“Well, they say that Santa Fe is less than ninety miles away, and I got time to roll a number and rent a car.
I’ve been flyin’ down the road, and I’ve been starving to be alone, and independent from the scene that I’ve known.
So I’ll stop when I can, find some fried eggs and country ham. I’ll find somewhere where they don’t care who I am.
Oh, Albuquerque, Albuquerque.” — Words and Music, © 1976 Neil Young
After his early super success, Neil Young needed a break. As he famously said, “when things get a little too middle of the road, I head straight for the ditch where things are much more interesting.” And, so the “Ditch Trilogy” was born. Three albums. That the general public didn’t understand. Or, really like. He didn’t care. He just wanted to make music.
During my time in New Mexico, I poked around just about everywhere. I found this little abandoned church on a side street. The parish, itself, had moved just down the street. An artist lived in what was originally the church. I passed by again and again. Finally, the winter light was amazing. I took this picture.
That’s the thing. Maybe a little lesson. We all like to travel. At least we say that we do. Right now, I’m a little burnt on traveling. That’s another story. I’ll get over it.
Usually, when most of us travel we don’t stay in one place long enough to get to know it. We are there for a couple of days. Maybe a week. We have a mini bucket list of things to see. To do. That’s great and all of that.
We really don’t get the feel for a place. We don’t learn the ebb and flow. For a photographer, almost every good picture we make is really just a matter of luck. Of timing. Sure. We can game the trip a little. We can work at the ends of the day. Dawn. Dusk. The light is surely better then. We still don’t know the place. That just takes time to settle in. To be there. Just to be.
That’s when the pictures get good. Really good.
Here’s my suggestion. For photographers and non photographers. The next time that you get the urge to roam, go some place that isn’t so far from home. Or, fly to one place. Hang out there. Make pictures if that’s what you do. Relax if you aren’t a picture maker. I’m pretty sure your pictures will be better. More meaningful.
For those whose prime mission is not to take pictures, you know that feeling of needing a vacation from your vacation? You won’t have that feeling. You’ll return home relaxed and smiling.
Try it some time.