Monday, August 24, 2015

Visiting Past and Present

Old Friends

I have long known that photographers are only truly happy with a camera in their hands. And paradise may be having a photographer buddy to share fstops with. I say maybe because there are photographers and there are photographers. We don't all want to capture the same subjects. Or talk about the same things while scouring the landscape outside the car looking for the next object of attraction.

And there is nothing more awful than being in a vehicle driven by a non-photographer unless you forced yourself to leave your camera at home. Better to travel with just your camera.

But the last three days have been awesome with my photographer friend from the east coast visiting. Since her last visit I have been cataloging old trucks to share. And yesterday we hit the truck trail. Some were old friends of mine. And some I had saved for her visit.

International at Eagle Nest

And some were eureka moments while looking for buffalo and antelope or discussing the next destination.

See the USA in your Chevrolet

But Terry Atkin Rowe and I are not picky. Or wimpy. She is a more brave about fences, signs and crumbling buildings. Or maybe that should be less paranoid. I am always sure I am going to get caught going where a sign says I should not be.

Melting Adobe

But sometimes going past the No Trespassing signs have rewards. If nothing else than manufacturing your cover story if caught. Terry was going with, "Sign? What sign? I didn't see any sign?"

And I advocated the lost dog ruse. "Sir, we stopped to give Moxie a pee break and she raced after a rabbit going this direction. She is old and partially deaf so calling her doesn't always work." At this point you put in a "Here, Moxie" or two.

Another melting adobe

Photography can also be highly educational. Take the tracks from the Dawson mine. I am a railroad buff so I know that most unused rail lines were derailed, if you will, for the iron. Especially those not in use by the beginning of the US involvement in WWII. The Dawson mine did not close until 1950. And per research the track, part of the Southern Pacific Branch to Tucumcari was taken up but then relaid for the York Canyon Mines run by Kaiser Steel. They closed in the early 2000's. It was initially built for the Dawson Mine and became part of the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad until bought by Southern Pacific.

Only thing left of the Dawson Coal Mines, besides the rail spur, is now the Dawson Cemetery which included the graves of the immigrant miners who died in the two disasters there. Both of us had visited it before but it is one of those photography destinations you feel you have never quite fully captured, so we went back for another try. And found it very altered. New Mexico has had record rains this summer and all the plants reserving their strength through the drought sprung up to flower and seed before winter.

Tres Cruces on the Hill

There was something particularly haunting about the grasses and flowers swallowing of the markers of the dead swallowed by the mine. Later at the Aztec Mill Museum in Cimarron, NM we found a plot of the cemetery and discovered hundreds of graves have already been swallowed up by the earth.

Where have all the graves gone

The somber mood obviously had to be altered so it was back to the trucks. And some comic relief in Cimarron. Windshield time to home was a combination of review of places seen, photos taken, history we knew and didn't, and personal reflections. We refueled with burgers at Kaw-Liga's in Eagle Nest. Hours of photo processing and Google research awaited.


  1. Great synopsis! And well captured. Looking forward to our next adventure.

  2. Me too. Always fun being out exploring familiar or unfamiliar territory with you and your eye. As well as spirit of adventure,


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