the Quixotic Adventure

I might be a little bit nuts. Last week, I went on a trip, my favorite kind of trip. Fly to Albuquerque, get picked up, ride to santa fe, sleep six hours, pick up a rental car, drive to oklahoma. Sleep 7 hours, hang out with my Dad for the first time in a year. Hang out with my friend KJ, also first time in at least a year. Sleep four hours. Drive to texas, stop in a rest area and sleep half an hour. Drive the rest of the way back to Santa Fe, arriving after the rental car place closes. Go sleep for 8 hours, return the rental car key, have breakfast, drive to abq again, get on a plane, and fly home. if that sounds like a whirlwind, it definitely was. I spent more time in transit in those five days than I did sleeping, and at least 17 hours driving.

A normal person would have thought ‘three days in santa fe, great! I can have all the green chile breakfast burritos I want.’ Me, though, I thought, ‘huh, that’s only an 8 hour drive from OKC, I can get a car and see people there too.’

On the drive east, I was thinking of it as “Matt’s Quixotic Adventure” because, firstly, there are a lot of windmills in eastern new mexico and the texas panhandle, which I learned is called the llano estacado, and not a lot besides that. There are signs for the big steak in Amarillo, roadside attractions, and one large cross. A lot of cows in one spot, and a lot of grass (the brown kind you don’t smoke). If you’re lucky, there are good clouds; sometimes, if you’re luckier, you’ll see herds of antelope on the western edge of the Llano.

Also, COVID ruined a bunch of our travel plans last year. Our visit to Oklahoma City to see relatives for 2021/2022 Winter break was marred by a couple different exposures that meant I didn’t get to see anyone we’d come to see. Sophie was a little luckier, but only because we saw her family on day one of the trip, outside, on an unseasonably warm day. Then, this last thanksgiving, Sophie’s mom got COVID and had to cancel her trip out to see us. So this trip (5 days start to finish) was to make up for all that and see everyone for at least a few hours.

But something else about this trip appealed to me, and that’s the very thin margins it operated on. This occurred to me on the drive west, as I was leaving Oklahoma City on four hours’ sleep. The whole trip was like a Rube Goldberg machine, where if everything goes just right, there aren’t any problems and it’s sort of amazing to see the toast get buttered or whatever at the end of all the steps.

What actually happened was there was a drift away from the plan, minute by minute. For example, the second day, I got the car and then went to Meow Wolf with Sophie, dropped her off at her mom’s place, then got on the road maybe half an hour later than I wanted to. That drive was pretty uneventful; good clouds, a nice sunset (see pictures). I lost an hour when I crossed the border into Texas (because time zones). Smooth sailing and I got to my Dad’s house around 11:30pm instead of 10. I sat in the living room for a minute, and after we talked for just a minute, he said, “Oh, you’re that tired, let’s just go to bed,” and I was so exhausted I just did.

Before I know it, it’s 36 hours later and I’m back out at the edge of what’s possible, driving into the night, vents blowing cold air, tense from all the adrenaline metabolites and cortisol and caffeine and b vitamins and whatever the hell ‘taurine’ is.

It’s not a good place to be, but it’s a place I feel at home. I’m fully aware of how silly it is. The silliness is part of what appeals to me, too. I could easily have planned a trip that had more days in it (except I don’t have more time off to use), but something about adding those extra margins, padding for safety, would have removed all the fun. Well, not all the fun, because the parts where I got to see family and friends were the point of the trip and fun in and of themselves, but adding that extra edge just makes the time I had with them a little bit brighter. Feels sharper, somehow. It’s not to see if I’m ‘up to the challenge’ or anything macho, it’s just to see what happens. The edges are where the interesting things happen, after all.

Posted on 2023-01-12T09:20:02Z GMT

party the next morning

and then sometimes on the last night of a week of partying, something magic happens. We met up with some folks from home-ish that Sophie had met out at a show in San Francisco. They invited us back to theirs for a little more party.

We were walking up the hill away from the club as the sun was coming up. Their rental pad was close, and we came in and chilled for a while. Someone put some music on, people were mugging for my camera, and luckily the auto-features did thir thing, because I was in no state to do other than push the button and laugh.

What else am I supposed to do when golden hour comes to me?

Posted on 2023-01-02T08:06:14Z GMT

Evening party, Sun and Bass (and a sunrise)

Yeah, we’re still working our way through these. Evening party. Leaning into the blur, trying to get a feeling more than a precise record. And then somehow it was sunrise? Good times.

Posted on 2022-12-29T08:10:30Z GMT

in yosemite valley, end of june

Trying to avoid the cliches here. There are so. many. But also, it’s an incredibly beautiful place. These were all with the rented rig, a GFX 50sii. Incredible dynamic range. 8 or ten stops into the shadows still has details. Anyway. enough camera faffing. Photos!

The bridge on the right of the frame was in deep shadow, but I was able to dodge it out and balance the frame; it was black in the original frame.

No idea what these people were looking at. just wandering in the meadow next to el cap.

tunnel view (lol)

Posted on 2022-12-26T23:13:49Z GMT

It's been a year

So, I have a problem. Last year, I posted on this here blog 25 times. At the same time, I basically stopped posting elsewhere; my instagram feed hasn’t had a new post (as opposed to a story that dissappears in 24 hours) in 9 months. Twitter is dead to me, and has been since the space grifter tendered his offer. My last post is a meme that says “JUST WALK OUT” and “REAL WINNERS QUIT”. Other people’s servers seem like a dead end. But the problem is I really want to share more pictures with the world.

It’s like this: I take a lot of photos. Almost every day, certainly every time I leave the house, I take a camera with me, and photos happen. Sometimes there are people in them, sometimes not. I do this because I am compelled to, not for any other reason. I’ve done it for so long now that I’m a bit lost when I forget and leave my camera at home. Some of the people in the photos are people I care about, sometimes they’re just people I come across, but either way, I think there’s some responsibility built into the act of making a photograph, at least for me. Gotta share that shit. At least the good ones.

AND. And, I have a huge backlog, more than 18 months at this point. I’ve posted on this here blog 25 times this year, and the pile keeps growing growing and growing. I don’t think I can manage to post every day, but I think that’s OK because I don’t do something worth sharing every day. Rusty does his newsletter four times a week, and it’s his full time job. I’m not comparing my work to his (see the preview image and old friend li’s practice guide), but I feel like setting expectations at less than a full time job seems reasonable.

So: next year, two posts a week. Monday? Thursday? Who knows? will there be long essays? Just photos? photos with captions? I haven’t decided! Will it count if I just put up a picture of a crab? No! but almost everything else would. I might even do single image posts. A picture, a caption, BOOM, that’s half the week. Maybe I’ll get really spicy and add comments. Remember blog comments? Sometimes they were great! They never were on my blog, but maybe this time.

All of the photos in this post are from a trip we took to Yosemite last June that was supposed to be over the 4th, but ended up not making it that long; half our group got covid just prior to the trip, so it was just me and Sophie. I rented a GFX 50sii, which was amazing and I’ll probably do another post later with photos from in the park. Unbelievable amounts of shadow detail and clarity. Really liked working with it.

Posted on 2022-12-22T11:03:26Z GMT