Pre-Sunrise Exposure Check

Waiting for sunrise on a cold morning on the night of the full moon.   Looking east towards Alamagordo, with the National Solar Observatory near Sunspot, New Mexico on the distant peak.

A perfect night and a perfect view for us while we camped at White Sands National Monument.

Yes, you can camp at White Sands!  We highly recommend it, although there are some significant considerations.

Things like, being in the desert, it can be hotter than Hades during the day, then freezing at night.  No water, no facilities, you have to navigate and hike in to your spot, which are non-reservable, first-come, first-served. Your spot gets reserved only after you sign in at the front desk and they give you a serious shakedown on your abilities, equipment, and water supplies.*

Perfect!

You don’t actually camp on the dunes, but in the hollows between the dunes, on the hard-pan desert floor.  One campsite per flat, so you don’t even know if there are others camping out there, until you climb to the top of a dune and they happen to be on top of a dune near their spot.

Like I said – perfect!

Not knowing how the spot was going to be, we carried in our free-standing tent.  With the crisp, clear night, we opted to go without the rain fly, so we had a fantastic view of all of the stars.  When we woke up in the morning, we had a nice layer of frost all over us.

Perfect!

If you are in the area, especially now, we highly recommend it.  This picture was taken last year, on November 6.  This would be the time of year that I would make return trips, as the crowd is almost non-existent, the temperatures are manageable and the views are outstanding.  More to come.

* For more details on the camping in White Sands National Monument, click here.

Homework

I don’t particularly mind that the school work is completely destroying me in a metaphysical sense.

Because the truth is that it really isn’t destroying me.

Just sapping most of my mental and physical energy.

That is not a bad thing.

But I am thankful for a few moments where I can break away and exercise my creative brain for some school work.
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This is a Mokugyo, a piece that we have had in our house for ten years now, in six different homes in three different countries.  I had never given it too much thought, other than the memories that it brought forth.

After spending the weekend learning more about it, the memories mean so much more.

Concert View

It has been more than a bit crazy here lately, hence the infrequent posts.  We certainly did not need any distractions.

So we got one and took advantage of it.

Over the last weekend, we put 1,800 miles on the car making a quick run down to California to visit a dear friend, spend the weekend watching bands, back to Ashland to quickly take care of some unfinished business after leaving there in June, saw a few friends there (but not enough), then beat feet back home.

Although it was long hours in the car once again, it was a trip good for the soul.  Not only was it two solid days of auditory overload, but fantastic scenery and great friends.  Plus, I was finally able to collect the rest of my memory cards that had been in safekeeping since April.  Perhaps I can get to the pictures that I took from last October through April and post a few here.

So what is with the title?  It is the typical concert view anymore.  At the first flash of light, the first beat of the drum, the first strum of a guitar, all of the damned phones go up.  I can’t see squat and I’m 6-feet tall.  My poor Goddess, who is nowhere near 6-feet tall, just gives up.

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And before someone cracks wise about me taking this picture with my phone, there wasn’t anyone behind me other than the guys at the sound boards.  And they were on a platform about 3 feet off the ground.

But other than that, we had a great weekend.  Hopefully you did too and that you are about to enjoy another.

Joshua Tree Cinema

Panamint Range, Inyo County, California

Moments after this, a pair of US Navy F-18 jets flew just a couple of hundred feet above us, banking hard enough that we could see the pilots in the cockpits.  We couldn’t hear, nor see them coming, although the first one gave it away.

Playing with a cinematic crop, which gives these landscapes quite a different look, a depth that the regular frame doesn’t provide.

Gimmicky?

Perhaps.

But still fun.