New Mexican Roads

W

owzer! WordPress fixed the things that they broke. I have captions and I don’t have to do a work around just to use columns and paragraphs.

I have other stuff to say, but I’m excited. It’s the little things, you know?

If it seems like I’m publishing a lot of road pictures, you’re right. But, that’s what I did in New Mexico. I traveled around, learning about the state and making pictures. I also learned about the people and enjoyed a lot of wonderful food.

It’s odd. I really like Northern New Mexican food, which is kin to Mexican or Tex-Mex food, but nowhere near the same. I cannot say the same for New Orleans food. The only time that we eat it is when out of town guests come for a visit and they want to sample New Orleans food.

That’s not quite true. I like a restaurant called Mandina’s which is Northern Italian – Creole. It’s not fancy and yet you can see the city’s moves and shakers.

I really like taking guests there because we can tour. We walk up our street to the green streetcars, ride along St. Charles and transfer at Canal Street to the red streetcars. Get off in front of the restaurant.

Our guests love it. They get to ride our famous streetcars, they get to see parts of the city the they might not normally see. They get real locals food. And, if they want, instead of transferring at Canal Street, we can get off and walk around the Quarter.

They wonder, what’s not to like?

My guests learned what’s not to like, one night when we returned home. The lawn was flooded up to our porch. WTF?

Turns out a water main broke in the middle of the street. By the time the city came to repair it, there was a lake that stretched for about two blocks. This happens a lot in the city.

Yeah.

What’s not to like?

T

here’s not very much to talk about from a technical standpoint.

The most important take away, is to think about reworking your pictures every now and then.

As much as I liked the perspective and compression, the picture never really never did it for me.

After tinkering with a few day ago, I finally figured out the problem.

The picture was too light.

I made it on a cold winter day. It didn’t feel that way.

I darkened it, added colors of winter and I like the picture way more than I did.

One more thing about this picture. It doesn’t look like what you think of when you think of New Mexico does it?

When you drive east of the Sandia or Sangre de Christo Mountains, the land starts to flatten out as it makes its way into western Colorado.

It looks like what it is. High plains and farm land as you leave the high desert.

Can you guess which way the mountains are?


Interstate 25 northbound.

Travel. What does it mean? How do we do it? Normally it means going to a place other than your home. For some of us it feels like we move when we are done with a location.

We moved to New Mexico after Hurricane Katrina. It was a good move. I always wanted to live there. I was creatively productive.

But, the New Orleans culture kept calling us, so we moved back. Looking back that may have been a mistake.

We are now talking about moving to New Mexico. Yeah, I know you can never go home again. It was never home. Home is Long Beach, California. That state costs too much money. But, it is home.

If we actually do it, we won’t return to Albuquerque. We’ll either move to Santa Fe or Taos. Of course, Taos is really at the end of the road, even though it is beautiful.

4th Street.

Of course, there is the light. It’s is so hard to put into words. It’s just different. It’s one of the biggest reasons that visual artists move there.

The pictures. They were all made in New Mexico at different times. They are all about roads. They are about travel. They are about moving, and moving on. During those days I literally made a picture a day unless I was working on assignment.

That didn’t mean I only took one frame. I worked on a scene until I was done with it, unless it was a drive by or drive through.

It’s a great exercise. You learn a lot about photography. You learn even more about yourself. I suggest that everybody who is a photographer at any level do this exercise for a year. Photograph your world. Your life. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Route 66, Central Avenue, Albuquerque

All of these images were made during my picture a day adventures. Two of the three pictures were accidental and driven by the quality of the light. The third picture, called 4th Street was just learning where a major street ended.

Stay safe. Stay mighty. Wear your mask. Enjoy all the green Jello.


Stormy skies on River Road.
Stormy skies on River Road.

A little housekeeping. I’ve had a couple of folks say that they’d like to see more Mardi Gras images. I’m not ignoring that. But, I need to move on a little just to keep myself engaged. So, here’s my plan. I’m going to do all the post production on all of the pictures I made over the last three weeks. I’m sure that by now you’ve figured out that I was cherry picking my own images to give you something to look at as Carnival Season rolled on. When I finish that, I’ll post a comprehensive overall look at my work from Mardi Gras. I’m thinking that will happen in about a month. There is a way to post a portfolio of pictures via WordPress. I’ll figure that out and that’s what I’ll use.

Until, then I’ll post a mix of my usual kinds of work. I think and hope that you’ll like it.

So. This picture. I had to run errands into Jefferson Parish during Carnival Season. I like taking the kind of country road called River Road. I’ve written about it in the past. It runs along both sides of The Mississippi River. When it isn’t jammed up with rush hour commuter traffic, it’s a wonderful drive. So, as I often do, I made this picture on the way to some place else. We’ve had an unusually cold winter… not as cold as many places have had to suffer through, but cold for us. I kind of thought that between the bare tress, cloudy skies and my heavy post production that I made a symbol for how we have been feeling. In case you are wondering, the grass that leads up to the trees is one of our infamous levees. These didn’t break during Hurricane Katrina.


Trains crossing The Mississippi River over The Huey P. Long Bridge near Harahan, LA.
Trains crossing The Mississippi River over The Huey P. Long Bridge near Harahan, LA.

Yeah. Flying trains. Or, something like that. Prior to about 1937, in order to cross The Mississippi River, you had to use barges and ferries. Even the railroad companies had to do that. Along came the Kingfisher. Governor Huey. P. Long. He grew a lot of programs very quickly. He helped people who needed help. He ordered this bridge built as a way to lessen travel time between the east and west banks of the river. He was also corrupt. He was assassinated in office. At the time, the best way to travel by rail to the Western States was to do it from the west bank. But, New Orleans and just about everything else was on the eastern shore. So, the trains had to cross the river. As you know, trains don’t float. Those barges and ferries were time-consuming. You had to break down trains and move the cars slowly across the river. This bridge begat other bridges. But, none quite so industrial as this one. While trains crossed the river in good form and time, driving a car on the bridge was another issue. The bridge was built for smaller, more narrow cars. So, over the past few years, the bridge underwent a major overhaul to account for modern cars and trucks. It’s a great ride now. Local folks call it the Huey P.

So.

The road on which this picture was made is called River Road. I’ve told you about this in the past. There are two river roads. One on The Eastbank and one on The Westbank. They are really like a meandering country road that follows that bends and curves of the river. If you are not in a hurry to get anywhere, and you aren’t driving at rush hour, it’s a great and relaxing drive. I use it to travel from the city to the huge shopping center that is located in Elmwood. Not that I’m a great shopper, but there is a huge Home Depot there, as well a big discount athletic goods store. Oh yeah. My primary care doc’s office is located pretty much under the bridge about five minutes from where this picture was made.

The picture? Well, well, well… I’ve tried to make this picture for two years. Something was wrong with it every time I tried. Two much traffic on River Road. No trains on the bridge. The wrong sky. Hazy conditions. You name it. But, finally. The air was sparkling clear between storms. The clouds were wonderful and wonder of wonders, there was not one train ┬ábut two on the bridge. Of course, I’m was driving at 30 mph at the time, but… you know me.