Tag Archives: small town

Collinsville, TX

It’s where my hair dresser used to cut hair a decade and half ago. She worked in the salon down there on the end on the right side in the first picture. It’s the two story gray building. She was the only one in town, several towns who cut my hair just right and then she retired from clippin’ hair. I’ve always wondered where she ended up. Her name was Cindy. Once in a while (pre-covid), my son and I come down here to Pirate Island for a slice of pizza. The food is/was good but if going at meal time we often waited a while. And this is no significant review of the restaurant. In these small towns where everyone knows everyone else and you aren’t in that mix, you may have to wait quite a bit longer for the servers to chat with the customers who they all know before they get to your table. More than once. But I’ll go back, probably order by phone first if they are still open. This Covid-19 pandemic has changed up business. Next door to the pizza place is Manuelito’s Mexican Restaurant. Fabulous little place and gets busy especially on Sunday’s after church. They are my break from Hacienda, in Whitesboro, who also has a great menu and delicious meals, but when that’s the only place in town, you look for something slightly different and Manuelito’s does not disappoint.

When I shot this picture it was in March when we were all ordered to stay in there were few people roaming the streets. The 377 was busy but it’s the main drag through this town. One can only stay in before going mad and others need to be checked on who are more at risk of colliding with the disasters of this world. There is a cross street down at the end of these string of stores, Hughes. Situated on the south side of the street have been most always a junk/thrift shop or two, an antique store, and if I recall, a small eatery. Was it donuts or catfish? You can find both around these parts. It never fails to run into a friend while browsing through the second hand items in the junk stores. I don’t know why that is but there is always someone I know dropping off or picking up collections of housewares. The things people collect.

Now that I’ve written this, I must return and travel through town to take Collinsville’s blood pressure and learn how it has survived the 2020 pandemic. We pray that businesses have survived, grown, evolved to meet the needs of the community and their citizens. We wish that for everyone. And I’ll have to grab a slice of pizza and a Coke while passing through.

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Posted by on January 1, 2021 in small towns, Texas


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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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Jal, New Mexico

Photos above: 1) DC Car Wash on the corner of Main and Quay. 2) Plate steel cattle drive sculpture. (Images shot with 590 nm infrared converted Nikon)

According to it is 54 degrees this evening in Jal NM. The temperature was about 64 degrees a couple weeks ago while I was driving through before lunch time. It’s the middle of November. Jal is one of those small towns that you could miss if you stay on the 18 going north or south and not look this way or that. The 205 and the 128 pass through but you have to stop at a stop sign at some point and you’ll know you are there. This is the Permian Basin, home to oil and gas production as seen by vast fields of oil derricks, oil storage tanks, flare pipes, and endless pump jacks. And the smell of rotten eggs

Between the creaking, humming, squeaking sounds of a pump jack and the wind, cows graze quietly in the open scrublands. The vast plains set against a blue sky is quite pleasing, really. It’s cowboy country in these parts and many ranches have invested well in both cattle and oil. I always liked this wide open peacefulness of it all.

I drove a few blocks into town and realized not much is given to the streets in Jal. Pot holes were abundant and I drove slowly to avoid the bumpiness of the ride. A middle aged Latino woman walked past with purpose carrying a cloth sack of who-knows-what. I waved at her but she did not look my way. At the end of the street on the corner across from a small church, two men were exchanging tools as one reached under the hood of his dark blue pick-up truck. I passed them and turned left. This neighborhood has not aged well.

I had not been to Jal much as a kid. We went to Eunice for play days at the arena. I’ll write about that later. My parents did not have reason to drive any further I guess and I don’t remember having any reason to be there. My dad may have driven through Jal with us in his red Ford truck once or twice on the way to Kermit or Odessa. As an adult, I’ve passed through numerous times but had not stopped to spend anytime here. Unfortunately, we are in the era of Covid-19 so when I crossed the state line I was greeted with an electronic sign that read, “All visitors must quarantine for 14 days”. I had planned only one day in Lea County.

Unfortunately corona virus hindered my plans for a visit with the librarian, an oil field worker, locals at the coffee shop. There was not much happening that morning. Many stores were closed. Allsups had the most activity, it seemed, with people pulling up to gas pumps, coming and going in and out of the store, grabbing a Coke or some snacks, a pack of cigs. I had planned on capturing some street photography to include humans and maybe a stray dog.

I saw no one downtown on Main except for a few driving their cars and one with a poodle hanging out the driver side window, tongue flapping in the wind as if it has won an all expense paid trip to the Bea Arthur Dog Park. Many of the vehicles in Jal were trucks and had Texas plates. Most work on both sides of the state line in a variety of jobs but mostly the oil fields. The largest building in Jal: The high school building. Maybe. It might be the nursing home. Then I drove past a huge metal garage housing equipment likely for that hole to be drilled west of town.

Main Street remained quiet. The wind picked up and I caught my cap in time. This did not change the smell of the petroleum, though. This car wash in the picture wasn’t open and I had not found one to wash my black beast. An empty plastic water bottle rolled and bounced across the pavement as I closed my car door. I turned up the volume and listened to David Bowie’s “Life On Mars”, turned around at the high school, said goodbye to morning and to Jal and headed north.

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Posted by on November 21, 2020 in New Mexico


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Ida, Louisiana

July must be the worst month to live, work, or play in Ida, Louisiana. It is hot and more humid than I’ve ever known. Well, that’s almost true. I’ve been in some pretty muggy places, like Galveston. The mosquitoes will eat you alive in both places! The climate of the entire state of Louisiana is subtropical and it rains often. I’ll I can tell you is this: Have plenty of ice cold water to drink and air conditioning in your car!

We took a quick drive south from Fouke that Monster Fest weekend and did some geocaching. Why else would we visit such a small town of 200 + in the stickiness of the summer in the South? We parked along the road, got out and looked around. It was late, the sun was behind the trees in the West, the lightning bugs were competing for air while the mosquitoes competed for blood.

The picture shown above is of the Ida ice house. It’s been there since 1897. You can’t see the date due to the growth of ivy and wild grass. To the right, and the picture is not included is what is left of a general store. In fact, it was Carraway’s General Store, since 1926. It may be used from time to time by merchants or locals for events. But who would go here in the middle of a hot summer? On the other side of this general store is the city library.

It was closing time for all stores actually so we didn’t visit anyone and do to Covid we tend to avoid places of gathering that we are not familiar with. It sure would have been nice, though to find a place serving up some cold drinks to distant travelers/geocachers. We found our geocach and got our “Louisiana” souvenir on the app. It was worth the drive.

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Posted by on September 11, 2020 in Uncategorized


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Madill, Oklahoma

If you look at the image long enough you’ll discover what town this corner drug store is located. I’ve been there a dozen or so times passing through but have not stopped long enough to explore.

An advantage of the 2020 pandemic is or was fewer cars on the road because many people were and have been staying home. It was prevalent in the early weeks of the pandemic and one could take a drive during the week day or perhaps a Saturday afternoon and experience very little traffic. That is the case in this image. It was a hot afternoon in this Oklahoma town. Many of the stores and shops in Madill had closed for the day if they had opened at all. This intersection is busy almost always since it is the crossing of 1st and Main downtown. The town square is just a hop and a jump behind this picture taker.

Throughout this blog, and this is an old blog with many images taken from my car, I’ve shot images from the front seat. The pandemic now allows me a bit more freedom to move around and sometimes to quickly get out of the car in the street and shoot a picture with no one in sight.

This black and white image was shot with a 590 nm filter and post processes using PS and channel mixer. I then decided I preferred a more nostalgic look and changed it to monochrome.

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Posted by on September 3, 2020 in Uncategorized


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