I’m a little jealous… my two colleagues (and friends) recently got back from another trip to one of the greatest cities in America. About a month ago I was there too. The pictures below are just a snapshot of that experience.
The last time I had been to New Orleans was 10 years earlier when I went to visit my sister during her college days. I remember instantly falling in in love with the city. Most people were smiling and all the women called me baby.
I watched the news of Hurricane Katrina with great sadness from the DMV, but since then New Orleans has made much progress in getting things back on track. And through it all, the city’s special charm has remained. We interviewed someone who summed things up nicely, saying it’s like a big small town.
During this last trip, I was a little bit overwhelmed – there’s a lot to shoot. With the exception of one assignment, I only really took my camera out a few times in the French Quarter (outside our hotel). I had brought my Fuji X-Pro1 along with my 35mm, and on the last evening I recovered my 14mm lens for a few hours.
I arrived with one of my team members on a Saturday, and being such exemplary workers, we immediately hit the streets for some general video. As soon as we reached Cafe du Monde, I bought each one of us a bag of beignets. Of course, my friend decided he only wanted one of the three allocated to him… so I did my best to finish the rest. I don’t remember if I stopped during my fourth or my fifth, but by the end I was struggling a little bit.
All the fried dough didn’t help at dinner later that night when I had shrimp in some kind of heavy butter sauce. If it was oil based, I might have soaked it up with some bread and all the rice. Instead I walked away feeling defeated.
I went out to Bourbon Street the following day after putting in several hours of work on a story that didn’t pan out quite the way I wanted. It didn’t take long for me to get happily lost in my surroundings.
New Orleans is full of characters and interesting scenes. All sorts of pictures are waiting to be taken. Some things are more eye catching than others. One thing that I was immediately drawn to was this mass of beads hanging on a wire crossing Bourbon Street. Although I could have framed it better, this picture is one of my favorites of the trip.
That 35mm Fuji lens is really something else. The image quality and depth-of-field are simply superb. I started trying to pick people out of the crowds with it… with marginal success.
These RAW images were all captured wide-open. They’ve been processed in Lightroom 5 with customized VSCO Fujifilm settings, mostly Velvia and Astia. I already posted a few of them (in black & white) on my Facebook page.
I was having fun, especially as 7-8 o’clock rolled around. Nine times out of ten, something special happens to the sky when the sun rises and sets. There’s a good reason why we call it the Golden Hour – the colors in the sky and of the light itself result in some spectacular scenes. New Orleans is a perfect staging ground for these light shows.
Even though there is nothing spectacular about them, these two photos are an example of what I mean about the light. It’s worth noting that I shoot RAW+JPEG and my default film simulation setting is VELVIA. Despite the minimal post processing, these images don’t differ much from what I saw in my LCD on the evening in question.
Of course, I did more than just take pictures. After all, what would Bourbon Street and the French Quarter be without all the bars? I obviously visited a few, but I peeked into many more.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is supposedly the the oldest continually occupied bar in the United States. All sorts of interesting things happening inside… and outside. I enjoyed my time there.
The late night scene in the French Quarter is quite a sight. I didn’t manage to get any shots of the crazy booty shaking I saw outside Lafitte’s, but this is definitely a perfect place for sitting outside and people watching.
This picture was taken earlier in the evening (here’s a B&W version). For some reason, I feel like it sort of tells a story. Whether you agree or disagree, I’d be curious to hear you thoughts.
I had to cross Canal Street to get back to the hotel. There were a few trolley shots in the few days I spent in town – this is one of my favorites. That 14mm is a great lens – this was captured handheld at f/2.8 1/30 ISO4000.
There was nothing unintentional about this last picture… although I do feel I could have done it better. For most people there, I think it captures the essence of a night in the French Quarter rather accurately.
I’m eagerly looking forward to going back to New Orleans again. Hopefully soon.
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