Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Around the Bend

Around the Bend
Palenville, NY


I'm staying in a town, a throwback of the way life use to be, where the women are handsome, trees beautiful, and roads romantic. The type of place where on autumn days the past time is watching golden feathery leaf flakes make their way to the adorning quilted landscape beneath stately maples. A town whose past is not forgotten but whose future is questionable, where strangers are encouraged to pass through and greeted with one word responses until folks know they are not just visiting.

Images and scenes from some Norman Rockwell painting I suppose: a general store, boy scouts, and quaint white wooden colonial home styles graced with white picket fences and with women inside who still might knit and sew, married to husbands who still know how to fix things.

The general store and deli not only still serve creme sodas but also carries things like organic agave and gluten free pancakes mixes for New York City refugees. For those transitioning pilgrims the deli serves bountiful reuben sandwiches and if its Friday you might get to order a chocolate croissant but hurry they go fast.

The pace is slow but the minds are sharp as artists and intellectuals collude and converse at small tables suitable for great gossip and tales. Not sure if I qualify as a guest, a stranger passing through, or if I am considered someone that they would trust or a person of interest.

Someone asked how long I've been in Palenville and I can respond long enough to know that important stuff is posted on telephone poles and that Alfie Beers ran for highway superintendent a few years back, and the footbridge across the Kaaterskill Creek was wiped out by Irene (hurricane), that Laurie the big lady that lives in a "bungalow" at the bottom of Woodlane has a rescued blue healer that had wandered for days before she was captured. Long enough to be to tell you that Pat at the Circle W (the general store) makes the best lentil and buttersquash acorn soups and to die for chocolate croissants but they are served only on Fridays and on Sundays. And of course, there's Bob, the retired color lab guy twice divorced who hangs out every morning at the general store. Then there's now me. Hoping to find inspiration in a place that has stood still for a while.

Can't wait for my morning to begin all over again. Look forward to new walks and hikes along rushing creeks shared only with a few accompanied dogs. Look forward to be accepted not as someone just passing through but as someone "living" here. There's a life I've forgotten about somewhere between success and job loss.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Monsoon on the San Rafael Valley

The San Rafael Valley
Vacas Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

Since most of you are scattered throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, I've made a clip highlighting my experience on the San Rafael Valley. Hope this conveys not only what I saw but also what I felt. In fact its what I feel each time regardless of the season. Please click on Monsoon on Lazy2. Give me your feedback, I would love to hear from you.

If you are interested in this slice of heaven and would like images from this series or from other recent posts please contact me at al@photographybyalhernandez.com.



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Desert Storm Chaser

View of Storm from the Santa Ritas
Highway 83
AZ 

Heard that Odile was going to visit southeast Arizona and it was the only omen I needed to push me into action. Here was the perfect chance to see the tail end of the desert monsoon.

Some might wonder what's so special about a storm in the desert after all rain is rain. The abundance of cumulus clouds mixed with sunshine made for some interesting photography especially from the perspective of the high desert.  I navigated through plenty of rain and even waited for flooded roads to dry all for the sole purpose of getting a unique perspective of the greening of the desert and the high grasslands; no sunny skies for me.

Storm Heading East to Patagonia
Patagonia, AZ
There was more to my journey than even I knew. Had opportunities to renew and refresh my heart and soul by communing with my natural companion. She gave me an opportunity to enjoy her charms and rest in her arms after long interludes of play. I didn't tire although I had slept little and was always ready to engage again. Each time I knew it would be different but I never knew how or why.

Life got a hold of me again. Although my burdens didn't vanish, for a moment euphoria rushed through me and amazing releases of natural joy pulsed through me. I needed this. I needed to know that my purpose was not to simply work but rather to experience life, partake, and share my experiences with others. This knowledge restores me and provides joy.

Some of you will understand and some will simply think another mad artist. To me though the most insane thing is to not get anything out of your life and simply toil without taking time out to enjoy what is all around you. Find your balance and live.

Friday, September 26, 2014

My Wandering I

Hereford Herd
San Rafael Valley
Patagonia, AZ

Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.
 - Jackson Browne; Eagles, Take It Easy


There are times when the day to day stresses overwhelm. When the world seems to be spinning too fast and there's no way to get off the treadmill that's when it's time for me to fade out, pull back, and regroup. This month seemed to get the best of me and I had no choice but to seek refuge in my creative space.

Rather than completely retreat into a darker place and brood familiar themes, I sought adventure again in the desert of southeast Arizona. My goal was to find both solace and light although the clouds and rain of hurricane Odile threatened the desert. Timing in my mind was perfect; I would get to see the tail end of the monsoon and enjoy an abundance of cumulus clouds.

It took me a few days before I was able to unwind and forget. Several hikes up Pima Canyon and drives back and forth to places like Sonoita and Patagonia proved to be all part of the therapy. Before long nature was able to drown out the noises of my own wheels. Take it easy was not a choice but required and I did.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Packing

Lazy Living at the Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

Trying to pack for an adventure back to southeast Arizona. From what I can tell my visit will coincide with the tail end of hurricane Odile which promises rain showers during my stay. Coordinating last moment details with the rancher's hand as my trip also coincides with the annual Santa Cruz County Fair and Rodeo in Sonoita.

My arrangements are last minute and spontaneous.  I prefer it that way. Just want to experience it the way it is not they way I contrive it. Need to get some things out of the way first. Ready to empty out my head and fill my heart.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Gratitude

Windmill and Cattle
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ
What makes the desert beautiful 
is that somewhere it hides a well
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It's difficult to overcome various ways of thinking. While I am behind the camera I know I truly change as I focus on what's immediately in front of me. After putting together my most recent series of images it came to me a second reason why I shot these images. Simply put it was the heart expressing not only the joy it felt but also gratitude.

Road to Rain
Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ
Beneath the pain of job loss and familial alienation (while in Tucson) laid a beating heart full of gratitude. You see it was there when I experienced the joy of rain in the desert. In fact, I waited for the monsoon to come and would not leave the desert until it finally came to replenish the parched and thirty grasslands of the high Sonoran desert.

It's the hope and promise of the rain which sustain us until the rain comes. Perhaps we should start by being grateful of that knowledge too. Gratitude and its precursors hope and promise meld ultimately into one. We wait to renew.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Scene From Dances With Wolves?

View From the Lazy J2 Ranch
Patagonia, AZ

Many of us vividly recall those magnificent scenes from Dances With Wolves and the loneliness experienced by the movies' protagonist, John Dunbar. After a while Dunbar began to commune with the expansive wilderness and became a part of it and ultimately made a conscious choice to become a part of the native American experience driven by both the love of a woman and his romance with a harmonious natural lifestyle.

When I discovered the San Rafael Valley to the East of Patagonia, AZ, I too was made breathless by the unexpected panoramas. As I drove on the unpaved road and climbed towards a summit leading to it, I had no idea what awaited me on the other side. At the moment I reached the summit, it was as if someone had rolled back the movie curtains and began to play the most magnificent version of Dances With Wolves just for my personal viewing.

In my opinion, if there was a heaven on earth this was it. I experienced paradise and my heart was filled with joy and unexpected happiness know that I had a glimpse of something most people will ever witness in their lives.

For this reason, I've spent the last few blogs sharing these images with you. You see if something painful hadn't happen in my life such as my prior job loss and subsequent job finding, I never would have had the opportunity to have found my personal Nirvana.  This is the reason why I keep reflecting on it and continue to process my memories of those landscapes and my sensations.

Represented by the Simon Gallery of Fine Art, Tucson