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

 

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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