Month: February 2012

Isolated Pool, the Cascades, Colorado

Isolated Pool, the Cascades

Isolated Pool, the Cascades

Go back.

In an earlier post, I presented a detail from a spot that I’ve visited since I was a boy, and to which I have returned countless times to make photographs. On this occasion, just one day after I made the first image of rocks, Chalk Creek, and lichens, I found this trio of boulders guarding a small pool from the furor of the snow-melt stoked creek, and resolved to contrast the calmness of the pool with the anger of Chalk Creek in early summer.

Mark Rothko Tribute, Alda

Mark Rothko Tribute, Alda

Mark Rothko Tribute, Alda

Mark Rothko’s abstracts perplexed me as a teenage photographer; how could I, as an artist who was a child of the Paul Strand photographic reformation, reduce images to their true essence, simple explorations of color and light? I experimented for a decade with Renoir-style textures, Degas-inspired colors, and last January, with this Rothkoesque essay on the winter grass and tree belts along the Platte River. I have never Photoshopped this image; other than minor curves correction, the photo appears how it came out of the camera.

What are your thoughts (I’m looking for truth here)?

Alley Belle’s Cabin, Romley, Colorado

Annie Belle's Cabin, Romley

Annie Belle's Cabin, Romley

A bumpy drive south of St. Elmo, Colorado, is the Alley Belle Mine, one of a very few remaining vestiges of the town of Romley. There sits a miner’s cabin, abandoned, with only the brief summer flowers and morning light to warm its decaying existence, and one late June morning at 7 a.m., I joined those companions in the cabin, celebrating the past and present through this photo.

Push for First, Porsche Club Race, Hastings

Push for First, Porsche Club Race, Hastings

Push for First, Porsche Club Race, Hastings

The response to my earlier Porsche shot has been fun, so here’s one more from that day. As the morning began, these two GT3s battled back-and-forth in every corner, and in one turn, I found the chance to show just how far ahead of the pack these two had become.

Porsche Race, Hastings

Porsche Morning, Hastings

Porsche Race, Hastings

To be clear, I’m not a racing photographer. In a past life, yes, I was a photojournalist, and yes, I shot lots of sports and news. But I prefer documentary work, transcendent work that examines and expresses the essence of cultures, places and landscapes. Moreover, on this blog I don’t post on weekends, but I’m making an exception to avoid forgetting this photo.

One spring morning, I just couldn’t help myself. Photographically, that happens a lot.

This bright orange Porsche 911 Turbo kept buzzing down a straightaway in front of me, and transfixed as I was by the guardrails, two trees and green grass, I resolved to express the speed in which the 911 flew around the track.

PlainSky, Nebraskans: Husker Boy, North Platte

Husker Boy, North Platte

Husker Boy, North Platte

Nebraska is a state divided between pronounced urban development in both Lincoln and Omaha, at the east end of the state, and extreme rural culture at the northwest corner, in Harrison. West of Highway 281 and north of Interstate 80 marks the least populated quadrant of the state per square mile, and North Platte serves as one of the major trading centers for the area, with its population of about 24,000, and location just north of Interstate 80; it is close to the center of the state that counts Nebraska football as its unifying force.

I found this young boy at a corn maze in North Platte on a late October afternoon; his classic Nebraska farm boy look, his Cornhuskers shirt, the light from the late sun bouncing from the corn beneath him, and his fleece-and-sequin cat ears all combined to make a memorable portrait of the glue that holds together the state that is Nebraska.

PlainSky, Nebraskans: Two Tracks Crossing, Crawford

Crossing Road, Two Tracks

Crossing Road, Two Tracks

This image sums up one facet of my PlainSky, Nebraskans, project marvelously: “Crossing road, 2 tracks.” In a sentence, few other descriptions could be more accurate in expressing the gist of living in western Nebraska; lives of those here are punctuated by the rails. Sleep is broken by the distant wail of the engine’s horn, or the low song of the rolling wheels, as it carries across the still, silent prairie air on a January night, and even as one’s slumber is disturbed, he or she is refreshed by the lullaby of the sounds so mated to modern life on the prairie.

St. Elmo General Store, Colorado

St. Elmo General Store

St. Elmo General Store

I’ve written and lectured over the years about how a photographer must go back. New elements appear over time, along with new vision and new philosophy; as a place changes, so too does the photographer and his or her visual expression of the essence of a place. St. Elmo is a good example of this process in my own photographic life: as I posted yesterday, I’ve been visiting this place for more than 35 years, and as such, small changes become larger in my eyes, and opportunities for new photos present themselves as fleeting moments that will evaporate quickly. The barber pole in this photo, and thus the image itself, has been my mantra: Look. Feel.

Stark General Store and Stars, St. Elmo, Colorado

Stark General Store and Stars, St. Elmo

Stark General Store and Stars, St. Elmo

I’ve been visiting St. Elmo since before I could walk. Like many places that photographers visit over and over, I return to St. Elmo frequently, looking for ways to visually express the essence of this place, so familiar to me. It is quiet there at night, after the throngs of visitors to Colorado’s best-preserved ghost town have left, the chipmunks fed and snapshots taken; the town returns to the silent witnessing it has borne in the high country for more than one hundred years, the stars overhead, and only the occasional headlights to give life to the long-dark buildings.

PlainSky, Nebraskans: Catholic Church Interior, Montrose

Montrose Church Interior

Montrose Church Interior

In an earlier post, I showed an image depicting the passage of time over the Montrose Catholic Church, and its small cemetery, which details another set of passages for the ranching families in the area. Today’s image is from inside the church, where a sparse interior, lack of running water, and no heat accompany parishioners beyond their greeting by the figures of the Virgin and Jesus Christ. The photo seems to exhibit barrel distortion from a wide angle lens, but this is an illusion: over its more than one hundred years, the floor of the building has sagged toward the outside walls, adding one more testament of years to which the building has borne silent witness.