Occasionally, fate reaches in and takes a hand.
I took to the streets of Pamplona yesterday afternoon despite having only slept four of the past 72 hours. Turns out jet lag is a real thing!
I left my quarters in the Pamplona Cathedral Hotel in search of San Fermin revelers. Their voices and music were constant outside my hotel window, so I knew I wouldn’t have to go far. Two blocks from the hotel, at Calle del Carmen thousands of festival faithful were parading, singing, chanting and drinking. Clearly, San Fermin is fueled by alcohol, fun and sleep deprivation.
The evening light in the narrow streets was perfect and I was gathering both video and still images. A gracious local couple, willing to tolerate my weak spanish, pointed out the mayor of Pamplona, Joseba Asirón, and took me over to meet him. I introduced myself and told him I was a Fort Worth-based photojournalist, his face lit up and he invited me to photograph the running of the bulls from a private balcony at city hall. One of his companions handed me a pass and told me to be there at 6:30 a.m. I assured her I’d be the first one there.
I continued shooting along Calle del Carmen till 1:30 a.m. then headed back to my hotel to download images/video, charge batteries and prep for the next morning’s shoot. Three very brief hours later my alarm sounded and I was out the door.
Pamplona’s city hall is only four medium blocks from my hotel, so I was there in time to see city workers assemble the massive wooden barriers that separate the bulls and the runners from the sane folk. Each morning during the festival, the workers erect the barriers and minutes after the running, take them down again. Pamplona has this San Fermin thing down to an art.
At 7:30 I and a small group of celebrants were shown to our balconies. I shared mine with a Pamplona family of four who were, as all Pamplonans seem to be, very gracious and polite.
Two canon blasts signaled the start of the run and I saw the first of six bulls round the corner headed our way. Within 30 seconds the bulls and runners had come and gone. The alcalde came and fetched me and escorted me to a hallway where a live feed of the run was being shown. It appeared to me that there were no gorings, so chalk one up for the deranged.
I thanked alcalde Asirón in my pitiful spanish and headed over to the Cafe Iruna for breakfast. The spirit of Papa is alive and well in Pamplona, but more about Ernest later.
In mid-November I spent five days in the Chihuahuan desert at Villa de las Minas and this was the dawn view looking mostly east, southeast outside my adobe. Night temperatures were in the low to mid-40s which made porch sleeping mighty pleasant.
Daytime temps hit the low 80s, so day hikes in the national park were a breeze. For the first time, I saw Cattail Falls with water actually falling. The falls don’t run year round but there’d been sufficient recent rainfall and that allowed me to make the photo below.
We miss it here in north Texas. We’ve had far too little for far too long.
I shot this photo as part of a DallasNews.com slideshow at the Most Good Music Festival in Fort Worth on September 6, 2014. Nobody, even devout concert-goers, was complaining about the rain. Jack Ingram and Stoney LaRue headlined and although several bands were rained out in the afternoon, Ingram and LaRue went on to perform in a constant drizzle.
I heard no whining.
This shot of Jemez Falls came from a small workshop I taught on night photography this past Labor Day weekend on the Jemez River in northwestern New Mexico. We all enjoyed the respite from the 100-degree Texas temperatures and the four days with no cell phone or Internet reception. Even the small town of Jemez Springs has no cellular service.
The waxing gibbous moon wasn’t a factor in these shots and the Milky Way provided more than enough light for our group. A blue-filtered flashlight provided the color.
We saw elk and mule deer from our camp at 7,800 feet. Our return home featured a Sunday morning breakfast at Cafe Pasqual‘s in Santa Fe and a tour of the Monroe Gallery where legendary photojournalist Steve Schapiro‘s work is featured.
The Monroe Gallery is, in my opinion, the finest gallery for photojournalism on earth and I never miss the opportunity to spend an hour there looking at the work of my photographic heroes and, increasingly, my photographic contemporaries.
Speaking of contemporaries, John Filo’s Pulitzer Prize-winning shot from the Kent State Massacre is available for purchase in a limited edition of 50 signed prints.
Soon, my friend and teacher Joe McNally’s work will go up at Monroe Gallery through Nov. 26 and I’m looking forward to making a return trip to Santa Fe to see Joe’s first one-man show in that fabulous gallery space.
I frequently shoot for TexasTribune.org and was delighted to have the opportunity to illustrate writer Jay Root‘s story on Jeff Miller, the California political consultant behind Texas Governor Rick Perry’s new image.