Thursday, August 30, 2012
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012
I'm fascinated by irrigation. To the point of wondering if I can come up with an organizing theme for a large scale photographic project on the subject.
Back on June 9-10, just about the halfway point of the Giant Road Trip, I got to spend two days "off the road" enjoying the hospitality of a friend in Scottsdale, AZ. Not exactly time off though. I spent hours writing the TQ postcards for Kickstarter project sponsors and many more hours working on the itinerary for the second half of the drive-in theater trip. Also continued attempts to make contact over the internet with the upcoming theaters. You can't do it by phone because the phone number just leads you to a "what's playing tonight" recording. Regular mail doesn't work because the theater address is almost never the official postal address—with some exceptions, nobody lives there. Letters just come right back. Not many theaters seem to read their email, or check the result of the Contact buttons on their websites, or even monitor Facebook pages devoted to them, though that last surprised me by yielding more direct contacts than any other route.
Saturday morning early, I went looking for the recently closed Scottsdale Six theater.
Aside from the illiterate and maintenance-free message on the gateway, I found it interesting that this closed theater is evidently owned by the same chain as the Glendale 9. Glendale is part of the complex of cities including Phoenix, Scottsdale, and several others, where only a technical/political distinction lets you know they are different entities. Driving around, you have no more sense of going from one town to another than you would driving through the densely populated Hudson County Peninsula of New Jersey. I haven't yet found out whether the chain bought or built the two theaters—the style of their construction suggests they are not old—but clearly 15 screens was too much for Phoenix Metro and they shut one of the theaters down. A recent New York Times article informs us that the chain is intending to make the conversion to digital projection to keep open the theaters it hasn't already closed.
Back to irrigation. My host's kitchen sported an indoor/outdoor weather thing, which in mid-day typically said something like "outdoor—106°/7%, indoor, 80°/11%. Those are the conditions under which corn crops are being grown with irrigation. I need to do more research but my basic take on this is that it's madness. The open trough canals are already there, may even be simply the downstream of the ones I photographed in Wyoming ten years ago. I really want to research how much of this stream simply evaporates.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
I-27, West Texas
In the news, a Lubbock County, Texas, Republican judge has called for higher taxes to pay for emergency preparedness—the emergency being that if President Obama is reelected he will hand over U.S. sovereignty to the United Nations and lead UN troops in an invasion of Texas. Perhaps these shelters will prove useful to the Lone Star State's defenders.
Magdalena, New Mexico
An amazing Park Avenue style central boulevard in a town that seemed to have barely a dozen buildings.
Magdalena, New Mexico
The bright but delicate clear blue skies of the high desert are fascinating. It's a sky we just don't see back east. Even in the thin and extremely dry air you still get atmospheric haze in the distance, partly because distant stuff out here is just so far away. Later in the trip I'd encounter much higher elevations in Colorado, but Magdalena was still pretty well up there.
Magdalena, New Mexico
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Socorro, New Mexico
9:02 PM on June 6. The view from the balcony at the Best Western. It had been a long day but I was trying to stay up and alert for a 10:00 scheduled phone interview about the drive-in theater project with WGN in Chicago. As I've found in the past, it can be a real advantage to do photography travel at the point in the year when the days are longest. The downside of it is that if you want to work a subject in both late and early light, it can mean shooting at almost nine at night and then again at just after five in the morning. Not a problem this time. The next theater on my list was all the way over in Globe, Arizona, so I was able to sleep in the next morning, no need to rush since I wanted to slow down at this point and do some off-topic work with the wonderful New Mexico and Arizona landscape.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Lincold, New Mexico
On June 6 it was high summer with temperatures over 100°F as I moved across New Mexico, headed for several drive-in theaters in California's central valley. I needed to cover distance to stay on schedule but really wanted to try some color landscape pictures of this beautiful but forbidding territory. The next couple posts will show some of these.
Lincold, New Mexico
Monday, August 20, 2012
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Without looking into it systematically, I suspect that there is a town or city named "Plainview" in every state of the U.S. This one was worth a quick look around back on June 5 as I made my way from Amarillo to Lubbock.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Heading south from Amarillo the morning of June 5, I ran in and out of rainstorms on the highway, nearly the only rain I encountered in six weeks, and the storm cloud formations once again struck me as fascinating because of the way they formed up over a distant horizon, a thing that simply isn't seen back on my home turf.
When I'd finished up working at the DI theater in Amarillo, I mentioned to the owner that the next stop was Lubbock, and since it was only late afternoon maybe I'd move a little south. No, no, he told me. There is nothing between here and Lubbock. You will be stranded. So I back-tracked five miles or so to "hotel row" at the north end of town, and took a chance on a Motel 6 where I got an inexpensive first-floor-park-at-the-door-walk-in room (see previous posts why that matters) that was bare-bones but neat and clean, with fridge and microwave, plus—a thing not always to be depended upon at Motel 6, the WiFi that costs an extra $2.99 actually worked. It also had what I guess passes for a "small" flat-screen TV. I don't watch TV. It annoys me when I'm paying a hundred dollars for a room to see the giant flat screen TV that I can't avoid paying for and would gladly take a room without the stupid boob-tube if I could get it for less. Dream on.
As on my time there twenty years ago, I found the landscape of the High Plateau fascinating this time as well, and have some serious thought of going back to address it directly. Not just here, but for much of this trip, I can regard the time I stole from the main project as a sort of sketchbook.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
The Texas High Plateau is flat. Very flat. On June 4, I was traveling from Abilene, TX, to Rule, Clarendon, and finally Amarillo, photographing drive-in theaters at all four places. Back in 1992 I'd spent most of a week not far from here, in Lubbock, on a commercial photography assignment. Travel contingencies left me with Friday clear, and with a rental car with unlimited mileage, so I spent the day driving around the High Plateau west of Lubbock and into New Mexico with a couple Leicas and plenty of Tri-X. I was a little surprised that neither Lubbock nor the smaller towns inspired me to make any pictures at all, but the immense flat landscape fascinated me.
On the east coast, unless you go to the seashore, there is no visible horizon. Just the side of the next hill. Out here, the perfectly flat horizon surrounds you, unbroken except for tiny elements like utility poles or a distant windbreak between fields.
Back east, unless you go online and look at a weather map, you find out that it's going to rain because it has begun to rain. Out here, you often see multiple, separate, rainstorms swirling around you even in a relatively narrow arc of view.
Just as twenty years ago, I found the landscape fascinating, but instead of having a day off to wander around and explore, I was trying to cover a lot of ground and seven or eight possible DI theater venues in a couple of days.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
It's not clear what made the Zephyr Store formerly famous. The town, which currently has less than 200 population, has several vacant stores and hardly anything open. But there's a school, with prominent signs nearby forbidding the use of cell phones. My guess is that would have to be about curtailing communication among drug dealers. What they would be doing in such a small market is another question. About 125 years ago, a new railroad line came through the county and missed Zephyr by about a mile. So the residents picked up the town store and other buildings and moved them next to the railroad. Zephyr of course means gentle wind, but in 1909 the town was mostly destroyed by the deadliest tornado in Texas state history (ref. Wiki link above).
Friday, August 10, 2012
Exploring an unfamiliar town I usually end up spending much more time poking around behind the buildings, wandering through the parking lots and back alleys, than out on Main Street.
The central street here was so enormous it seemed to dwarf the modest buildings.