A few years ago, Pam and I were heading to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop for a cocktail when I noticed the Clover Grill was being used for the filming of the movie Benjamin Buttons. I immediately ran back to the house to get my camera because the Clover was dressed up for photography! I got some really great shots that I could never get again! They had replaced the sign lights with lower wattage, the interior was staged to a forties diner, and cleaned up outside (newspaper racks, trashcans gone, etc.). It was perfect! Now, to the point of this blog post. While I was out taking pictures of the Clover Grill my friend Michael Ra happened to be passing by and I captured an image of him walking in front of Clover. A little back story here.. Michael claimed to be Egyptian, a psychic reader, medium, and to have died like eight times! Now, I have been taking photographs for a LONG time and never had my camera do anything like what happened this evening. Below is the three picture (tryptich) of images straight out of my camera. They are in sequence.
Michael Ra can be seen in the middle image (upper part of the blue area). I spoke to Michael about this phenomena after it occurred. He commented "you didn't ask me if you could take my picture, that's what happens". What? Like I said earlier I have been taking pictures a long time. I've shot over 20,000 photographs on this camera. Never had an image look weird.... WTH! New Orleans is a unique place with many unique people. Michael Ra is one of those people. Pam and I are glad to call him a friend. Michael also made soaps and oils with the original Egyptian recipes which he sold in the French Quarter!
If you are in NOLA, stop by the Clover Grill and get one of the best cheeseburgers you will ever have! They cook them under a hubcap. The staff has serious attitude also, if they tell you to sit down, shut up and they will take your order soon don't take it personally!
I have always been taken with low light, night time photography. If you have seen my photographs you know this already. It fascinated me the way headlights and taillights on cars taken with a long exposure would leave long trails of light in my images. I love to shoot fireworks too, for the same reason! To do long exposure, low light photography properly all you need is a tripod and a cable release the shutter without moving the camera.
This brings me to the subject of this blog post. All you need is something to "prop up" your camera to steady it to take nighttime photos! While I carry around a tripod and cable release you don't have too! I often would see people in New Orleans at night trying to hold their cameras as steady as they can to take a picture in low light. Still a tough proposition... Try this instead. Next time you find yourself wanting a low light picture just hold your camera tight up against something solid. You can use a post as seen in the image below. I have used this technique on many occasions when I did not have a tripod with me. I've used walls, fences, lampposts, roof of the car, trashcans, etc.... Its always better than trying to hand hold a long exposure. Be sure and turn off your flash when shooting nighttime shots. If your camera has a ISO adjustment (sensor sensitivity) turn it to a higher number and it will shorten your exposure time. Also, open up the lens to the lower f-stops to let in more light. That in it self will increase your chances of capturing a better image. However, increasing the ISO will increase noise, so only use the highest number you need. I hope this proves to be helpful in your photography. If you have any questions on any of my blog posts, please comment on this page and I will reply!
One last tip! You can use your self timer on your camera to release the shutter without touching the camera. Just sit your camera on a stable surface and trip the self timer and voila!
I wrote a blog post on this about 3 months ago and it went missing from my website? So, here we go again!
Café Du Monde is one of those must do while in New Orleans. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the traffic into the café.
After living in New Orleans for many years we noticed that people would queue up, down the sidewalk in front of Jackson Square to get into Café Du Monde. Café Du Monde is a first come, first serve café. With THREE entrances to the café you should never wait in the single line that forms on Decatur St. There is one entrance nearest Jackson Square where everyone queues up, there's one a little farther down towards the French Market, and one in the rear of the café on the back alley. The one closest to the French Market, and the "back door" are usually not busy. There is however a takeout window by the back door that usually has a line for to go orders. You can just cross that line and go find you a seat! When finding a table at Café Du Monde look for someone getting up, and go sit at their table! The waiters will come and bus your table and take your order.
Have a couple of Beignets for me!