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Archive for April, 2010

I’m pleased to launch my Web site website: christhedunn.com.

Click on the image to access my website!

It’s a pretty simple website, but I’ll continue developing it. It features my portfolios as both a visual journalist (with still photos and multimedia) and a reporter, and design-wise, I matched the CSS and styles to this blog and my Twitter page.

I welcome feedback, and please do let me know if you encounter any broken links or other glitches! Thanks!

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When we were researching Santa Fe before our trip — come on, we’re journalists — Jeff and I encountered quite a few websites and brochures calling Santa Fe “the City Different.”

Which seemed a little pretentious to me. You see, what makes Santa Fe “the City Different” is its adherence to the Spanish Territorial or Pueblo style of architecture and to its city-planning approach; both the architectural style and method of city-planning hail back to the 16th century. But I still thought the name was pretentious.

Then, when I was actually in Santa Fe, it hit me. Sure, many of the buildings are “faux-dobe,” but the city nevertheless looks unlike any other. In what other cities do you see new buildings styled in centuries-old architecture?

Anyway, I took the same photo I took almost three years ago — except this time, on film.

I think this is on the corner of Don Gaspar and Water in downtown Santa Fe. BW400CN, 120mm.

We walked around and had dinner in the Plaza after we left Bandelier and cleaned up a bit. Then, after dinner, we walked around some more and I saw a picture:

St. Francis of Assissi Cathedral

St. Francis of Assissi Cathedral. BW400CN, 120mm.

I wanna say this was shot at f/2.8 and 1/20th of a second. Not an easy task when using a medium-format SLR with a waist-level viewfinder!

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On Tuesday of spring break, Jeff and I drove an hour out of Santa Fe to visit Bandelier National Monument. Known for its ancestral pueblo homes, kivas, petroglyphs and other whatsits of archaeological and anthropological interest, Bandelier also features hiking trails along Frijoles Canyon.

Because I was feeling misanthropic that morning and was in no mood to encounter a lot of people, we opted to take the Falls Trail along Frijoles Creek, instead of the Main Loop Trail that would have taken us to the archaeological sites.

The first waterfall along the Falls Trail. Portra 160VC, 35mm.

I also got to change my film in my Olympus OM-1 to Portra 160VC. I’m so pleased with how the colors came out.

Yucca plant. Portra 160VC, 35mm.

Gotta love that light temperature. Portra 160VC, 35mm.

Probably the best part about the Falls Trail — although you wouldn’t know it by my photos here — was the smell of Ponderosa Pine trees. It’s a delightful scent that takes me back to Philmont every time I catch a whiff of it. Jeff can tell you that every now and again, I stopped at a tree just to smell its bark.

Another cool thing about the trail was an animal carcass we found:

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…and I’ll be in Santa Fe afore ye.

We attempted a James Dean look. Not quite successful. I blame my (relatively) clean Toyota. BW400CN, 35mm.

There are two ways to Taos (or, in our case, Santa Fe): the high road and the low road. The high road goes through Old Spain, with Chimayo and other small towns/pueblos along the way. It’s said to be pretty and scenic, and also a longer drive.

We took the low road — which largely follows the Rio Grande — because that’s the only way I knew. But there were still scenic byways.

BW400CN, 35mm.

Coming up next — even more scenicness… in color!

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XXII: Mexican Coke’d

We went to Guadalajara Grill after checking out the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. I immediately searched the menu for the Azteca quesadilla (chicken), but I think Jeff’s attention went straight for the Mexican Coke sitting in the cooler.

BW400CN, 35mm.

Drink up, boy!

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Every time you go home after an extended absence, you hit up your favorite watering holes and restaurants.

Every time I go to Taos after an extended absence, I go to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.

Portra 400VC, 120mm.

Dedicated in 1965, it’s the fifth highest bridge in the United States, and the Rio Grande River flows in the gorge 650 feet below.

Gorge in the foreground, the Sangre de Cristo mountains in the background. BW400CN, 35mm.

It’s also near Taos Ski Valley and Wheeler, which at 13,661 feet above sea level is the tallest mountain in the state.

The Wheeler complex in the background. BW400CN, 35mm.

We visited the bridge after leaving Philmont and before eating a very late lunch — but that’s for later.

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Okay — nobody’s perfect. Including me.

Portra 400VC, 120mm.

These two frames were supposed to show the flat Oklahoman landscape from the view of the road, but I severely underexposed the first frame and then bracketed in the wrong direction for the second. Oops. But these are the only frames I exposed incorrectly during the entire trip, so I’m fine with that.

It was not uncommon to see how distinct the irrigation lines are. Portra 400VC, 120mm.

On the second day of our roadtrip to Santa Fe, Jeff and I were out of Oklahoma by probably 11:30ish a.m. CST. Crossing the border meant we gained an hour and lost about 10 miles per hour in the speed limit. Ya lose one, ya gain one.

On US-412, leaving Oklahoma. Portra 400VC, 120mm.

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Stunning Kansan vistas outside my car window. BW400CN, 35mm.

In my experience, there are two kinds of roadtrips:

  1. Wherein the fun and adventure are invested in the roadtrip itself — that is, each stop (planned or not) is its own destination of sorts; or
  2. Wherein (most of) the fun and adventure are invested in the destination itself — that is, you have little comparable interest in what necessary food/gas/overnight stops you have to make, relative to your substantial interest in the ultimate destination.

Last spring break, Esten, Jeff and I mapped out and executed the first kind of roadtrip. This time around, Jeff and I just wanted to go to Santa Fe and stay there — but we did our best to make the drives there and back interesting.

In consideration of maximizing the interestingness of our drive, we seriously considered this: Staying in Liberal, Kan.

Junction of Pancake Blvd. and Yellow Brick Rd. in Liberal, Kan. Portra 400VC, 120mm.

When we were mapping out our route, we decided to bunk up in Liberal for the night because it seemed like a good stopping point between mid-Missouri and north-central New Mexico. (Okay, the name itself — “Liberal” — also intrigued us.) We were also fascinated by the facts that the town hosts an annual International Pancake Day and is home to Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz.

Unfortunately, we missed Pancake Day by about three weeks, and I’ll be generous by saying simply that Dorothy’s House was a bit of a letdown. (That said, we were there on a Sunday — a day on which all commercial establishments except the Chinese buffet and the hotels in this part of the country are closed.)

So we snapped some photos around the Yellow Brick Road, ate at the Chinese buffet, decided against staying in Liberal and moved on to the slightly larger town of Guymon, Okla., where we spent the night.

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To be honest — I’ve lost track of this second 30-day challenge. One of the downsides of shooting film is that the date and time of the exposure aren’t recorded in the metadata, since there is no metadata.

Therefore, because I’ve been shooting on film since before spring break, I’ve lost track. But I think I’ve safely covered my bases for the 30-day challenge. Here are some film exposures I made before spring break. I’ll post the spring break film shortly. (Not all of it is ready yet — I still have about half a roll on both the OM-1 and Mamiya before they can be developed.)

Also, I feel horrible that this is my first post in almost a month. I was off the grid for spring break, and since then, projects and work have taken over my life. In fact, they are still taking over my life, but I’m fighting to take my life back — especially since I graduate in less than a month.

Without further ado, some snaps from the medium-format:

The first exposure on this roll of BW400CN. This is the sunset over the golf course near University Field (the Missouri softball stadium).

Stairwell in the Arts & Sciences building.

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