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

 

 

 

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! 

 

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

 

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

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

 

Living Life - in Bohemia, Louisiana

The road to

Bohemia

is seemingly sparse.

Located about 50 miles Southeast of New Orleans in Plaquemines Parish, Bohemia lies on the East Bank of the Mississippi River, a short ferry ride from Point ala Hache. (If the ferry was running, that is..) Getting to Bohemia took some effort. First I got stuck in traffic waiting for a train in the Bywater.

 I thought I had the angle for this trip all planned out.

I thought I could make some connection about how the artist community in New Orleans keeps migrating further downriver – first it was the French Quarter, then the Marigny, currently the Bywater holds that distinction. I thought it only a matter of time before the artists make it down to Bohemia itself. Hahaha. I even brought Betty the Bullhorn along, the ultimate representative of La Vie Boheme, to further illustrate my point.

Betty Lives the Bohemian Life  2002

 But as usual, the journey to Bohemia turned out to be much larger than that. I discovered my roots on the way. While my Isleno ancestry, Spanish descendants from the Canary Islands, comes from a settlement called Valenzuela (now Belle Alliance) near Donaldsonville, I thought I'd say hello to my peeps at this Isleno dwelling in St. Bernard Parish.  

Canary Islanders Home

 Then it was off to Bohemia

.

 It was a simple, yet difficult route – down Hwy 46 to Hwy 39, through Braithewaite and other areas in Plaquemines Parish that were affected by Hurricane Isaac last summer. I didn’t photograph the miles of destruction I saw, but sights like this were not uncommon:

Houses on Levee

I drove past Phoenix.

And then continued on Hwy 39.

Hwy 39

Finally, I reached Bohemia.

Bohemia, 2013

Bohemia is a small, unincorporated town of Plaquemines Parish. It was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The 25 or so homes here show their determination, resilience and spirit.  For me, Bohemia was a testament of commitment to living our truth, no matter the circumstances.

Concrete Stairs                            *                   Bethlehem Lane

There are quite a few Katrina-related articles available online about Bohemia. I had read that the only thing remaining of the brick Civil-War era Baptist chuch, Bethlehem Judea African Church, was its sign. Yet when I reached Bethlehem Lane, there was a new structure in its place.

Betty the Bullhorn, along for the ride as a Champion of Living Your Life – no matter how “unconventional” it may seem, was very much moved by the church and, wearing her peace sign outfit,  wanted to lend her support.

On Bethlehem Lane, in Bohemia, Louisiana – Betty the Bullhorn shouts out for peace and calm - sometimes much needed when the path isn't always a straight one.

Betty Shouts Out for Peace

And you never know where the road will lead you. 

Bohemian Levee

Til next time..

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez

Bugs, Butterflies, & Beyond

Tomorrow my World Tour resumes to all places local and exotic.  I thought it fitting on this World Tour Eve, to share my latest lumen print, "Flight".   But first, the story.... Last week on my Facebook page, I shared a story and photo of this broken butterfly wing I found on the sidewalk.

Butterfly Wing      2012

 Long story short, I suffer from a completely stereotypical girlish and irrational fear of bugs.  I managed to somewhat overcome this fear last week and scoop up the wing remainder with a pair of leaves....While I am not afraid of butterflies, I certainly don't want to touch them.  Scratch that - if one lands on me, I'd be delighted, but still, once that they have passed on, I really dont want to touch their deceased remains.  This is turning into quite a a problem with my Lumen Printing though, b/c there is no denying the beauty of a butterfly wing, or of other (certain) insects.

Butterfly & Flower        2009


Again...wanna print them....don't wanna touch 'em.  I've passed on a great many butterfly printing opportunities due to my inability to pick them up off of the sidewalk, so I devised other methods of making butterfly lumen prints..

Butterfly Stars        2012

My determination to pick up the butterfly wing last week puzzled me a bit.  It was, after all, only a partial wing, and probably wouldn't make much sense as a lumen print, which is simply a solar photogram.  My artificial one turned out quite nice.   It served a purpose though, it got me thinking about my first "bug" print....a cicada wing found floating in a friends pool (I made her fish it out for me...)

     Cicada & Leaves

And then....the swamp bug....

Just before the World Tour, I was working on a movie that  filmed in a swamp.  I became enamored with a pheasant feather (not exactly sure what kind of feather it was, looked like a pheasant..).  I took it home thinking it would make an interesting lumen print.  It did, and in fact, that feather started a new series of lumen prints of which I am still working on. Unbeknownst to me, however, that as I left the swamp, I had a bright green tiny bug stuck to my purse.  I discovered it the next day. To anyone else, this is no big deal, to me, well, it took one pair of tweezers and about an hour or two to remove it.  But I thought...hmmm... i could print this...

Feather & Bug  


I realized that butterflies, and therefore, insects,  had long been a part of my photographic reportoire:


Mariposa    (Handtinted Silver Gelatin)         2001


Paul's Butterfly  (from the series "The Class of 2019")      2008

Butterfly Ginger (Lumen Print)     2010

If you read the World Tour blogs, then you know part of the reason that I wanted to embark on the journey was to get back behind my camera lens. I had spent a long time on my lumen prints and wanted a change....just what the butterfly represents.  No wonder I like them! And fear them!  Well, not them, but insects, and maybe a little bit of change...  Anyhoo,  I couldn't give up on the Lumen Prints, so I've been working on the World Tour while simultaneously creating a new series of Feather lumen prints.  And now, the butterfly has awakened an "insect" calling...or is it just the wings?  Feathers...wings....flight...World Tour travels...I'm starting to see a pattern here...

Flight             2012


Tomorrow, the Louisiana World Tour begins its final chapter.  What an amazing year and journey this has been.  However, all life is change and a new chapter soon begins....



Next Up on the World Tour:
Tales from the Orient

all content (c) Natasha Sanchez