Roadtrip: Chinati

Taking a half-day off this past Friday, I drove out of Las Cruces after two showery days, actually, for a Chinati Foundation sunset event.

Soundtrack: loads of Pink Floyd, plus Stevie Ray Vaughan, Laura Marling, etc.

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The high clouds and filtered sun in Marfa caused a more muted, less golden effect than what I was hoping for, but it still created light-shadow contrasts. That plus a very light turnout of visitors was exactly what I needed to relax and start the weekend.

So was arriving 30 minutes early for a margarita at the Hotel Paisano’s bar.

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I didn’t run into one Marfa local or visitor I know. Only plenty of solo time.

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First, Judd’s 100 works in mill aluminum:

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Then, Judd’s works in concrete. I’ve recently read that Marfa’s “unique light” comes from miles of Blue Grama grasses, like you can see to the horizon or in swaths by the concrete works:

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Of course, a little botanizing during and after their evening event. This looks like a Little Walnut / Juglans microcarpa.

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One of a few paths worn into the endless Chihuahuan desert grassland, here with mesquites, soaptree yuccas, and some other native species.

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Just under 4 hours there, and the same time back.

The setting sun beams through the Arena’s clerestory windows, ahead of incoming showery weather I left behind at noon.

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Dinner first, of course.

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Morning Gold

The light often does something unusual, and sometimes the difference are grand or subtle. Photos from early October 2017.

Take this adobe wall and concrete cap at La Mansana / The Block in Marfa TX.

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A leafy tree branch affects an otherwise bright wall.

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Time of day affects the light, but even 2 hours after sunrise versus 2 hours before sunset are often quite different. Those would seem similar sun angles, but perhaps morning light has less dust while afternoon light comes at a warmer time?

The change in seasons over a couple months can also affect light, and so can traveling from a humid to a dry place or changing elevation.

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The other side of the “Artillery Sheds” have a similar light, though they face the sun directly and it’s over 30 minutes later; there’s more gold than orange. Since my first sunrise visit, I’ve been addicted to this time of day here.

Yes – we were allowed to take photos outside.

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Bouteloua gracilis grows lush and happy in Marfa’s plateau, holding it’s green with the past monsoon season.

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There’s something about the contrast between soft morning light, the warm glow of concrete, and the cool glow of mill aluminum. Its sum promises an entire day ahead, completely free of toxicity.

The wide Trans Pecos skies don’t hurt, either.

I’m convinced the drudgery of everyday is not reality; this type of thing is reality. We must get real more.

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Texas’ state grass, Bouteloua curtipendula, is as stunning as the aforementioned Blue Grama, holding down the vignettes of Celtis reticulata L and Prosopis torreyana R.

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A closer view, using the above order.

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This is the late morning light on Pinto Canyon Road outside town, facing Cathedral Mountain to the east.

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Light only held a passing interest to me until I started photographing my own landscape designs and scenery much more.

Do you see different ways one can use or take advantage of light?

Do you see differences in light from where you are to where I was in this post?

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11/5/17 weather: 7847 / 0.00

A Lonely Desert Grassland Road

The last day of my long weekend, I was ready to be back home.

But first, after breakfast, I finally drove out on Pinto Canyon Road, into the pastoral morning light.

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After one truck there was not one more vehicle, for miles. In fact my entire 30 minutes there.

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New agaves a start to a stronger entry?

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Gracious yet expansive. Peaceful.

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Some Little Walnut / Juglans microcarpa trees where the occasional stormwater collects along the draw…

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…the effects of a late spring freeze on these trees’ foliage.

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Almost back in Marfa, this looks like someone is working on the concrete buildings Donald Judd sketched but never realized.

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Or are these remnants of incomplete construction when Judd was alive?

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A simple but bold monument to enter a small housing area, complete with some of the finer plants in the desert world…

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