Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wagons West

Stock Tank, Cow Springs, Arizona
Friday with any luck I hit the road with buddy John Farnsworth, the noted painter and photographer, for a meandering trip through Navajo country, across Arizona and into the Mohave Desert of California.  John will pick up his beloved Betsy the VW camper in Victorville and head to parts unknown.  We may knock around together for a few dusty desert days then John will head to LA for a Kachina show at the Autry and I’ll boogie back to Taos by the way of who knows where.  

John and I have been threatening a photo odyssey for several years so rescuing Betsy has given us  the excuse we needed.  When I proposed the trip he asked if we could take backroads, the proverbial Blue Highways.  That's right up my alley so I said absolutely.  In return I extracted his commitment to actually sleep at night.  The guy's a night owl and I am decidedly not.  It's an odd couple pairing.  Sitcom to follow.

You may get more frequent posts over the next week since I’ll be swimming in new material.   I guarantee that you’ll get a daily post if you subscribe to John’s blog.  He’s approaching his 800th daily painting, by the way, each available through a daily online auction.  Yup, 800 paintings over 800 consecutive days.  That’s commitment folks  or maybe he should be committed. 
Abandoned Station, Rice, California


Sunday, November 25, 2012

He ain't heavy

This is the first time in the life of this blog that I have deleted the day's post.  There was nothing wrong with the entry save that the image had been used before and that's not our deal. I posted the earlier photograph because it‘s part of a show benefiting the homeless and hungry that opened Saturday night at my Taos Gallery, Wilder Nightingale Fine Art.   It seemed fair enough at the time.  

Instead what you see below is visual story for which you each can weave a narrative.  It might relate to the too common social maladies referenced above.  It has that feeling.  Or maybe it’s just a guy catching a smoke.  In any case, I found the sequence really evocative.  A lean lonely character rounds the corner of the Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, New Mexico, a newly lit cigarette dangling from his mouth.  He walks a dozen steps into the sunlight and squats down.  His hanging head speaks volumes to me. Heavy hearted, solitary and isolated are descriptors that come to mind.  That's some sad dude.  What do you see? 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bosque Branches

The Bosque del Apache offers much more than birds.  In a fertile riparian habitat that hugs the Rio Grande near San Antonio, New Mexico are placid ponds with sun bleached deadfall.  The ivory like branches and their reflections form captivating abstract compositions in the dark waters of the shallow pools. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fly Ways

Late last winter we drove to Socorro and through the Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Sanctuary for some of the best bird watching in the southwest.  Bosque Del Apache which means “woods of the Apache” lies in the flood plain of the Rio Grande River in central New Mexico.  The bosque is home to more than 500 species of birds most notably the Sand Hill Crane, Blue Heron, Snow Goose and the rare Least Bittern.  The Least Bittern, I’m sure you know, is one of the smallest Herons.  Quiz to follow.
I’m no birder but I am impressed by the sight of a bizillion Snow Geese wintering in balmy New Mexico.  Balmy at least compared the Arctic tundra where they hatched and first took flight.  They spend half the year migrating to and from the frozen north and as far south as Mexico.  Calories provided by some of America’s richest farms and fields along the route.



Monday, November 05, 2012

Connective Tissue

Rarely do I do a follow up post.  Here's one.  The railroad car shown above displays the words Emmett Kelly painted over the words Santa Fe as you can see.  We can deduce that Emmett’s name was affixed at a later time probably after the car was decommssioned or sold to the Verde Canyon Railroad. 
This follow up is prompted by an email from my long time friend Lenny Levenson in Florida.  It seems that Lenny posted today’s blog post to flikr and that elicited a response from Emmett Kelly’s son-in-law Steve Woodburn.   This is all this morning, folks.  Mr. Woodburn said that Emmett had retired to Arizona where he became active in civic affairs and he was likely honored for his good works with the Emmett Kelly rail car.  That’s as logical a scenario as any.  But another friend Jim Rogers in Dallas wondered if Kelly had been a big enough star to warrant his own car.  I had wondered as much.  Then I did a little research that indicated Kelly died and was buried near his home in Sarasota.  That muddys the water a tad until you compute that Sarasota is the winter home of the Ringling Brothers circus and it's fitting that he be buried there.  One supposition begets another question.

But mostly this is about the magical and speedy connection the internet and social media can make between humans and information.  I'm amazed and a little inspired by the interaction bred by a post to a relatively minor blog and it's extended reach through social media.  I connect with Lenny and Jim.  Lenny connects with Steve Woodburn and back to me.  I post the whole shebang and the circle starts anew.  As Lenny said, “Small world.” 

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Railroad Redux

It turns out that I’ve photographed the Verde Canyon Railroad in Clarkdale, Arizona on at least three occasions, the first in 2004 and the most recent a week ago.  One of my first shots from the railroad, then called Verde Valley Railroad, is the close up of my beloved engine 1512.  The other from the same visit in 2004 is the mechanical detail, specifically the “truck” below.  When I walked toward the train last weekend there was old 1512 giving me the eye.  
1512 in 2012
1512 in 2004

This time I wandered to the graveyard of mothballed passenger cars.  If there’s anything I like better than vintage rolling stock it’s the ones put out to pasture that really speak to me.  The one shown below is named for Emmett Kelly, the sad faced circus clown from the mid twentieth century.  Kelly was arguably the most famous clown ever.  I don't know why the car was named for him.  Maybe all passenger cars in that era were named for famous folks.
Emmett Kelly 2012
Emmett Kelly 2012

Truck 2004