New Mexican Roads

W

owzer! WordPress fixed the things that they broke. I have captions and I don’t have to do a work around just to use columns and paragraphs.

I have other stuff to say, but I’m excited. It’s the little things, you know?

If it seems like I’m publishing a lot of road pictures, you’re right. But, that’s what I did in New Mexico. I traveled around, learning about the state and making pictures. I also learned about the people and enjoyed a lot of wonderful food.

It’s odd. I really like Northern New Mexican food, which is kin to Mexican or Tex-Mex food, but nowhere near the same. I cannot say the same for New Orleans food. The only time that we eat it is when out of town guests come for a visit and they want to sample New Orleans food.

That’s not quite true. I like a restaurant called Mandina’s which is Northern Italian – Creole. It’s not fancy and yet you can see the city’s moves and shakers.

I really like taking guests there because we can tour. We walk up our street to the green streetcars, ride along St. Charles and transfer at Canal Street to the red streetcars. Get off in front of the restaurant.

Our guests love it. They get to ride our famous streetcars, they get to see parts of the city the they might not normally see. They get real locals food. And, if they want, instead of transferring at Canal Street, we can get off and walk around the Quarter.

They wonder, what’s not to like?

My guests learned what’s not to like, one night when we returned home. The lawn was flooded up to our porch. WTF?

Turns out a water main broke in the middle of the street. By the time the city came to repair it, there was a lake that stretched for about two blocks. This happens a lot in the city.

Yeah.

What’s not to like?

T

here’s not very much to talk about from a technical standpoint.

The most important take away, is to think about reworking your pictures every now and then.

As much as I liked the perspective and compression, the picture never really never did it for me.

After tinkering with a few day ago, I finally figured out the problem.

The picture was too light.

I made it on a cold winter day. It didn’t feel that way.

I darkened it, added colors of winter and I like the picture way more than I did.

One more thing about this picture. It doesn’t look like what you think of when you think of New Mexico does it?

When you drive east of the Sandia or Sangre de Christo Mountains, the land starts to flatten out as it makes its way into western Colorado.

It looks like what it is. High plains and farm land as you leave the high desert.

Can you guess which way the mountains are?


Crosses and barns.
Crosses and barns.

Yesterday. Strange day. We needed to work. We are in mourning for a friend who passed rather unexpectantly. So, it was one of those the work is the prayer days. We did part of the work at home and hit the road. I just wanted to be in the country. Luckily for New Orleanians, the country is about 15 miles away. Things change quickly. We leave a city that is really a Caribbean third world country and enter the Deep South in minutes. It looks that way. It feels that way. We crossed the river at Harahan using the Huey P. Long Bridge and headed west, which is also upriver.

We just drove and looked. We listened to music and barely talked. We needed a little grounding.

My real intention was to look for scenes that would fulfill my promise to publish more nature pictures. Focusing on one subject rarely works for me so I let that go. Besides, I don’t shoot the usual nature picture. I decided to still ramble randomly and just to photograph what I saw.

A little bit of history about this place. Vacherie is plantation country. Plantations there usually mean sugarcane. That’s the season. Today, there are farmers using big harvesters and other machines. Once that work was done be people working in the fields. You know what that means. The Civil War changed everything. Today, when you see people who have lived around this place for years in beat up old family homes, you know that hey are descendants of former slaves. They were share croppers once. Now, many of them don’t have work. But, that’s another story. It’s a story worth telling. That’s one I might do.

Although it might not look it, this cemetery has been around since the 1800s. Many gravesites have a had a fresh coat of whitewash splashed on them. Everything looks new. Look closely and you can see hurricane damage. You’ll find rusted crosses that come with being underwater during storm surges from the river and even as far away as the Gulf. Look at the top picture. You’ll see what I mean.

Three more things. I’ve already written too much.

Most importantly, our day trip which made its turn around at this cemetery, brought us a lot of peace. Even converting to our new iPhone 6s last night couldn’t break it. That’s saying something. Two, I’ll show you more of this cemetery tomorrow. I made a lot of pictures. How could I not? Just look at the light. And… we’ll be back. I really like driving upriver along the Mississippi River.

Sugar cane fields surround the cemetery.
Sugar cane fields surround the cemetery.

Crosses and light.
Crosses and light.


Night Flower 4
Night Flower

I promised you a current picture. I also promised you a Louisiana flower. So here it is. I guess the summer heat is starting to wilt it, but it still has a a very pretty shape to it. In case you are wondering about the title, here’s the story. We still aren’t quite well so things take us longer to do than normal. By the time we left and arrived at the place where I wanted to work, sunset was over and dusk was nearing its end. But, that was fine. The camera and lenses I was using are my magic ones. They seem to perform very well in low light situations. If the truth be told, they let me get away with murder. They may also be helping me to get a little lazy. I have to watch that. Or, it may come back to haunt me.

The place. There is is a little neighborhood farm on Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans. It is sort of the St. Charles Avenue of that neighborhood. It’s certainly more affordable for most of us. I’ve been watching the vegetables and flowers grow since early spring. I sort of put the location in my back pocket for a day — or night — when I didn’t want to travel far to find a picture. Last night was that night. I didn’t realize this until last night, but the little farm produces the vegetables that are cooked at the Ye Olde College Inn. Without making a big deal about it, the owner uses freshly grown, local produce. Most of it isn’t ready for harvest yet, so I focused on the flowers. I’ll go back again, closer to harvest time. The owner met us outside and he was happy to have us there. I’m looking forward to returning.

Oh. For the tech guys out there. How about that bokeh? Smooth, sweet and creamy. For the non-tech folks who are reading this, bokeh is a Japanese word that defines the aesthetic quality of the blur in the out of focus areas of the image. It’s a pretty accurate word. But, lately it’s become well over-used and not so well understood.


I usually tell people that New Orleans is like a third world Caribbean country and that the area surrounding the city is the South. Every now and then, I set out to prove it. Sometimes I go too far. Even though this picture was made near Hahnville on The Westbank, it looks like it could have been made in the Midwest or just about anywhere, really. So. Hahnville. It is located in St. Charles Parish on the Westbank. Westbank means on the west bank of the river. The river means The Mississippi River. That means Hanhville is located across the river from New Orleans. New Orleans means… oh, you get it. The area is sort of a combination of farm and oil country. In fact, the cemetery for the Catholic church is surrounded by an oil processing plant and refinery. I’ll show you that tomorrow. There are also historical plantations that are located along River Road. That’s another story. There is a River Road on both sides of the river. The River Road on the Eastbank ends in Baton Rouge. The Westbank version runs wells north of Baton Rouge. If you were to drive River Road on both sides of the river from New Orleans to somewhere near the upriver end, it would be a nice day trip. Since, I usually have to chase light, it could take me a week. Yes. A week to drive a total of 120 miles. With my horse and buggy.

Anyway. The picture. It’s more about waiting and being there, than any technical or even photographic skills. Being there is a task in itself. Hanhville is interesting. There is an old sidewalk that runs along both sides of River Road. But, there is absolutely no place to park. So,even though I could see this field, I had to drive a bit and park in the parking lot of the Catholic church and walk. The walk is easy. But, it’s low country so there are plenty of mosquitoes to deal with. And lord knows what’s in the fields. That’s okay. I’ll do anything for a picture. Well. Most anything. So. I walked and I waited and made pictures while I waited. I get bored easily. That should be obvious to you. Eventually, the light broke through the clouds and you see the results. Photographer’s luck.