New Orleans

Traveling photographer in the the "Most Haunted City" in the U.S.

What better time to visit the "Most Haunted City" in the U.S.? October in New Orleans: Bust out the black-and-white for phantasmal images of above-ground cemeteries, ornate mansions, and mossy tree-filled parks. Shoot portraits of musicians during Jazz Awareness Month in the town where jazz began. And document the continual rebuilding of its resilient community. Here are four can't-miss photo destinations within this truly unique city:

FRENCH QUARTER

In the "Vieux Carré," everyone expects cobbled streets, bright stucco walls, and wrought-iron balconies. But even better is the unexpected -- as when photographer Cosmo Condina (www.cosmocondina.com) stumbled upon this parade-cumbirthday- party for a local entertainment producer that included live music, acrobats, and stilt-walkers. "Make eye contact with performers," he advises. "If they notice you, sometimes they'll work with you." Tight composition with a long telephoto will capture detail on storefronts and faces in live-music clubs; a wideangle lens will take in the narrow streets.

JACKSON SQUARE

Jutting up one side of this historic French Quarter park and gathering ground is St. Louis Cathedral. Three spires cap the white exterior of the basilica and can be creatively shot from every side -- whether jutting over low green trees from the landing at Washington Artillery Park across Decatur Street or with a wideangle lens looking up at the entrance. Look out for its ghost, a former priest. And get a jazz fix by photographing street musicians at an angle to the sun to capture reflections in the brass.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER

Boats roll along as buskers perform or sell their wares on the "Moon Walk," a boardwalk named for former mayor Moon Landrieu, that stretches from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue. At one end, the French Market provides the flavor of local commerce. Riverfront Park, just above Canal Street, yields views of the Crescent City Bridge. For a great shot of the city skyline, hop on a steamboat, such as the Steamboat Natchez (www.steamboatnatchez.com; 800-233-2628). Its motion will rule out the long exposure necessary at twilight, so take a two-hour daytime cruise.

CITIES OF THE DEAD

The nickname for New Orleans' cemeteries comes from the above-ground vaults shielding their residents from the swampy terrain. Elaborate stone crypts embellished with weathered sculptures hide secrets -- and photo ops. They can also hide muggers, so don't go alone. You'll be safe on a tour, such as one operated by nonprofit Save Our Cemeteries (www.saveourcemeteries.org). At St. Louis No. 1, you may catch believers at voodoo queen Marie Laveau's tomb. To get it all in, use a fisheye or wide-angle; a tele will net great close-ups of stone angels.

Learn more at www.neworleansonline.com; 866-380-5237.

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