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NOLA, I’m here!

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Lafayette Cemetery #1

Today I trekked further southward to New Orleans. The drive from Natchitoches took almost no time (well, comparatively speaking) and was really interesting. I had heard of the Atchafalaya Basin before but didn’t realize how HUGE it is! It’s literally a million acres and stretches 140 miles! When you cross it on I-10, you drive on a raised highway for miles…and miles…and miles. I love swamps so it was a very cool experience for me (other than the messed up drivers).

It’s easy to tell when you hit Nawlens. The traffic sux. It’s like Tacoma driving—80mph bumper-to-bumper. Once off the interstate it was just as crazy but slower. The Lonely Planet guidebook says the residents use the stop signs as suggestions, and it wasn’t kidding. I almost got t-boned by a Cadillac in my first 10 minutes here. My home here is totally funky and I’ll post on that later. I drove around and basically got lost to get to know the city. I ended up in the Lower 9th where Katrina wiped everyone out. I saw the new levee and I have to say if that’s all that’s keeping out Lake Pontchartrain, I’d be a-moving out fast. It’s seriously scary when you see it in real life.

I have a Wednesday breakfast meeting with one of my former teachers at AAU who works as a documentary photographer for National Geographic. Her name is Kris Davidson and here’s her website. Do you think I’m looking forward to it? You betcha!

So, more tomorrow. Lafayette Cemetery closes at 2:30pm (????) so I’ll have to go back tomorrow for more pics. Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Natchitoches, Louisiana

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It’s sweet to be back in the lush south and out of the bizarre, barren state that is Texas. On my first drive east in 2002, I stopped here in Natchitoches because I had read Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and wanted to see where she had lived. The little town charmed me. It’s less touristy than Charleston and the river is just so pretty. There is the expected urban sprawl and strip malls a mile out on either side but that’s okay. I’m in de Nile right now. Chillin. I have a long challenge ahead of me in Charleston so I figure it’s okay.

Tomorrow is Easter, my favorite time in Charleston. The shops and restaurants will be closed here so I’m going out to Oakland Plantation. It’s a National Historical Park now with a beautiful main house but, more importantly, 27 out buildings, or slave quarters, kitchens, etc. A building called The African House is architecturally significant internationally. And yes, I’ll take photos.

Santa Fe

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The drive from Moab to Santa Fe was beautiful for the most part. There were arches in the distance and lots of multi-colored sandstone mountains beside the road. It even traveled through a smaller version of Monument Valley. Not much traffic and 75mph limits made quick work of the day.

When I arrived in Santa Fe, I found my little adobe home just 5 minutes from the Governor’s Palace downtown. I have my own bedroom, bathroom, sitting area and outdoor terrace for $65/nt! Thank you, airbnb. That’s the view into the dining room and kitchen. My room is to the right. And that’s Riley in the window.

Today I explored the neighborhood. I started out with breakfast at The Tearoom (bad service, so-so food), where I met Minda.

MindaMinda is on her way to NYC to study decorative arts (I hope that’s right, Minda!) and we had a wonderful conversation about many topics. She is perfectly lovely and was a joy to share breakfast with. I wish her all the luck in transitioning from Colorado to New York 🙂 Oh, btw, Josie, her dad got his Master’s at St. John’s. So I drove by the college today. Turns out it shares the grounds with the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops schoolrooms. Their photo journey to Cuba is on my bucket list.

I wandered Canyon Road where there are a ton of art galleries and found this little place tucked in there.friends

My mom was a Quaker and grew up going to the Friends’ Meetinghouses in Pennsylvania. I thought she might like a print of this once I get settled.

It’s been so much fun to talk with folks on this trip. I hope this continues as I head southward. Tomorrow is another day in Santa Fe and then I take off for Texas and Louisiana.

Moab, UT

IMG_1109Into Moab

I swear, here and now, that I will never drive through Idaho again. It was sooooo booooooring.

It was a 9.5 hour drive today, the longest of the trip. But once I got into the red rock country of Utah I was energized. It’s so amazingly beautiful to me. I have 100s of miles planned on the back roads, scenic highways, off the interstates. When I stopped for gas in Price, UT, the attendant told me the Jeep rally was this weekend in Moab. Eeks! Well, there are a ton of Jeeps in town, for sure. But there are also a ton of bicycles which is cool. This is definitely a tourist town. There are too many crappy restaurants on the strip. I was kind of surprised to see that, but I suppose it was to be expected.

Strangely I have no desire to take photos. I think I’ll feel differently in Santa Fe when I have a few days to actually see the place. Time for rest.

Kuna, Idaho

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Not exactly the destination of choice for many, but thanks to airbnb.com, this is where I’ve landed for my first night. 10 miles from the interstate in horse country, I drove up to a new, large, empty house out on the prairie. A phone call later, I got a tour of my huge bedroom and huge private bath and was invited to my first Passover Seder. So, Cheryl (my hostess) and I walked down the road to her neighbor’s house. There I ate Passover dinner with the neighbor (a Christian), Cheryl and her husband (agnostic), a friend (Christian), a Mormon minister and his wife.

The food was great and I was so thankful to have a wonderful dinner with friendly people in the middle of nowhere! But my friends and family know what it took for me to keep my mouth shut when theology became the topic of conversation. You all would have been proud of me. So now I’m going to watch a movie on my laptop while I work on my knitting which has been ignored during Josie’s graduation, packing and moving.

I have no photos of Kuna yet. The one above is from my current project called “Turn Around.” It’s about the details we get distracted by, and what we’re missing by not opening our eyes…or turning around. Tomorrow it’s off to Moab, UT!

Phase 5 of my life, again….

 The Greenhouse The Greenhouse, 2012

More coming this afternoon, on this series, another and my future.

If You Move Slowly and Squint…

Overhead
©2012 Leslie Noe Photography

One thing we’re not encouraged to do, as photography students, is shoot out of focus. There’s a very good reason for this. As humans, our visual perception requires focus. Our brain craves it and searches for it when we offer something visual for consumption. So when focus is removed our eyes don’t know where to settle, don’t understand the meaning. But sometimes there is no meaning. Sometimes it’s just enough to offer a beautiful composition of light and color. That’s what I’ve done here, and in some others not quite as successful.

In Charleston, downtown, there are lots of walkways shaded by overhanging branches, which bring relief from the afternoon sun. I love walking down these green walkways with the dappled light playing on the brick walls and slate footpaths. Last time I was walking, I realized I spend half my time looking up—at the blue sky in patterns against the leaves. So I squinted and took a photo that mimicked my view. I love it, but I can understand why it’s not for everyone. There is no focal point.

Plucky Note Cards Redux

The Plucky Knitter note cards ©2012 Noe

Sorry for the long absence but it will be a bit longer before I have a new blog post about my creative photography. I’m busy filling orders for note cards and postcards of my yarn photos! Never underestimate the strong sorority that is the knitting community. Color, texture, skill…and it all adds up to talent from beginning to end. So, I will be taking photos this weekend, fulfilling orders early next week and we’ll see what the rest of the week brings. My goal is location. I’ll give you a hint: it’s historic, ruined and beautiful.

Watercolor or Photo?

South of Carlsbad, ©2002 Noe

 

One effect of using a plastic camera is the fuzzy focus. It’s usually not this fuzzy but this was taken using the original 60s Diana, light leak and all. My new Holga creates much sharper images which you will see below. The effect of this plastic lens is a dreamy feel—more emotional and less analytical. It doesn’t represent reality, it interprets reality into my vision of a surreal location. Unfamiliar and a bit frightening and lonely. The darker hues add to the mystery and unease.

Of course you can see the difference in the cactus photo below. Again a plastic lens but a much sharper one. That’s the Holga. This will never be mistaken for a digital image and it’s not meant to be. It’s still a bit dreamy but easier to relate to, because it’s closer to reality than the road pic above. I have a feeling I’ll be giving my digital camera a rest for a while.

Cactus, ©2002 Noe

Aliens

Arizona Cactus 1, 2002

That’s what I call cacti. I love them. They are creatures from a different place. No other plant life looks like them and no other evokes the same feeling in me of awe at the variety of life on this planet.

So, I’m working on my old prints that I made while traveling cross-country. I’m getting rid of scratches and dust spots on photos from my Holga and Diana cameras (both are plastic cameras with plastic lenses, originally made in the 60s). It’s a bit of a chore but the magic is worth it. I have two different series—one of the cacti and one of the images from my window as I drove. Two of the images from my driving series (made with my Diana) hung in a show curated by the Guggenheim Fellowship. As I work my way through, I’ll pique your interest with the one above.