An era of cowboys, ’57 Chevys, and motor hotels with neon signs…
And a close-up, with curious pigeons…
It is the glorious, hallelujah, welcome-to-the-promised-land, cirrus clouds that make this one come erect as a photograph. A boring, droopy, flaccid, blue sky would have been quite un-arousing.
Well, Floyd’s Barber Shop it’s not–at least from the outside. Maybe it’s a bit more inviting once you are inside the warm and comforting womb of the shop…with the light conversation…the friendly joking…the rustle of newspaper as a page is turned…greetings between friends…the buzz of the clippers and the clip of the scissors…
Must be a “word-of-mouth” kind o’ place…
And a closer, cleaner perspective…
It seems to happen with depressing regularity wherever there is a heavy mix of motor vehicle and bicycle traffic (yes, even when there are established bike lanes)…a cyclist is hit, and severely injured or killed.
In the Boulder area, it seems like Highway 36, stretching out to Lyons, is the danger zone. In Tucson, the Catalina Highway, leading up to the popular 6,000′ climb of Mt. Lemmon, is now named the Brad P. Gorman Memorial Highway as a direct result of a 4-wheel v. 2-wheel tragedy. His story was big news in September of 1999 and eventually resulted in the passing of a “three-foot passing rule” in Arizona. The 17-year old who hit Brad was fined $66 for unsafe passing. And so it goes…
Yes, the cyclist always loses.
At the intersection of First Avenue and Navajo Road, in Tucson, you will find a memorial to yet another sad steel-flesh encounter in the form of a white-painted “ghost bike” and a memory box. The story behind it is as unfortunate as all the others, but with a twist.
You see, it was an on-duty policeman in an unmarked vehicle who hit and killed Francisco “David” Galvez that night in early November of last year. A witness to the accident, in an interview, implies that the driver of the vehicle was maneuvering in an unusual and aggressive manner. One wonders if the internal police investigation will be complete and fair, although the police chief assures us it will be.
The nickname “David”, by the way, came from the biblical David and Goliath story…it seems this man was a spirited soul regardless of the odds. So we’ll see how the investigation unfolds as the entrenched power structure (the giant, you might say) confronts the relative weakness of one grieving family on the community battlefield.
One moving fact: there is also a huge 30-foot flower sculpture (creators: Jason Butler and Hiro Tashima) beside the spot where David died. It wasn’t planned that way, but it certainly serves as a fitting memorial to honor a fellow cyclist who was forced to ride away into a desert sunset well before his time.
So, lets all try our best to be careful out on the roads, whether we are cycling, walking, or driving.
And smooth riding to you, David.
“It’s a waaaainy day…
The sky…is gway…
But I think I wiw shmahy-oh anyway!”
I was up well before sunrise, checked the weather and peered up at the dark sky–but I convinced myself the conditions sucked for a sunrise photo sojourn what with the constant stormy weather and all…yadda, yadda, yadda… So, I was not anywhere but inside our small apartment when the sun’s rays started groping through the writhing clouds along the foothills. The high peaks on the Divide were poking through like beacons of divine white light.
Dang, I was missing it!
Once it was apparent that the sky and light was “happening”, I hurried up to one of my favorite perches, Sugarloaf Mountain, and made the summit by 7:30a.m. or so. And I did manage to capture a few nice scenes (as in the above), but likely nothing like what I would have found had I showed up at the start line at sunrise. Still I was somewhat lucky–just twenty minutes after hitting the summit, I was enveloped in grey mist (again, as in the above image). Whiteout!
After hiking back down the semi-bald Sugarloaf Mound, I did my usual patrol along Lost Angel Road, looking for light, form, and texture. I stopped at one point and photographed a nicely cloud-draped Bear Peak. It was then that I met a man of about my age or so walking a tiny, but elegantly-dressed and very friendly, curious canine.
It turned out he was a long-time (30+ years) Sugarloaf resident and a photographer himself–Willy Sutton, as he introduced himself. We had a pleasant chat about sunrise pictures from the Sugarloaf Mountain summit, rainfall, and photography projects, and then we were each on our way.
At home, after looking through the images on his websites (and his impressive CV), I discovered just how accomplished William S. Sutton actually is…and those Sugarloaf Mountain images I love to make suddenly seemed just a bit…well…small. (Sampling the CV: MoMA, Guggenheim Fellowship, exhibits dating all the way back to 1979, and so on.)
It never ceases to amaze me the talent of folks who live around here–Olympic athletes, Nobel Prize winners…and nationally recognized artists of which Mr. Sutton is one.
So, here are your links to explore:
William S. Sutton and Michael P. Berman’s Wyoming Grasslands Project
It’s called Glass House by Indigo People and it’s a pretty darn cool, low-budget, high-quality, home-made, music project. It’s sort of surreal, avant-guarde, modernist…yet thoughtfully simple. Original and intriguing. (Or, maybe dialed, bodacious, and sick, to use a few more modern adjectives.)
The driving force behind it’s production is CW, a cheerful young man we have had the pure pleasure to work with at our weekly Monday Photography Group (Attention Homes).
If this new release (his third) is any indication, this kid is in for a bright future.
You can check it out, and sample the tracks, HERE. Feel fully free to donate some cash to the artists involved–just click the BUY NOW button at that link and pick your price.
And, for the record (so to speak)…although CW kindly credited Dana Bove and me for the photography on the album cover (below), it was actually CW’s image–we just did a few minutes of post-processing.
I have several previous blog posts that touch on the subject of water. Just plug “water” in the search box on my site and you’ll find them. At least one discusses the technical aspects of photographing this lovely, liquid, subject.
I find water fascinating. I suppose it comes from having spent so many years in the parched desert Southwest. Water is life-sustaining, and just plain beautiful…an alpine stream threading through wildflower tundra in July…an intermittent spring stream carving through granite bowls in the desert…a pounding 3,000-foot cascading, undulating, ribbon of white in Yosemite…it all strikes a primordial chord from deep within us, I think.
Yes, too much of it can ruin your day–or your life (search my site for “2013 Flood”, for example)–but, generally, water is our friend. What is it those biologists like to say? That something like 95% of our body weight comes from water? Makes me wonder what makes up the other 5%!
Trying to photograph water is always a challenge. What is the story you want to tell? What is your personal vision? What attracts your eye? What do you really see and feel when faced with, say, the heavy spray and swirling, twirling spring runoff as it roars through Eldorado Springs Canyon? What do you want to communicate with the viewer? All these fuzzy questions–and their fuzzy answers–will lead you to very un-fuzzy and cold references to ISO, neutral density filters, shutter speed, and so on.
But it starts with the vision.
I like searching out and uncovering unusual patterns in the water. Patterns unseen except with the camera at certain settings. I also like unusual perspectives and slightly abstract scenes.
I examine the currents and bubbles as they wrap and warp around the rocks and along the bank. I examine the spray patterns…the waves and curves. It takes practice to train your hairy eyeball to “see” what the water will look like at different shutter speeds. I’m still learning. The more you do it, though, the easier it becomes.
Most of the time, I prefer a slower shutter speed–enough to give the water a soft, velvety effect, but not so much that all detail in the water is lost. On a rare occasion, I’ll actually push the shutter speed the other direction to freeze the action–1/1000th, even 1/8000th if necessary. It all comes down to–as I said above–what you want to communicate.
What follows are a series of images made over the past couple of days in Eldorado Springs Canyon–“Eldo”–just south of Boulder. This is actually sort of a photo essay project with “Spring: The Promise of New Life“ as the theme.
Just for fits, mitts, and grins, and for the technophobes among you, I’ll post the shutter speed for each. Keep in mind, though, these images aren’t really about shutter speed…they are about an idea, a feeling, and a story.
At 1/8th of a second:
At 1/5th of a second:
At 1/250th of a second, to slow the movement of the bobbing bubbles:
At 1/10th of a second. Note the American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) readying for another leap into the current for a meal and a bath. I was hoping to catch the bird in sharp focus and the water as you see it, but didn’t quite manage it–thus a slight bird blur boo-boo:
At 1/5th of a second:
At 1/10th of a second:
At 1/1250th of a second, to slow down the action and consider a different perspective and mood:
At 1/80th of a second. The goal was to freeze the bubbles a bit yet maintain some streaking of the water:
At 1/250th of a second–trying to freeze the bubbles around the rock:
At 1/6th of a second. Back to my velvet vision: