Lolita’s Solitude

around corner, lolita
around corner, lolita

I enjoyed the story Lolita so much that I named my first born son after Nabokov. Occasionally, I consider ways to use that book to influence my artistic endeavors.  You know, in addition to naming children.

This set of pictures is from the summer of 2013 in El Paso.

lolita on a dark street
lolita on a dark street
lolita, things look up
lolita, things look up
lolita, every beacon, a wall
lolita, every beacon, a wall

Tigua Indian Tribe (Near El Paso, Texas)

Back in May, I took a trip to El Paso for the weekend with my kid. Since they learn about American Indian tribes in school, I thought this trip would provide a good chance for him to acquaint himself with a tribe located in Texas.

The Tigua Reservation is near the U.S./Mexico border. The cultural center/museum sells wood-fired bread on Saturdays, which is nice. The tribe’s teens perform Tigua dances for visitors to the cultural center.

tigua3 tigua2 tigua1

Aztec Caves (with a fisheye lens)

This hike is rated online anywhere from “easy” to “difficult.” I’ll go with moderate, in that case. The footing is unsteady, but I made it up with my six-year-old kiddo.

Looking down the trail.
Looking down the trail.

I think I would have made it up the mountain faster if I weren’t six months pregnant at the time. Luckily, there were a number of places to stop and rest.

I took these with a fisheye lens. I was exploring how that kind of lens might be used in landscape photography. Overall, I really liked it.

Looking up towards the caves.
Looking up towards the caves.

Since it’s a very wide angle lens, it did a great job of taking in panoramic views. Also, it was fun to distort the inside of the caves. The two below were my favorites from that series.

Exposed for the view inside the cave.
Exposed for the view inside the cave.
Exposed for the view outside the cave.
Exposed for the view outside the cave.

Aztec Caves Hike: Cute Finds

There were a lot of cute kids climbing up the Aztec Caves Trail in the Franklin Mountains (El Paso, Texas). This one agreed to pose for me when we got up into the caves.

Out of Proportion Child
Out of Proportion Child

Due to being low to the ground, this child was able to see little creatures I didn’t notice. Like this Chihuahuan Collared Lizard.

Mr. Lizard
Mr. Lizard

It took me a while to identify this lizard. This species of collared lizard lives only in El Paso County. At least, so says the internet, which we all know is infallible.

This little lizard was a great sport and posed for many pictures! Friendly lil’ guy.

There was another small, gray lizard running around the trails. I couldn’t get one to stop for a picture though. They just run like crazy when they see hooo-menz. Their little tails curve upwards, and they dash into the brush as if squealing, “AAAAAAAAHHHHH! AAAAAHHHHH!” in a panicked lizard voice.

Meanwhile, Mr./Ms. Collared Lizard was proud to show off his/her pretty spots and weird, grabby feet.

Socorro Mission

After years of studying the outside of the Socorro Mission, I was finally able to make a visit inside a few Sundays ago. This Catholic Church is located in a small community to the east of El Paso, Texas.

The iconography was more visceral than I had anticipated. I was afraid my 6 year old, who freaked out in the San Antonio Museum of Art’s Greek statue room, might be scared by the realistic depictions of the aftermath of violence. But, he seemed more curious than frightened.

There were a couple of classes going on during my visit, so I aimed to make my visit as efficient as possible so as not to disturb parishioners.

I was practicing with the fisheye lens I rented that weekend. It was a bit of a challenge to position myself to get a coherent shot with such an extreme lens!

church1

church3

church2

church4

Fisheye Lens and Flowers

I took a trip with my kiddo this weekend. I asked him if he wanted to visit the mountains or the beach. He chose the mountains, so off we headed to El Paso.

For the first time ever, I rented a lens…a fisheye lens. Of all things! I wanted to see what I could do with the distortion that kind of lens creates.

I took the one below of a blooming palo verde tree in Concordia Cemetery. It’s not as in focus as I would like. To be fair to myself, this was taken the first hour I was working with the lens. I have to remember that this is all a learning process!

fisheyeflower4

I also tried out its capacity for close-up pictures of individual flowers. I really like how these turned out. You can see the whole background, but it is oddly blurry and bent. To me, it offers some interest to the background detail while keeping it from competing with the main image.

Ocatillo flower on the Franklin Mountains
Ocatillo flower on the Franklin Mountains

In one of my photography books, an author is bothered by the darkening of the corners of photos when using very wide angle lens. I find the effect sort of charming, like a vignette effect or something. It’s not something I would change in the editing process. Here’s an example of that vignetting on the upper corners of this picture of a globe mallow:

fisheye-flower2

And here’s another pretty flower from the Concordia Cemetery.

fisheyeflower3

Why does something this horrible exist?

And why was it in a warehouse at a pottery store in El Paso? HOW IS THIS A GOOD IDEA?

Good job on that murderous gaze, Sculptor.
Wanna buy this nice wood chair? Wait! Why are you running from me?

I suppose it’s the whole carelessness of the scene which makes it even worse. It’s like, “Meh, the head fell off this one. Or maybe Stiff Roy here knocked it off last night. Either way, I’ll deal with this mess later. I have customers to slice up. Uh, I mean ring up.”

NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
He looks way too satisfied with himself. And what exactly is that headless one doing with his pants? 

This is not the scene I expected to find when I went into the back of the warehouse. You can imagine the momentary terror I felt when out of the corner of my eye it looked like a demonic man was staring at me while I was shopping in the Mexican pottery section.

Oh, and there were several other scary guys hanging out in the furniture area. They were sitting at a table playing cards as though it were the most normal thing the world. And that, my friends, is what is truly terrifying: Someone thinks this is normal.