Saturday, October 31, 2015

PETFO: Starting film.

Too many other things on the dance card to get serious about this but found myself in the lab with good water temp and an hour yesterday.  I ran two boxes of minus development.  Pyrocat.  One box was HP5 and the other had two sheets of FP4.  Just a couple of quick runs. 

Not going to touch this stuff until later.....

Dr. David Coleman at the Tyler Museum of Art.

  Dr. Coleman, who runs the Wittliff Collection at San Marcos came up to give a talk in front of a nice exhibit of early Ansel Adams prints.  He traced the beginnings of Ansel's advocacy of environmental projects, starting with the Sierra Club and into some of his political advocacy.  Nice talk and nice prints to look at.  The show is Ansel's first portfolio "Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras."  18 little prints showing Ansel moving from ortho film to panchromatic and including Monolith.  There is an early Moonrise and another 25 vintage prints.  Worth seeing.  Exhibition runs through early next year.

  I'll be lecturing November 15th, Sunday at 2:00 PM about these same prints.

Friday, October 30, 2015

PETFO: Rooms at the Painted Desert Inn

  On the first day we were in the park I got the staff to open up a couple of rooms in the old Fred Harvey Painted Desert Inn.  They looked like visitor rooms, not Harvey Girl staff rooms.  Fireplaces in both with connecting door to make a suite.  They were on the West side and I had shot exterior and then a few negatives in the morning, but late.  The light was just starting to slide into the rooms.

  Returned for a second round at an earlier hour.  Staff was happy to open things up.

Shooting in the two rooms at the top of the stairs.  Whole edifice has foundation problems and shifts on a clay bed.  Doors sticky.

French doors.  Nice.  Very custom rooms.  Too bad they aren't available.

Katie walked over from the casita.  She had missed my first session in the rooms.  Wanted her to see them.  She started iphoning like mad.  

120mm Super Angulon in front of a sheet of 5X7 backed up to the wall.

I got so focused I forgot to preview images on my iphone or make record.  Katie kept shooting.

I'd been over to explore all the rooms in the structure, looking for interior images and a place dark enough to load sheet film in the daytime.  Staff volunteer happy to help.  Turns out that I was in the most interesting rooms with the best light.

Waving iphones around.

Rattlesnake motif damper handle.

Wrapped.  Better set of photographs the second time.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

PETFO: Back to work at the park.

  Last big breakfast with the group at the Junction/Best Western then headed South past Hubbell back to Petrified Forest.  It had been a wonderful trip to show friends the area.  Six days left.

  Navajo diner at the Junction.  It's a very popular place.  We saw guides picking up folks at the Thunderbird and here.  Miss those stray dogs staring at the entrance waiting for a sympathetic tourist with leftovers.  And the horses munching on Best Western grass.

  One exit before the park I wanted to try and see the Painted Desert Trading Post.  It's off the Pinta road I40 exit just East of the park.  I had a recent 4th edition of a Route 66 Guide that said it was accessible.  The exit was loaded with Road Runners- parents and juveniles.  I bet there aren't many lizards left...

  The new parklands aquisition covers a lot of this area North and South of the highway.  We hit a locked gate.  Could have hiked about a mile over the fence and down the old 66 roadbed, but we passed.  There's the old trading post, concrete bridge, a wash with wrecked cars...interesting stuff.  None of my keys would open the park service lock, (one of six on a chain.).  I looked around for hidden keys, (common in Texas.), or work-arounds but there weren't any.  Katie and I drove a ranch track that came closer but decided to go on.  The park runs a tour out here.  May catch that.

  At the casita the dominant male mouse had come looking to see where everyone had gone.  He found out.  One more for the Ravens.

  Mid-morning walk along the rim between Kachina Point at the Painted Desert Inn and Chinde Point.  Looking.  Poked around with binocs and iphone.  Last week I went in to photograph inside the guest and staff rooms at the Inn and explored every room.  

I walked the rim looking at volcanic tube graphics, checking tracks, watching hikers and Ravens.  I hadn't worked much but all of a sudden was confident that I was about to get my feet set and see something new.

Kachina Point trail switchbacking down to desert level.  Tempting.

Far across the wash, in the white layer up high, is a complete log.  Two miles one way.  I could see the log with my binoculars.

Later I found Mountain Lion tracks below this point.  

  Old desert trash scattered along the rim.  Just my kind of thing, if I could make them move.  Probably the main trash dump from the old Inn is somewhere close.

Very close.

Down to Blue Mesa for another look.  One of the buttes looked interesting.  At the base was an Anasazi flint mine where the small petrified wood stumps had been absolutely demolished looking for perfect flint blanks.  They couldn't handle the big pieces but the little ones could be broken down.  Lithic scatter.  Gorgeous pieces around.  They must have had very high standards.  The petrified wood yields extraordinary colors and quality, but you just get a little out of a lot.

  I'd been looking for a formation that would throw a long morning or evening shadow but the best ones I found were un-climbable.  Okeefe's phrase about "the faraway, nearby" kept popping in my head though I didn't know what it meant beyond the obvious.  There are a heck of a lot of things faraway....and also nearby.  Just have to get them to resonate with one another.

Close, but not quite.  Still letting the difference in art and scenery marinate.

  Going to shoot this jewel, if it exists tomorrow and hasn't evolved too far.  Don't want to work too much too close in a landscape where you can easily get multiples of square miles on the ground glass.  Right under the edge of the wash bridge.  A coyote may walk across it tonight.  Might help.  Noticing what I am noticing, if that makes sense.

  Planning on walking out to Martha's Butte to see petroglyphs and a solstice spiral.  I'd looked at it on Google maps, had them printed & taped to a board, talked to the rangers and got some additional cues.  Drove down in the late day and looked over the approach.  In the wash there was still standing water here and there.  Tracks said the animals were zeroing in on it.  Someone had been fingertipping the mud.  The wash leading to Martha's Butte was full of people prints coming and going.

  Coming and going.  What country for it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

PETFO: Up to Shiprock.

  Sunday Morning we were up for another breakfast, this time at the Junction Restaurant.  Normally there are horses eating the lush, green Best Western grass inside the fence, and begging dogs watching patrons exiting the restaurant.  We had only one big dog begging and zero horses.  Something has gone on.  Maybe Chinle hired an animal control officer.

  After Breakfast we crammed six people into a Ford Excursion and headed to Lukachakai, then over the mountains to Shiprock.

  We hit a few overlooks along the North Rim Drive and let the new folks pick through the vendors.  Back on the road to the turnoff at Lukachakai and up the curvy road to Buffalo Pass.  (Roadside cars were strewn about as people crawled around under the Pinon Pines looking for nuts.  They are good, but expensive.)

  This road was dirt until the late 80s.  Much improved.  Used to cross a seep that was a cronic mudhole.  Now it's lock-to-lock on the steering but much better on the roadway.  I did notice that a zesty and armed citizenry had shot up the roadside signs and markers.

  From Buffalo Pass you can see pull off and see Shiprock to the East just over Little Shiprock, or Mitten Rock.  Over the Pass and down into Red Valley.

Kayanne at Buffalo Pass with Little and Big Shiprock in the distance.

Our "Happy Place" in Red Valley.  Used to be three benches but they have slowly be reduced to one.  Still.  Red Valley Trading has a store, gas, propane, part of a butcher shop, coffee, Post Office.  Community center.  Under the line of shade trees along the road there may be a taco/tamale seller.

The McKinneys hanging at the Red Valley Trading Post.

Left a business card on the bulletin board.

Things always tough on the rez.  STILL missing.

Explaining everything I know, plus a little more, at Shiprock.

Arnaud at the base of the Wing, East side.

Guided the group over BIA 13 to the South Dike and made the long drive up the track to Shiprock.  Arnaud and Emma Duval from New Orleans were there.  Nobody in our group had seen Shiprock in person before.

Arnaud and Emma.

Emma looking over the Little Necks with a gorgeous October shadow.

Shot a fresh profile photo.

South Dike seating.

Over the South Dike and West to the Three Brothers.

Arnaud at work from the West Dike.

A little roof-top work.

  Last light on Shiprock.  The waterhole at the tip of the West Dike looked a little treacherous so we backtracked and headed home to the Best Western at Chinle.