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Mud and Snow

I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again: a real challenge when visiting often-photographed, iconic locations is finding a new way to look at them. I *think* this is a new way to see this old church, but in fact, all I can say for certain is that it was a new view for me. And I hope it’s a new one for one or two of my readers as well.

I wear a bracelet all the time; it’s engraved with words attributed to Georgia O’Keeffe: Take time to look. It makes me feel contented in my artistic life to look down and see those words, and to try to follow them. And taking time to look, to walk slowly and deliberately around this building, thinking about ways to capture its particular magic led me to see this, and to photograph it.

(My current bracelet is actually my second one; the first one got lost. And – fun fact – I bought its replacement at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe the day before I made this photograph. And – another fun fact – if this bracelet gets lost, I am going to get the words tattooed on my wrist. I don’t feel myself without them.)

San Francisco de Asis
Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico
photographed 3.16.2019

Slice

I happened upon this metal-building cemetery chapel at just the right time of day.* The sun was slicing across the windows on the south side, reaching toward the ones on the east. For a metal building, it wasn’t all that bad.

Idalou, Texas
photographed 1.17.2021

* I could tell you that I carefully plotted my visit to get the sun angle. But you know I’d be lying, so why even take the effort, when I can just be upfront about it all. As my friend Andy always says, “…and it has the added benefit of being the truth.”

Metal Building/Chapel

Don’t worry: I know this is in color. It had to be, even though is is a bit of a departure from my usual b+w work.

I’m trying to push myself artistically this year, in various ways. And one of those ways is to spend a little more time on color images. We’ll see how that goes, won’t we?

Idalou, Texas
photographed 1.17.2021

Tiny Chapel

In 1991, I read William Least Heat-Moon’s book PrairyErth: A Deep Map, about the middle county in the middle state of the continental US, Chase County, Kansas. I read it with an atlas so I could follow along his deep explorations of the county. It’s a long book and I read it carefully; it made me re-think the way I looked at things I wasn’t even used to seeing (fence posts, for example, or a thicket of trees beside a stream). I am quite certain that this book influences my photography almost every time I pick up the camera, as it gave me the understanding that taking slow and deep looks into the mundane would yield great rewards.

Now, this tiny chapel at the geographic center is not in the same county where the book was set, but the visit here sent my mind thinking about the book for the rest of the day. And when I got home, I pulled it down from the shelf and put it in the reading queue: it’s time for a new look at this particular old friend.

at the geographic center of the continental United States
near Lebanon, Kansas
photographed 12.11.2020

Center Chapel

I can’t think of any rational person who would knowingly pass up a chance to visit the geographic center of the continental United States! I mean, really, what a great opportunity that is. The center! The EXACT CENTER. And the fact that it is only a few miles off the highway makes it even more of a must-stop location.

I am not quite sure what I thought would be there. I am very certain that I did not anticipate a tiny chapel as the main thing. Yet, somehow, there we were: a pair of travelers on a cold and windy day, standing in the middle, looking at a chapel.

That’s the fun of a road trip.

at the geographic center of the continental United States
near Lebanon, Kansas
photographed 12.11.2020

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