Substantial Skies

The sky’s the thing

We were looking for something. It wasn’t down this road: at the point where we ran out of pavement and huge puddles took over, it seemed like a good place to turn around. Which put me on the correct side of the car to see these clouds.

Cochran County, Texas
photographed 5.24.2014

Sky above, mud below

Another picture, another song reference. It must be my new thing, but I’ll try to not let it take over the blog. After all, it is called One Day | One Image, not One Day | One Song-that-only-marginally-relates-to-the-matter-at-hand.

I think this building used to be a church, or maybe a school. Now it’s used to store farm equipment but the way those overhead doors are falling down makes me think whatever’s inside may be permanently stored.

The song reference? This shot reminded me of the excellent Tom Russell song The Sky Above, The Mud Below. (Just the title – I didn’t think about Mexican horse thieves or braided ropes or any of that.) Go here if you want to hear the song. One of the comments at the link says, “I’ve seen movies with less plot than this song.”, which is an excellent observation.

Crosby County, Texas
photographed 1.31.2014

Everything changes.

The weather forecast said it would be in the low 70s, so it was only because I was lazy that I even had a coat with me – it had been left in my car from the previous bit of cold weather. I had some activities for work about an hour’s drive from Lubbock, and I took my camera (of course!), planning to take advantage of the promised nice weather. The work activities – a couple of ribbon-cuttings – were held outdoors and the weather got steadily colder as the day progressed. By the time I left, the temperature was in the high 40s.

When I stopped to take this picture, the thermometer on my car said it was 45 degrees. When I got to the next town, only nine miles away, it was 54 degrees. And when I got back to Lubbock, 30 miles from where I took the picture, it was, as promised, in the low 70s.

Everything changes. Even the weather.

Lately – as perhaps you’ve noticed – I’ve been in a musical mood. Here’s a Bruce Cockburn song:

Make me a bed of fond memories
Make me to lie down with a smile
Everything that rises afterward falls
But all that dies has first to live.

As longing becomes love
As night turns to day
Everything changes
Joy will find a way

Bruce Cockburn – Joy will Find a Way (A Song About Dying)

Ralls Cemetery
Ralls, Texas
photographed 1.31.2014

The desolation of the genre

I never saw this place before it was ruins, so I don’t know what it used to be.  Maybe a small motel? A roadhouse? A private residence?

Whatever it was, it’s got a lot of company.  Just a little ways down the road is this abandoned motel , and back in the other direction is what’s left of the Hi-Way Cafe.

Roadside businesses seem to have fallen on hard times.

near Marfa, Texas
photographed 8.16.2013

The Anonymous Church

You’ll have to take my word for that this place was a church; I base my opinion on the three large crosses on the side of the building that you can’t see in this photo. There wasn’t a sign anywhere around, and the map of Slaton, which notes quite a few other churches in the neighborhood, doesn’t say what this place is.

My usual route into town was blocked by a train, so I took the road next to the tracks, and when the pavement ended, I turned toward town and found a way that brought me to a part I’d never seen before. There’s a very good chance that you’ll see more shots from this neighborhood over the next few days….

Slaton, Texas
photographed 1.25.2014

A Substantial Sky, 2

Another substantial sky, as a follow up to this one.

When I was in Chicago last spring, I was able to check out a bit of the city between sessions at my conference*. One afternoon, I went to Navy Pier to see what I could see. Maybe I was there on the wrong day, or in the wrong season: there wasn’t too much going on.

Oh, except for that storm.

Chicago, Illinois
photographed 4.15.2013

*I really did go to the sessions.

Clouds and the Saddlery

I don’t list this on my resume, but I am actually a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society. I have a certificate and I keep a copy of the cloud collector’s handbook in my car.

That way, for example, when I am in Alpine and see these clouds, I can quickly identify them as altocumulus clouds.

Alpine, Texas
photographed 8.16.2013

A Substantial Sky

Out here, in this part of Texas, there are lots of opportunities to shoot skies, and I’ve been known to shoot a few myself. Almost always, though, the skies are, well, skies – without much else going on.

But if there’s a chance to photograph a nice sky and an interesting building, why not take it?

Not only that, but this building has my favorite kind of brick on it.  What?  You mean not everyone has a “favorite brick”?  That’s very hard to believe.  But I bet by now you are wondering what my favorite is, aren’t you?  It’s Roman brick, with is long and skinny compared to standard brick.  (Here’s a handy chart.) The darker brick on this building is Roman brick; you can see it better if you click to enlarge the photo.

Lubbock, Texas
photographed 9.29.2012

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