winter

Dunes and Winter Storm, Alamosa County

Dunes and Storm, Alamosa County

Dunes and Storm, Alamosa County

I returned from the great American Southwest late yesterday, over 3,000 miles and 11 days in my pocket. My students and I held communion with some of the most spiritual and visually stunning places imaginable, such as Chaco Canyon, Mesa Verde, Canyonlands, and Arches. It’s an excellent way to be reminded of what magical places sit at our doorstep here in the West.

The image above was one of the first I made: a winter storm beginning to clear over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado, the Great Sand Dunes shivering beneath the cold and wind of the clouds.

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From Days (okay, decades) Past: Wizard Island, Oregon

Wizard Island in Winter, Oregon

Wizard Island in Winter, Oregon

My hope for the next few months (when I’ve finished finals this week) is to select images from my copious vault of slides (yes, kids, once we used E-6, and we liked it), and have them remastered to digital files. It’s expensive, so I’m only having my favorites done, but this is one–from a long time ago. It’s framed and on a wall in my house, a reminder of the days where my wife and I lived in the state which was the target of one of the largest migrations in human history: Oregon. This spot, Crater Lake, is spectacular any time of year, but especially so in winter.

Keep in mind, this is just a macro shot of the un-retouched slide, so the corners are blurry, there is lint, there are scratches, and there is dust. But the image remains.

PlainSky, Nebraskans: Catholic Cemetery, Montrose

Cemetery, Montrose

Cemetery, Montrose

I have spent time at both the Montrose Catholic Church, as well as Ray Semroska’s home; that said, I found the presence of Ray’s headstone in the cemetery of the church, accompanied by a small visage of the Virgin, both eerie and telling. The Semroskas are perhaps 5 percent of the entire plots, and on their hill, those overlook the long, high prairie as its winds and time pass the tiny sets of gravestones–and the traditions they represent–quietly by.