Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sheep Mountain

Burned trees, Sheep Mountain.

It's the end of November, and I've barely even picked up my camera this month.  Between the ongoing demands of teaching (1.5 more weeks until the end of the semester!) and a couple of photo shows, I just haven't had time.  I did get out on the Friday after Thanksgiving to hike up Sheep Mountain, west of Laramie, through part of last summer's Squirrel Creek Fire.  These images aren't fine art, but it was interesting to see the burned landscape and disturbing to be up high in late November with no snow and warm temperatures.  

The hike, from the south end of the mountain, crosses very open foothills of low grass and a few shrubs before finally climbing up to the forested summit ridge.  The Squirrel Creek fire burned across terrain that doesn't look like it could carry fire, but widely scattered shrubs were all burned, and patches of trees, isolated from one another, were also torched.  Burned aspen groves are full of new sprouts, but otherwise it's a sterile-looking landscape in the burn, and with the current drought, it will be hard for new trees to establish.  I look forward to hiking up there again in the spring to see what's growing.

Sheep Mountain foothills.

Widely scattered burned trees.

Just below the summit ridge.

Below the summit ridge--thicker trees.

Aspen sprouts, some already browsed (by deer?).

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


My first bike.

I'm going mountain biking today.  That is an unusual thing to say in Laramie, Wyoming on the day before Thanksgiving, but it's been insanely warm and dry here this fall.  Bicycling has come back into my life during the last few years as my knees continue to deteriorate, precluding higher-impact aerobic exercise like running.  Plus, it's fun as hell.  And challenging.  In honor of November mountain biking in the Northern Rockies, I'm posting a few images of bicycles from my collection.

Tibetan Monastery, Xiahe, Gansu, China.

Fetching water, Uganda.

Laramie Enduro, 2009.

Lijiang, Yunnan, China.

Garlic for sale, Kashgar, China.

Autumn, Blair, Wyoming

The Bund, Shanghai, China.  Sunrise.

Kampala, Uganda.

Snowy Range in snowier times, June 2011.

Bei, Soapstone Prairie.  May, 2010.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Touchstone Laramie 2012

(Click to enlarge)

This weekend is Touchstone Laramie--the big art show that we put on every two years.  I've been so busy between teaching and preparing for the show and for my simultaneous show in Boulder, that the blog has fallen by the wayside.  That's been the story all fall, but soon the semester will end and I'll have to think of new excuses--like skiing--to stay away from the cybersphere.  Actually, I'm looking forward to having a little time in my life again for things like photography and laziness.

The Touchstone show, in case you've never been, is at the Fairfield Inn in Laramie.  We rent an entire floor of the hotel, and each artist sets up a room as a gallery.  There are about 35 artists participating, and it's always a fun event--social with good art.  Stop by this weekend (Nov. 17-18) if you're in town!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Old Family Images

Torch Lake, Michigan
(Click on images to view larger)

Unless some tragedy has befallen us, like a catastrophic fire or a hurricane, many of us have collections of old photographs in our families.  Sometimes these images are mysterious, with  unknown people long gone, saved because the image has been passed down like a sacred object.  Sometimes the images are artful.  Often they hold our attention because we wonder about distant ancestors and how their lives have somehow shaped our own.  Sometimes they are pictures of our parents when they were younger or of ourselves in what looks like a different world.  

My family has boxes of old images from both my mother's and my father's side.  Some of them have been scanned, and occasionally I work on them--cleaning them up and trying to make them so that they look more like they did when they were taken.  

My Mom, in Enterprise, Alabama where she grew up.  My parents have two cats today and so do we.

My Dad during a bike trip in Michigan where he grew up, long before mountain bikes.

The Grimes, on my mother's side, in Alabama.

My Mom's father, Oscar Lee McCall, at his furniture store in Enterprise.

My Dad with his mother, Nelle, in Arizona.

Me and my sister, Kim, being treated to a Coke at my grandfather's store in Alabama.

My dad and grandmother, "somewhere out West."  Their trips west and the stories about them led me to Wyoming.