Sunday, December 22, 2013

Landing in San Antonio Texas...

So we are just beginning our Highway 83 Texas road trip and have flown from Albany to San Antonio via somewhere and are spending a couple of nights at the Gunter Hotel on Houston Street.

The Gunter Hotel is historic and a great place to stay.  It was built around the turn of the century and is in the middle of renovations, although even at the best of times, it is not all that photogenic.

Got up around 8:30 and was out walking around the street soon after.  Being a poor sleeper, even at the best of times, I did admire this tired cowboy who seemed to be fast asleep when I walked by and took this compromising photo.  More interesting was that fact that he took his boots off and just left them on the sidewalk where anyone could have taken them, but obviously didn't.  I'm sure this was not the first time he did this with full confidence that the boots would be there upon wakening.  In Texas, boot stealing must be akin to cattle rustling.  Something which is just not done.  Compared to this, the rest of San Antonio paled in comparison, nice and worth seeing, but with a kind of inexplicable blandness about it that is best viewed on picture postcards.  Even the Alamo which is a must see, seemed smaller than you might imagine and only mildly interesting in its renovated and sort of cordoned off state.

Anyway, I have been on the road in search of America, and this is certainly a sight you won't see in Paris or Budapest.  But if you love Tex-Mex food, you are in the right place.  
As I always like to say, if you get even one really good picture,  it has been a great day, photographically and I peaked early today. 


Friday, December 13, 2013

Back home in Manhattan and nothing to say...

I used to work with this psychiatrist who had a colleague who was manic depressive.  He said that although they had lost contact, he could tell how things were going with the guy by his output.  A glut of articles  and maybe a book, or just extended silence.  Right now,  I'm in an extended silence.  Down and out,  and not much to say.  But really, the blog was not about words, but pictures.  Started out by writing to provide context, and got ahead of myself, thought I had something to say, and maybe I did, but when I didn't, it was a struggle.   Got back from Boise in the second week of September and after a few days to recover, we ended up in NYC for 3 or 4 days on business, staying at the Andaz Hotel on the corner (more or less) of Wall and Pearl Streets, safe within the claustrophobic confines of the narrow New York street grid.  Hadn't been down that far in years, and had no idea what to expect, and few expectations.  Took the old IRT from Penn Station to Wall Street now the MTA number 3...It was good to be back and the amble downtown was productive.

Whenever I'm on the subway, I feel compelled to take pictures of my fellow riders, in the shadow of Walker Evans and all those Photo leaguers who came  before me and spent days and weeks riding the subways usually with concealed cameras and slowish film taking pictures of fellow riders.  Like them, the results were mixed, but if you rode the subway enough, like they did, and got one or two good ones a day, you had something.  This was my good one during the rise down town, which in itself could be considered a day's work.

Sunday morning was warm enough, quiet, and full of surprise for one not expecting much.  There was the above bit of street theater involving a photo shoot for some thing or other.  Never thought to ask what, because it didn't seem important, and actually still doesn't.  Got the e-mail address of the photographer and sent this to him.  He was thrilled, really.

A very mini protest/Occupy Wall Street effort on the steps of the Federal Building at 30 Wall Street.  There wasn't much response to this meager but heartfelt effort with only 5 or 6 people pausing for a minute or so to watch before moving on.  Maybe there was something about the nexus of the menacing neo-fascist/peace movement thing raised fist that scared people off in our post 9/11 world.  They didn't seemed spooked by my taking pictures, and I didn't ask any questions.

These three photos are a study in contrasts somehow counterpointing the relativity of space people in Texas and New York require to exist.

Lastly was Mina's Shoe Repair, an anomalous/anachronistic remnant/reminder of little tradesman in a little shop tucked away amidst the soaring grey megalithic monuments to Mammon reminiscent of an earlier bygone era when NYC was inhabited by regular people who used to make things, do things, tradesmen, who lived and worked there crafting furniture, brewing beer, printing newspapers, selling shoes and socks, selling and repairing appliances, manufacturing garments, slaughtering animals, basically providing everything a city needed to exist who can no longer can afford living here and who are no longer needed, who no longer sit on stoops or fire escapes on warm summer nights as children run wild in the streets, through the neon nights of city nights....I mean, who gets their shoes repaired anymore?



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yellowstone Park..

The last stop on our road trip before we returned to Boise for Rosh HaShannah.  This time around, I made the effort to have all the postings in a chronological order (written after the fact), which was good in a way and stifling in another, but at last, here I am.  What can you say about Yellowstone that hasn't been said before.  Enormous, spectacular, and in two days, much of which was rainy, you barely scratch the surface.


First night we stayed at the Mammoth Hot Springs in this great little cabin where I slept like a log which is almost unheard if for me.  Jackie took the tour but I stayed back to laze around.

Then it was on to Old Faithful on what turned out to be a kind of drizzly/rainy day which turned out to be a minor inconvenience, but was the causal factor for a pretty great photo I took that day at the Artists Paint Pot Trail.

Here is an intrepid Jackie, braving the elements along the way.  The next one is her with a bunch of Japanese tourists overlooking some pretty active hot springs.

I always like to say that if you get one really good photo, its been a great day, and this is it.  You never know when or where they will make themselves available, but if you have your camera at hand and recognize the opportunity presented you and shoot first and ask questions later, you've got something.  Was pretty satisfied and ready to finish out wet walk and on to Old Faithful via the Yellowstone River.

If you have any doubts about the faithfulness of Old Faithful, at the visitor center, they have a clock telling you when the next eruption is, every 90 minutes or so.  When it is late, you wonder if it will happen or if you saw the last one ever, but you will be rewarded for your patience, because the late ones are bigger and better due to increased preasure.  

Have to admit that due to the vagueries of the situation clouds, position of the sun, time of day, etc etc,  I was not able to get a satisfying photo to the geyser, and a poor photo is worse than none at all.  But I did get this great photo of the guy next to me in the viewing area who spoke some strange and totally unfamiliar language whose Nikon was locked and loaded and he probably got a picture he was pretty pleased with.  Even if it wasn't that great, I'm sure there's no Yellowstone where he comes from, so the folks back home will be awed.  We certainly were with each eruption.

And finally, here is this strange photo of Jackie and me at the free photo booth where you can have an old style photo taken of yourself in front of Old faithful (digitally) and e-mail it home.  After 3 or 4 takes, we gave up and settled on this one.

This marks the end of my at times strained effort to present a chronologically organized photolog of our trip.  Some good pictures, saw 3 new states, 2 left for next year and now back to Boise for Rosh Ha Shannah and then home for a rest before heading off to Highway 83 for while.