On New Year’s Eve at just before 10 pm, I hit a milestone in the two-plus year goal of establishing a workflow for cataloguing, ranking and labeling my RAW files: all of 2008 and 2009 RAW files were backed-up with triple redundancy and at least minimally keyworded. Not the most romantic way to spend New Year’s, but we still had plenty of time to celebrate before midnight.
The rewards of this time
sink investment in Lightroom is the ability to find stuff I remember shooting, and to recover good stuff that slipped through the memory leaks. Here are ten images that nearly got away, favorite images that I shot in 2009 that for one reason or another didn’t make it into the blog before now.
It was the same cold January day that I saw zebras in the snow that I hopped on the back of the feed truck with Cowboy Dean. I used a different image from this series in the Highway 89 book. I actually prefer this one, but needed a horizontal shot for the layout.
I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance with Willie, one of the sextons at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, and he invited me to photograph a Stations of the Cross prayer service during Lent last winter. I love the shadow of the cross on his chest, and how all the faces break the “rule” by looking out of the picture, and yet somehow the whole image feels balanced. Another in this series was published in the photo essay I did for The Story of the Cathedral of the Madeleine
In April, we rafted the Colorado River from Lee’s Ferry to Lake Mead. Within a few miles of the put-in, the rafts pass beneath the 1929 (near) and 1995 spans of the original Highway 89 over the Colorado River. The river guide was exceedingly accommodating of my photography as he piloted us through this stretch of water (actually the whole 280+ miles). Even though this is one of my favorites from the trip, there was no room for it in the Highway 89 book.
PhotoJohn arranged for www.photographyreview.com/ to provide me with a waterproof Canon Powershot D10 for the Grand Canyon trip. I wrote a draft of a review, which is on his desk, delayed by his need to get another sample of the camera and do some more testing–my full-scale field readiness test may have been a little rough. Capturing the power and intensity of a major rapid is tricky; this one came the closest.
When we rafted the Grand Canyon in 1998, it was my first extended trip into the wilderness, and I didn’t know much about photography then. I did, however, complete the most difficult hike I’d ever done, the up-and-over hike from Tapeats Creek to Thunder River and down Deer Creek. This time, I elected to ride the raft to the pick-up point for the hikers and spend the day making photographs around the Deer Creek “patio.” To have hours to wander a few hundred yards along this most exquisite slot canyon is one of my most treasured memories of the trip.
Harley and Diane showed me this location a year before I shot it for the project; in the end, these were the last photographs I made for the book, which has a vertical image from this same series. I find it fascinating that State Street is still the brightest street in the valley, even more prominent than the freeway to the right.
I arm-twisted Rich Legg into agreeing to help with the Sanpitch Cowboy Expo photo clinic before I realized that he had never been to a rodeo. To correct this serious lapse in life experience, we went out to Morgan, Utah, with Nicole for a small-town rodeo in June. By July, Rich was talking rodeo smack with the volunteer models like he’d been hanging out in horse arenas for all his life. I made this picture at the end of our Morgala Days rodeo adventure, loving the low-light capabilities of the D700.
In July, the demands of publishing two books simultaneously had sucked the creative photographic life out of me. I took an evening off and went to the Riverton carnival to shoot pretty lights and colors at the blue hour. I got some traditional spinning Ferris wheel shots, but this one represents the energy I needed to muster to get across the finish line.
In September, R and I went to Greece to attend the baptism of Michael and Effie’s daughter. We hadn’t seen them since 2004 in New Zealand. We missed the wedding in Melbourne. There was no way I was going to miss the baptism of Effie’s miracle baby. They returned to Effie’s village on the island of Lesvos for the ceremony. Their hired guns were cool with me shooting for my own entertainment, and the video camera lights gave some interesting effects. The ceremony was so unlike the Catholic services I had photographed all spring: no one sat, but everyone milled around, talked and did their own thing, all the while the cantor singing into the microphone and the priest dipping the screaming baby. Effie’s sister and brother-in-law are the smiling godparents standing next to the priest. Michael hired an entire restaurant for the post-baptism party. We ate Greek food, drank ouzo, listened to traditional music and danced in the streets until 2 in the morning.
I already wrote about my obsession with donkeys. This guy was tethered on the main street through Effie’s village while it’s owner was enjoying a coffee or ouzo in the taverna. Note the owner’s jacket and shopping hanging from the saddle.
Life intervened and we missed our annual trip to Grand Tetons, so we went south instead to drive the Boulder Mountain loop in southern Utah. At some point on that trip, we decided to buy three acres in Torrey, but it happened so fast, the memory is just a blur.
In 2010 we will be laying the foundations to create a base of operations in Torrey. Photographing in red rock country, and being close to a BLM-managed herd of wild burros, is tantalizingly within reach. I’d be there tomorrow if I could figure out a way to make it so.
In the meantime, I’m going back out on Highway 89 to sell some books, make more pictures, start video interviews and see all my new and old friends. I won’t ever be done traveling America’s greatest highway.