Unfortunately, the wall of moisture-filled clouds up from Mexico threw a wrench in my plans for storm shooting but one does not despair when faced with the prospect of two full days working in BBNP. I made for Terlingua to stay at Villa Terlingua, the beautiful guesthouse owned by my friend Cynta De Narvaez. It’s my favorite place to stay when I’m not in a tent in the park. It’s in the ghost town but far enough away from the store and the Starlight to be quiet, even during the chili cookoffs. I shot the Perseids image with the Nikon D810 and an f/2.8 17-35mm lens at ISO 2000 and a 20-second exposure.
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.
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.
This past Saturday, May 4, I drove west to Albany, Texas (that’s pronounced All-bany) to attend the Sampler (preview) of the 75th Fort Griffin Fandangle. The whole show took place north of town out at Fort Griffin on Cliff Teinert’s place where Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp met.
The Sampler is a preview of the upcoming Fort Griffin Fandangle that takes place on two weekends: June 20, 21, 22, and June 27, 28 and 29.
Any day now the June issue of Texas Highways magazine will hit the stands with photos I made at last year’s Fandangle.
I spent April 19 and 20 in Boquillas photographing life in the village after the 11-year absence of U.S. tourist money. The people of Boquillas are glad to have visitors once again and despite our absence, the village is still home to a friendly, hard-working populace. After dwindling to 90 residents during the past 11 years, some villagers are returning.
I just learned that these two images and the accompanying news item posted to Facebook about the opening of the Boquillas border crossing set new page view records for the Texas Highways magazine website on Thursday (April 12, 2013).
I’m always ecstatic when my efforts pay off for my clients. These were self-assigned images I made back on Dec. 21, 2012 when I approached the Big Bend National Park officials about shooting the new facility.
Prior to last week’s opening I was the only journalist allowed access to the new Border crossing facility. I’m returning this Friday, April 19, to spend three days in Boquillas to shoot stills, video and gather audio.
One of the best things about personal projects like this one is that I get to tell stories the way I want to tell them. I can spend time with my subjects and that always means better photos, videos and quotes. In short: Better stories.
But the real icing comes when I can impact my clients’ page views, marketability and visibility.
The much-awaited opening of the new Customs and Border Patrol crossing and point of entry in Big Bend National Park happened today, Wednesday April 10, 2013. For the first time in more than a decade, since the days shortly after 9/11, Mexican and U.S. citizens can cross the border legally between the U.S. and the tiny Mexican village of Boquillas del Carmen.
If you’re traveling to NYC, stay hereI did and it was an absolute delight.
Increasingly, I’ve been staying in Brooklyn because neither of my sons nor any of the artists I know in NYC can afford to live on the Island of millionaires.
I stayed at Jessica Warren’s B-and-B, The Erhart, on Washington Avenue, in Clinton Hill just two blocks from the Pratt Institute campus (ask me about the Pratt cats). Jessica is a delightful hostess and she really does want her guests to feel at home in this meticulously restored 1887 Brownstone.
My room was HUGE and would have cost $1,000 per night had it been in a Manhattan hotel. My only regret is that I was so busy and the trip was so short that I had no time to hang with Jessica. “Pretentious” simply is not in her vocabulary.
I can’t wait to go back.