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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back home and some thoughts on the trip!

I have arrived safely back to my home in Garland, Texas. I drove all day on Monday and made it to Van Horn, Texas. On Tuesday I drove the remaining 500 miles and made it home. Kinda reminded me of that song in the 70's that had a verse "I'm 500 miles from my home". I was the night I spent in Van Horn. I did stop and shoot a couple of things on the drive back, but I guess I should tell you about the ones I took in Fountain Hills the last day of the show.
We had to be opened at 8:00am on Sunday morning because some hot air balloons were going to take off about 7:30 from around the lake shore. I had seen about 7 or 8 take off as I arrived at the parking lot. When I got to my tent about 7:50 to open up I realized the balloons were inflating and taking off right behind my tent. That's also about the time the last one took off. While I hurried to get the walls of the tent rolled up so people could see my work, most of the people in the grassy area behind my tent walked up to the street and walked past me heading for the other 400 booths at the show. I had my camera so I spent some time photographing this last balloon which was inflated but did not take off. My booth was located about where the end of the balloons shadow was. By 9:00 there was not very many people around. So much for all the great sales that the promoters thought we would get from all of the balloon fans.

The second image is obviously a close shot of the balloons colors. Had I arrived much earlier I may have been able to get some interiors of the balloons. There wasn't any sunlight or sunrise color so I didn't feel like I missed any of that. With Sunday being the last day of the show, it meant tearing down after 5:00pm. I figured I had enough to do for one day.
Overall my three shows were a little disappointing. The snowbird population was down from previous years and that meant less attendance at the shows. That also meant less buying. I do have quite a few prospects for sales within the next couple of months. I don't ever remember having so many people interested in purchasing my larger pieces. The problem wasn't the economy or not having money. The primary residence in Minnesota, Illinois, or somewhere else up north was where they wanted the work and they weren't going back there for another 6 or 8 weeks. Nobody seemed interested in having me ship the work two months from now but they did want a business card with the size and description of the work written on the back. Hopefully some of these sales will happen in the future.

While driving through the outskirts of El Paso, I spotted the colorful Outlet Malls of El Paso. I would bet that the same architect that designed the malls designed the Library in San Antonio, the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas, and Solano out near DFW airport. Lots of color and design. I should remember the architects name...but I don't. This last image was near Pecos, Texas just off I20. There were some great skies that day. I also stumbled on a unique way to process this image. It was converted to black and white but then the blending mode was set to Luminosity. This brought the color back but with a deeper blue in the sky and more detail in the shady side of the building.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Canyon images and off to Fountain Hills!

Here are several more images from my Grand Canyon trip. They were both taken on Tuesday afternoon as I watched storm clouds roll across the north rim. The photo above was taken from Yavapai Point looking to the northwest. I used my 100-400mm lens at about 160mm. Most scenics are taken with wider angle lenses but I have always liked isolating a small section of a scene with a telephoto.

This next image is a vertical version of one I posted the other day. It includes more snow in the foreground. I really like the soft pastel look of the light at that time of day. When I am able to process more images from the trip I will post them. However, the next three days will be spent at the Fountain Hills Great Fair which is northeast of Phoenix. I set my booth up this evening. The program says more than 500 artists are in the show. Wow! I have never participated in one with that many artists. Not even close. I hope there is enough art being bought to send us all home with a smile.
I do have a good look at the Fountain in Fountain Hills. Behind my booth on Saguaro Drive is a large lake. The Fountain is out in the middle of the lake. It is more like a man made geyser which goes off every hour. I was told it shoots water about 400 feet into the air. A very big, impressive geyser. I may take my camera to the show one day to get a shot of it. It looked kinda neat at sunset with the mountains behind it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Time to head back to Phoenix!

Today was my last at the Grand Canyon. I shot the sunrise which you see here and then went back to my room to load the images on the computer. Now I need to finish this post and check out of my room. The cleaning people are knocking at the door wondering when it will be available.
My trip here was a success. The weather conditions were favorable although I may not have always been at the best place at the best time. This morning at sunrise it looked like some of the pinkest clouds could have been photographed from Grandview Point. That's where I was yesterday. About all you can do is set up at a spot and hope for the best. The magic light doesn't last long and you don't have time to relocate if neat things with the light and clouds are happening elsewhere. I have lots of images to work on and should end up with many more winners from my three days at the canyon. I did shoot a self portrait of myself at the overlook at Yavapai Point.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Good bye 5th Ave. I'm off to the Grand Canyon!

After spending three days on Scottsdale's 5th Ave I was ready to get out of town and do some serious photography. I arrived at the Grand Canyon on Monday afternoon. The forecast called for snow in the evening and up to 4 inches overnight. There was no snow Monday evening but we did get about 3 inches overnight. I had to clean off the truck and drive about 12 miles down snow covered roads to get to Grandview Point where I planned to shoot at daybreak. It was overcast when I left my hotel but as you see the sun came out at Grandview Point for a glorious sunrise.
I spent the morning photographing as the clouds and the light changed. The fresh coating of new snow was also a nice addition to some of the images. This one was taken near Mather Point. About 10am I decided to go back to town and get something to eat and upload the mornings images onto my computer. About 3:30pm I headed back to the canyon rim to
find a good location for the evenings shoot. I decided to set up near Yavapai Point. Clouds were still rolling off the North Rim about 10 miles away on the opposite side of the canyon. I felt the last light of the day just might turn them pink. I almost guessed correctly. I set up on a ledge facing the northwest. The clouds didn't pink up. I did notice that off to the northeast that they did pink up a little. I moved to the location of this last image after the color on the clouds had left. I still like the soft pastel colors that were captured. It was taken well after sunset. Digital does a great job of handling a low light condition like this and seems to bring the brightness back into a scene.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Surprise, surprise!

Before heading out this morning I looked in the paper to see if there was some sort of advertising for the show. What next caught my eye was my image "Chair and Pots". There was the ad for the show and they had used my image with a photo credit. Cool!
Setting up my booth last night went fairly well despite not being able to start set up until 7:00pm. I got back to my friends house where I am staying about midnight. That's about how long it usually takes me if things go well. Fortunately I can pack it all back up in half that time. I did get a good location and hopefully will have a successful weekend.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Three more from San Xavier!

I spent a little time today working on some more of the images from San Xavier. The first one is a close look at some of the detail of the front of the mission.

This second image is of the altar area of the main chapel. There is an incredible amount of detail in the interior of the main chapel. It amazes me how much time, effort, and money is spent on the decoration of the interior of the mission. This is all done by people that can't have all that much. The churches in Mexico are the same way.

This last image is a small chapel that is off to the side of the main chapel.

Interesting photos from interesting places!

Yesterday I left my hotel and stopped in the Cracker Barrel in Casa Grande, Arizona to get something to eat. I didn't make it to the door. Just off the front porch was a big saguaro with a dove on the nest. I went back to the car and got the camera. After taking a few images I put the camera back up and headed back into the restaurant. Right in front of the entrance was another saguaro with a dove on the nest! I was hungry so I decided to get something to eat and then shoot some more. I ended up getting the ladder out of the trailer to get a higher angle at the doves. Just picture me on the front porch of the Cracker Barrel on top of a ladder photographing these doves. Anything to get a good shot.
Later in the day I arrived in Phoenix. I'm staying with some friends I have known since elementary school. We decided to go to the Desert Botanical Gardens where an installation of Chihuly glass is on display. The Botanical Gardens is a neat place to see all the plants of the Sonoran Desert but was really an interesting place with all the glass set up amongst the cactus. This image is some big glass iceberg looking things that were floating in a pond. I like the cool blue glass with the warmer tones of the reeds around it. The second image is a portion of a glass tree that was lit up after sundown. I like the contrast of the warm glass with the cool blue sky behind it.

Tomorrow I set up my booth for the 5th Avenue show. I also have a trip planned to the Grand Canyon on Monday after the show is over. The mountains around Phoenix have snow on them and Falagstaff had over 20 inches the other day. I'm hoping there will be lots of snow at the canyon for my trip there. It will be my first trip there since I have started shooting my work digitally and I look forward to doing some panoramas by stitching a group of images together. Hopefully I will get some great new images from the trip.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Off to Phoenix!

I was packed up and leaving Tubac about 7:30 Sunday evening. The day had seen weather in the 50's with a couple of light showers. Attendance wasn't close to what it had been on the other days but I still had my best day of sales. Saturday was my second best day. Wednesday through Friday have some sales but are extra nights in a hotel I have to pay for more than anything. From an artists standpoint this should be a Friday through Sunday show at the most. I would bet that many artists don't apply to the show because it is five days long. Why spend five days making what you usually make in a Saturday and Sunday show? Booth fees, gas, motel, and food are high enough for a two day show.
On Monday I started making my way to the Phoenix area. I stopped to photograph Tumacacori and San Xavier, two Spanish missions. The top image is the front of San Xavier. The second image is looking up from the alter area of the chapel. I'm not sure if it does justice to all the details. I will probably have to post some more images from the interior.

This image of an agave was taken in the garden area of Tumacacori. A nice healthy agave always makes a nice subject. San Xavier had quite a cactus garden at the front of it too. It would be great to catch it when the cactus are blooming.
I also stopped at Picacho Peak State Park. It is a small park about 50 miles south of Phoenix. The area is starting to green up from the recent rains. I hope when I come back through here in 2 weeks that the poppies will be blooming. It gets quite colorful here during a wet year. Despite the cloud cover yesterday I was able to get some sunlight at the end of the day. This is from the west side of Picacho Peak. It rained again last night so those flowers are probably coming.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Boy was it windy today!

The weather guys said the wind would gust to 30 mph today. It did at least that and maybe more. One artist said we had 45 mph gusts. I survived it ok but other artists didn't fare as well. Late in the day show officials came by and said we could do whatever it took to protect our art, even if that meant packing up. Lots of artists were doing just that when the show closed at 5pm. I'm sure their decision was influenced by the fact that sales haven't been that great and they are still saying it will rain tomorrow. I will be at the show tomorrow, rain or shine.
One funny thing did happen today. My booth is directly across the street from the Tubac Center for Arts. About 2:30 I see a bunch of smoke in front of the building. Someone has built what looks like a campfire. In this wind!!!! A few minutes later here comes the fire marshall in a golf cart which said "Fire Marshall" on the front of it. He gets out and goes over to talk to the guy about the fire. He doesn't make him put the fire out but in a few minutes a four wheeler with a couple of big fire extinguishers on the back pulls up. I decide to walk over and see whats going on. It turns out that someone is demonstrating how to fire pottery. They have one large pot that covers the smaller pot that is to be fired. All of that is then covered up with burning cow paddies. First time I have seen that. I wish I could have heard them explaining that to the Fire Marshall.

I did take a couple of photos on the drive from Tubac to Nogales after the show. I had to try out my 28-70mm lens which I had just got back from being repaired. This is some of the mountains south and east of the show with a moon rising. Looks quite different than my home back in Texas.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pictures from Tubac!

I decided to bring my camera with me today and take some images of things that were happening at the show. Here is a picture of the horse drawn trolley that stops in front of my tent. As you can see Percheron's are big dudes. On the left side of my tent is the area my neighbor referred to as The Gully. If it rains Sunday that is where the water is going to drain.
You may wonder what's the big deal about a Fed Ex truck. This is happening during show hours. Usually streets are closed during show hours. Not here. Fed Ex was making a delivery to the shop behind my booth but also brought a new credit card machine to one of my neighbors. Her machine had conked out on her the day before. Whats funny about this is that most shows close their streets so no one gets hit by a car. At Tubac they restrict us from putting an awning on the front of our tent which would hang out over the street. I think they are worried that Fed Ex,UPS, or the Porta Potty cleaning truck will run into an awning. These streets are so wide that you should be able to drive a pair of buses side by side and still not hit an awning if you are just paying a little bit of attention.
The other day at Saguaro National Park there was not a cloud in the sky at sunset. Give me Old Glory on top of the Home Depot and just watch the skies light up. It was pretty, although a little weird.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How's the show going?

I got my booth set up yesterday. I've got a good location but it is not a very level spot. I had a lot of trouble setting up the panels down one side of the booth. As I was setting things up this morning before the show started, one of my neighbors walked over and said "Oh, you got the gully this year". She apparently was in my space last year and told me how the older customers were tripping on the uneven ground. Nothing like some words of encouragement at the start of a five day show????? There is good news if you are planning on coming out to the show this week to see my work...nobody fell in my booth today. You can also enjoy the smell of cinnamon almonds which are sold close by. At the show there are several trolleys that are pulled by a breed of horse called Percheron. Big horses but not as large as a Clydesdale. They are giving people rides to the parking lots and other parts of the show. They stop to load and unload right in front of my booth. If you like the smell of a stable this next part should appeal to you. They gave rides all day. Each horse had a big leather pouch which hung just under their tail. These bags looked quite full by the end of the day.
Despite all the obstacles that I joke about, I did have some sales today but not enough to justify a five day show. I may end up appreciating the next two days though because rain is forecast for Saturday and Sunday. Having a booth space which straddles the gully should be fun!!!

This is a photo blog and you will always get a photo or two. I took this the other day when I drove through Roscoe, Texas. There are more than a thousand of these wind turbines within 20 miles of this spot. There is about a 100 in this picture. I could tell about 50 more had been built since I drove through this area back in August. I could see cranes in several places that were in the process of building new ones. Should be a dozen more when I drive back in a couple of weeks. Oh well. Big day tomorrow and I need some sleep.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Off to Arizona!

It took most of Saturday to finish up everything, get it packed, and get on the road. I made one stop to photograph the "Classic Diner". I also stopped to get gas in Weatherford and then drove

to Sweetwater before getting a room. The truck didn't seem to run very good during that stretch. Sunday was going to be spent driving west, but taking detours through many of the small west Texas towns looking for interesting things to photograph. The truck seemed to go from not running very good to running like complete crap.

I took the "Sunset Motel" on a detour through Monahans, Texas. An old abandoned motel with "no trespassing" signs everywhere. The truck was still performing poorly despite putting a fuel additive in the tank when I filled up. I stop for gas again in Pecos. Between Pecos and Van Horn the truck just has no power at all. It is flat and out in the middle of nowhere and the speed limit out there is 80. I limp along at 65. I watch the gas gauge drop like a rock. I stop to get more gas in Van Horn. I put in 10 gallons but had only driven about 80 miles since filling in Pecos. This has to change but getting it worked on today will be tough. Its Super Bowl Sunday. I get some of the STP additive for cleaning fuel injectors and carburetors and add it to the gas. I head off down the road hoping I can reach Las Cruces, New Mexico. I will get it worked on there if I need to. Fortunately, I make it to Las Cruces and the truck seems to be running good again. Hooray for STP.

Monday finds me humming down the road with cruise control on and no problem with power. I'm quite relieved. I decide to spend the evening out at Saguaro National Park which is just west of Tucson, Arizona. I drive a loop through a section of the park and look for something interesting in the waning light. This was taken near Signal Hill. After sunset I drive to Nogales and check into the Super 8. This will be my home for the next week. Its now Tuesday and I need to check in at Tubac and set up my booth today. Time is running short and I need to grab some lunch and head that way.