Yellow Leaves, Lost Maples State Park, Texas. Oct 1980

This is one of my current favorite images, because I was recently able to “fix” an unsettling bluriness (that turned out to be chromatic aberration) and maybe, finally, be able to share what I saw when I shot the image. When I made the shot I could acutely feel the Spirit of the place. What do I mean by that? My belief system (via Plato, Socrates, Lao-Tzu,et al) informs me that, first of all, underlying everything, is Spirit (or Soul, or Essence, or Idea, or Tao, or whatever your name for it is). Spirit animates Matter. Our senses don’t pick up on intangible, non-physical Spirit, but our awareness sometimes does. We DO see things manifest into existence through the door that it provides. (We see the evidence of a things’s spirit by the qualities it reveals to us here in the “physical” or “real” world.) So, the trick is to see through the physical trappings–the outer appearance– to the core of the thing….. …..and try to find the angle, or view, or way of seeing that best reveals the essence–the wholeness– of the thing you’re photographing–to show it in it’s “best light”. When I shot this I was experiencing that state of heightened, temporary, fleeting awareness that we sometimes attain when we can feel the depth and breadth of the unseen world that runs around and through us. I can only pray a small part of that awareness conveys to you, the viewer. That’s why, after all,….. that’s why I shoot.

Hondo Crouch, World Class Imagineer and Storyteller, Dec 1975

Hondo Crouch, legendary founder of mythical Lukenbach, TX, (the State of Mind based in a tiny hamlet in Hill Country) and bon-vivant extraordinaire (he’d hate that sobriquet) recited his poem “Lukenbach Moon” during intermission at a Jerry Jeff Walker concert at Austin Municipal Auditorium right before Christmas 1975.. This is one of those images that successfully conveys an experience–the Prime Directive of Photography. Hondo was a wonderful storyteller, probably the best I’ve ever heard. He could put you right There, wherever There was. A great photograph does the same thing, only for the eyes and not the ears. Both cater to the imagination. Hondo’s business card stated simply: “Hondo Crouch–Imagineer”. Secretly, I’ve been stockpiling images and honing technique attempting to maybe, someday, deserve the same title.

Serpent Heads, El Castillo Pyramid, Chichen Itza, Mexico 1988

These are two of the marvelous sculptured heads that John L Stephens, F. Catherwood, and party found abandoned amid the jungle-conquered ruins in 1841. They protect the base of the north staircase of the El Castillo Pyramid. (Read about that amazing expedition in Stephen’s “Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan”, published originally in the 1840s, with really wonderful art by Catherwood.) I often think about the people who fashioned these beautiful and violent Mayan sculptures and structures. They sure left behind impressive art.

The Blue Rock. Lost Maples State Park, Texas October, 1980

I’ve been scanning images created long ago and far away. I shot a lot of 120mm film in the olden (pre-digital)days, and sometimes an image insists that I scan and share. (For example, the brain cells that stored this image kept firing away at inappropriate moments, over the years, even in dreams….) So, here….. It’s like a second shoot, in a way, to let all of those years parade by and then, with the passing of seeming lifetimes, go back and see what has risen to the top. (And, now, I get the benefit of all the tools in Photoshop, like the filter/distort/lens correction filter, the sharpen tool, AND absolute color control. The lens correction filter alone has saved many an already-made shot from chromatic aberration and worse.) Texas DOES have Autumn color. See?