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 27, 2018
“Illegals from Mexico” immediately comes to mind when the term “Border Patrol” is used, but every state in the union has a Border Patrol region which has agents working within it—a fact shocking to us. What is also striking is that per the Bracero Program initiated in 1942 and ending in the late '60's, the US warmly welcomed Mexicans into this country as laborers. This information and much more is housed in the Border Patrol Museum, a stop we made on a personalized tour by hiking buddies, Pat and Susan. They spent the day showing us the sights of El Paso and sharing first-hand stories told by their son who is a Border Patrol agent. At a look-out point at the southern tip of the Franklin Mountains, El Paso and adjacent Juarez, Mexico, span as far as the eye can see. However, what stands out on the near horizon of Juarez is a huge red, red, red “X” or “La Equis” sculpture designed by Sebastian. It is a symbol using two intersecting towers merging in an “X” shape to represent the merging of 2 cultures of Mexico: the indigenous Aztecs and the Spanish. After a full day of sight seeing, Lou and Susan agreed that the rellenos (stuffed Mexican peppers) were the best at the Sabertooth restaurant in El Paso. Bonnie and Pat stuck with milder fares. A fantastically informative day spent with friends!
A Field Trip to the Wall
hosted by the Southwest Environmental Center
A 40-minute drive to the border wall between Mexico and the US on a windy, winter day initiated a feeling of desolation in about 20 of us huddled around Kevin Bixby, our leader, as we absorbed the magnitude of initiating the building of a border wall spanning the entire border. We witnessed both vehicle walls and mesh and bollard pedestrian walls. We learned of the hazards regarding migration amongst the myriads of animals which roam the desert landscape (including jaguars, deer, long-horned sheep to name only a few). New Mexicans are staunchly opposed to the wall for that reason and for the disregard of all of the protectionist legislations which are waived in order to build this wall; they are not opposed to ending illegal crossings but are in favor of a stronger Border Patrol presence and other methods of detecting illegals from entering. Presently, Congress has funding to build 20 miles of new wall—a site we visited where its construction is slated to begin March, 2018, but the present administration wants $25 billion to complete the wall along the entire border. If granted more funding, the first construction will be a 3-mile stretch which spans the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, a bird sanctuary. Pedestrian walls are now 18 ft tall, but the proposed new walls will be 30 ft high. “One injustice does not justify another”, Kevin Bixby said as he related how Washington is holding hostage the “dreamers” in return for a border wall.
February 22, 2018
Las Cruces New Mexico Pastimes
Cracking Nuts: Las Cruces is pecan country, and groves of pecan trees spread throughout the valleys. It's not unusual to see flooded groves during the growing season or to see smoke rise on the horizon from the fires burning off the trimmed branches and detritus during the off season. Hulling the nuts from the shells is no easy task regardless of whether or not they are commercially cracked at a local pecan factory or not.
Rolling on the River: When it rains, huge ponds form on the dry Rio Grande River, and the weekend warriors bring their trucks, jeeps, and SUV's for meet-ups. What do they do? They rev their motors and put the pedal to the metal to splash through those ponds just as kids ride their bikes full speed through rain puddles. Remember when? Imagine it in a jeep, and magnify the water puddle a thousand times!
Art Comes Naturally--This Man is Amazingly Talented
February 16, 2018
Meet Ray. He has never had an art course in his life, but he can draw nearly anything—and the result looks real. Growing up in a neighborhood with problems, his mother disallowed her boys from “hanging out”. Rather she provided them with a workshop and the tools to make models. Today, Ray makes the most intricate dioramas, draws and paints the most realistic pictures, and can create or re-create anything shown to him. Check out Ray's WWII diorama: Link to Dioramas
Hueco (pronounced: Waco—long a) Tanks State Park,
February 8, 2018
Hueco means “hollow”, and this state park is filled with huecos which fill when it rains (tanks). This habitat is so unusual for the desert with the existence of live oaks, salamanders, and frogs (seasonal) in addition to cacti, mesquite, and amaranth, one of the most nutritious grains to be found in the world . It's no wonder that after 200 shovel digs, archeologists have found life 90 cm under the paths we walked to arrive at sites of pictographs and petroglyphs. Wondering what the difference was between a pictograph and petroglyph, we were told by Alex Mares, our ½ Navajo guide, that a pictograph is painted, but a petroglyph is carved. Looking at the walls of rock, our first thought was that graffiti was covering the ancient artwork, but we were informed that a date prior to 1906 (National Park System) and 1945 (Texas State Parks) is not considered graffiti because it is a part of history and may have been carved by Texas rangers, stage coach passengers, or Pony Express riders. At the beginning of our hike we were humbled when told we were entering sacred ground; prior to his introduction Alex had privately asked a blessing upon all of us (which he said every Navajo is expected to do prior to entering sacred ground). “What makes this sacred ground?” He responded with an analogy: a judge was asked, “How do you define pornography?”; answer: “I know it when I see it.”
Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively.