Get Lost! (sometimes we just need to get away)

 I used to have a "Get Lost" gallery on my other site, filled with images of places where I could travel in my mind when I needed to get away - the forest, the river, the Fly, the lake, the sidewalk, the side of the road, etc..  I'd been thinking about bringing that gallery back, and there's no time like the present.  This time I've included a glass of wine(insert upside down emoji Here).  The gallery is filled with new/old images (some are already featured in collections on my website) of our world.   I wanted to put them in a place to be viewed collectively in case anyone else just needed to get away for a bit. Given the political and social climate we live in, I think that need is becoming more and more prevalent each and every day. 


So "getting lost" isn't escaping, its recharging.  Its taking care of ourselves so that we can take better care of others.  And that's what the world needs right now.    My thought is that by recharging ourselves, breaking away from the oh-so-popular "us and them" mentality and connecting with the notion that there is "us" and there is "the earth" and we are all part of it and in it together,   creates a larger and more peaceful world for ourselves and others.  These are images from one world, yet all different places, linked by water, sky and color. Two of my favorite images are the Land & Sky image from St. Augustine, if you look towards the pier you see a Tiny Person in Big World, and the Tiny Planets image where we see just how small our big world is.  Feel free to take a gander, a deep breath, lower your blood pressure and calm your mind, or just look at some purty pics if thats more your thing.  haha.  

(P.S. I'm already thinking of Get Lost: The Forest Edition)

***  If you are interested in purchasing any of these images, I've created a Small Shoppe and am offering 8x10 fine art prints for $50. If you are interested in another size feel free to contact me for sizes and pricing info ***

Happy Travels and I hope that you...get lost.  haha. 

~ Natasha

 

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez 2017        

www.natashasanchezcreates.com

 

 

 

New Website, Same Ole Outlook

Hello!  Welcome to my Brand New Blog on my Brand (kinda) New Website.  There comes a time when change is inevitable, and here we are.  On this shiny new site I hope that I have made navigating my world a little easier, from the World Tour to Lumen Prints, Songs and Workshops. I’ve even taken a new direction and showcased my (other) travel photography in my Photographs page, so to kick things off I thought I'd share.

Times they are a changin', a constant truth since the beginning of said time.   Websites are created for short attention spans these days and rely on the visual (lucky for us photographers). In reading up on Sites of Today, one piece of advice kept popping up: make sure you have a clear message, make sure you have clear message.  Sound business advice for any successful endeavor or artist.  I pride myself on creating art in different mediums - photographs, lumens and songs,  all with an underlying common message.  I thought long and hard about how to concisely clarify that message and the answer finally came to me:

The World doesn't completely suck. 

  Ok, well it kinda does and it kinda doesn't and surely I could phrase that better, but I do like to document my world as is.    My focus tends to dwell in the details where the smaller parts make up the whole.  I've always been more interested in 'what Is'  and I've long been fascinated by the world we create for ourselves and others. Hopefully this new site illustrates that concept.

I started out in portraiture and over the years gravitated to more landscapes, lumen prints and cray world tours, writing songs all along the way.    I never stopped hearting portraits, there just came a time when I knew I couldn't solely focus on them (unless it was Betty the Bullhorn, of course). Anyhoo, I've noticed as I shoot landscapes, I occasionally drift towards people as they blend in to the landscape.  If anything, my travels to Hawaii compelled the idea there is no boundary between us and the landscape, we are as much a part of the environment as the leaf on a tree.  On that note, I added a new portrait gallery, my first in a while, of photographs taken mostly from my travels...as anyone who has followed my World Tour or taken one of my workshops knows...I tend to travel all the time, even in my own backyard.  

Feel free to have a look around, I've added a few new photos to the Sacred Faces gallery, and I will continue to update the Calendar with upcoming music gigs, photo exhibitions and what not.  This post also marks a return to blogging...yay!...this new format will also make it easier to post new galleries, so check back often and/or follow me on the inner webs. 

Happy Day

Visiting Earth and beyond - in Maui

 "We are all just visitors to Earth."  - this quote, words spoken by a park ranger at Haleakala National Park in response to our reply that my friends and I were visiting this lovely island from New Orleans, perfectly summed up my ethereal birthday jaunt around the island of Maui last month.

I got an idea of what I was in for when my first glimpse of the island was this incredible moonset over West Maui Mountain. 

When I wasn't watching whales,

or meandering around Mars (a.k.a. the summit of Haleakala),

or photographing the dawn of my 45th trip around the sun,

 I was contemplating humankind's place in this vast world. 

 It was easy to do in a world so large yet at the same time so small.

Tiny planes were dwarfed by towering mountains, 

Tiny boats surrounded by Pacific waters, 

tiny pedestrians sharing the road through the vast countryside,

and tiny cyclist navigating mountainous curves.

Reverence is ubiquitous here and it is understood that rather than a choice, its a way of life. 

It has to be, otherwise drivers are faced with two way traffic on one way roads  

with...

(haha)

The land itself exudes that appreciation 

and it permeates throughout the culture.

Lucky for me that reverent vibe followed me home to New Orleans just in time to see our country go bonkers.  With all the divisiveness going on, it was refreshing to be in place that understands that regardless of who we are, where we live or what we believe,  at the end of the day we are all simply visitors to this earth.  And respect for ourselves, each other and our land is an essential part of living.

Nice way to spend a birthday.

~~~***~~Aloha~~***~~~

Shout out to Michael, Monica and Alex ... it was a birthday adventure to remember...Mahalo!

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

From Antiquity to Tranquility.. The Louisiana World Tour

When I began what would be the Last Louisiana World Tour of 2016 back in September, the plan was simple. 

 

I was going to re-visit Sicily Island for some re-shoots, and then check out the Native American mounds that surround the area.  BUT…then my car broke down and plans changed.  (see last blog entry)

Suddenly car-less, I was determined to finish the re-shoots that I needed to get to complete the World Tour performance piece…so, with my handy Nissan Rental, I headed to Sicily Island, Copenhagen, Lisbon AND Athens…all in one day.  I got the shots I wanted and, in keeping with the theme of the World Tour, then some.

First, I found my way to Sicily Island where I got to see even more of the town than last time.. I didn’t know that was possible. 

But most importantly, what I really wanted to capture was the Mediterranean charm of Sicily Island, Lake Louie.  (also referred to as Lovelace Lake)

Overlooking the lake was the vista of my original World Tour intent, Peck Mound.

Peck Mound 650-860CE

Peck Mound was occupied from 650 to 860 by the Troyville & Coles Creek Culture. Of the five mounds in the complex, only one is no longer visible.  I could have continued on as planned and explored the other mounds in the area, but I instead traveled onward to Copenhagen where I photographed familiar scenes, though this time around I did not get lost or maim a squirrel (click on the link to refresh your memory).  I did, however, find myself surrounded by Forests and my Horse Friends.  I also was able to capture a sparkly sign pic.

 I still wanted to explore the Ancient World, so I drove a little further and reached another mound site, Wade Landing, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

The Road to Antiquity

Yet it is easily visible from the road…a little piece of antiquity with a giant mansion right next to it.  According to the marker it is about 1000 years old and the cemetery on top of the mound helps to preserve it.

Wade Landing, 1000 year old Mound

Finally, it was time to head up north where I once again drove through the metropolis of Lisbon, and picked a few new shots on my way to Athens

 Lisbon, Louisiana

(I always shoot a tree when I'm in Lisbon)

 

As I arrived in Athens in Northwest Louisiana, it was as much as I left in 5 years ago. 

Athens Town Hall

But I did discover another church.

St. Rest, Athens, Louisiana

I really wanted a shot from a hill, as I read that Athens, Louisiana was named for Athens, Greece and the original town was built on top a hill.  Ask and ye shall receive..

At the end of the day, I found a hotel near Vienna and got to work looking up what ancient mounds could be around this area. Most of the mounds in Louisiana are in the east, situated along bayous and the river. I wasn’t expecting to find any in North Central Louisiana, but lo and behold…..I found one!

The next morning I was off. I passed through Vienna long enough to capture this sign – Old Wire Road. The sign, situated between two posts of blooming morning glories, says that it was the first road across North Louisiana and began as an Indian trail.    How apropos..

Old Wire Road, Vienna, Louisiana

View from the Road near Lisbon & Vienna

Turns out the mounds I was heading for were only a short drive from Lisbon where i had been a day earlier.  Hidden amongst the trees and fancy houses of Union Parish and overlooking D’Arbonne Lake is Scott Place Mounds.

D'Arbonne Lake

The mounds from the late Coles/Creek early Plaquemine periods dates to about 1200. This by far was my favorite mound to photograph. As I kept climbing up the hill I couldn’t place where the mounds would be. Just around the corner though, there was the sign and the mound.

800 year old Scott Place Mounds

On the way back home I got to take in some more Louisiana loveliness. I also got to experience some good ole southern hospitality. As I stopped to take this photo, 

Louisiana Bayou

a truck immediately pulled up behind me, the driver jumped out thinking that I was having car trouble. I thanked him and told him I wasn’t ..I was just driving like a maw maw in my my Nissan Rental observing the State of my World.

This particular World Tour may not have gone as planned, instead it was so much better and left me in a state of true reverence.It reaffirmed that the present coexists with the past and reminds us that nothing is more important than preserving the State of Our World, both the inner and outer, for the future.

Flowers blooming in 2016 at 800 year old Scott Place Mounds

In that regard, this World Tour road trip, and all my World Tour road trips have been:

It’s all in how you see it. 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading, viewing and supporting the State of My World

~ Natasha

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

************

The Louisiana World Tour, a philosophical and photographic road trip through the state of my world, began in 2011 under the premise that the world is as large or as small as you want it to be. Since that time, over 20 "international" destinations have been visited in Louisiana. The Ancient Louisiana World Tour began in 2016 and aims to complement the Louisiana World Tour by honoring the  natural landscape and those who came before us.  Follow the blog for more exciting adventures! 

 

Once Upon the Side of the Road - Its a Whole New World

If we are facebook besties, no doubt you've heard the story. While heading out to Sicily (Island) (Louisiana) last week, my car engine died along with the brakes.  My first and only thought when I finally coasted to a stop was "this could have been sooooo much worse".  I was grateful for the chance to make it to the side of the road and that nothing was blocking my path.

For the first time in the 5 years that I have been Touring the World, I was disappointed. My goal has always been to simply make it to the town and photograph something with the town name.  This tour was a little different, I have already visited Sicily (Island).  I was going back for some re-shoots and to explore the nearby Ancient World of Native American mounds.   Yet it looked like there would be no World Tourin' on this trip.

Until...

After being slightly bitter and texting friends this pic with the caption "Worlds Most Boring World Tour",

Worlds Most Boring World Tour

I found a tiny butterfly. 

Tiny Yellow Butterfly

It occurred to me that one of my favorite places in da world is The Forest. Pick a Forest, any Forest.  When I'm not photographing lizards or reflections for American Photo Safari, or hosting songwriters and musicians at Buffas Bar & Restuarant, I am most likely hanging out in the forest with bunnies and butterflies, or at least thats what I'm daydreaming about.

So there I was, stranded on the side of the road waiting for my Tow Truck Driver in Shining Steel,  feeling a little down about not being able to complete the world tour, when I realized - I was right where i wanted to be - in the forest.  Everyday we drive on these concrete strips of cleared land ignoring or not even considering the world around us as we anticipate the world ahead of us.

So I decided to go on tour after all and explore this enchanting terrain with moody shots of the forest, a whole new world just on the side of the road.

And shadow selfies, natch.  

I was mildly pleased with myself for photographing this spider web:

Until I stumbled across this one:

When the tow truck finally arrived it brought with it more photographic opportunities - 

reflective selfies

(apropos)

And shots of my car on its way to its final resting place just outside of Sorrento.

.  

A fitting end to a car that brought me all over the world, the road.. and then some.

The Worlds Most Boring World Tour turned into the Worlds Most Exciting One after all with more adventures ahead. 

Til next time..

Up Next:

The World Tours Final Chapter Begins

with

Scenes from The Rental Car

All content (c) Natasha Sanchez

 

 

 

Summer Solstice Fossil Expedition at the End of the World - in Venice, Louisiana (Ancient Louisiana World Tour)

I spent the Summer Solstice at the end of the World in one of my favorite World Tour sites, Venice.

Sunset in the marsh

 I first photographed Venice in 2011 during the dawn of the World Tour.  I wrote a blog, "Further Down the Road", that featured my Not So Slight and Very Unnecessary anxiety about *how* I was going to photograph this worldly wonder.   By the third trip down it was obvious that Veniceclearly spoke for itself.  This time around, on the Ancient World Tour, fossils were the motivation.  Well, fossils and jaw dropping sunsets.

Summer Solstice Sunset in Venice

Water rules the road in Venice

 as does the wildlife.

makes ya wonder about rush hour

The Ancient World Tour speaks to the original settlement of our world, the natural environment.  I thought the Summer Solstice, a time to celebrate and respect light, the perfect time to go fossil exploring. Using the lumen print process (printing with the sun!) to create a "modern" fossil (term applied loosely) even the smallest blade of grass or the tiniest flower gives an immense sense  of our intricate and fragile existence.

Venice Marsh, Venice Flower, Venice Tall Grass, Blades of Venice

After all, it's the little things that create this expansive

world we all share and live in for just a short while. 

Til next epoch..

End of the Solstice at the End of the World

All content (c) Natasha Sanchez

 

************

The Louisiana World Tour, a philosophical and photographic road trip through the state of my world, began in 2011 under the premise that the world is as large or as small as you want it to be. Since that time, over 20 "international" destinations have been visited in Louisiana. The Ancient Louisiana World Tour began in 2016 and aims to complement the Louisiana World Tour by honoring the  natural landscape and those who came before us.  Follow the blog for more exciting adventures! 

 

Looking Past, Moving Forward - Sims Site, Ancient Louisiana World Tour

I've traveled the world from Athens to Quebec, but there is still so much more to discover.  Louisiana, as you know, is rich in archeological sites.  I've long been interested in ancient history and that interest only intensified during the Louisiana World Tour while visiting places such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Poverty Point.  Along The Way, as I'd travel from town to town, I'd pass site after site, the Filhiol Mounds near Sicily Island, the Balmoral Mounds near Barcelona, the list goes on.  I realized that I was passing our past, yet maybe exploring our past was the key to moving forward.  So off I went in search of yore..

Sims Site

is an archeological site located about 30 miles southwest of present day New Orleans in St. Charles Parish.  It dates back to the year 800. The site originally consisted of five platform mounds, of which only two remain today.  One of them is now used as a cemetery, with burial plots on top of the mound.  The site was originally inhabited by the Coles Creek and Mississippian cultures and abandoned by 1700.  I visited the mound that is now used as a cemetery by a local church.  

Sims Site is located in the lush landscape of Louisiana. 

.. which makes for great photographic framing of the mound..  

I'm often asked ..."why"... Why am I so excited about a mound of dirt (and/or shells)? Its not like I'm in Himalaya after all (giggle).

The reason why, besides the obvious - that its AWESOME - is respect.  Respect for those who came before us and the world they created.  The premise of the World Tour is that the world is as large or as small as you want it to be.  The premise of the Ancient World Tour is respect - though time and cultures vary, at the end of the day, its One World, and we are the ancient past.  The past may be closer than it appears.  

Til next epoch..

All content (c) Natasha Sanchez

The Ancient Louisiana World Tour Begins at the Beginning - in Algiers, Louisiana

Its a new World Tour Era!

There are two things I've always wanted to incorporate into the World Tour - lumen prints and our ancient past.  Louisiana is far older and wiser than its recorded years so I have a launched a new component to the World Tour:  fossils.  Ok, modern fossils. Ok, lumen prints more precisely. Ok, massive artistic license..... I love the lumen print process for its magnificent simplicity - a solar photogram resulting in an impression of our World - as is. So I'll be revisiting & impressing upon many of those fascinating locales that we all know and love. (Get ready   Poland, Hamburg & Lisbon- I'm coming back atcha!)  Shadowing my inaugural World Tour,  I decided there was no better place to start my Ancient World Tour than the first place I could ever call home, Algiers on the West Bank of the Mississippi in New Orleans.

I wasn't quite sure how i wanted to start my fossil expedition, I just knew I wanted to make lumens from all those international locales. Yet when I teach photo workshops in the French Quarter - I often look to the past, envisioning how the French Quarter used to look as a French colony or how it looked under the Spanish rule after it was rebuilt after the fires of the late 1700's.  It took a while, but it finally dawned on me to apply that same logic to my artistic endeavors.  I wanted to visualize how Algiers & the city of New Orleans looked before it was even a glint in a Frenchmens eye - it was a cypress swampland, natch.

Thus begins my first World Tour experi-prints:  bona fide fossils, complete with swampy scenes and cypress knees:

Algiers Cypress Tree Fossil, Lumen Print, 2016

Cypress Branch, Lumen Print, 2016

Cypress Knees, Lumen Print 2016

Algiers Cypress Fossil, Lumen Print 2016

Swampy Scene, Lumen Print, 2016

I could easily get lost in thought in Ancient Algiers

what with the wildlife and natural landscape 

But then its kinda hard to miss the modernization.

Today, cypress trees line the sidewalks of Algiers alongside relics of our present and past.

Bacchus & Oyster Shell

I'm looking forward to revisting the State of My World and exploring said relics and fossils. I'll be stopping off at antiquity here and there as well.  Check back as I create modern fossils from our ancient past.

Til next time...

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

Ushering in a new World Tour era - in Welcome, Louisiana

The World is only as large or as small as we want it to be - 'tis a lasting premise of the World Tour, which began in July 2011.  After visiting over twenty enchanting locales all over the world (all conveniently located within Louisiana), the State of My World

proved to be much larger than I ever envisioned.  I have had the good fortune to share my experiences with others through my blog, photo exhibitions and in performance with my one woman show, Louisiana: The State of My World, which was most recently produced in Hammond, Louisiana (once part of the British Territory of West Florida). To accompany the performance and to bookend the last 5 years of my ever-changing, never-changing, life-changing World Tour, I created the World Tour songbook featuring photographs and lyrics to 7 of my World Tour adventure tunes.  You can peruse/purchase on blurb.com or  wait for the State of My World tour bus to arrive in your hometown (teehee) as I am currently retooling the performance piece and will soon be searching for exciting new venues to share my world.

But alas, for every ending there is a  beginning so in 2016 - it is time to begin anew.  I am embarking on a new World Tour expedition!  I'll explore familiar areas but with a new angle - said angle will be revealed once I actually go somewhere - but for now I thought it apropos to welcome in this new endeavor by visiting Welcome, LA.

Welcome, Louisiana

Welcome is located on the West Bank of the Mighty Mississippi. As per World Tour protocol, one of my favorite parts of my trip to Welcome was the journey itself. I was stuck in swampy traffic for an hour, but I took the opportunity to write a song that I'd been meaning to write and the sights were a delight.

                           Waiting for Traffic                                                            Crawfish Season! 

In Welcome I discovered fields of sugar cane, wildflowers and long endless roads.

Sugar Cane* Wildflowers* Long Endless Road

The Inner Geographer in me noted that Rome(ville) was just across the river from Welcome, so off I went..

The Bridge to Rome(ville)

However, the Inner Geographer in me didn't complete any postgraduate academic work so had a heck of a time trying to find Rome(ville). The tomatos really should have tipped me off..

Again, true to World Tour form, there were signs to let me know I was on the right track.

St Mary's Chapel    Convent, Louisiana

And then I found the sign:

Romeville * Romeville Road * Almost perfectly framed tree

I left the area feeling quite content

and ready to start a new chapter of the World Tour, 

exploring the World we live in.

Welcome Wildflowers

Til next time....

 

 

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

 

A Sense of Self - in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

After a recent vacay to San Miguel de Allende, I made a rookie mistake (that I never made as a rookie) in the darkroom. I ruined 2 rolls of film by processing them in the wrong chemistry. By the time I had discovered my film faux pas no amount of silver saving CPR could rescue the images. When the blank rolls revealed themselves, I was disappointed, yes, but mostly all I thought was “Cool, now I have more material for my Mardi Gras costume”. It also gave me the opportunity to write lines like “silver saving CPR”, haha. In truth, I didn’t lose that many photos. Most of what I shot was for handtinting purposes, so I had captured the same images in digital. Still I was very careful when I processed the next roll. The camera I brought still had film in it, I wasn’t sure what was on it, but I soon discovered images from Zwolle, Louisiana – shot in 2014! Apparently it has been a while since I used that camera…There was only one image of San Miguel on the roll – an image of a Buddha. Somehow, it just made sense.

Christine's Terrace

 

The statue was on the terrace of the apartment I stayed in. The first day I was there, my birthday, I woke up to a shadow of myself on the terrace.

Shadow Selfie

The next day I woke up to a hot air balloon, which I since learned is a fairly common sight:

Morning in San Miguel

 

Signs of the spiritual were everywhere, not just on terraces, but all along the picturesque landscape of San Miguel.

Sunset Cross * La Parroquia

So naturally I was drawn to sacred and somewhat sacreligious selfies.. 

San Miguel Selfie * Slightly Sacreligious Selfie

The last day of my trip was spent at the amaaaazing La Gruta hot springs.

La Gruta

(Where I took weird shadow selfies)

Weird Shadow Selfie

 

The color is intense in San Miguel, hence my desire to handcolor the film photos. (4th roll was the charm)

Streets of San Miguel

There were two images in particular that I really wanted to handcolor – one wasthe shop with the colorful brooms & bags,

Shop with the colorful brooms & bags

 the other was of towels at La Gruta. The brooms survived, the towels did not. I have no idea why, with all the intense color in San Miguel, that this was the one image I was sad I did not get on film.

La Gruta Towels

It would have been nice to have those extra two rolls of film to explore some printing options.  But unlike my 22, 32, or (who am I kidding..) my 42 year old self, my 44 year old self recognizes my good fourtune of the experience and what I was able to capture.  At the end of the day I was chillin with the Buddha on the terrace anyway.

All's good.

Me 'n B

 Now I've got a Mardi Gras costume to prepare.

Til next time.. 

 

Oh wait - carrots!  I also shot some carrots..  :)

 

(c) Natasha Sanchez

The Importance of Pondering Carrots

I wrote a song about carrots and a whole new world opened up. I’ve since gotten into carrot photography and made some new lumen prints, thought I'd share. My carrot-as-art sojourn began one day recently when I discovered– I was out of carrots, oh my. Not wanting to face the world without my beloved carrots, I hurriedly dashed to the store to immediately remedy this dire situation. While on my way, I had another realization….who does this? haha.  Who flees to the grocery store in the middle of the afternoon to restock the carrot supply? Or, the better question may be – cui bono?…who benefits?

Two Carrots    2015

I don’t need to tell anyone of the nutritious virtues of carrots. They taste good, they're good for you and bunnies love them. More importantly, carrots are a root vegetable and they can help you to see.  My worldview often stems from looking at the root of matters. As a photographer and songwriter, I rely heavily on my vision, especially as I travel the world. Therefore, it is no wonder that I will keep a tangible source of sight nearby. Plus, look at the news we wake up to. I find its better to arm myself with a clear vision just to face the news of the day and to decipher what is really going on in the world. 

Three Carrots & a Wayward Stem 2015

Anyhoo, long ramble cut short: My carrot crisis led me to write a song about carrots. But just like my Angus Youngsong isn’t about Angus Young, nor is my Justin Timberlake song about Justin Timberlake (though my Searching for a Tall Boy song isabout a Miller High Life), my carrot song isn’t really about carrots, it is about all the rambling stuff above. As a photographer, I got really interested in the photographic possibilites of The Carrot and began experimenting with Lumen Prints.  I overcooked the first batch, this is the second. Or third. I forget.  I have a lot to learn about printing veggies. 

So, to answer my own question - Who Benefits?  I would have to answer with Who Doesn't?   Sometimes what we need most in this world is a fresh perspective and a healthy outlook.  

Thats a whole lotta carrots.  

Sun Carrots   2015

I don't have a recording of my Carrot Song, you'll just have to check out my 3rd Thursday gig at the Neutralground.

Til then, here's a gem I found on youtube.  happy carrot pondering.

(c) Natasha Sanchez

Reaching New Heights - at Driskill Mountain, Louisiana

Not only have I traveled the world from A(Algiers) to Z(Zwolle), I have also traveled the world from top to bottom.

Starting out in New Orleans with the lowest elevation of -8 feet below sea level, I eventually found my way to Louisianas highest elevation – Driskill Mountain at a staggering elevation of 535 feet.

 On a whirlwind weekend trip of the world, I couldn’t help but notice that all the signs were there to let me know that the World Tour was on its way to higher heights..like this passing plane. 

and Poland’s General Store.

Driskill Mountain is located in Bienville Parish, south of Ruston and east of Shreveport. The mountain sits on private property, which is graciously offered to the public by the landowners. After walking a little ways down the road you begin the (not so) harrowing hike up the hill (mountain). The trail is marked to let you know you are on the right path.

Its about a 15 to 20 minute hike unless you stop to take pictures of butterflies, tiny pinecones, ginormous trees, and cool lighting. (then its about an hour)

Once you get to the top of the world, I mean, mountain, there is a kiosk to let you know you’ve made it and an overlook to Jordan Mountain, elevation 492 feet.

 There are also benches in this very peaceful setting to contemplate things like…”where do you go when you’ve been to the top of the world (tour) and back?”

Guess you get back on the road.

 Til next time..

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

Cats Claw - The Positives, The Negatives & The Biscuits

I’ve always loved cat’s claw.

A vine known in these parts more as an invasive and pesky weed than a medicinal herb with healing properties, cat’s claw is by far one of my favorite lumen print subjects. Its claw-like tendrils never fail to fascinate me. Even when entwined with every object in sight. The prevalence of it in my world led me to start creating lumen prints from it early on.

Cats Claw & Vine, Crescent City Illumenations

Oddly enough, it turns out that my actual cats claws have the same healing affect. Who woulda thunk?

Rhoda

As many in my inner circle know, and by inner circle I mean - Facebook, Rhoda left this world last month after a short battle with cancer. She leaves behind nearly 15 years of loving, fun and adventurous memories, tons of photos and her presence will always be felt . She also left behind some of her cat claws.

Rhodas Claws found about the house

It dawned on me after this posthumous find, that with its regenerative properties, a cats claw makes a purrrfect lumen subject.After all, I’m always searching for fallen flowers and leaves (and the occasional bug) to give them new life via a lumen print. Plus I like to match.  Cats claw, the vine, is one of my favorite lumen print subjects.  Rhoda's my favorite photo subject.  Why not combine the two?

Due to claws being So Tiny (despite the scratches & scars), and in keeping with the circumstances of this new lumen extravaganza, I decided to create a Positive from a Negative, and print these claws on film as lumen negatives. So now the claws can appear larger than life (which is more accurate as to how they feel).

Rhoda Moon * Cats Claw & Cats Claw * Biscuits & Claws

So, while Rhoda is not around to make biscuits anymore , her claws live on in a slightly less painful way.  

And I'm okay with that.  

Thanks for the inspiration, Rho.

Rest in peace. 

Me & Rho

Rhoda Sanchez

November 2000-May 2015

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

Where in the World is the World Tour?

I started my 43rd trip around the sun here:

2014 was a busy year – the two large projects I started in 2011, the Louisiana World Tour and fLight - a lumen print series of feathers - were more or less completed by the end of the year. But for every end there’s a beginning and I thought taking flight for my birthday in January might be a good way to spread my wings and expand my world.

I saw Egypt:

egyptian obelisk

and, according to some school kids running thru the place, Hogwarts.  (I think they were Hufflepuffs)

selfie in a castle

..and even a touch of home:

mardi graz graffiti

I explored the world of ancient lizards

ancient lizard

and took selfies with ancient bird/reptile wings after reading about the similar composition of bird feathers & lizard scales and getting really excited. 

In July 2011, after my inaugural World Tour trip toAlgiers, I pondered the purpose of the World Tour:

'Or maybe it's to confirm that the world is as only as big as our perspectives, and the extraordinary can be found right in our own backyards - if only we are open to seeing it.'

The World Tour definitely opened my eyes to a much larger world and the feathers kept me grounded. Now it seems both projects are ready to fly

.  

So you can imagine that the best photographic surprise of the trip was realizing, while looking at the 6,000 cell phone photos I took of the Egyptian obelisk, that I had unwittingly captured my two projects in one photo – the worldly obelisk along with a pair of feathered birds soaring high in the right hand corner. (best to zoom)

World Tour fLight

'Twas a nice way to begin the end. 

til next time..

Flying Among the Stars

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

Going Dutch - in Zwolle, Louisiana

In Summer 2011, I launched the Louisiana world tour where it all began for me – in Algiers, LA.  In three years time, I have cruised the alphabet from A to Z and I’ve traveled from the heights of Lisbon (331 ft) to the nether land of Venice  (0 ft) Now it's time for some tamales from Zwolle.  

Zwolle Tamales

Zwolle (203 ft) is a town in Sabine Parish, just west of Bermuda, near Natchitoches.   Upon arriving in Zwolle, I made sure containers were closed, then tiptoed through the buttercups to photograph the town sign. 

Zwolle Corps Limit * Tiptoe through the Buttercups

Zwolle is famous for its tamales.

So much so that there is an annual Zwolle Tamale Fiesta, this year it will be held October 9-11, and the signs of it are all over town.  The festival aims to celebrate the Indian, Spanish and French culture of the area. 

Hardware, Auto Parts & Tamale Fiesta * Zwolle Tamale Fiesta float

Forestry is a big industry in Zwolle.  And yes, there’s a festival for that.

Zwolle Logs * Zwolle Loggers & Forestry Festival float

After photographing the Festival Fun, I went a block or two over to photograph the town and anything with the name, as is my World Tour custom. Everybody was really friendly. 

Zwolle Neighborhood * Zwolle Train Depot * Zwolle City Hall * Friendly Tractor Driver in Zwolle

As far as the World Tour goes, Zwolle has it all.  The mission, of course, is to photograph the town name.  Not only was the name everywhere, but there were miniature signs on the Forestry Festival floats (say that 10x fast).

Zwolle Logger & Forestry Festival float

A common question I ponder about all the towns I visit iswhy they are named what they are .  I have researched most of them. Yet in Zwolle, all I had to do was to look no further than a storefront window:

Zwolle Town Name

Reading the informative façade, I learned that Zwollewas named in 1896 by Jans de Goeijen for his hometown in The Netherlands.  He was impressed by the peaceful surroundings of St Joseph Church.  As was I. 

St Joseph Church grounds   Zwolle, LA

 

The feeling of having it all in Zwolle is akin to the moment of triumph I felt reaching the summit in Himalaya.  A moment of knowing that the World is enough, andwill always be as large, or as small, as you want it to be. When I started the Louisiana World Tour in 2011, I was searching for a larger world. In 2014, I am content to see what I find.  Its a peaceful easy feeling that keeps me going.  

Tot de volgende keer,

Natasha

** Shout out to Christine who accompanied me on this adventure, gave me a place to stay and filled me in on stories of the area! **

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

 

Snapshots of York - in Color & B&W

York AL is a short drive from Cuba, so I thought I’d step out in the town for a few minutes to see what it's all about. After going through the photos, many of the images reminded me of older photos I have of another York - not the one in England – a “New” York if you will. Thought it would be fun to compare.  

Welcome To York AL * Central ParkNYC

As it was late in the day when I arrived, the streets of York were buzzing with activity, much like its northern counterpart.

Downtown York, AL    *    Carnegie Hall "New" York

The buildings may not be as high in York, AL as in NYC, but still, the town center was clearly defined.

Downtown York, AL   *    Times Square NYC

No matter where I travel, I always end up photographing churches. 

Progressive Church of Jesus Christ York AL*   St Patricks CathedralNYC

I’m really glad I took the time to visit York – it reminded me of why I am even on a World Tour. Sometimes it’s good just to stop for a sec,  see the world from a different angle, and realize the commonalities.

Yellow Building, Red Light

And that’s what keeps me tourin’..

Central Park Runner NYC

Catch ya down the road...

 

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez