As beautiful as New Orleans is, there is always the search for something new to photograph. Anyone who has visited her will surely assume the available subjects are endless and certainly that is true. She has “soul” and a European ambience that renders her unique in America. Amazing architecture, food that’s guaranteed to hypnotize and for those who want more, the siren songs from Bourbon Street- World class Jazz, “dancers” and a never ending flow of alcohol. As soft as she is on the eyes, her beauty is a combination of “easy”, and irresistible sharp edges. And, her subtropical climate makes her as green as green gets.
I am always drawn to City Park’s sweeping oaks, and the ubiquitous palms. From the beautiful patterns of sawn trunks to the uniformity of their fronds, I shoot them, again and again. So, this past Sunday, I returned to one of my favorites, the Saw Palmetto. No, I am in no way a botanist, arborist or otherwise an expert in plants. But, I am drawn to beauty and the Saw Palmetto does not disappoint. She has all the usual lovliness of the palm family, but with one very important difference: razor sharp thorns.
The place I have found them, is, surprisingly, “The Point”, a spit of land that juts out from New Orleans’ shore on Lake Pontchartrain and creates the channel to her harbor. It’s an easy place to go and fish, just sit and watch the sailboats come and go or, as I did, to wade in with camera, dodging thorns and reveling in the amazing contrasting colors. Each one of the trees has branches in each state of a plant’s life cycle, from just “blooming” at the top, to the bottom where the brown and dried braches criss cross, completing the circle of life, but no less beautiful than the new growth.
It is impossible not to appreciate a camera and photography after a session with this lovely tree. Without the drive to “get it on film”, to explore for beauty, to bring what is natural to a level some would call “art”, one might never appreciate the beauty in nature. A simple truth. I hear her now, “Just pick up the camera and shoot. Beauty will come to you.” Nature is laughing at me as I marvel at the obvious.