Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Mumford & Sons Songs!

Very excited about the Railroad Revival Tour coming to town tomorrow. Mumford & Sons twice in three days?? When I first heard them I thought I would never get to see them live (being an unheard of band in the UK and all), but come Friday at Jazz Fest and I will have seen them three times.

I have probably listened to Sigh No More about 58 times all the way through, and it never gets old. But....I have found some new songs for your listening pleasure. Check out the playlist below. Most of these are live, and will hopefully be on their next album.

Also, check out the tickets above. Have you ever seen such awesome tickets? Just look at those things. And they're personalized. Anyway, enjoy the new Mumford & Sons songs. Hopefully I will get some cool photos of the show tomorrow night.

Some videos:

The Chernobyl Accident: 25 years later...

It has been 25 years since the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. I won't get into what happened, but it wasn't good. In fact, reactor 4 is still leaking radiation as we speak and will continue to for thousands of years. A huge dome (taller than the Statue of Liberty) is planned to be built and cover the reactor, but work on that project has yet to begin. Watch a video about it here.

I stumbled upon a fascinating website that goes into detail exactly what happened and has pictures from Chernobyl today. Obviously, it remains completely abandoned since the accident.

I love an old abandoned hotel or mental hospital, but to see an entire city abandoned 25 years after an accident of this proportion takes the creep factor to a new level. Here are a few from the website, www.reactor4.be.

The reactors.

Left behind.

Completely abandoned...still.

Nature taking over.

Apparently radiation can mess you up. This puppy born after the accident has 8+ visible legs.

There are many, many more pictures on the website reactor4.be. Check them out. It's pretty fascinating stuff, mainly because I still can't understand what radiation is or how it messes you up. Scary stuff.

The Manchac Excursion

I recently enjoyed a lovely evening on Bayou Manchac, all thanks to the great folks at Canoe & Trail Adventures. If you haven't heard of them, check 'em out. They offer all kinds of bayou and swamp tours around New Orleans, except instead of riding in a huge airboat, you paddle your own canoe. Quite a concept, and of course, politically correct.

We toured the Manchac Swamp (pronounced man-shack, for all you non-Louisiana people), a quick 20 minute drive from downtown New Orleans. Living in the city, it really is amazing to me how close you are to unbridled wilderness. Less than 20 miles from the Quarter and you are at the mercy of Mother Nature herself.

Once we got past the I-10 overpass, I was absolutely shocked by the beauty of the swamp. It felt like we were traveling back in time. Alligators. Poisonous snakes. Exotic birds. Sasquatch. It didn't take very long to understand that you were no longer at the top of the food chain.

As beautiful as it was, I couldn't help but think of how the swamp must have been 300 years ago, before all the Cypress trees were cut down for their beautiful and soft wood. It was also hard to imagine why the hell anyone would settle here. Besides is strategic location at the bend of the Mississippi River, there are very few other reasons to stake out a city here.

It must have been absolute hell to build this city. Yes, the French Quarter and Uptown are barely above the sea level, but Lakeview, Metairie, and the rest of New Orleans East were built on drained swamps. An absolute marvel of engineering, no doubt, but the leaning houses and crooked streets are testament to the soft land they are build upon.

But I digress. Anyway, we paddled far into the night under a full moon. And it wasn't all out in the open paddling. Half of the trip we were deep in the wooded swamps. Just imagine a flooded Cypress forrest, with nothing but rays of moon light to guide you. Your other senses start to pick it up. Hooting owls, splashes right next to you, tree limbs moving, twigs snapping- and all you can see is a few feet in front of you. If the moon goes behind a cloud, well, hope you have some night vision goggles.

It was awesome. We finally made it out to a wide bayou only to see about 200 alligators (no lie) circling all around us. It is only then you fully realize you are only 6 inches above the water line. But its all part of the package. Paddling in complete silence with nothing but the sound of the swamp is something that just needs to be experienced. It truly brings you back in time.

In short, the wetlands are stunning. We may not have mountains or beautiful beaches in Louisiana, but we do have something just as rare and valuable. Check out some pictures below, and get out there!

The lean.

Cypress knees.

The group.

Spanish moss.

Old wood.

I'm not as comfortable sticking my feet in these waters.

Water moccasin with a full belly.

Abandoned signs of life.



This dude kayaked across the entire gulf of mexico. No joke. It almost killed him.

Byron, our fearless leader.

Another guide.

Through the cypress.

White lilies and bull tongues.

Glow of the sun.

Narrow waterways.

Sun has set.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Brooke & Steven are married

I shot my first wedding last month. I was a bit nervous- which I can now admit. A wedding is one of those things that you can't redo....you miss the moment and it's gone forever. Much to my relief it went fine, and we (I had my photo obsessed friend Melanie to help me out) got some great shots. Here are some of my favorites. Congrats to my friends Brooke & Steven on their big day.

View many more photos from that night here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Audubon Oaks, Part I

Audubon Park has got to be one of the prettiest green spaces in the entire country. I would put it up next to anything I've seen, including Central Park. Designed by the renowned landscape architect John Charles Olmsted, it stretches out over 340 acres in Uptown New Orleans. It has a pretty interesting history too...the land was the site of a sugar plantation owned by the first mayor of New Orleans, which later became the site of a Confederate camp during the Civil War, which later became the site for a Union hospital during the same war, which later became the site of the World's Industrial and Cotton Exposition in 1884, which later became Audubon Park in 1898.

The park today is home to an eclectic group of people. Joggers, bikers, college kids, barefoot hippies, crazy birds of all kinds....I even saw crazy old James Carville looping the lakes last time I was there. Its a great place to just sit back and people watch- if you like to watch people exercising that is. I would hit up the French Quarter for the more interesting folks.

Anyway, it is my goal to take some interesting pictures of the awesome oak trees that call the place home. I went with black & white for a number of reasons. First off, it just looks classy. Its the difference between porn and 'art'. Second, it has a timeless feel to it. Very Ansel Adams. Third, it just plain looks better. So enjoy the beautiful and majestic oaks of New Orleans Audubon Park. And at more than 340 acres to trek through, this is hardly finished. More to come.

More photos from Audubon to come. City Park is next on the list...