Sunday, August 12, 2012

High Plateau, I

Sagerton, Texas

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.

O'Brien, Texas

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.


lyle said...

said it before, but I continue to be fascinated by the depth and variety of color in these images......

James Weekes said...

It's funny how land works. I moved here to North Florida, from Vermont. I was used to a hill, rise, tree or valley breaking up the horizon. Now I live in an area as flat as High plateau, but for the trees. The little area I live in is called Palm Valley. There are lots of palms but no valley. The palms create the valley. But I can go two miles to the ocean and have a really endless horizon.

I used to miss Vermont because the land had so much movement. Now I love the low country variations. I would love to go photograph that high plateau though.

Carl Weese said...

James, the high plateau landscape is definitely worth a look, but if you go that far, keep going north. I think that the northern tier of Nebraska and the southern tier of South Dakota are just fabulous. I worked with both on road trips going through, back about ten years ago, and I'm just dying to get back there to work again, both with b&w 7x17 film and color digital.