Sunday, January 25, 2015

Photo of the Week - Lion lookout over San Xavier del bac Mission, Grotto Hill, January 19-25

Photo of the Week -  Lion lookout over San Xavier del bac Mission, Grotto Hill,  January 19-25

This week I was on a requested photo shoot at the San Xavier del bac Mission (completed in 1797) in Tucson, Arizona.  The request was unique as I was asked to use a 35mm camera and take slide photos.  An artist in Kansas will use the slides to transpose onto a pot, so he can work on the intricate details of the mission's front facade, onto the pot.  

After I shot the mission with both the 35mm and digital camera (for myself), Eric Peffer and I strolled over to Grotto Hill, next to the mission, to get a few photos from a different location.  It was an interesting find to come across 2 lion statues, situated 1/2 way up the hill.  These two cast iron lions, patented in 1875 and installed in 1908, sit atop pillars at an entrance path to a religious grotto.  

Our timing on Grotto Hill was more luck than planned, but it was perfect.  We had arrived at the mission to catch sunrise for best lighting, and the best situation to improve our possibility of photos of the mission, sans people.  We had, somewhat, succeeded.  
We watched the sunrise teasingly wrap around Grotto Hill and inch toward the iron cast lions.  Once the rays reached one of the lions, our cameras fired away.  The magic moment came and quickly dissipated and we were off to capture Tubac, Arizona and San Jose de Tumacocari.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Let's Do It! (Part 1)

Let's Do It!  (Part 1)

Roger back in his home state, via spandex

I had met Roger Burke many years ago and the early days of friendship included cycling, learning about the fine art of coffee (our biggest sponsor on our bicycle tour was a coffee company!) and spilling stories of our lives and the goals and dreams for the future.  Being linked via the velocipede,  I had even shared my aspiration to pedal across the country.  

Ready to roll, Tucson, Arizona 

I only knew a couple of key facts about the energetic and good humored guy.  Mainly, that he was a bicycle racer, who was not showing any discernible interest in loading a touring bicycle with 30+ pounds of stuff and moving at speeds that would be terrifyingly slow for a racer.

3 days after the  cycle America conversation, I  crossed paths with Rog and all I remember him uttering was 'Let's Do It'.
Whaaaaa?????   Is it time to go get more coffee?  My observation and analysis of this bicycle racer was 100% wrong.  We were going on a little road trip.  

Our first night was spent with the Woodridges in Willcox, AZ.  Their daughter got on her bicycle the next morning to join us. 

The summer was square upon us and we would have to fly out the door asap. The calendar allowed us about 11/2 months  to prepare for this rather detailed adventure. With a departure date of August 31st, we were asking for rather cold weather and extremely short days by the time we grinded up the Appalachians, but we were game, and we had already turned in our escape to adventure slips at work. 

A rather difficult camping spot on the cement-hard soil in a pecan orchard in Garfield, NM

As I write out this story, I am aware of the fact that I really should not be writing about bicycle tales from the back roads of America.  2 weeks before the journey, I had seriously injured my back at work.  Somewhere lost in the stubborn zone and sketchy optimism that it would all work out, I continued to plan and pack.  Training had stopped, abruptly.  Come August 31st I was planning on mounting my trusty 2 wheeled steed.    

Albuquerque, NM

It was about a week before the trip, amidst daily visits to the chiropracter and/or physical therapy sessions from hell,  I spilled the news of my disintegrating health, mixed with my resolve to buck up to my calendar plans.  At this point, I had not even ridden my bicycle with any of my substantial piles of bicycle gear, clothing, food, diabetes supplies, toiletries.  I did lighten the load in one area.  My wallet would be shockingly empty.  

A great sign in Oklahoma

August 27, 28, 29, riding.  Still in pain.......

August 31st, I got on my bicycle.  81+ miles to Willcox, Arizona. 

Part 2, coming. 

We had approximately 10 miles of dirt road (in Kansas).  Appropriate time to have bicycle issues.   

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Photo of the Week - January 12-18, 2015

Photo of the Week - January 12-18, 2015

I woke up this morning (last day of the week) with no good options for a photo of the week(that were not a sunset photo).  I had posted a sunset photo last sunday.  Since last week was the first time I had posted a photo of the week I did not want to roll into the 2nd week and have to take a selfie, so I would have something to post. Much like the Seattle Seahawks football game today, what started off miserably, somehow, ended well.  I now have at least 5 photos to post in 1 spot.  

I chose the photo above, taken on my run today.  A few hours later, yet another amazing sunset blitzed the skies of SE Arizona.  My challenge is to 'NOT' post a sunset every photo of the week.  

Ok, I might slide some sunset photos at the end of this post.  

I have a wonderful running loop that circles around some beautiful desert and includes the 2nd highest paved road(?) in the Tucson, Oro Valley area.  The views are stunning.  I try  to be on the road, running south, near sunset.  This points me in the direction of the setting sun and hopefully great photos.  

I have 4 fences that I have to crawl through, over, under or to manage to get tangled in.  As I reached the 3rd fence, with my lack of photos to post, I was doing my best to be creative, and think 'outside the box'. 
At the fence line there are 6 pipes sitting on the desert floor.  I took a few photos, since I liked how the row of pipes lined up with a distant dirt road on another hill side.  In this setting, they were an unusual sight.   

I decided to check out the pipes, close-up, and continue the thought process.  A photo shot into the pipe, with the sun beaming through the cut slots and a conversion to black & white, and I had my photo of the week.  I like to have a creative angle.

So I have managed to attach 5 photos to my 'photo of the week'.  Beats a selfie.

Sunset today

Sunset today.  helicopter in the middle.  I caught the same(?) helicopter in a photo below

Kitt Peak National Observatory - Quinlan Mountains (from Today)

same(?) helicopter taken a few days ago 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Photo of the Week and the Story behind the Shot

Photo of the Week
And the Story behind the Shot

From the back yard - Catalina, Arizona

Ok, so I didn't have to work very hard for this shot, but yes, there was a bit of history tied in with this photo.  Since I seem to take a very healthy amount of  photos each week (instead of sleepwalking, I think I actually sleepphoto) and the fact that I need to become much more consistent with blog posts, I decided to share a photo a week and the background behind the photo.  If the photo tales are on the boring end then maybe I can develop better fiction writing.  :)

For the shot above I was totally in the wrong place at the wrong time.  My daily run usually puts me on a road that rises above the stunning area that I live in Catalina, Arizona.  Breathtaking views and incredible sunsets.  Absolutely, amazing colors splashed across the sky.  I stack the odds in my favor and try and run near sunset time and do the loop with feet plodding toward the setting orb.  

I decided to break my usual route and run the loop in the opposite direction.  Mistake #1.  I had also meandered out of the casa later than normal.  Mistake #2.  I had done some 180's on the run and noticed a reasonable sunset developing behind me, but it did not appear that it was going to be worth pulling out a camera.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), my trusty monster Canon SLR does not accompany me on runs so I am winging 'photography on the run' with a point and shoot, a crappy cell phone cam or if the heavens line up, a GoPro.  

My loop spills me onto a rarely used dirt road/trail for the last half of the run.  As I took the final turn home, the sky quickly darkening, I now headed toward the fading sunset.  Still weak, as sunsets go.

Heading down the home stretch and Mistake #1 and #2 began to scream my name.  The colors before me, were now unbelievable, although I did not have a clear view of the southern sky.  I was now kicking up dust as fast as I could.  I made it home, just in time, to fire off a few shots with the Canon and darkness swept over the desert.