Photographing Uptown New Orleans was as fulfilling for me as just taking in the atmosphere and living there for five years. I recall, in my early years there, that I would spend public holidays walking the length and breadth of St Charles Avenue and Magazine Street, photographing the collection of colonial mansions, post-antebellum architecture, historic shotguns, streetcars, and Mardi Gras bead strewn live oak trees. Sitting down with a beer in Fat Harry’s after such a day, catching up on some college football on Black Friday was a joy – one of my greatest memories of my time in the city.
Late on in my time in New Orleans, I started to take long exposures of St. Charles Avenue and Magazine Street. Capturing the fantastic light, be it the sunset, car trails, Christmas lights, or the soft orange glow of the street lights lighting up the cracks in well worn roads, was a creative experience in itself. 30 second exposures, sometimes bracketing up to a dozen different car light trails, was a feature of many of my images. The light trails themselves, however, were difficult to capture. It’s not just a matter of stacking multiple images in Photoshop. The light trails need to subtle, but remain a feature of the image. That means you have to be very selective in which images you choose. Avoiding headlight glare and broken lines is important. As with any photographic technique, it is art form in itself and demands much practice. The beauty of New Orleans, though, is that there is plenty of opportunity to do so.