Getting Off The Beaten Pixel

July 18, 2010 · 15 comments

There’s nothing inherently wrong with pursuing the classic “faded barn with cool clouds out the window at 65 mph” vacation shots…

… as long as you realize you’ll need to take the side roads to get them.

Once off the interstates, you can stumble across some cool photo ops…

… and scenery you thought only existed in Wile E. Coyote’s imagination.

But there is something else important for photographers about getting off their beaten paths.

For example, as I sat on the curb at the farmers market in Santa Fe, waiting for Rick to buy chili peppers, I remembered that the sun bounces off yellow in unique ways in different places.

The blond was sketching the guitarist. The waitress took time out of her own hurry-scurry to watch for a moment or two. People love to watch a drawing come to life. And because we were moseying along with our camera and recorded the moment, we remembered this, too.

Will it be important to our lives some day? Maybe.

Remembering is a big part of why I take photos. For instance, I will always want to remember what Rick’s hands and knees look like. To me, this is more important, long term, than taking pictures to remember what Mount Rushmore or Niagara Falls look like.

Not that MR or NF aren’t spectacular and worthy to be remembered.

But “the sights” aren’t all that are important.

Apparently, I needed to go on a road trip and stay at the Rochester Hotel in Durango, Colorado, with windows that open up fully to the night air and drink Canadian rye on the rocks and listen to Rick play “The Sylvia Hotel” by the light of the hotel’s neon sign to see his hands in a new way that I will DEFINITELY want to remember.

Would I have seen that within a “yelp” of home? Nope.

And, apparently, Rick wants to remember what I look like snorking with laughter at the cartoon he had just sketched about the windshield wiper episode from earlier in the day.

Road trips are about having no where in particular to go and all day to get there. They encourage your Inner Photographer to stay awake to images you might not otherwise see…

… and cow bling.

Do these earrings make me look fat?

I don’t think Half Moon Bay cows (or Teton Valley cows either, for that matter) sport such carnivale-esque ear bling. Will having taken this image make my life better in the long run? I don’t know, but it sure gives me a chuckle today still.

I’ll tell you what WILL make my life better: having a full two-hour lunch window at the Rancho de Chimayo Resort north of Santa Fe, and the opportunity while waiting for the impeccable service that would follow to FINALLY figure out how to use the manual focus on the D-90.

Life will also be better because this image. It will remind me of when we were pretty sure we were totally lost on the way to our lunch reservation at the Rancho. Rick went in to the concrete-coke-cigarette selling (and very dark inside from the doorway) general store to inquire.

I love that about Rick. He will both ask for directions and enter windows-welded-shut general stores in foreign lands to get them.

They were very pleasant and helpful…

… as were all of the people we met. People are another HUGE reason to take a camera along when you’re off the beaten pixel.

Three generations of beauty, culture and stories. This photo of the sellers of roasted corn at the Santa Fe farmers market could be the beginning of the next Great American Novel.

Besides Middle-Mama’s gorgeous face, I just love the teeny pig-tails and that little shrimp of a finger wrapped around the bebe’s nose.

It doesn’t even have to be faces.

Pop quiz: Do these feet belong to a man or a woman?

Sometimes to get the shot, you not only have to get off the interstate, but actually also slow down, turn left, and go four blocks into a residential neighborhood to investigate the shining dome you saw from the main road…

… or turn around and go back to see what the turkey buzzard was going to do.

Fly, fyi.

The brilliance of taking a camera along on a road trip is sometimes as simple as having it in your hands when you encounter the extravagant luxury of boredom. It’s the beauty of things slowing down to the point where you start to see new lines and geometries and the grace in every moment you get to breathe.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Guri Stark July 19, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Haven’t read your posts for a while, and reading this one reminded me how much I enjoyed reading them. Great post. Your talents for writing and photography (and music) have not faded, and in fact improved with time…:)
Much love to you both.


kathy September 12, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Guri!! We obviously haven’t been reading our comments much lately, either! 🙂 So lovely to see you here. I’ll write more, just for you!


Peggy Wilson November 26, 2012 at 10:22 am

Oh my gosh, I took that same photo of the silver domed home! I hope you looked all round that place, it was amazing. Thanks for your blog. I enjoy your work so much.


rickandkathy November 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm

It was a great trip, Peggy! Thanks for your kind and encouraging words.


Janie Bevens July 21, 2010 at 3:42 pm

I didn’t see the answer, Kathy. Was the foot male or female?
Love your stuff!


rickandkathy July 21, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Hey Janie!

You’re the first to inquire: it was a woman. I was just impressed by how bare feet could be so clean!


Sandi Fentiman July 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm

As you said, nice to get off the beaten track and….. You see things a different way, and what you miss otherwise. Good to slow down, at least just a little.


Debra July 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm

ahhhhh…sweet documentary and photos… thanks for taking the time to go off the beaten path to bring us what we wouldn’t overwise experience. 🙂


rickandkathy July 20, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Debra… ANYTIME!!
Truly, some day we’re gonna figure out how to earn the daily carbs with this stuff… It really is our pleasure.


Nancy Renzullo July 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Okay, so I took a moment away from debugging Rewrite Rules in a .htaccess file to read this post, and now I can’t even *see* the code cuz I’m teary-eyed and snarfling (yes, custom word) with joyous melancholic mush. This was just beautiful, Kathy … you are a gift of color and light to this sometimes “bleached-and-parched” world. God love ya! –NR


rickandkathy July 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Nancy, you’re such a sweetie! Thanks for the thoughts. Delighted the post brought back fond memories for you.


Pegi Chesney July 18, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I love reading yur posts. Thanks for sharing!
Your Neighbor in HMB!


rickandkathy July 19, 2010 at 11:18 am

Hi Pegi!
Lovely to see you in our comment section again. Thanks for letting us know you’re still enjoying the posts: love to write for people who love to read 🙂


keith July 18, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Best post ever…reminds us all about retaining our souls amongst the madness of day to day life…..can’t wait to see you guys!


rickandkathy July 19, 2010 at 11:14 am

Hey Keithy! Thanks for the kind words, friend. Can’t wait to get up there with youse.


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