Finally. More color. This is a strange little place. It’s been a bar, a restaurant and now a florist shop. The front is okay. But the back is so New Orleans that I photograph it almost every time I pass by. Since it’s located in my neighborhood — sort of — I can walk to it. Then I can stop for flowers, or if I keep walking, a meal or ten and… wait for it… coffee.
The picture was made near dusk. I helped the colors a little bit because the camera’s sensor just couldn’t match the real thing.
A little housekeeping. I’m going to take about a week break from posting. Nothing big really. I’m transporting a four-month old Yorkie puppy to my friends in Michigan. It’s really only about a two-day drive, but I want to get him to his new home as quickly as possible. Riding in a car all day is no place for a puppy. But, on the way back I’ll take my time and make some road pictures, some winter pictures and some pictures of different junk. Normally, I do this sort of thing very seamlessly and I never say a word. When we were touring so hard, I’d come home on our breaks and work hard in New Orleans so that I could position myself as a New Orleans photographer. Whatever I photographed on the road was used for different projects or posted here later.
Not this time. I want to care good care of the puppy and just work on making pictures without rushing back to my motel to process and post something. I might make a few iPhone pictures and maybe I’ll post those, but that’s about it.
I’ll see you in about a week. Have fun.
So this is a Mardi Gras picture… and it isn’t. When I work, I like to know the lay of the land. Or, at least where the good coffee houses are located. This place is a little tiny four table hole in the wall, but I really enjoyed it. It is located on St. Charles Avenue right where the parades get started, so it was very convenient for me. After two trips there, this guy knew my drink and had it ready by the time I got to the counter. We talked a bit so he knew that I was working and needed to refuel every so often. The really great thing about all of the coffee shops and coffee houses is 90% of the people going inside to get something to drink are going into bars. You can figure out why for someone like me who just wants coffee. No lines. Or, if there is a line it’s two people long. More importantly, friendly people.
So. This picture. I photograph just about everything. I thought this moment might make a good picture so I just pushed the button a couple of times. He looked up and smiled. When things finally settle down, I’ll make a couple of prints and top them by his shop. Oh. Usually I work for bright, energetic colors. I thought that I would tone things back a bit in this image.
A little housekeeping. I’ve had a couple of folks say that they’d like to see more Mardi Gras images. I’m not ignoring that. But, I need to move on a little just to keep myself engaged. So, here’s my plan. I’m going to do all the post production on all of the pictures I made over the last three weeks. I’m sure that by now you’ve figured out that I was cherry picking my own images to give you something to look at as Carnival Season rolled on. When I finish that, I’ll post a comprehensive overall look at my work from Mardi Gras. I’m thinking that will happen in about a month. There is a way to post a portfolio of pictures via WordPress. I’ll figure that out and that’s what I’ll use.
Until, then I’ll post a mix of my usual kinds of work. I think and hope that you’ll like it.
So. This picture. I had to run errands into Jefferson Parish during Carnival Season. I like taking the kind of country road called River Road. I’ve written about it in the past. It runs along both sides of The Mississippi River. When it isn’t jammed up with rush hour commuter traffic, it’s a wonderful drive. So, as I often do, I made this picture on the way to some place else. We’ve had an unusually cold winter… not as cold as many places have had to suffer through, but cold for us. I kind of thought that between the bare tress, cloudy skies and my heavy post production that I made a symbol for how we have been feeling. In case you are wondering, the grass that leads up to the trees is one of our infamous levees. These didn’t break during Hurricane Katrina.
First. I think this is about it. I had a really good shoot over the past three weeks. I made more pictures than any of my agencies can ever handle. I probably could turn Storyteller into a Mardi Gras blog. But, you’d get bored. I’d bore myself. That’s just how many pictures I made. I made so many images that I had to clean out my computer’s hard drive. I think I produced something like 500 gigs. That’s a whole lot of pictures, even for me. I’m afraid to know what I did to my external hard drives and cloud storage. This may cost me some money.
Let me know if you want to see more Carnival pictures. But, if I don’t hear from you, I think it’s time to move on. Besides. There’s the huge St. Patrick’s Day parade coming up in just ten days. Yeah, yeah. I hear you. Around here, we never stop. Then, just to stay in practice, there’s French Quarter Fest in early April and Jazzfest in April and May.
These pictures. We have a whole lot of what I’ll call sub-krewes in the city. The represent all sorts of neighborhoods. I suppose you could almost call them a third line parade. They are walking parades. They are usually very casually organized and they sort of fill in the gaps. Most of the people who participate in them are very well masked and costumed. They have a great time. Usually. This year, with temperatures just over 30 degrees with rain and sleet, it was a little more work than most years. A lot of people left very early.
Here we go.
The top picture. Unlike the Krewe of Zulu, there is no elegance here. The guy in the polka dots suit is the parade leader. I’m not sure whether he is the grand marshal, the captain or just some guy they ran into on the street. But, he did a good job.
“Everybody is happy…” Well, she certainly was. I started to photograph her when my camera battery died. One thing about these little Sonys that I like to work with so much… they are battery hogs. I always have spares. She waited while I changed the battery and continued to blow kisses at the camera. Mardi Gras.
“Hey buddy…” She liked his nose, er, beak. I almost passed them by, but I caught the motion of her gloved hand and did my sort of point and shoot thing.
“Keeping the beat…” This woman with the old leather drum walked the entire length of the parade never once missing the beat. She had help from a guy with a snare drum, but she keep the parade marching.
“A friend…” This woman. I don’t know her. I don’t know her name. But, come Fat Tuesday we always run into each other. This has been going on for four years with the exception of last year when I was in Australia. She always has a huge smile for me. This may not be the most iconic picture that I could post. But, this is what Mardi Gras is for locals. It’s a chance to visit with friends and family. Even friends whose names we don’t know. And, only see once a year.
“Hey mister…” This is kind of funny. The paraders throw beads up onto the balconies. The people on the balconies throw beads down on the paraders. Seems like a fair exchange.
That’s it. Mardi Gras 2014.
Someone once told me that the Krewe of Zulu is the heart and soul of Mardi Gras. After yesterday morning, I’m pretty sure that’s right. Let me first say, that I’ve never been to the start of the parade. I had lots of reasons for that. Mostly, they were just excuses. It starts too early. There won’t be any parking. It’ll be too cold. It’ll be too hot. I’m not sure about the neighborhood. All excuses. It starts at 8 am. You really need to be there somewhere around 6ish to find parking. Big deal. . Cold? Well, yes. It was 31 degrees at parade start time. But, that’s very weird, especially for March. And, the neighborhood? Sheesh, I’ve been working there for the better part of two years and I like it just fine. So we went…
I was going to publish a lot of pictures. But, I’m a little carnival hung over. No. I don’t drink. I did . Years ago. But, that’s a whole other story. It’s just after working for pretty much two weeks straight with a short break here and there, I’m in recovery mood. I’m tired. And, I think that I’ve stretched my photography gear as far as I can. I completely filled up my computer’s hard drive so much so that I had to clean up everything last night. I couldn’t download more pictures if I didn’t.
So. I offer you one picture. A picture that seems to capture the sense of Zulu in one frame. Not to worry. There will be more. Lots more.
Monday was Lundi Gras. The day before Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. For those of us who live in New Orleans, it’s sort of a day to prepare for the final and biggest day. For me, that meant wandering around The French Quarter photographing whatever I saw. I went to Waldenburg Park which runs along the Mississippi River to listen to some local brass bands. Then I sort of gave up. It was very cold and the wind was blowing off the river. There were two more Uptown parades, but I gave them a pass. I’m sort of preparing my mind and body for a long day tomorrow. It could run from 8am until midnight. But, it’s likely I’ll give up well before that.
I’m hoping that I can actually wake up early enough to photograph the Krewe of Zulu. Their parade starts at 8am in Central City. I sort of need those pictures for my long form project, but in order to actually find a parking place and walk around I should wake up by about 5:30am. For me… that’s a miracle. But, I’ll give it a shot and if not I may be able to catch them before the roll into the heart of the city. After all, this is probably the heart and soul of Mardi Gras.
These pictures. They are mostly just things I saw today. There is a mask show and sales area in The French Market. I was surprised to find many masks this late in carnival season, but there were people shopping and buying. That’s good. You know what the other two pictures are. I just found it sort of funny to watch seemingly sober adults fight over cheap plastic beads thrown from a balcony in The Quarter. They could have at least gotten out The Quarter and made their way to a parade where it really is fun to ask for beads. What do I know? Many people think the The French Quarter is New Orleans. They make their way to their hotel from the airport and never leave a ten by sixteen block area. Often, when people come here the first thing I tell them is to get out of The French Quarter. There’s nothing wrong with it. But, New Orleans is so much more.
Today’s post is made up of odds and ends. I photographed these folks throughout the two weeks of Mardi Gras parades. There are a couple of days left. Well, two days to be exact. So, it’s time to show you some of the people and things that I saw. I’ll be editing and processing pictures for the next couple of weeks so you’ll see at lot of them… eventually.
As much as I enjoyed working in a wet darkroom and I like digital processing, the amount of images I’ve made over the past couple weeks is astounding. I’m not even sure what the count will be when I finish. Editing and processing that volume of work is just grueling. My back and shoulders ache. My head hurts. And, I’m always unsure of the edit. You know. What if I picked the wrong picture? What if I overworked it? What if? What if?
At the end of the day, I just do it and use my most basic instincts. That usually works. Let the picture find me. Stuff like that. I just remember one thing. Two things. It’s about the people. It’s about the moments.
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I'm a woman in my 40's and finally feeling that I know who I am and why I am, I would like to share the shadows from my life. Having got here fairly intact and along the way found the ability to take a step back and see things more clearly it is my hope that perhaps by blogging I may help others through their own dark places.
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