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Brownfield, TX

Brownfield is one of those towns you drive through to get somewhere. You may never stop but you remember the main drag on the route from point A to point B and this town of around 9000 plus-or-minus is one of those. I remember the first time I had passed through on my way to a town in NM sometime back in 2000 and had not been there since I was a kid and my heart sang. In those days, we shopped in Lubbock because there was not much where I lived. And Brownfield was on the way to and from Lubbock. I don’t ever remember stopping there even for gas or drink. For the past 15 years, I make a point to spend time in Brownfield as time allows and soak up history and some dust.

Cotton and peanuts is what I remember being grown there and we’d see acres of crops while driving the 62, or maybe it was the 380. Occasionally the 137. Last time I was in town, I made a point to turn down Main Street headed West. The day was late and the sun hung low in the Western sky so there was not much time left. Furthermore, the shadows lengthened. I pulled up next to the Rialto Theater and learned I was not the only photographer with the same goals. We shared time and space and he had a model to shoot with her little dog.

According to records, this theater was opened ┬áMay 7, 1925. It saw it’s fair share of visitors, films, musicians and the like. It does not appear to have any type of activity or business at this time except for that Coke machine that collects a few more dollars. I’ll keep up with it as I travel again in West Texas.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Terlingua

These pictures are only a few of this ghost town, mostly of the cemetery. If you google “Terlingua” you’ll find the town is known for being the Chili Capital of the World in 1967. There are all sorts of exaggerations and fabrications told in stories of this little town I call a scenic “pit stop” on the way to Big Bend National Park. You can look up all of that on your own time in your own library.

On my list of places-to-see/things-to-do, I did not expect Terlingua to be so populated. Maybe it was the lovely weather, but there was traffic like I did not expect. There is one Alon gas station in town on the highway 118 and it seems to be the only filling station in the area. The line was long. The morning was beautiful, not too hot, a perfect day to be under the Texas sun. There were several RV’s in front of me, a dozen or more motorbikes parked here and there either at gas pump or randomly placed in the large parking area in amongst any types of automobiles.

The sign on the door at Alon demanded there was a limit on how many people could be inside the store. pulled open the glass door and stepped in side. The heavy set clerk said, “your the last one”. I quickly turned to the right and walked to the back of the store, grabbed a couple large bottles of water out of the glass door cooler and then a Coconut Red Bull on the next refrigerator . There wasn’t much water left. I had enough gas to avoid the long line. Plus, Panther Junction has fuel in the Park.

I drove along the 170 west, turned off on Ivy Road and found the cemetery. So did many others. There was so much traffic. I had always imagined the cemetery, all of Terlingua, in fact, to be isolated out along a lonesome highway in the middle of the Texas desert. There is a Covid pandemic and people are packing in the restaurants and gathering areas.

The dead at the historic cemetery shared space with about six tourists, most standing around the signs at the entrance. One middle aged woman walked along the trails in the cemetery and could be heard on the other side talking to various people on her phone (speaker phone) and by the end of my visit, I knew where she’d been, where she was going and what she had for breakfast. The sky was brilliant blue, the air was still. Carrying my IR camera I explored the cemetery and the dilapidated structures to the West.

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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Terlingua Ranch Lodge

Way back when…a couple months ago.

It was the first of October of this year that I decided to start planning on this trip to Big Bend and at that time considered camping. November is a busy period at that National Park because the temps are cooler and the sky deeper blue during the middle of the Autumn season. I’m brave and tough and can handle camping in a tent but I didn’t want to deal with the cooler evenings so I decided to nail down a place to stay if needed. Everything was booked. Well, almost everything that I could afford. Terlingua Ranch Lodge popped up frequently on my search and it seemed nice enough and remote. I wanted to be away from the human race to be honest.

A second reason I chose this time to travel to remote location was avoid the election noise. November 3, 2020 was the 59th presidential election in the U.S. and although I had voted weeks earlier, quietly and confidentially, I had no desire to watch all the commotion on the mainstream media, nor did I want to see what anyone had to say on social media including my friends. With Covid and election season, you learn how hateful the hearts are of those you follow on social media, go shopping with, have lunch with when time and virus allows. Service for my android was poor for most of the trip so this was perfect. I didn’t have much opportunity to read anyone’s mean words.

Did I mention remote? I knew what I was getting when I booked this place and was well prepared but this lodge is about 30 miles off the main highway and that highway is a good distance from any of the entrances to the park. That highway, by the way, is the 118. The speed limit is 45 mph and that is a long drive. I’m glad I found it before it got dark because, well, it gets dark out there and unless you’ve been there, you won’t know if you are in the right place because you lose mobile service at times.

Terlingua Ranch Lodge is at the end of the 30 mile road. It sits on 450 acres of picturesque landscape and some dust. There’s no paved roads once on this property. Internet was decent in my cabin although not real strong. I didn’t watch any movies and there was no TV. There was, however, a beautiful black sky and The Milky Way stretching up over the rocky peak in the picture below. Customer service was superb. The folks at the desk area friendly and helpful. And then there’s the after hours guy. I forgot his name but he’s older than dirt and he’s got a guard he walks around in the evening. It’s a small dog, cute, but it gives us all something to reminisce about. If I remember right, the clerk who checked me in said he’s door is open and he’s always willing to sit on the porch and talk about anything science. But I wasn’t there long enough to make the most of anything. What is important is that I felt safe, the bed was comfortable and I had a hot shower.

The morning I checked out, I walked over to the Bad Rabbit Cafe’ for breakfast and was welcomed and treated like I’d been eating there for the past ten years. There were about five others inside as well and they all knew each other. It was the typical homecooked breakfast, great coffee, and a decent cost. It was a great farewell to this far-off cabin and I would likely stay there again. But that drive.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2020 in Texas, Uncategorized

 

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Marfa, Texas

This artsy little hub of contemporary art is on your way to Big Bend National Park or on your way home from Big Bend National Park. There is also the enormous Big Bend State Park that you cannot ignore on your way to the big park. Marfa was brought to my attention by another photographer, an old friend from past moons, who discovered megapixels and glass. When you google someone’s name on the web, you’ll find them if they have a camera.

Marfa is out in the middle of nowhere. But nowhere is somewhere and that somewhere is the vast Trans Pecos area of far West Texas. Many of my readers familiar with Marfa are familiar with the Prada Marfa art instillation along highway 90 on the other side of Valentine. I didn’t go there this time. I wasn’t interested in driving that route because it was not on the way to Fort Davis, another amazing little town you’ll have to read about later. I stayed downtown for a few hours enjoying the warm afternoon sun, people watching, geocaching, and photographing the town.

I arrived shortly after the lunch hour and sat in my car for a few minutes in front of the Palace Theater gathering geocaching locations, loading and programing cameras and watching as people walked by. An art gallery on the corner behind me bustled with activity as visitors gathered at the entry. Laughter was heard and I hesitantly walked toward the gallery curious to go inside yet knowing this pandemic has a price tag. Instead, I stood in the middle of the street facing the gallery paying no mind to oncoming yet slow moving cars. I took a picture of the courthouse and waved at the male driver of an older model faded blue Chevy truck who slowed to allow me to cross as he turned left onto Highland Street. I photographed a young couple who were taking pictures of each other in front of the Marfa marker next to the Palace Theater downtown across the street from the Presidio County Courthouse

There is so much I didn’t photograph or see or taste. Call me over cautious, paranoid, some of you do and I know this by how you write on your FB accounts. I won’t walk in and out of restaurants, galleries, shops, casually with little care. But I’ll window shop, sip something I picked up curb-side, wave at others, give a thumbs up at their window front. And that I did for two hours. I would have rather sat inside of the soda fountain chatting with locals about what makes Marfa tick. Damn this pandemic!

I didn’t want to leave Marfa and if had the time, I would have booked a room at the The Hotel Paisano and stayed a night or two. What did I miss? Building 98

The Chinati Foundation

Ballroom Marfa

and much more.

I’ll be returning sooner than later. These are only a few pictures I shot. And I shot everything with the 580nm IR camera.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2020 in small towns, Texas, Uncategorized

 

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Lake Texoma Dam

Sometimes call “Denison Dam”, this side of the reservoir was a much different scene today. We usually go there when the flood gates are open and with the sound or roaring water and heavy mist. One would expect to get wet at the fence line. Today, the gates are closed and have been since July. I’m guessing.


There were plenty of cars parked in the lot however while some families gathered on the grass or picnic tables many were at the fence line with fishing poles . I wanted to shoot the spillway while it was not moving water but didn’t want to move anyone from their spot to do so. There will be plenty of opportunities to do this again during the week while most are at work.

These images were shot with an infrared converted Nikon with a 590 nm filter. If you are familiar with the Red River on the east side of Lake Texoma you will see how low it is. Those fishing are situated far below the last concrete step on the shoreline. We’ve often seen the water about halfway up yet there are always plenty of people fishing along the banks.

There is a small beach area on the Oklahoma side near a boat ramp where we have stopped at before. We watch the ripples of water hit the bank. A pick-up was parked nearby with Norteno music playing, friends gathered around campfire, kids splashing in the water, and a woman fishing while her three daughters played on the rocks. The day was still warm yet the sun stretched further West. The sky was not it’s natural blue for smoke from the California fires have stretched far into Texas and there is a light haze. It was almost like the daily haze I used to see living in Southern California. In time it will clear out.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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