Writing with Light

New Orleans

2013 – A Year in Review

I can’t believe another year is coming to a close but then again I say that every year. It seems they go by so quickly these days. As I look back on 2013 I’m proud of some of the images that I produced and some of the projects that I’m working on. As I announced a couple of months ago I’m launching a new pet photography business, PhoDOGraphy by Edith Levy. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for sometime and I’ll have the website ready for launch in January.

Below are some of my favourite images from this year. They don’t necessarily reflect the most popular images by hits or comments but ones that resonated with me for various reasons and I’ll let you know why as you go through them. Enjoy!

One last thing…wishing you all a Happy Holiday and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Jackson Square in B&W

Interestingly enough this image never appeared on the blog. The colour version did (and you can see it here) but for some reason I didn’t post the B&W version which happens to be my favourite of the two. This was shot before sunrise and I love the moodiness that comes out in the B&W.

New Orleans, NOLA, Jackson Square, benches, sunrise, dawn, travel photography, monochrome, Black White

Jackson Square

Cafe du Monde

To call Cafe du Monde a coffee shop is downgrading it a bit. It’s a landmark and institution in New Orleans which was established in 1862. Cafe du Monde is open 24/7 and it was the perfect place for me to duck in and warm up with a piping cup of coffee and beignet right after my sunrise shoots in the city.

New Orleans, Cafe Du Monde, cafe, coffee, French Quarter

Cafe Du Monde – New Orleans

The Elgin Theatre

I was fortunate to be able to shoot this iconic theatre in Toronto at the beginning of the year. This was one of my favourite images from that shoot. Little did I know that it would be selected to appear on the cover of the theatre’s souvenir brochure. Below is a scan (sorry about the poor quality) of the cover.

Elgin Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, Balcony, ornate, interior

The Elgin Theatre, Toronto

Elgin Theatre, WinterGarden Theatre, 100th Anniversary, Brochure Cover, Edith Levy Photography,

Boston Strong

I attended a conference in Boston in April. At the time I wasn’t quite sure if it would be taking place as it was taking place a few days after the Boston Marathon bombing. The conference went on as scheduled and although security was tight at the airports and in the city I was amazed at the resilience of the city and its people.

Boston, Memorial, Bolyston street, Marathon, remembering, Boston Strong


This past July I took a trip to California, starting in San Francisco and driving down the coast to L.A. While the weather wasn’t always in my favour (lots of fog) I di manage to come away with some images that I was really pleased with. My second day in San Francisco called for an early morning wake up call to shoot the Golden Gate bridge. Being in a place for the first time without a lot of time to explore and get to know you’re way around means that you waste a lot of time looking for the perfect vantage point to shoot from. I was lucky here because as soon as I shoot this the lights on the bridge were turned off.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, Sunrise, Blue Hour, bridge, landscape, Edith Levy Photography


La Bicyclette

Come on…you had to know I’d include a bicycle image in my year-end recap 🙂 I loved that the name of this restaurant in Carmel-By-The-Sea was called La Bicyclette.

Carmel, California, night, bicycle, La Bicyclette, restaurant, window, French, flags, dining, travel photography

La Bicyclette

The Roman Pool at Hearst Castle

I was just really pleased with the way this came out. The light was very low and I didn’t have a tripod with me. I increased my ISO, braced myself against the railing and took the shot. Sometimes you just have to go for it.

Hearst Castle, Roman Pool, San Simeon, California, indoor pool, water, reflections, travel photography

The Roman Gods Stand Tall


This is just a personal favourite. I took pictures of this little guy…his name is Sponge as part of my portfolio building sessions. Isn’t he just adorable.

French Bulldog, Frenchie, pet photography, best friend, dog photography

The Lonely Path

This image was taken at the Rockwood Autoyard in Ontario while I was attending a workshop with Denise Ippolito. It was drizzling the whole day with a light mist floating in the air which made for some terrific light.

Ontario, forest, path, autumn, fall, changing colours, trees, fine art, texture, fog

The Lonely Path

Santa Barbara Marina

Here’s another personal favourite from my California trip. I loved the different colours emanating from the boats and wanted to give this image a bit of an abstract, impressionist feel.

Santa Barbara, California, harbor, sailboats, abstract, pacific ocean, surreal, wharf

Santa Barbara Harbour Abstraction

Santa Monica Pier

One the last night of my California trip I was determined to get a shot of Santa Monica pier at night. Even though it was cold and I really wasn’t dressed properly I headed to the pier (with my husband in tow…he really does deserve an award) and set up for this long exposure.

Santa Monica, pier, amusement park, lights, ferris wheel, roller coaster, night photography, long exposure, travel photography, beach

Amusing Lights

Malibu Pier

This is probably the image I’m most proud of this year. A long exposure of Malibu Pier with a high key treatment.

Malibu Pier, California, long exposure, high key, beach, waves, malibu pier cafe, travel photography

Elephant Seal Rookery at Piedras Blancas

I really had fun photographing these elephant seals at Piedras Blancas which is about 3 miles north of San Simeon on the Pacific Coast. I title this image “A Little Disagreement” but someone made a comment that it looks like the seal on the right might be laughing at a joke (wish I had thought of that), but the loud barking of these mammoth seals is still ringing in my ears 🙂

Elephant Seal, Rookery, San Simeon, Piedras Blancas, California, beach, nature, travel photography, ocean front, beach

A Little Disagreement

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday and a Very Happy New Year.

Jackson Square Jazz

Back to Jackson Square today and more street performers. What’s New Orleans without some jazz music to liven up the streets.

Click on the images to enlarge (they really do look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Jackson Square, New Orleans, French Quarter, street performer, band, jazz, street photography

I wanted to try something a bit different with this shot in post processing so I created a stylized version using Lucis and Topaz Adjust.  Let me know which one you prefer.

Jackson Square, New Orleans, French Quarter, street performer, band, jazz, street photography

Jackson Square – Street Performers

One of the things I most enjoyed while in New Orleans was strolling through Jackson Square and watching the street performers.You can spend an entire afternoon there and be entertained by musicians and dancers not to mention painters, palm readers and psychics. This gentleman was calling over a young girl that was watching to dance with him.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase A Print.

Jackson Square, New Orleans, French Quarter, Street performer, street photography

Along the Mississippi

I’ve always wanted to aimlessly drift along the Mississippi river on a steam boat with a large paddle wheel on the back like in the musical Show Boat. (there’s my love for musical theatre shining through again 🙂 ) Arriving back in New Orleans from a week at sea I ran up on deck to capture on last shot if this mighty river at sunrise.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Mississippi river, New Orleans, bridge, sunrise,

Under My Umbrella

I suppose the title and this image may be appropriate since it hasn’t stopped raining the last 2 days. This was taken just after sunrise in Jackson Square in New Orleans. The street vendors get there early to claim their piece of real estate for the day.

I converted the image to black and white using Topaz Black & White Effects and then used the local adjustment tool to selectively bring back the colour in the umbrellas.

Topaz Labs will be releasing, later today, Topaz Black & White Effects 2.1. I had the opportunity to test out the beta version before its release and the latest update has 2 excellent additions:

The Zone System Viewing Mode which lets you see your image broken down into 11 zones that represent the full tonal scale going from 0 as black to 10 as white. Zones are shown in different highlight colors for easy viewing. This viewing mode helps you determine whether or not you have the full tonal range in your image and then make exposure adjustments in the conversion module to correct these tones.

The Borders feature in B&W Effects 2.1 allows you to choose from several realistic darkroom borders, with several styles including both bleeding and crisp edges. This new feature also allows you to select the size of the border.

I really get excited when Topaz Labs updates their plug-ins because the enhancements are always so well thought out and makes the plug-in an even more powerful tool.

The update is free to anyone who already owns Topaz B&W Effects. If you don’t have it, Topaz Labs is offering 30% Black & White Effect v2.1 until April 21, 2013. Use coupon code bw21 off.  You can check it out here.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

New Orleans, NOLA, Jackson Square, street vendor, sunrise, dawn, umbrella, travel photography

Follow The Light

This is just outside Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. I was finishing off my sunrise shoot and going in to grab a cup of coffee and beignet when I realized this was a perfect spot to take one last shot. After I took this, I zoomed in to get a tighter shot and just before I could fire the shutter the lights automatically turned off. The lights made all the difference.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

Decatur Street, New Orleans, sunrise, cafe du monde,

Art on Royale

You must know that I love creating these little vignettes when I see bicycles leaning up against walls or in front of stores. As I was walking down Royale Street this the scene I came upon…how could I resist. It was night time and I didn’t have my tripod with me so I cranked up the ISO to 3200 and held my breath.  The original image had a bit of noise but I used Topaz DeNoise and it took care of the noise beautifully.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

art store, bicycle, Royale Street, New Orleans, night photography

Life on the Tracks

As a photographer your vision, the story you want to tell will hopefully translate to your viewer. How you compose the image and frame your subject will help to tell that story.  The streetcar image that I posted on Monday is a very good example. That image was bright and cheery and even a bit whimsical in the way that I choose process it (you can see it here).  The image that I took seconds later tells a very different story. By stepping back a little and zooming out this is the scene that I saw.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

New Orleans, streetcar, street photography, black and white, homeless, man

Topaz Detail

Topaz Labs today announced the release of Detail 3.1 which is a free upgrade for existing clients. I’m a big Topaz Detail fan and you can read the post that I wrote when Detail 3 was released here with some before and after pictures. If you haven’t tried this incredible plug in yet you can download a free trial version. With this latest release Topaz Labs is offering Detail 3.1 for only $29.99 until March 22. Use Coupon Code detail31. Click here to purchase or to download a free 30 day trial.

A Street Car Named….

….ok it’s not desire but it’s the riverfront street along the river walk in New Orleans.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print

streetcar, cable car, riverfront, new orleans, tracks, station, travel

French Quarter Vespa

I just loved everything about this little scene… the green shutters, the moulding around the windows, the Vespa with the stuffing coming out of the seat. It was just yelling at me to take a picture 🙂

On a side note have you heard about HDR Tennis on Facebook? HDR Tennis is a friendly game where the administrators of the page (all photographers) work on the same set of brackets that is provided by one of the admins. The different versions are then posted and then the public gets to vote on their favourite version. The brackets are also shared  with the public who can download them, process the image using their own HDR tools and putting their particular spin on the final image. The image is then shared and voted on. Game 31 has just been posted and yours truly supplied the brackets this time around. The Admins provided some fantastic and inspirational final images. Check it out and have fun. 

I usually share HDR Tennis announcements and images that I don’t post on my site to my Edith Levy Photography Facebook page. If you haven’t yet come on over and “Like” my page.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

New orleans, French Quarter, Vespa, travel, city

Jazz It Up In NOLA Travel Poster

I was going through my New Orleans images, looking for one that really  embodies NOLA, in order to create a unique travel poster. A jazz club, Bourbon Street, French Quarter Architecture…what more could I have asked for.

You can have a look here at some of the other posters I’ve created.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

New Orleans, travel, poster, jazz, Bourbon Street, club

iPhone Friday – Satchmo

I downloaded a new app the other day called Mirrorgram and it does just as the name implies. You can edit existing images that are in your camera roll or use the camera and mirror your world in real-time.

This is a statue of Louis Armstrong at the New Orleans airport. I figured 2 Louis’ are better than one.

Have a great weekend everyone and for those that are snowed in today…stay safe and stay warm 🙂

Louie Armstrong, statue, mirror, trumpet, New orleans

Fleur de Paris in NOLA

I did have something else to post today but given that New Orleans was thrust into the spotlight this Superbowl weekend I thought this was perhaps more apropos. Some how though I don’t think that Royale St. was as quiet…

Click on the link to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

New orleans, French Quarter, Royale street, Fleurs de Paris, travel, city

Private Jet Needs Fuel!

I just loved this gentleman. He was beyond cool. My husband and I were taking a leisurely walk along the Mississippi river, deep in conversation, as we passed him. Honestly we’d been walking and I’d been photographing all day and now I was just in relaxation mode (I’m usually much more observant). Our conversation went like this:

Him: “Did you see his sign?”

Me: “No I didn’t.”

Him: “It was very funny. You should take a picture.”


I doubled back, lifted my camera in a gesture to say…”do you mind?” He said “Nah go right ahead.” I gave him a little something to help fuel that private jet. He thanked me, asked where we were from (he likes Canadians 🙂 ), we knocked knuckles and I was on my way.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

New Orleans, street photography, man, sign, man on bench

Café Du Monde

The original Cafe du Monde coffee stand was established in 1862 at the upper end of the French Market (now the French Quarter) in New Orleans. The shop has a limited menu of coffee, hot chocolate, sodas and beignets.

Beignets are deep-fried dough balls which are then doused with icing sugar…not the best thing for your waist line but OMG are they delicious and really, a trip to New Orleans isn’t complete unless you’ve stopped and enjoyed the fair at Cafe Du Monde. Their coffee is laced with chicory. During the Civil War, when coffee demand was high but supplies were low, the people of New Orleans experimented with different fillers in order to stretch their dwindling supply. They found that chicory worked best as the taste was pleasing and it cut some of the bitterness from the coffee. I must say, as a coffee addict, enthusiast I was quite taken by the coffee. Oh and my son had the hot chocolate and remarked that it was the best he’s ever had. I took a sip…he’s right.

Cafe du Monde is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, closing only on Christmas day. The place was forced to close for 7 weeks after hurricane Katrina due to water damage, power outages and the relocation of some of their staff.

Being out before sunrise to photograph the French Quarter this intrepid photographer was mighty grateful to slip into Cafe du Monde at the wee hours of the morning for some delicious, piping hit coffee and beignets.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really does look better) or to Purchase a Print.

New Orleans, Cafe Du Monde, cafe, coffee, French Quarter

Cathedral View

This image was taken on the same morning as my Jackson Square post which you can see here. That’s St. Louis Cathedral on the left.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

Jackson Square, New Orleans, St. Louis Cathedral, deserted, cobblestones

Listener Funded Public Music

One of the best things about hanging out in Jackson Square in the French Quarter is listening to the street musicians and they are a talented bunch. They’re also make for fantastic subjects.

To process this image I used Topaz Detail to bring out a bit  more detail in the performers face and beard. I then used Topaz Black & White Effects for the monochrome conversion. Don’t forget you can use coupon code ELPHOTO to save 15% on all Topaz products.

Click on the image to enlarge (the detail is much better) or to Purchase a Print.

New Orleans, Jackson Square, street performer, musician, black and white, street photography

Weekly Photo Challenge – Illumination

This week’s photo challenge was very timely for me as I was processing my images from New Orleans. Walking down Bourbon Street at night every store, every bar, every “cabaret” is illuminated. Welcome to Scores….

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, bar, cabaret, Scores, dancer, signs, illumination

iPhone Friday – Welcome to Nawlins & Triple D

Naturally today’s iPhone Friday instalment is New Orleans themed. As is customary when I travel I always check out the Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives (Triple D) site to see if there are any Guy Fieri recommended restaurants. I had no doubt that I would find some in New Orleans.

We ended up having dinner at The Old Coffeepot Restaurant on St. Peters St in the French Quarter. Mmmmm…need I say anymore 🙂

NOLA, New Orleans, sign welcome,

NOLA, New Orleans, Triple D, Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, Old Coffeepot Restaurant,

NOLA, New Orleans, Triple D, Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, Old Coffeepot Restaurant,

NOLA, New orleans, Old Coffeepot Restaurant, Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, special

The Triple D special….Chicken Breast topped with a crab cake topped with a shrimp stacked on top of a green bean casserole with a side of jambalaya….and yes it was delicious!

Light On_viewable

Jackson Square

Jackson Square originally began as the Place D’Armes in 1721, a military parade grounds and site for public hangings. The square was renamed in 1856 to honour Andrew Jackson, the hero of the battle of New Orleans in the war of 1812 and later U.S. President. It is located in the centre of the French Quarter and today it’s a hub of activity filled with artists, musicians, tarot card readers and tourists.

If you want to capture the beauty and stillness of this place then a sunrise shoot is a must. Even at 6:30 in the morning artists were already arriving staking their piece of real estate for the day.

I processed this image in Black & White as well (which I quite liked). You can see that on my Facebook Page.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

New Orleans, NOLA, Jackson Square, benches, sunrise, dawn, travel photography


I’m Back!  Happy New Year. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and hopefully some time off. I must say that it was wonderful to be away. Every so often I get the travel itch…okay I always have the travel itch…so of course we planned a family vacation in order to reconnect with the kids and have some R&R. A vacation for me is not complete without some photography involved and there was a lot of that so all in all a success.

We spent a few days in New Orleans (a city which I’ve wanted to visit for some time) and it did not disappoint.  The people are wonderful and although I didn’t get to explore as much as I wanted to due to lack of time the French Quarter was all I had heard it to be. After a couple of days in NOLA we boarded the Navigator of the Seas and set sail for the Caribbean.  I opted not to purchase the WiFi package and totally disconnect for 7 days. Well once I got over my withdrawal symptoms I must say it was rejuvenating. If you haven’t completely disconnected from your email, internet, blog, text messages then you really must try it some day. Hey…I survived and not only did I survive I actually enjoyed not having the “pressure” to answer that text or email or tweet.

Actually I was so relaxed that I didn’t do anything (blog/photography business related) that I had planned to do. I was going to write some articles; do some pre-work on a few projects that I’m planning but I was having so much fun relaxing that I didn’t do it. I guess we all need to really take time off sometimes and recharge our batteries and that’s exactly what I did.

Now that I’m back I need to start processing all my images but here’s one from to start off the new year. The best time to photography the French Quarter is at sunrise. The streets are quiet with the exception of a few street artists staking their little piece of real estate in Jackson Square. I was walking down St Peters Street when I came across this little side street just steps from Jackson Square.

Click on the image to enlarge (it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

New Orleans, NOLA, St Peters, street, dawn,