Mardi Gras 2013

Parade-P-3667Four balls. Two parades. 9,698 images. Portraits, publicity images, newspapers images, proof albums, coffee table books, etc., etc., etc.

Even though it’s only the Sunday before Mardi Gras, the activity is over for us. Now comes the rest of the editing, retouching and album design.Parade-P-3810

Greenbriar-Candids-4217Mardi Gras starts early for us; we started shooting in December. But it never really feels like Mardi Gras until we go to Greenbriar and celebrate with Ms. Frances. This year marks her 107th Mardi Gras.

This year was also the first year we photographed Slidellians. We had a great time at the ball, and we think they’ll really like the images we got. The Chief of Police in a powdered wig was the highlight of the ball.

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone. We’ll be here on Tuesday, working on all these images.



Mardi Gras at Greenbriar

Greenbriar-3518 Last night, we photographed the Mardi Gras Ball at the Greenbriar Community Care Center, where many of our senior citizens live. This was a very special event for a lot of them — the King said, “This is the happiest night of my life!”

The “floats” were decorated cardboard boxes that rested on the wheelchairs, and all the walkers had strings of beads handing from every side. The staff of Greenbriar spared no effort in creating a festive atmosphere.

Bayou Liberty Jazz Band

I really enjoy working an event where people are relaxed and having fun.

Our favorite band, the Bayou Liberty Jazz Band, was on hand to provide music. We were expecting 2-4 inches of snow (we were afraid the event might be canceled!) and a short iPhone clip of their tribute to the weather is below.

The Grand Marshal, Ms. Francis, was celebrating her 104th Mardi Gras!

Ms. Francis celebrating her 104th Mardi Gras The King and Queen dancing with relatives.

I’ve also posted a portrait of the King and Queen on my photo blog.

Here is the Bayou Liberty Jazz Band (recorded on my iPhone):

Selene Ball

It’s already started. Mardi Gras is coming.

Selene Queen Last weekend, we photographed the first event of the season, the Selene Ball. This is last year’s Queen, as she greeted the Krewe.

It was a lot of work, hundreds of images and lots of fun, but the best part of the evening was dinner at Drago’s, and my introduction to charbroiled oysters.dragos


Wow! These were amazing! They put them on the grill, slather them with parmesan cheese and garlic butter, and let the fire blaze up over them.

We sat at the oyster bar and watched the fire blazing and oyster shucking. The sizzle of the oysters and the smell of garlic butter was enough to almost make me drool. The cook gave us one to try, and we immediately ordered a dozen (and could have eaten many more).clarinet

Of course, with such dramatic cooking techniques (fire up to the ceiling), we photoswapped the entire time we weren’t stuffing our faces.

We may have to go back before next year’s ball.

Look for the unexpected

I do a lot of photo shoots were I know the type of image I’m expected to get. Sometimes they aren’t particularly exciting, but it’s what I need to do. A customer might want a particular look, people might want a standard group photo, or a business person might want a conservative headshot. Those are all well and good (and they pay bills!), but sometimes you have to look beyond the job to maintain your creativity.

For example, I recently was assigned to photograph Mardi Gras float krewes and float heads. This is the type of image they wanted:


But while I was walking around waiting for some of the krewes to get ready (750 women + lots of booze + party atmosphere = a considerable amount of time to coordinate), I saw something unexpected:


I guess he either had a hard night the night before, or was expecting a hard night tonight. Or both. I didn’t think anyone could ever sleep on a tractor seat.

Either way, it was something unexpected, and it broke me out of the mindset that I was only there for group photos. Not only did I take this photo because it caught my interest, it made me feel more creative (by taking a photo just for me), and I began to see the group photos in a more creative light.

Things like this remind me of why I became a photographer, and why I love it so much.

Stay creative. See, don’t just look.