Tuesday, June 7, 2011

When Life Gives You Dust, You Shoot it! {New Braunfels photographer}

Mexican ground squirrel, Prairie Dog Town, Lubbock, New Braunfels photographerDust. That's what we saw last week on the first and second day of our trip. We started out of New Braunfels early and hit west Texas within a few hours. The first few dust devils we saw we got excited. "Look at the dust devil Mommy!" gave way to "Yeah, there's another one, whatever."

We stopped for dinner in Lubbock so we could check out a Freebirds that we hadn't been to before. Jayme is a Freebirds expert dating back to the first Texas location in College Station in college. We've since been on a mission to check them off our list. Lubbock, check. There's not much to do in Lubbock plus we were on a tight schedule so we took our burritos to the Prairie Dog town and watched the antics of those cute little rascals.

We finally crossed into New Mexico and made a stop at the grave of Billy the Kid. Or at least one of the graves of Billy the Kid. Turns out there's more than one so it's anybody's guess which is the real one.

Four Corners monument, New Braunfels photographerA quick text to my sister in law who's home state is New Mexico told me we were very near to her and my brother in law. They were in Moriarty for a family reunion and invited us to stop in for a spell. Well, isn't that a coincidence. So we made our first night a stay in Moriarty.

The next day we headed up to Four Corners to experience the joy of being in four states at the same time. The wind was something awful but, little did we know, it was about to get a lot worse.

We hit the desert road of Highway 191 to take us up into southern Utah and back down into northern Arizona. We wanted to enter Monument Valley from the north and experience the scenery of this classic horizon. What we weren't expecting was the dust. Lots of it. In the air. All around us.
Utah sandstorm, New Braunfels photography
Utah sandstorm, New Braunfels photographyIt was so thick we could barely see the road ahead of us in some parts. I had had dreams of shooting Monument Valley. I'd been through it once or twice as a child sporting my old disc camera, but I knew this time would be different. I would capture blue skies, beautiful rich colors and hang out until sunset and really photograph that place like nobody had ever done before. That's what I thought anyway.

But the first glimpse we caught of the monuments ahead us were like ghostly towers emerging from the dust. They had an other worldly look to them. So I upped my F-stop to about 13 to get the detail in that dust and I started shooting.

Monument Valley Arizona sandstorm, New Braunfels photographyI swallowed a lot of dirt. I had sand in my nose. It got in my ears. I could feel the crunch of sand in my teeth. There's still a layer of red dust on the dashboard of my car. Yes, we got dirty. But I captured a version of Monument Valley that you probably won't see in the travel brochures. You won't see these photos on a calendar or on a postcard. So in that respect, I did capture that place like nobody had done before. And I like it.

Monument Valley Arizona sandstorm, New Braunfels photographerWe paid for our passes into the valley and took a very rough dirt road to wind our way into the monuments. It wasn't long before we decided to turn around and head for Page. My camera was getting covered with sand and I was starting to fear for its safety.

We arrived in Page after sunset and washed all that dirt down the shower drain of that Super 8 Motel. The next night would be spent in the Grand Canyon. I'll tell you all about that next time.

Monument Valley Arizona sandstorm, New Braunfels photographer
Monument Valley Arizona sandstorm, New Braunfels photographer
Monument Valley Arizona sandstorm, New Braunfels photographer

Lisa On Location Photography

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