Sunday, September 27, 2015

Life's a blur then you die

Seldom do I post a couple of pics and call it a day. But prompted by my friend Terry Thompson’s vivid abstracts currently displayed in the Taos Fall Arts Festival and because fall color is upon us here are two autumn leafy items that celebrate the season with applied blur. That means I created the fuzz with rapid zooms of my trusty 28mm-135mm.

That's all folks.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Unbreakable and forever

I spent Friday morning with the nearly famous sheep herder, Victor “Cuba” Hernandez and his patron, Andrew Abeyta. I awoke at 4:15, sacrificed my morning shave and arrived in Mogote about 15 minutes early for the trek to the place where Cuba and the sheep would cross the Rio de Los Pinos just south of Osier, Colorado. Cuba had left his last camp in the high country at about 7am and would trail the sheep back to the Abeyta ranch in Mogote by day’s end. I bailed about noon having photographed the crossing and just enough sheep butts to have had my fill.

When I spoke to Andrew earlier in the week I asked if he had found a herder in South America He said, “I was looking in Peru but Victor decided he wanted to stay another year.” I replied that it had to be a relief not to have to train somebody new. Andrew continued that, “It’s not a big surprise. He’s said he was going to stop several times and always decides to stay. This time he said he’d keep on doing it as long as he can walk.” 

Naturally I’m delighted with the news since Cuba has been the constant in the story and is the embodiment of the sheep herding cycle in the San Luis Valley. Besides I didn’t get to his high camp in Cruces Basin and now will have another shot next year.

Sipping coffee and leaning on his pick-up Andrew explained that once the sheep arrived at the river there was no telling when they would cross. They might just hang out and graze for half an hour and decide it’s time. And that's precisely the way it happened..

As Andrew and I chatted while we waited for Cuba I asked some questions that would help me chronicle his family’s history as sheep ranchers and, more importantly, to understand the deep attachment that they have to the land and the life they have pursued since that first orphan lamb nearly a century ago. While I have a better handle on the chronology of their story I'm still a country mile from understanding why their tie to the land and the ranching life is so strong. Strong, in fact, doesn’t come close to describing the depth of Los Abeytas' roots in the life of land, water, family and faith. It seems to be unbreakable and forever.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


On the morning of my last day in Sonoma there was something resembling fog though it was more like chicken broth than split pea soup and lasted about ten minutes.

Down the road five miles from the Canvas Ranch was tiny Tomales with the clapboard sided Church of the Assumption in the early morning's diffuse light and further south Marshall’s shimmering tidal flats opening into Tomales Bay.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Nothing but blue skies do I see

The image called "Canopy" on the way to the lighthouse in 2014

The last time we visited Point Reyes the lighthouse was shrouded in fog and the 300 steps down to the jutting promontory were closed to visitors who might otherwise pitch to the crashing surf below. When I returned in July of this year I was hoping for socked in conditions that would provide fodder for my Fog Series. Instead I got blue skies, bright sun and seventy degree temperatures. Good for the suntan but hell for the Fog Series.

You’re getting these damned scenics because your trusted reporter couldn’t extract something transcendent in the sunshine.

I turned right at the spot where Canopy was shot last year and got the empty beach reaching north

Point Reyes Light with the too blue Pacific beyond

More of same

Does black and white bring gravitas or is it just me?