Crazy From The Heat Notes
Crazy From The Heat Notes and Stories. These are notes and thoughts on the images in this book.
1. Meteor Shower: In 2009 I hiked at night for several months. I carried four film cameras with tripods and would set them up in locations mostly close to where I was. I also had my newly acquired digital camera free to use while the film cameras were exposing. The Perseid meteor shower was in full swing and I wondered if I could capture it.
2. Dust Devil: Highway 90 between Valentine and Van Horn Texas is a good place to see dust devils. With film cameras I always had several film backs loaded with different types of film in them. When I saw this dust devil I jumped out of my truck and photographed it hastily. When I got the film back from the lab I realized I photographed the image on slide film and not Tri-X black-and-white film. I also had a contrast filter over the lens. I essentially blew it. Then the digital age came along and I was able to scan that image and take out the filter cast and convert it in to the black-and-white image I had in mind in the first place.
3. Bull Snake on 385: I was on my way home and passed by this snake curled up on itself. I’ve never seen this before in my life. I jumped out of the truck shot a few images, then poked at it a little bit to see if it was alive. It was and not too happy about that.
4. Chisos (The Heat Series) I usually wait for the prettiest light of the day to shoot images. Looking for long shadows and nice puffy clouds. I decided to start shooting in the worst light and to just try and capture the heat. I love the way the mountains in foreground and background are all flattened out. It kicked off a new series of image making, and made me realize that I could shoot in any kind of light.
5. George Merriman: In 1992 I went on a lower canyons river trip with 10 friends. It was a great experience, the river was up and we floated fast. The hard part was finding a camp that wasn’t underwater. I took this photograph of George on that trip. Several years later he was doing acrobatic spins in his Cessna airplane. On a barrel roll the plane’s wing touched the ground and he was killed.
6. Self-Portrait Firing Pistol: I set the camera up on tripod and timer and just kept firing the gun to see if I could record the flame coming out of the barrel. For the record I am pretty scared of guns.
7. Chisos at Night Panoramic: The digital age resolved an issue I had with making panoramics. With film cameras the 35mm negative format was too small and with the 2 1⁄4 format the negative was too large for my 4x5 enlarger. With digital cameras you shoot pieces of the image and Photoshop stitches them together. Also digital sensors make it easier to record in very low light. This image was shot about 4 AM and is the first panoramic I made at night.
8. Chisos and Clouds: This is another image shot just like the dust devil image and saved in the same way.
9. Heart Cloud: I was out on a tour and lecture with Ranger Rob Dean. As he was talking to the class I saw this cloud and photographed it. Sometimes I will shoot an image just to remind me of the moment. It always reminds me of Rob.
10. On North County Road: This county road is one of my favorites to drive on. I have spent days back there. It seems I discover something new every time.
11. John L Guldeman: I spent the day with John on his ranch for an article for Texas Monthly. I was looking for a place to make a portrait. When we stopped here I was setting up the camera and a big wind came up and nearly blew John’s hat off. That was the perfect shot.
12. Rain with Lightning: Photographing lightning at night is somewhat easy. You put the camera tripod pick an f-stop, depending on the severity of the bolts, open the shutter and wait for the lightning to streak the film. In daylight you have to try to shoot the picture when you see the bolt or anticipate that is going to happen.
13. Texas Horned Lizard: People come into the gallery and tell me how they used to play with these lizards and kept them for pets when they were children. They also tell me that haven’t seen one in years. But in west Texas I see them all the time when I’m riding my bicycle. One time I saw one and turned back to look at it. I was no more then 10 feet from it when a red tailed hawk flew down and grabbed it right in front of me. The hawk had to make a decision to get it before I did. It was an amazing moment.
14. Dog Canyon: This is one of those beautifully lit nice tonal scale images. The rock slide on the far left happened Easter 1981 according to Ben Love the rancher who shares this range with the national park.
15. Nude at Agua Fria: To me there is nothing more beautiful than the form of woman’s body. And in the harsh but equally beautiful desert landscape it is breathtaking. The rock here is very light, like skin tone. This model and I started early in the morning shot all day till the sun went down. I made several fine images, but this is one of the best nudes I’ve ever done. Sometimes photo sessions are like songs and can take me back to a memory. I’ll never forget this day, how much fun we had, how we both struggled to make artistic images, and how totally high on life we were.
16. Clouds Near Indian Head: This is one of my favorite places to camp when I am tired and in a hurry to get to bed, and of course, I am on that side of the park.
17. Six man Football Team: Billy Faier asked me to do a portrait of him for an article in a banjo magazine. We went down to the post park in Marathon and shot for quite a while. The Marathon High School football team happened to be there too. So I asked them if they would get in the kiddie pool and let me do a portrait.
18. Boys: I was going out for a jog and I was just on my first quarter mile when I saw these boys jumping off the roof on to the trampoline. I jogged right back to my studio and got my camera. I love the fact that these kids are not wearing any protective gear helmets etc. It reminds me of when I was a kid, and before there were so many lawyers.
19. Javelina: This baby javelina belonged to Buzz Ross in Fort Davis. I set up a white backdrop and a light and Buzz would let the Javelina go and it would run across the backdrop. I don’t know how many rolls of film I shot to try and get an image where you can see all four legs but it was plenty.
20. Ocotillo Pamoramic: This too is a panoramic from the heat series as I explained previously. I call it Pamoramic because my friend Pam Shown is on the far right behind an ocotillo. It is also the cover of this book.
21. Monte Schatz: Monte was an artist and friend who lived here in Marathon. One day he called to ask if I would photograph about 25 bearded dragon lizard’s he had before they all left for their new homes. I asked where do you want to do this? He said how about your place, I said I don’t think so. I said, how about your place? And he said no, he had a painting in progress and he never liked anyone to see an unfinished piece. He said how about at the Catholic Church and I said yes. We shot for at least 45 minutes and they never moved. Monte really had a way with them. The light is all existing, and the negative is one of the most perfect negs I’ve ever processed. A few years later Richard Grant did a story on me for the London Times Magazine, and in that story they ran this image. Monte was so proud, he said he imagined the Queen on the toilet looking at his face.
22. David’s Grave: I was asked to photograph the graduating class of 2004. There were only six students. David Aguilar was the only one to show up for a portrait. A couple of days later he was riding with some friends to Fort Stockton and the driver lost control of the car on a curve. The car rolled and David was killed. By the time I gotten the film back from the lab he was being buried. I went to the cemetery the night before the funeral and set up my camera to do a time exposure. I opened the shutter and walked around the cemetery painting the crosses with the light and let the moon light the rest of the negative. I used my camera to honor his life and express my personal grief.
23. Tom Lea: I was coming back from an assignment in New Mexico and spent the night in El Paso Texas. When I got to my hotel room I thought about Tom Lea. I’d never met him and since I was going to be here I thought I’d give him a call. When his wife picked up the phone I introduced myself, told her I was a photographer and asked if I might do a portrait of Tom. She asked “for what” I said “posterity.” She asked” how much does it cost” I said it’s free. She said hold on. A few minutes went by and she came back to the phone and asked if I could be there at 2 o’clock. I said yes ma’am. Then she gave me directions. I asked “what is your name ma’am.” She said “what for” I said “just for respect ma’am.” She said it’s Mrs. Lea. We met at Tom’s studio and I did not bring in any lighting. Tom had a simple desk light and I kept it just out of the frame but enough to put a catchlight in his eyes. If you stood back from it you would think I was interrogating him. He was slow to warm up and said you’re kinda late. I was thinking, I was right on time, but he was thinking in the bigger picture. He wasn’t painting anymore. He was old now. He was really a good sport about the spotlight. By the end of the shoot we were laughing. I sent him the images and he wrote me a very sweet letter. I still have and cherish it.
24. Deer Leg: This is a very early photograph for me, probably 1990. I was still lighting everything with a generator and strobes. This phenomenon I’d never seen before. A deer attempts to leap the fence but doesn’t clear it and the leg gets caught between the barbed wire and the weight of its own body binds it, and it is doomed to die.
25. Mexican Hognose Snake: I like to photograph snakes. I have found that a lot of people are extremely afraid of them, but they’re mostly sweet little creatures. I’ll set up a table and white backdrop and wait for pretty light to photograph them. Marci helps me by keeping the snake on the backdrop.
26. Near Shafter: I took this photograph on highway 67. I was working on an assignment for Texas Highways, which I’ll explain in more detail when the portraits come up.
27. Panoramic From Comb’s Ranch: Sometimes the weather phenomenon is so amazingly beautiful and yet fleeting. At these times you have to be fast in finding a spot and getting the camera set. When there are big clouds in the sky and the sun is setting, the light will reflect off the cloud a create a glow. In this case I drove north from my studio about three quarters of a mile. That land has a few houses on it now.
28. Nude at Grapevine: This was a spontaneous moment. A great hike, good talk, good weather, good feelings, good collaboration. Sometimes I use my camera to hold onto the moment and remind me of the feelings of that moment.
29. Agave Swan: My artist friend, Abby Levine, had these beautiful agave’s growing in her yard. I made this image there.
30. Nude and Fence: I was thinking how horrified I would actually be to come across a nude body lying in the weeds. Looking at it now, I don’t think I achieved my goal.
31. Ghillie Suit: On May 20 1997 Ezequiel Hernandez an 16-year old high school student was out herding goats when he was shot and killed by a US Marine. I was assigned by Texas Monthly to be the photographer and Robert Draper was the investigative reporter and writer. The Marines we’re heavily camouflaged in Ghillie suits. I had no idea what a Ghillie suit was, and so I called a few friends who I knew were hunters and asked. Mike Evans happened to have one and I asked if I could borrow it and I photographed my assistant Mike Howard in the suit. This image is probably the most important photograph I’ve taken in my life. Enrique Madrid took all my photographs to Washington DC and lobbied to get the Marines removed from the border. These images were instrumental and this one in particular in making that happen. I am shortening the total tragedy of this story, but Google Ezequiel Hernandez to learn more.
32. Sotols In The Morning, Agave stalk, Lunar Eclipse, Sotols, and Moonlit Agave are all images from a series I call "The Camera Never Sleeps." It began or I might say evolved while living on a ranch 12 miles south of Marathon. I would open the shutter and "paint" with light, then I would do a time lapse anywhere from one to six hours essentially when I woke up. There are more in the book and I will get into more detail as we progress, but these are the beginning ones.
33. Ike Roberts: I have photographed Ike many times. He is an iconic figure in this area. He is handsome, witty, and quite a model.
34. Esperanza Montoya Fuentez: I mentioned earlier that I was assigned to pick a small town to photograph for Texas Highways. I chose Shafter, Texas. I spent about 10 days there and photographed many of the residents. I truly love that town. There is water, great places to explore, and it is close to Presidio.
35. Freddie: He just looked so pretty, I had to make his portrait.
36. From Castolon: This is one of the first panoramic type images I’ve produced. I actually shot it on 4 x 5 film and cropped it to look panoramic. I made several attempts at this image before I finally got the gradation the way I wanted it
37. Grapevine at Night: I mentioned earlier that I hiked and photographed at night for several months. At that time I was just starting to embrace the digital age and digital cameras. I would set up my film cameras to do these time exposures, and while they we’re exposing I would make images with the digital camera.
38. Ocotillo and Blue Sky and Ocotillo and Planets: Both of these images we’re shot on film and with the same technique of opening the shutter painting the plant with the light and closing the shutter.
39. Desert Tarantula: I have photographed many of the desert critters on white backdrops for use on photo lampshades. Now Marci has started a line of T-shirts and pillowcases with these critters on them. Go to www.desertcritterwear.com. and you can order them.
40. Rock with Hole: Again this image was made at night, and is lit with the moon.
41. Hidden Hot Springs: There was a beautiful hidden hot spring very close to the popular one on the east side of the park. It washed away years ago.
42. Grapevine Hills: A few pages back I mentioned that while the film cameras were set up making time exposures I was out shooting with the digital camera. This is the image I was waiting on with the film camera.
43. Alsate’s Face and Chisos From Maverick Road: These images are again from the hiking at night series.
44. Sleeping Pattern: I have a rack mounted on my truck above my camper shell that I shoot off of as well as sleep on. Marci says I am a jumping bean when I sleep, moving around a lot and twitching. She wakes in essentially the same position she went to sleep in. One night, I set the camera up by leaning it on the rail that goes around my crib pointed it at the stars, opened the shutter and went to sleep. Every time I moved it jiggled the camera and created my sleeping pattern in the stars. If you look closely you can see and count how many times I moved.
45. These next few pages finish up the night series, and light painting images. Though they look simple, I experimented heavily, changing f-stops, shutter speeds, lenses, film backs and focus. There were a lot of failures as well as a lot of successes. Occasionally I still do an image like this, but for the most part an idea plays out for me and I’m on to something else. Also the digital age has somewhat simplified night work. Remember that these were all shot on film. If you do a time exposure at night with digital cameras the sky is filled with stars. Even stars you can’t see.
46. Rangra Theatre: I don’t know what to say about this one. I just loved that she is dressed so nicely and the John Travolta poster.
47. Big Bend In The Morning: I hope you can feel the serene quietness of this image as the sun just began to rise.
48. Cloud at Night: I took this image around 3 o’clock in the morning. The cloud looked like a reclining figure to me, and I wondered if I could capture it digitally. This again was in my early days of digital photography.
49. Marathon Motel: The big thrill of the evening was the lighting of the Marathon Motel sign. Evan Voyles drove in from Austin to do the repairs. Monte Schatz and I (same Monte as the one with the lizards around his neck) met over there. It was just starting to rain so work ceased. Monte had an idea for an image so he lays down by the cactus and I open the shutter. The light that is lighting the cactus is also lighting him. suddenly there is a lightning strike on the left and that frightens Monte and so he gets up, and as he gets up the lightning strikes on the right goes off and it’s bright enough to create that ghosting image of Monte. I couldn’t have timed it better. LUCK! We were great collaborators.
50. Jesse Laughing: I mentioned earlier that I had an assignment to photograph the town of Shafter, Texas. Jesse was one of the residents there. I must have said something funny to make her laugh so hard. On the table is a photograph of her mother.
51. Storm Cloud: I started following this storm in Marathon and ended up in the national park where I made this image there.
52. Red Rain: This is one of those beautiful moments when it’s raining and the sun is setting.
53. Rough Run Flashing at Midnight: The challenge was how do I photograph this. I walked out to the bridge with my camera and tripod and used the moon to light the image.
54. Tres Nudes: I went on a river trip with ten friends including four beautiful woman. We were camped near a hot spring when I made this image.
55. Nude in the Clouds: This is the first digital composite image I made. I photographed the model at Chinati Hot Springs at night and under water. The water made her legs long and sinewy. I then dropped in a cloud sky.
56. Desert Box Turtle: I see these crossing the roads all the time. I brought him to my studio for this image. If you pick one up hold them away from your body and tail down. You’ll see why.
57. Deer in Ernst Tinaja: This is from the hiking at night series. I lit the image with a light to make it eerie.
58. Rain: I was out photographing in a storm, and it got close enough to scare me into the truck. I shot through the window to make this image. The lightning bolt is reflected in all the rain drops on the windshield.
59. Caballos Novaculite: I lived on a ranch for a year. This mountain range ran through that ranch. I made this image on the way to the studio and used the water filled dirt tank for the reflection.
60. Flood: This was the flood of 2009. My friend and pilot Guil Jones flew Marci and me from Marathon through Presidio and up through the park and back to Alpine. This image was made just outside of Presidio.
61. Swimmers: I had an assignment for Texas Monthly to photograph dude ranches. This image was a part of that assignment. Sometimes the best work comes from the parameter of an assignment. When I first started shooting assignments I would always try to please the art director more than myself. As I got more involved with Art Directors and assignments, I just tried to please myself and I hoped they would be happy with what I found. The work got a lot better and more artistic, and I think the Art Directors were pleased too.
62. Brooke Pregnant: Brooke was due to have her baby on Monday. We shot this picture the Friday before. I took her to this swimming hole and shot for several hours. I got the idea to cake her in mud. And actually I did not do the caking, her husband did. As we were shooting the mud started to dry and her belly looked like the continents.
63. Santa Elena Formation: For about four minutes on some mornings the Santa Elena formation glows red. I camped at this site for a week to make this image. It is one of my first panoramic.
64. Santa Elena Canyon: this is a series I made of Santa Elena Canyon. I took a river trip down the canyon with Bobski (Desert Sports) the day before to see how the river was and how my guide was! The first day I only brought a point and shoot. The next day, I did the river trip again but with all my equipment. As we went through the canyon I laid in the raft and only shot up at the tops of the canyon. . On one side of the image is the United States and on the other side is Mexico. I made about 40 images for this series and they’re very beautiful. I’ve never displayed them, and this is the most that has been published. One of the challenges I have with photographing Big Bend National Park is that it is photographed heavily. So I am always trying to show what has been seen hundred of times in a different way. And also, to keep challenging myself to find new ways of photographing the same subject over and over again. I mentioned before that a friend of mine said there are 30 pictures of the park and everyone takes them. That has always stuck in my crawl, I think there is less than 30.
65. Checkered Garter Snake: This is another portrait I made by setting up the backdrop and shooting in the existing light. Marci usually helps me by keeping the snake on the backdrop.
66. Pile of Rocks (the quiet series) One of the wonderful things about Big Bend is you can hike anywhere. Sometimes I grab my camera and just go walking that way, and see what I find. There is a stillness at times that is so peaceful. I’ve tried to capture that on film.
67. Willis and Butch: Willis lived in Shafter Texas and maintained the mines. He was walking me through one of them, and on our way out I asked him to stop, and I made this image. The light was low, the exposure long and I was so excited my focus is off. When I developed the film I was disappointed. I asked Willis if we could reshoot it and we did, however it did not have the same feeling and I couldn’t get it back. I decided soft or not it still had the energy I felt.
68. Nude at Indian Head: There is nothing more beautiful.
69. Pock Rock, Rock at Indian Head, and Tule from Indian Head: All of these images are lit by the moon. They are from the hiking at night series. The streak of light in Tule is me walking through the image with a light on my head to see where I’m going. In this way the images become somewhat self-portraits.
70. Ocotillo and Rock: This is one of my favorites from the night series work. I think of it as a couple, sometimes one is scattered like the ocotillo and the other is solid like the rock, and at other times it is opposite.
71. Moonset Panoramic: When I made this image I had a problem with the sky that I could not seem to fix, so I made a pancake on the griddle then scanned it. I then used that texture in the sky. It resolved my problem.
72. Leigh’s 79th Birthday: Photographs are great liars. I don’t know what Eula Mae is thinking while Carol is hugging Shirley. It’s a fraction of a second caught on film to create a feeling that is actually not there.
73. Shirley’s Fried Pie (Exploded View) Shirley Rooney owned and operated the Burnt Biscuit Bakery.. Her fried pies we’re shipped and eaten all over the state. I smashed this one in the scanner and made a large print. Looks like a jellyfish.
74. Millipedes: I picked up several millipedes and photographed them on white backdrops. If you touch them they curl up. This image looks like a division symbol.
75. Chihuahua Races: The residents of Terlingua always seem to come up with ingenious ideas, the chili cook off, skirt night, and this fundraiser, the Chihuahua races. Briefly, the dogs are put into a stall, sort of like horses, the owners are at the far end of the track, and when the gate is raised the owners call their dogs. It’s mighty fun. I called the one image Elliott’s dog because it reminded me of the famous photograph Elliott Erwit took of a Chihuahua with a hat on its head standing next to a larger dog whose legs are all you see.
76. Study Butte Mall Dog: I got the idea to mount a 2400 watt strobe light to the bottom of my deer guard on the front of my truck. My idea was to photograph anything that ran across the road in front of me. I had a generator in the bed of the truck, the power pack next to me in the cab, and I was shooting through the window. I drove the truck slowly through the park several nights, and I would turn around in Study Butte. I just turned around when I saw this dog in the middle of the road. It was about two in the morning when I took this picture. What was funny is when that flash fired that dog bolted out of there.
77. Van Horn Landscape: The drive from Marfa to Van Horn is one of my favorites.
78. Nude with Horse: I was in Presidio and saw this falling down Adobe house with horses inside. I brought this model in and we shot for several hours.
79. Vaquero: This is another image made on an assignment. Sometimes the images don’t necessarily go with the story, but they are there and you can’t help but take them.
80. Tule Mountain: When people see this image they ask if I have Photoshopped the sky. The answer is no. When you have a beautiful cloud covered sky and the sun breaks through it you get this beautifully lit foreground and a rich dark sky. Because I came from a traditional darkroom I still traditionally dodge and burn my digital images, except now you can dodge and burn with pinpoint accuracy. If I manipulate an image heavily it is usually obvious
81. Vinegarroon: These little creatures are harmless, but have a shape similar to more potent scorpions. I think the rule is the bigger the pincher the less harmful.
82. Goats: Sally Roberts raises all kinds of critters on her ranch in Marathon. She makes goat cheese too and Marci sells it at the French Company. She was raised to be a cowgirl and I suspect learned a lot about animal from her old goat Dad, Ike, featured earlier in this book.
83. Hailstorm: Another one of those sweet moments when the sun breaks out of a cloud covered sky, lights the forground, but keeps the sky blue black. It was actually hailing on me when I made this image.
84. The Aguilars’s: Stephen, Mercy, and Sixto own and operate the two gas stations in town. They are lifesavers if you are having automobile problems. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen their tow truck hauling back a broken down car from the park. Stephen is now a border patrol agent, in fact I saw him just yesterday on my bike ride.
85. Joe Vancho: I can’t say enough good things about this man. Joe came into my life when I was about 20 years old. I was fresh out of high school, working in a machine shop. I wanted to be a machinist when I was young. Joe was a welder there. He was a disillusioned Vietnam veteran who painted and sculpted when he was not at work. He invited me over to his place and we became very good friends. We would go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and he would teach me things about art and artists. I was young and fatherless and he not unwillingly became my mentor. Under his influence, and let me say too, the art that impressed me at the museum, I started to paint. I made a few pieces I actually liked, but for the most part they were atrocious. Then another coworker, Jim Stanton, sold me a 35mm camera. After the first roll of film I was obsessed, and from then on I knew what I was going to do with my life. One of the hardest things about being young is deciding what you are going to do with your life. My mind was made up. A few months after that I quit my job and became a photographer. I photographed drag race cars, and I never looked back. There’s a lot more to the story, but if it wasn’t for this man I don’t know what I would be doing today. As I write this, Joe and I are still in touch, and his health is failing.
86. Iron Mountain road panoramic: This road leads up to Iron Mountain Ranch. I walk and jog this road. I spent a week photographing it. it rained a lot that week too. You can see Santiago and Elephant Mountains, the two mountains that remind me I’m home.
87. Train Car: I really should do more with trains. It seems I’ve always lived close to the railroad tracks. The graffiti you see on these trains is quite artistic. This train car was detached I assume for some problem.
88. Lightning and Tracks: This was one of those spectacular lightning storms that go on for hours, but are far enough away to not be affected by them. I made a self- portrait with the lightning in the background as well.
89. Hit and Run: I was driving through the park late at night and a car passed me with the front bumper dragging. I got down the road and saw this Javelina freshly killed. I set up the camera with the moon in the image and used a spot light to illuminate the animal. On the far left side you can see the cars headlights driving away.
90. Near Sam Nail Ranch (the quiet series) This is another one of those large format classic images I started several years ago. I haven’t worked on this series for a long time. What happens is ideas pop into my head, and I start working on that idea. Sometimes they can last for years and many images, and other times a few is enough.
91. Walking Stick: I found this critter in the bathroom in Terlingua. It has such beautiful colors that I wanted to photograph him.
92. Nude at Monohans: The day I was here the sky was overcast and nearly the same color as the sand. It made the line between Earth and sky very subtle.
93. Paulina: Paulina’s family owns the Museo Maderas land south of Boquillos and the mountains you can see in back of the Del Carmens. The owners were experimenting with opening it up for tourists, and I went there a couple of times. The land is rich with pine trees, and I saw bears every day. I hiked to a place that had hundreds of hummingbirds flying around. I made this portrait of Paulina the wife of one of the owners., She had recently learned she was pregnant.
94. Cormac McCarthy: Kay Burnett introduced me to Cormac at the Santa Fe Institute. I brought him my first book Big Bend Pictures, and gushed how much I loved his writing. And that was in the parking lot! Inside Cormac told stories, and I truly enjoyed him. I asked if I could make a portrait and he said yes. I also made a portrait of Murray Gel Mann and several other dignateries at the institute.
95. Fairfax Dorn: Fairfax owns and operates the Ballroom in Marfa. She is on the cutting edge of art and artist. She is quite a painter herself though I don’t think she paints these days.
96. Prada, Marfa: Fairfax Dorn commissioned me to photograph this art piece right when it was finished. I shot it in the early morning during that first few minutes of beautiful light. In the beginning I believe their intention was to let it deteriorate naturally. It was abused, broken into, and spray painted by the public. They’ve replaced the glass with Plexiglas, and I’ve heard the handbags don’t have bottoms in them. I’m glad that I got to photograph this before the public got to it.
97. April Sunday: I walked out of my studio to see this beautiful cloud formation. Marci and I got right in the truck and drove up 385 to make this picture.
98. Ritchey Lorette: Ritchey was an art teacher in Odessa, Texas. Her son Linneaus introduced me to her and I made this image. She was a very gentle woman. She was telling me about one of her students and she said “he liked to pick up things.” Lineaus put a finer point on it on the way home saying that the student was a kleptomaniac. I love her description though.
100. New Mexico Milk Snake: In all my years living here I have only seen this one milk snake. Right when I picked it up it bit me, and I was thinking what is that saying black and yellow kill a fellow, white on Black venom lack? I drove right to Ranger Rob and he confirmed it was a milk snake and harmless.
101. Shafter Landscape: the backcountry in Shafter is filled with these beautiful landscapes.
102. Cactus at Paint Gap: I woke up just before sunrise to make this image of the cactus. I would open the shutter paint the cactus close the shutter to try and get the sunrise, but not wash out the background.