Sunday, February 11, 2018

Good Bones

Pueblo has suffered a series of setbacks since its apex at the turn of the 20th century. The great flood of 1921 nearly destroyed downtown Pueblo and 1,500 people lost their lives. And when the city’s steel mill closed in 1982 the knockout blow was delivered. As Pueblo’s biggest employer the closure left “Steel City” without its economic engine and with its future uncertain.

In its heyday the city boasted a vibrant downtown and seemed destined to become the capitol of Colorado. The bones of the once thriving city center remain but its stores and businesses are largely shuttered. The River Walk neighborhood along the banks of the Arkansas River is Pueblo’s attempt to create an arts and entertainment district, one that has potential to attract tourists and new residents to the city. That hasn't materialized but there's tremendous potential for it. We even mused about building a vital art community where low rents and empty space abound. But the leap of faith would be huge. Right now Pueblo is a languishing mill town where Olive Garden and Texas Roadhouse are considered upscale dining. I am such a snob.

Drawn as I am to urban downtowns, I've noticed Pueblo’s skyline each time I've driven I-25 to and from Denver. The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in downtown Pueblo lured me off the freeway a couple of years when I stopped to see a stellar Ansel Adams exhibit and again two weeks ago for an opening. Combine a visit to the arts center with lunch at the redoubtable Shamrock Brewing Company for house made beers and hearty pub fare. Those are the makings of worthwhile afternoon. 

And while you're at it, take a stroll through the trove of late 19th century structures that fill the city. I love them and the signs that speak to halcyon days.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Good Morning at the Goodnight Barn

The Goodnight Barn was built in 1870 and is the only standing edifice from the Charles Goodnight’s sprawling Rock Canyon Ranch west of Pueblo, Colorado. The stone barn is considered architecturally significant and is the subject of a fundraising effort intended to restore it to its historic glory. Part of that effort is an art show that opened Friday night at the splendid Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo's downtown. 

Over the years the barn fell into disrepair, sheltered transients and earned the moniker “the party house” for reasons that are self-explanatory. Today it's propped up by beams, details of which are abstracted below.

While the barn is historically important, its provenance gained luster when I learned that Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving, his cattle driving partner back in Texas, were the real-life models for the characters Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae in Larry McMurtry’s epic “Lonesome Dove.” 

And now you know the rest of the story.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

First Steps

A few days ago, my friend, the photographer and painter John Farnsworth, did an Instagram post about the beginnings of the digital photography age. He harkens back to a whopping one-megapixel unit that could store all of 70 images. My own baby steps came with a Nikon Coolpix 5000, so named because of its stellar 5 megapixels of resolution. I did a search yesterday that told me my sweet little point and shoot weighed in at a hefty $1, 095. Holy crap, batman. Today we can pick up a mirrorless unit with a one-inch sensor and 20 megapixels for, oh, $450.

The cool Coolpix entered the market in November of 2001 and I, trailblazer that I am, owned one shortly thereafter.  It was this darling unit that gave me my first inkling of digital’s promise. Shown above is a shot of an agave plant at famed Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, California. I was impressed from the get go. My fate was sealed.

In late March 2002 I had a ski trip to France planned and, as misfortune would have it, Canon announced the first truly high resolution DSLR, the 1Ds with 10.1 megapixels in a body the weight and size of a mainframe computer. And they had the audacity to charge $7,995 for the monster. Naturally, I needed one for my trip and embarked to Zurich, Geneva and Chamonix $7,700 lighter. The image above is from that legendary machine. My skiing was much improved as you can imagine.

To those who have slept through this movie before. Deal with it.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Trio of trucks in the snow

This truck and its two companions are arguably the most photographed in all of Taos County. And Taos county is the national capital of abandoned vehicles. Cloaked in a snowy blanket the truck in the foreground makes a wintery statement, one that Taos and famed Taos Ski Valley would like to be making right about now. Up at TSV the snow pack, like that of California’s Sierra, is 4% of normal. The paltry number bodes ill for our rivers, streams and acequias.

But Sunday we were blessed by six inches of fluff, even more up at the Ski Valley. Temps dipped from the mid-fifties on Saturday to a predicted high of 28 Sunday. And that’s a good thing.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

And the winner is

Presbyterian Church, Taiban, NM 48 points

My highly sophisticated research project designed to reveal the most liked blog images from 2017 has informed us thusly. Two photographs Millwork, Taiban, NM and Abandonado scored zero, zilch, nada. And one that I loved, Porcelain Doll, got on the scorecard with a resounding four points thanks to a last minute reprieve. 

Thanks for your feedback.

Pickets, Point Reyes, CA 37 points

Bent to the Task, Antigua, Guatemala 28 points
Afternoon Delight, Winslow, AZ 27 points
Hard Charging, Mortenson Ranch, NM 27 points



Sunday, January 07, 2018

Year of Years: 2017. Click here to see full screen.

Vendadora, Antigua, Guatemala

Here's a look back at the images that bring the past year into focus for me. These selections are about the photographs themselves; some may be well crafted and others may tell a compelling story. Maybe some do both.

I hope that you will take the two extra steps of, first, clicking on the title line you see above. That will take you to the blog. Second, click on the first image. That will create a row of thumbnails through which you can click to fill your screen with wonder and amazement.

Would you be so kind as to choose your favorite three? You can comment below or email your choices. Thanks very much.

Maria, Antigua, Guatemala

Presbyterian Church, Taiban, NM

Millwork, Taiban, NM

Lap Chicken, Rayado, NM

The Citadel, Ghost Ranch, NM

Sanctuary, Coyote, NM

Silky Tresses, Taos, NM

All Things Wool, Taos, NM

Pickets, Point Reyes, CA

Abandonado, Des Moines, NM

Bent to the Task, Antigua. Guatemala

Mesa sin Sillas, Antigua, Guatemala

Afternoon Delight, Winslow, AZ

Homage to Lenny, Taos, NM

Winding Eastward, Tucumcari, NM

Cliff Rose, Grand Canyon, AZ

Hard Charging, Taos, NM

Buckaroo, Taos, NM

The Blessing, Antigua, Guatemala

Porcelain Doll, Taos, NM 

Gracias y Feliz Nuevo Año.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Parting Shots

School kids in Albuquerque's Old Town

There are so many directions to go in photography. And going off on tangents can be its own reward for the ADHD among us. Seems that my photographic impulses are just that, impulses. I’ve got a high key thing in its infancy on Instagram, for example. The first, an intentionally blown out tree on the Vista Verde Trail above the Rio Grande got my juices flowing in the bleached midday sun sort of way. We’ll see where that goes.

Today, however, are a smattering of street shots. Street photography being another continuing passion. I’m more drawn to urban downtowns than villages, to be honest, but you gotta go with what you’ve got.

Sisters I'm guessing on the bandstand of Kit Carson Park in Taos.

I met this angular dude at Troy Brown's wake last summer. He's Kevin Somethingorother from Jamaica, Queens, NY. Supposed to play a mean jazz piano.

And a friendly reminder that I usually post more than one image. The way to see the whole shebang is to click on the title of the post that appears at the top of the email you received ("Parting Shots" in this case. That'll take you to the actual blog where you can view screen size images by clicking on one of them. 

Next week will be 2017 in review; kind of a highlight reel of captured moments throughout the year.  Seeing those gems, I hope you agree, will be worth the extra step.

Have healthy and joyous New Year.