s powerful, clean and almost explosive at the ends of the day. Especially if the cloud cover is broken or there are almost clear skies. I got lucky last week. After a day of rain, the sun broke through at just about dusk.

Man, did it break through. It was powerful. It was golden. It was contrasty. Deep, rich shadows were everywhere. My kind of light. The kind of light we rarely see in Southeast Louisiana.

When we were exiled to New Mexico after the storm, I saw this kind of light almost every day. Many New Mexico-based photographers never bothered with it. It was too common. But, when there was rain or snow in the forecast you’d see us scrambling around photographing everything in sight.

Sometimes, we didn’t.

It was too cold. Or, wet. Or, hot. Or, something.

So many missed opportunities.

That’s probably the moral of this story. Time is short. Even if you are young and think you have years and years and years to go. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’ll get sick. Or, your parts will start to age early. Or, something violent may happen. Or, or, or…

This all started with a couple of comments and replies with another blogger. She was talking about not going out in the rain and wet, mostly to protect her gear. Gear is protectable and replaceable. Pictures only happen when they appear in front of you. Yes. You might soak a camera. Usually, you can dry them out with the old “gear in a bowl of rice” trick. If that fails, you can probably declare it scrap and buy something newer and better. If you are going dry it out, just do it quickly before moisture can seep into the circuitry. Then the camera is done.

You? You’ll just get wet. My hair is really soft after it’s been rain soaked. Ha, ha, ha.

The picture. See it and react. You’re going to get tired of me saying a version of that. Like F8 and be there. Or, see it and press the button. As I said to another blogger, I love baseball. A batter practices and practices until swinging at the ball is a reaction without a thought process. Same thing with making pictures on the street. When you see it, photograph it. No second guessing. No trying (You know what Yoda said about that). No self editing in your head.

Just take the picture.

Oh, about camera settings prior to “just taking the picture.” If you must, go to auto everything. Remember that the camera will take a little time to think as it tries to focus. You are faster than the camera. If you learn  a little about light you can pre-set your shutter speed and aperture depending what you are trying to do. I can discuss this further if you’d like.

Have a great week.