New Orleans is full of churches. All kinds of churches. But, mainly Catholic churches. Many of them have been closed, or are for sale. As the population of the city declined there is no need for so many churches. Then, along came Katrina and the population dropped substantially. So, even more churches were closed. They are all maintained and look pretty good. As you know, I like to poke around old and abandoned things. I was wandering around and I found this one. It is St. Mary’s Assumption Church. It was built in 1860, for a growing German population in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans, across the street from St. Alphonsus Church which was built the same time for a swelling Irish Population. Sheesh. These people never get together. St. Mary’s Assumption was damaged by Hurricane Betsy and almost torn down and more heavily damaged by Katrina. Yet, it still stands. As an aside, writer Anne Rice renewed her wedding vows there. And, after I “discovered” this place, I was talking with a friend’s father who told me that this was his family’s church and that he attended school there.
A note about my discoveries. I find places that have been around for decades or centuries. I think I’ve actually found some unknown thing. Silly me.
So. The picture. It was a pretty simple exposure on which I used a lot of post production tools. Which ones. I forget. Hard to keep these things straight.
Or. Something like that. This picture was made at night. The Garden District, especially at night, has a very spooky look and feel to it. You can just feel the ghostly presence. It should. And, you should. It is a very old area in a city that is very old in itself. Many of the old mansions are crumbling. Some are not. Before Anne Rice fled to San Diego, she lived in the Garden District. Now she wants to come back. She misses the ghosts. When they are in town, John Goodman and Sandra Bullock live within a few blocks of each other. They are spooky. Don’t you think?
This is an old carriage house. The mansion to which it belongs is huge. Given the state of the carriage house, I’m pretty sure this is one of those old mansions that is grand in name only. In New Orleans, and I suppose in plenty of other cities, once-monied families hold onto to their family property even though they no longer have the money to maintain it properly. I know it happens with more blue-collar families, since there are over 65,000 abandoned and blighted homes in the city But. That’s a whole other story.
At night. Hand held — not a great idea. But, sort of accidental. Post production done to bring the brightly-colored image back into something that speaks to the real scene. Run down. Eerie. Decrepit.
Well. An orange shirt anyway. This is an image from a second line parade in Central City. It was a big one. Six divisions. Stretched for blocks. Big enough that even The Rebirth Brass Band Marched. Sheesh. They won a Grammy last year. But. These things are very special. And, very, very traditional. For me, I suppose everybody is getting used to me and how I work. I like to work close. Up close and personal. With wide lenses. How close? The man in this picture stumbled. He steadied himself by placing his hand on my shoulder. They used to push me out-of-the-way. That is their right. Now, they help me out. That is also their right.
Well. It may be a tuba. But, that’s not the point. The point for me, at least , is the reflection in the brass of the tuba. I saw this at a second line parade in Central City. I’d like to say that I was lucky to see this, but I was very much in the moment on that day. I try for that on many occasions. But, it rarely happens. In fact, I’ve long come to realize that you cannot try. You can only be. What is it that Yoda said? “You cannot try, or not try.” ” You can only do.” So, Yoda was a Zen believer. I guess. Anyway, I saw everything on that day. Time did not standstill. But, it did slow down. A lot. The pictures were very simple to make at that point.
Post Production. I guess you can figure out that I didn’t have to do very much. I did tone down the background because I wanted to emphasize the reflection. But, I didn’t want it to disappear because that set the place.
When it rains around here, we often get some very pretty light as the clouds break and the sun peaks through the remaining clouds. Yes. The light is pretty. But, not as pretty as it is in — oh, say — New Mexico. But, that’s a whole other story. A better story is this one. Although I very rarely get lost, I completely misplaced my favorite street in New Orleans. Yeah. I know. Probably early onset something or other. But, this is amazing. Even to me. There is an old section of New Orleans that was once a heavy warehouse district. But, not THE warehouse district. For the most part, it stands alone and forgotten. One of the streets is still paved in cobblestones. The buildings on either side of it are made of brick. For the longest time, I was convinced that the cobblestones had been torn out and replaced by concrete. Well. That didn’t happen. The street moved. Well. That didn’t happen either. I just completely missed my mark. The cobblestone street is still there. The only thing that has changed is that someone either lives or works in a building I thought was abandoned and the brick building on the other side of the street is being restored. Slowly.
Anyway. Here’s the picture. It’s pretty much f8 and be there. Very little post production. I didn’t need to do that. Nature did that.
Ah yes. One night in The French Quarter.One night on Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street. The street where music never stops. The girls always beckon. If you pay for them. The place where beer and alcohol flows like water. It smells like it. The place where a lot of people show their true selves. It is probably my least favorite street in The Quarter. But, I go there. Sometimes. Looking for pictures. Like this one. Not much to it. See the picture. Point the camera. Press the button. Shoot.
This picture is a rare look at I-10 with no traffic as you enter the city. Normally, I’d write this off as dumb luck, but it’ was really about 8am on a Sunday morning when people are either getting ready for church or getting ready for NFL football. Me? I was taking advantage of a beautiful, but very hot day, to work a little in the French Quarter. Hoping on and off the interstate is one way to move around quickly… when there isn’t much traffic. Oh yeah. The picture is just another former of my “drive by” working style.
Yesterday, I wrote a little about Freret Street and its relationship to Central City. I thought I’d give you all a quick look at the street and some of the things that you can see there. It’s an overview and I’m sure I’ve missed something that somebody might think is important, but these kinds of shoots are always a work in progress.
Sometimes when I photograph events I use them to document more than the event itself. I look for little slices of life that might — I emphasize that — tell me something about the people who are taking part in the vent, or the location or just something about the parade, or second line, or… whatever. Usually, it’s nothing more than a fleeting moment. Since I can’t be everywhere, this usually works best if I let the subject come to me. I tend to see better. I’m not worried about tripping over someone or something.
So. This picture was made at a second line parade in Central City. Yeah. I know. Where else? The man in the hat is part of a band. He happened to see a friend — the man in the foreground — and they were talking.
Technically? The usual. F8 and be there. A little post production work in Snapseed on my i-Pad. I’m really starting to like that method of post. It’s portable and as long as it’s for web work or something very small., it entirely appropriate. Now that Google bought Nik, who makes Snapseed, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.