The Art of…Rainy Days.

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Today is one of those cloudy, rainy, windy, lazy days here in Southwest Louisiana.  The kind of day where it’s just cool enough not to be warm, and warm enough not to be cool.  Listening to the wind-driven rain against my studio window, of course, induces nap-type feelings and urges.  But, the art of social media promotion must win this battle…for now.

My overly procrastinistic (yeah, I’m using made-up words today) side has been waiting on a day like this to “catch up” with updating our website, posting new photos to Facetwittergram, and generally working to get the word out about our little corner of this way over-saturated photography business.  So, that’s what I’ve been doing…that and, listening to a bunch of Eric Clapton albums.  Not bad work, if you can get it!!

As I sit here, plugging away…my mind drifts.  Keywords, meta-data, SEO, web analytics, toast, pigeons, did I put the seat back down, why won’t this go, advertisement, signage, billboards, commercials…ya get the picture.  But in the busy-ness of my grey matter, I’m more at peace than I’ve ever been in my life.  I’m lucky, and…to reference earlier posts…grateful.  card pics-2

My job allows me to control time.  To freeze it…to steal a moment from the endless progression of each grain of cosmic sand and preserve that moment forever.  How cool is that!?!?!  That’s some heavy thinking!!  Kinda one of those “dude, our universe could be in the thumbnail of an alien” type thoughts that we all have when sitting around a campfire, looking up at the stars…or while listening to the rain hit the window as one tries to write, or work on promotion of one’s business.

We have a number of weddings and events coming up over the next couple of months.  I love seeing folks light up when they see their moments forever frozen in time.  There’s, of course, ego satisfaction…but, there’s a bigger sense of service to others.  I know that’s a lofty thing to say, but for me, it’s true.  In my past, I was a very self-absorbed person.  All about me, all of the time.    for website-5

I’ve done a lot of “revision” of myself over the past few years (see previous posts for a better explanation).  In years past, I would have hated going to a wedding, much less photographing one.  But, in this case, I’m grateful that time DIDN’T freeze. Now, I have the opportunity to “be of service” to brides, grooms, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, friends, and everyone in between. And i am at peace.

When we were in Georgia this past Thanksgiving, my wife and I took some photos of our nephews and niece.  It was awesome to just sit back and shoot while those kiddos were just simply being…kiddos.  And, to see their mom and dad smile at these moments we have preserved…it just makes me smile.

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Last weekend, my wife and I took another little road trip.  This time, we drove east…deep into Cajun country.  We ended up at Longfellow-Evangeline historical site which is near the town of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.  It’s one of those “frozen in time” sites.  Appropriate.

When we got there, we checked in, paid the $4.00 entry fee (if you ask me, they charge too little), and were told the tour would start in roughly 30 minutes.  Great!!  That gave us time to do something we never do…but will do more often from here on out…and that’s have a picnic. Under huge, ancient oaks and spanish moss, we sat, ate, and laughed at my lack of carrot eating abilities.  It was, once again, great just to be together.  We finally got with the program and met our tour guide.  She was an older Cajun woman from the area.  She was a great tour guide…although, I’m pretty sure she was getting a little irritated at yours truly for all the shots I was taking.  Anyway, the tour was of an old Creole plantation house…which is rare because apparently, there were not many Creole Plantations.

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The land and house were gorgeous.  But it was a little Acadian-style house that caught my eye.  Artfully preserved as if the ancient inhabitants might approach us asking what we were doing on their property.  This house was stolen from the harsh mistress of time.

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So, here was the ultimate campfire “dude, our universe could be in the thumbnail of an alien” moment.  Me, freezing time of something frozen in time.  Looking back on it, as the rain continues to lightly tap on my studio window, I’m in full-on campfire mode…smiling…grateful…and, at peace.  And, isn’t that what we hope for in every moment we have?  No wonder preserving moments is so popular…and necessary.

Until we meet again…in the words of the great Warren Zevon…”enjoy every sandwich”.

-Brice

Ps…Ok, enough with the rain.  I can’t get anything done and the yard is getting a little full!!!!

The Art of…Rainy Days.

the art of…Discovery.

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Southwest Louisiana doesn’t have hills, or mountains, or waterfalls.  It’s flat…very flat.  But in that flatness lies some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.

I’ve always loved to travel.  Some of the best, most cherished memories I have are of family trips out west.  Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Oregon…we hit them all.  It wasn’t till I was older, though, that I began to appreciate the beauty of their majestic landscapes.  For years I worked under the assumption that I would have to travel out-of-state and west-northwest to see nature and it’s surroundings.  It wasn’t until recent times that I discovered what was in my proverbial “back yard”.

When you are young, one of your first instincts is to escape the place you grew up…to spread ones wings and fly, thinking that the grass will be greener the further away you go.  It’s an arrogant way of thinking…and it’s one everyone has to some degree.  Now, I look around and realize that…to use an already overused quote, “there’s no place like home”.

Over the past several months, I’ve been opening my eyes to the beauty and majesty of the area which I grew up around, and still live.  Small little road trips to get reacquainted with my surroundings.  Along the way, I discovered something.  I discovered that after 42 years on this earth, I’ve never really “seen” my part of the country.

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“There’s more than one way home.  Ain’t no right way, ain’t no wrong.  What ever road you might be on, you find your own way ’cause there’s more than one way home…” – Keb’ Mo’.

My dad has always tried to encourage me to see the beauty of the land and it’s surroundings no matter where we were.  From the snow-covered peak of a mountain, the rolling water of a stream, even the flat swamp land that surrounds us here.  It’s the latter that I always had trouble “getting”.

One of my recent little road trips took me about 30 minutes away to an old wooden bridge called Lorraine Bridge.  It’s one of the very few surviving wooden bridges left in the state.  It seems like everyone and their uncle have photographed this bridge for every reason under the sun…weddings, engagements, senior portraits, family portraits, etc.  I figured I’d have a go at it…at the very least going out there would get me away from the computer screen for a bit and, hey, any chance to shoot is a chance to shoot!!  So, off I went.  On the way, I kept thinking, “Why are you doing this?  Everyone has already done it!  Don’t chase cliché’s!!”  The second I stepped out of the car and looked around, I began to see what my father has always encouraged me to see.  We truly live in one of the most beautiful parts of this country…if we just look.

70d first shots-5Another “back yard” excursion I recently took was with my dad, the day after Christmas (which happens to be my and my wife’s birthday).  Dad and I decided to load up and drive down to Little Chenier, Louisiana.  Little Chenier is one of the spots I remember going to, with him, when I was little.  Again, I never realized how beautiful it is down there until I was older.  The road to Little Chenier is lined with ancient oak trees that have out-lived (for the most part) hurricanes, disease, people, and litter.  Each one bearing different scars.  Each one telling its life story in a silent filibuster.  There were random camps consisting of old houses and camper trailers used for either hunting, fishing, or just living.  It’s primitive, simple living…and that, in itself, is a beautiful thing!!!  Along the way we would get out of the truck and shoot, but mostly we just drove and looked.    Once again, I could see what I never even tried to see before…the soul of this land around me.  It was a fun day. We could have taken more photos than we did, but I think being together and both appreciating our surroundings was better than any photograph either of us could have taken.

I never tell him enough, just how much I appreciate all he’s tried to teach me…no matter how hard I fought against it.  I’m as hard-headed as he is.  And, if that makes me even more like him…i’m grateful for it.  

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This past weekend, my wife and I took a little back yard road trip down Highway 82 to Abbeville, Louisiana.  Again, one of those roads and places I never truly appreciated until recently.

IMG_0336We loaded up and set out around 10am and headed south. We had a great time just traveling. We stopped at one spot on the road to shoot…but much like the recent trip with my father, we mostly drove and looked and, just enjoyed being together.  Again, I was amazed at the beauty of Southwest Louisiana and wondered to myself why it took so long to appreciate it.

We finally made it to Abbeville.  It is a cute little town deep in the heart of “Cajun Country”.  In lieu of a plan, we just parked the car on the main drag and just started to look around and shoot.  _MG_0634

Small towns are awesome.  The old architecture, old signs, a town square…there’s tons to see, if you look.

We started in the center and worked our way out.  A little city park gave us a chance to get a little creative with the center fountain, some buildings and a distant spire of an old Catholic cathedral.

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Once again, I discovered the beauty of something I would have never considered.  I was a peace (with the one exception being my lack of understanding of the town’s traffic circle…but I recovered from that quickly).

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After spending some time in the little park, we decided to locate that spire and see the building it was attached to.  It was a gorgeous old Cathedral called St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church.  We pulled up and parked out front and began taking photos of this old, beautiful building.  Shortly after we started, an old cajun man approached us.  My first thought was, “are we breaking some kind of religious law?”  After all, we’re Methodist.  This was different turf!!  _MG_0786Well, as the old man got closer, he started telling us that we should go inside and photograph.  He said it was ok and welcomed and assured us they were used to it.  So, we entered.  It was breathtaking and well worth it!!!  However, we both felt a little uncomfortable clicking away as about a dozen or so parishioners were in quiet prayer, so we kept it short.

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This day trip was a blast.  Yes, it led to some cool photographs, but in the end, it was more about just being together and discovering that we don’t need to take long, expensive trips to see the beauty and soul of nature and it’s surroundings.  It can be found in our back yard, so to speak.  And, once again, I thank my dad for trying to teach me that lesson for all these years.  -Brice

PS- After we left Abbeville, we drove into Lafayette, Louisiana to get some fresh produce at “Fresh Pickin’s” and some breathtaking steaks at “Fresh Market”.  Those steaks were, to quote one of our modern philosophers, “freakin’ sweet”!!!

the art of…Discovery.