LBJ Photography Blog
This blog features notes on image creation sessions, photographic lighting, and image editing techniques. Our main website can be found at: http://lbjphotography.com
February 28, 2017
Leaving Las Cruces
“Boo hoo!” Good bye to the beautiful Organ Mountains, the constant sun, the desert hikes, but more importantly to the “warmth” emanating from the people we have met here. The twice-weekly meetings of the Dona Ana Wood Carvers became an integral part of our month in Las Cruces. We looked forward to our Wednesday and Friday mornings like a kid anticipating Christmas morning. Until we meet again next year, Las Cruces, we have “warm fuzzies” in the pit of our stomaches. We will miss you!
February 15-22, 2017
Week 3 Las Cruces, NM
Our goal this week was to conquer the “A” Mountain—named such because of a big white-washed “A” at the top. It is also referred to as the Tortugas Mountain because in Spanish the word means “turtle”, and from the air, the form of the mountain looks like a turtle. By conquering the mountain we mean finding the “right” trail among the myriad branch trails to circumnavigate the mountain! From our earliest attempts when the altitude caused us to be winded within 15 minutes to our latter attempts when the trail took us into the desert, we finally made it around the 4-mile trail on our 4th attempt. What a victory! https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/1185553/a-mountain-tortuga-trail
However, our most interesting hike was a paleontologist-led hike into the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument. This is a hidden gem, and quite frankly it is pretty inaccessible. Viewing the fossil tracks from 280 million years ago was pretty phenomenal. Thanks to Pat and Susan who suggested this hike and to their friends, Fred and Betsy—all of whom have become our hiking buddies—we learned a lot from Colin Dunn, one of the few paleontologists assigned to this region. The discovery site doesn't have fossil bones but only contains rocks with fossil tracks. It just so happened there is an entire story about the man who discovered this out-of-the-way site. As a matter of fact, these hills were being mined prior to their protection as a national monument, and its thanks for saving of the discovery site is credited to an avid rock hound, Jerry MacDonald, who had been seeking fossils for 15 years prior to his find in the mid 1980's. At that time he brought Trackways' rocks to a local museum which denied their authenticity, but he was persistent and pursued authentication with the Smithsonian which verified those Trackways fossils as “the real deal”. The site was protected as a national monument in 2009. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prehistoric_Trackways_National_Monument
Was it by chance that Jerry MacDonald's son, Noah, visiting from out of state was on this hike? Wow!
Our hike to Dripping Springs just outside Las Cruces always fascinates. It is the site and has ruins of an old resort/hotel which flourished in the 1890's and early 1900's and then became a tuberculosis sanitarium a couple decades later. Ruins of those two buildings exist but are in disrepair and look like a ghost town.
February 8-15, 2017
Week 2 Las Cruces, NM
LOU: People-watching at the market is one of Lou's favorites. He tries to capture on film the unique!
LOU & BONNIE: Puzzle week! We now know what addiction feels like. Bringing a puzzle from home, we thought it would fill empty moments. However, we found ourselves gravitating toward the puzzle every time we walked in the door looking for “the piece”.
BONNIE: Although our generation has calmed a great deal, emotions ran high for us young baby boomers: a constant threat of nuclear war when we were children; race riots when we were in our teens; Vietnam demonstrations and flag burnings in our 20's. (Have things really changed that much?) Enter: Neil Diamond, a lyricist who captured our hearts and put into words an era. Attending a Neil Diamond Tribute band concert https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP1mN7N8KXg this week showed a very different audience from the audience down Memory Lane. The youngest people at the concert were the ones on stage—by a long shot! Heart strings were plucked though; rewind from today back 38 years. Jeremy, aged 4, asks, “Mom, can I pick your flowers?” Bonnie knows where this is going! “Yes!” Jeremy disappears. Proudly, he returns holding out a handful of favorite flowers for acceptance. In the background is playing one of many of Bonnie's Neil Diamond albums:
“And baby, I remember
All the things you taught me
I learned how to laugh
And I learned how to cry
Well I learned how to love
Even learned how to lie
You'd think I could learn
How to tell you goodbye
'Cause you don't bring me flowers anymore”
February 1-7, 2017
Week 1 Las Cruces, NM
We love this sunshine. Days begin on the cold side with temperatures falling into the 30's or 40's at night, but most afternoon temperatures rise to the mid-to-high 60's or even higher. Being at 4,000 ft. above sea level, the Chihuahuan Desert is a mecca for hiking. We would have to hike daily (which we try to do) this month to cover all the trails nearby. Fortunate enough to meet a couple who introduced us to hiking the Chihuahuan Nature Center at the foot of the Dona Ana Mountains, we were exposed to a whole new set of trails as yet unexplored by us. This mountain range is a sister range to Las Cruces' crowned jewels, the Organ Mountains.
A reunion for Bonnie and an introduction of Lou to David, our woodcarving guru, proved a fascinating experience. He was working on a cradle doll to hang on the wall of a baby's room when we saw him last Wednesday. At the wood carvers' next meeting David brought us each a yucca stick so that we could begin. Every Wednesday and Friday morning this month we will be carving, wood burning, and painting. At the end of our first session David surprised Lou by GIVING him a walking stick he had recently made. What a tremendously thoughtful man David is!
January 28, 2017
Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas
“Houston, we have a problem” = message the crew of Apollo 13 relayed to Houston Control when it malfunctioned. “Houston, we have a problem” was the message to AAA when our battery went dead in Lafayette, LA. Apollo 13 and Lou and Bonnie were rescued from disaster. We did make it to the Johnson Space Center. Once inside its gates, we were amazed that the place looked like a college campus—deserted on a Sunday—but still it had squat buildings where you knew brains were working hard within—but maybe not on a Sunday. Saturn V rockets—17 of them (and maybe more) took off during our lifetime with human payload aboard. Other than Neil Armstrong walking on the moon during Apollo 11, those take-offs became everyday occurrences in our lives. Little did we novices know how amazing was the technology—we took them for granted. Every one of them was valuable, as is the international space station, because experiments there and here were and are preparing for the 6-month eventual, manned trip to Mars; its mission is called Orion. That WILL be as amazing as landing on the moon.
Saturn V rocket stage 1 (out of 3) thrusters.
Saturn V rocket ... 342 feet long.
Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively.