Driveabout#38

Ok, where was I?
Right, on my way to Phoenix.
Went through the Black Hills in South Dakota.
Down past that great Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska.
Pausing at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
And then in quick succession;
Monument Valley, New Mexico
Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

I’m now going to Airbnb around Prescott, Arizona until my black belt review on Saturday. Why here? It is at 5000 ft elevation and I need to do two things as much as possible for the next several days. Sleep and work out. Working out at higher elevation is more effective and I’ve been somewhat slack as I drive around. Wish me luck.

About my photography. I know I am missing shots because I have limited myself to one lens. All in all I’m good with that. But I’ve been wondering about missed shots because I’ve only been doing color. So, I’ve decided to start shooting black and white and see if I can do any good with it. Following are some shots taken from the last 3 places I visited (see above). These are groups of two identical shots and settings except that I toggled between B&W and Color.
What do you think?

 

Driveabout#37

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Ok, work with me on this one.
As I was coming from the last place and going to the next place I realized that I must be somewhere around Hernandez, NM. My Rand-McNally couldn’t tell me where it was, but Google could. I was close, I went, it was a full moon.

Now, why is this interesting (at least to me)? Have you ever seen the photograph called “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” by Ansel Adams?
see here

I have neither the equipment used by Ansel Adams, nor the talent. However, I thought I would try to do a modern interpretation in honor of the man.

I got there in early afternoon and scoped out some foothills on the west side of the valley to climb and get a panoramic shot from. As I was walking back from that mission I came across a state patrolman giving a lady a ticket. I requested his attention after he was finished with her. I would say he was a young man, late twenties. I asked him if it was ok for me to be hiking in the foothills. He said as long as it wasn’t posted No Trespassing I should be fine. I let him know I was going to take some photos and try a reinterpretation of the Moonrise, Hernandez pictures. He looked at me blankly. Ansel Adams? Blank. I suggested (since he was standing in Hernandez) he look it up.

Close to sunset I went and climbed up the hills I thought would give the best angle, decently steep but only a few hundred feet high. Then I waited. It got cold. I called my brother to tell him what I was doing. He shook his head. It got darker. Finally, the (full) moon rose. I took some shots and headed back down, in the dark.

Then I went and had dinner at a local place. At the end, the very kindly owner came out for a chat. We got around to what I was doing there. She said she had a print on the wall so we got up and took a look. Then I realized I hadn’t remembered the picture well enough. First, I thought it had a full moon in it, nope. Second, I thought it overlooked the town, nope. Having done some research now, I highly recommend a person does it before engaging. Coincidentally we both were there about the same time of year.

My intent is to make a collage somewhat like displayed above.
His is better. But in all fairness, he had clouds and snow. Those always make for a better picture.

Interlude#5

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Title: Sunrise

Before Tanager starts her morning song.
Before Coyote laughs at the newest day.
There is a pause.
Too dark to see, like the gathering of wits.
First a squeeze, just a little bit of orange,
And with that squeeze, a cascade is started.
Black starts turning to blue.
Orange fights its way clear of the initial dab
And starts to ooze along the bottom.
Encouraged, yellow leaps ahead
Shouting to the world of a new day.
Getting so bright, turning away
And in turning, displayed behind,
A tableau, a painting, an inspiration.

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Driveabout#32

I’ve been hanging out in Acadia N.P. for a few days. This is as far North and East as I am going to make it. So, it time to say adios to this fall weather
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and hit the road heading back West.
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A couple of asides.
First, the weather has been so great that I’ve failed to be able to get any fog pictures while on the coast of Maine!

I can’t remember if I mentioned that one of the subtexts of this drive was to visit the rest of the 50 states I hadn’t been to. When I started there were 12 states on that list. It was a lot of miles before I could cross off South Carolina. Then West Virginia. Delaware and Rhode Island were a hassle, but done, because they are surrounded by toll roads, large cities and the hustle and bustle I like to avoid. After a few distractions I made it to Vermont, then New Hampshire and finally Maine.

What’s that leave, 5 more?

philosophyon-line dating#12

I just got the news. The most important part for getting my car running again won’t be in till Monday. So, that gives me some time for reflection.

Why am I doing this drive?
And will it help my on-line dating?

You may have noticed in past writings the notion that experiences are better when shared. There are, of course, some activities that just can’t be done alone. But I even speculated that scenes were better when viewed with others.
I no longer believe that is true. I have seen what is for me the prettiest thing in nature.IMG_3670aThis is Grand Prismatic Springs in Yellowstone. I am blown away in love with it. And unfortunately, my camera setups are not ideal for capturing it. My big camera can’t get far enough away and elevated and my phone is better for closeups, which you don’t get the stunning effect of this place up close.IMG_0160
Never the less, it is a stunning sight and in no way diminished because I was alone. I believe I am able to gain insight from this and it is not to use a metaphor like you can’t be too close or something like that. No, I believe that what I took for enhancement because of company was rather that I was being drawn to the present, a state of mind that I’ve been trying to reach more recently, a state of mind that I hardly even knew how to spell before.

I think I’m really begin to get it. Take these mechanical breakdowns I’ve been having. I can distinctly remember in the past the level of stress that would appear at even the hint of a mechanical problem. “OMG, am I going to break down? Can I afford the repair bill? Will I be late?” Truthfully I can declare that none of that has occurred on this trip. Life will be and my worrying about it will not improve the situation.
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Driveabout#27

So, I luck out. The clutch problem is the simplest of the possibilities, a leaking hydraulic line. There is even a replacement part in town. Colin, the mechanic squeezes me in (remember, no appointment) and I’m back on the road by 3pm. I cut across cool little mountain roads, even dirt at times and come out on the high plains of New Mexico. The sun is nearly setting as I come across a beautiful gorge cut out by the Canadian river. I race through hoping to find the right scenery, but fail. On the other side I keep looking back at the way the sunset is shaping up. Finally I stop to capture the moment. When I start up again I immediately feel something wrong with the car. I pull over, get out and OMG, my back rear wheel has four (out of 5) missing lug nuts. And by missing I mean not only are the nuts gone, but the studs they screw on to are broken off. There is one nut, barely holding the wheel on.

I jack the car up and tighten that one nut, wishing that the studs hadn’t broken. If they were still there then I could have stolen one nut from each wheel and been in pretty decent shape. But no. The next town on the map is ROY, NM, but I don’t know how far away I am. Do I walk, call for a tow, try to drive? Pulling out my phone I see I have no reception. But I did back where I just had my last photo shoot. Where I’m parked the road is rising towards Roy, so I start walking in that direction, figuring that I’ll get reception back when I get to the top of the rise. About half way up the hill I flag down a passing truck. He informs me Roy is just 4 miles from here and the road is in good shape. Thanking him I go back to my car and decide to drive to town. Stopping occasionally to check the wheel and not going over 10mph I arrive in Roy.

It is 8pm, dark and gone to bed. I literally walk down the middle of the main drag scoping out what my possibilities might be in the morning. Up at 7 I start walking around. The only thing open is a funky coffee shop run by Claudia. I begin to explain my problem when she interrupts and said aren’t I the guy who walked 4 miles to town. News travels fast in small towns. After explaining the situation and correcting the story, btw with the couple of locals that were in drinking coffee we got the story to be that no, I hadn’t walked into town. Instead I had picked up that corner of my car and pushed it into town. After all, my car was sitting just over there.

Anyway, she calls Justin to get advice, seems he’s the practical one in town. But Justin is about to leave for Colorado, but he suggests, if need be, we could probably figure a way to get towed to the next town that might have parts, because there was no way parts were to be found in Roy, not for a Subaru. At 8 I walked over to Rick’s gas station to ask if I got the parts could he install them. He said he wasn’t really a mechanic and would not be comfortable doing that. However, he was pretty sure Danny could do it after work. He’d track Danny down and ask. So I went back to Claudia’s. One of the locals, Marlin, said he was taking his uncle in to a doctor’s appointment today in Sante Fe and he would be happy to pick the parts up for me and be back by 4-4:30. I said great. Justin stopped in to see how the situation was doing. In a couple of hours Marlin called and said he had the parts. Then Rick stopped in and said Danny would do the work for me.

Isn’t it great when a plan works out. These people have been super stellar. Now I just have to wait and if all goes well I’ll hit the road this evening. Because I do have a wedding reception to get to outside New Orleans by Saturday.IMG_3850aIMG_3852a