Blog -- July/August 2009 -- Tim Keller Arts
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August 30, 2009 Roadwork
As predicted, I've been swept up in school work and had no time to be out reporting stories or shooting pictures. Since I don't have a teaching blog, I'll just say I'm having as much fun at that right now as I do at writing and photography. I'm blessed to have all three. (And then some.)
For the second weekend in a row, I took a break from 12 hours of weekend school preparations to go hear some music. Gabrielle Louise (right) and David Rynhart played Studio C last night. It took me back.
I used to live in that world, of really good professionally-touring singer songwriters. The set was sublime. I finally pulled out my camera. It wasn't until this morning that I decided to file a short review, written from memory without notes. Live at Studio C has had a great year already, with last night a highlight.
August 23, 2009 Hall of Famer
I took the afternoon off yesterday from a weekend of preparing school work to drive over to Clayton and cover their first "Old West Days" for the Chronicle-News, and for the organizer, Victoria Baker, who did an amazing job of pulling this event together in just six weeks.
I was impressed! And it was fun. I got some great pictures. Watch my Chronicle page for my article this week. On the drive to Clayton, I thought of all the things I still had to get ready for school and decided it was a mistake to take the afternoon for this story. After I'd been there a few minutes, I knew I'd been wrong: I was in the right place at the right time.
One highlight was the band of musicians that played on a fifth-wheel flatbed trailer in the shade of elm trees all afternoon. (It was 97 degrees in the shade.) The leader, on the left above, was the legendary Eloy Gonzales, a Clayton resident who is in the Western Swing Music Hall of Fame; the Herzstein Memorial Museum has photos of his early years which I'd admired. It was a treat to meet and visit with him.
Okay...back to school work! (It's going great. I love my job!)
August 15, 2009 Stacking Them Up
My third feature for Western Horseman magazine will be in their October issue, due out in mid-September, just four weeks away.
I've just posted an April article on Brittany Rouse that I hope WH might select for my next feature.
Or maybe it'll be this one on the Mexico-to-Canada trail ride -- they should be reaching the Canadian border in three weeks.
Meantime, I've got my ears open for other story ideas for WH, even while waiting to see if New Mexico Magazine sets me to work on one of the ideas I pitched to them this week. Oh yeah, and I report back for the new school year Monday!
August 14, 2009 Folsom Man
The Folsom Museum continues to generate increasing attention, especially now as their summer season has included many events and they're gearing up for their big 2nd annual fundraiser, the Capulin Volcano Run, a half-marathon that climbs to the top of the volcano and around the rim before going back downhill all the way to Folsom.
I've been covering the Folsom Museum activities for The Chronicle-News, and I've pitched a feature to New Mexico Magazine. I took the picture above last weekend and will use it in the magazine feature if they go for it. I'll let you know. (Our meeting Tuesday evening went great...and 3 1/2 hours!)
I report back to school officially on Monday, like starting a tour of duty. I should be there most of this week -- I have so much work to do in my room and in my school computer -- but construction crews are still working throughout the school and teachers have not been able to get in. One thing every teacher learns, over and over again, is flexibility. We'll get by, and the students will fill my room a week from today, no matter what.
August 8, 2009 Photography Leads the Way, Again
I've spent dozens of hours over the past three weeks updating the galleries over on the photography side of this website, increasing the number of images by 50%, from 120 to 180. Check 'em out!
Nine months after my inquiry (!), I recently got an enthusiastic response from New Mexico Magazine about my photography. I'm headed down to Santa Fe next week to meet with the art director, Fabian West, and her husband Chuck West, a fine photographer, taking story and portfolio ideas along with me.
Then, for a good spell, I'll have to turn most of my attention to the new school year: in addition to junior English and civics/economics, I'll be teaching two new courses -- a talented & gifted group, and honors senior English, which combines New Mexico's senior English (British literature) course with Luna Community College's freshman English (composition and research) year, for dual credit -- and dual work!
Hopefully, the new photo galleries will keep you busy if I'm away too long. Thanks for coming by again.
July 31, 2009 Works in Print
I got in late last night from a 16-hour EMT gig to find an e-mail from A.J. Mangum, the editor of Western Horseman. I'm pretty thrilled.
"Tim - I had read your Sierra Grande text previously, but just gave it another read in advance of sending it forward into design. I think it's a great look at an interesting community of young people. Thanks again for tackling the story for us."
So, it's confirmed that my article, with a working title "Growing Up Rodeo", will indeed, be published in WH -- I'm guessing the October or November issue at this point.
As for the cover, A.J. wrote last week that he favors "Nuzzle", shown here, but admits it's a little sentimental and says they don't do sentimental. Their covers are chosen by committee -- A.J., the publisher, the art director, and others. I just have to be patient and keep my fingers crossed.
I'll keep you posted.
July 27, 2009 Breathing Lessons
Having finished my summer Western Horseman article and sending if off last week, I've shifted gears and immersed myself in some other things.
The biggest thing this past week was practicing up for my annual concert at "Live at Studio C", which I played to a full house Saturday night. It felt great, and I'm planning to keep my guitars out a little longer, taking one to a three-night B&B stay Christina and I have booked for a mini-vacation near Taos next week.
Once I report back to school three weeks from today, fitting in my writing and photography will be a challenge. I have a particularly demanding school year ahead.
That's our friend and neighbor Rhodi Martin, above, in a playful portrait I took at Studio C. If you haven't been over there to see our other friend and neighbor Nathaniel Franklin's striking art show, well, get on it! That's one of his paintings behind Rhodi, evoking a sunset outside Nathaniel's secluded ranch home. There's an artist reception August 8, and the show will be up through the rest of that month. Large heavy sculptures, fountains, and rich abstract paintings, all made with reclaimed materials, it's very creative and original. I like it a lot.
July 18, 2009 Getting the Hat Out
This week I finished the photography and wrote the story for my Western Horseman summer project, a profile of Laekyn Reust and three other teens who have grown up through our local youth rodeo series.
As I typed the caption sheet and instructions, I decided I should send a new picture in case they put me on the Contributors page, as they did in the January issue. We waited for sundown, then walked across the highway and tracks behind Studio C.
I set up my camera and flash -- Mike Schoonover was over for dinner so we drafted him to hold the flash off to the side -- and Christina took this portrait. I like it.
July 11, 2009 Gearing Up
No sooner did I decide to more actively pursue, in the idleness of summer, some stories for the Chronicle-News than the phone started ringing with people dropping stories in my lap.
In the past week I photographed and wrote features on today's Folsom Museum Branding Party; on Jan Pryor, our region's only paramedic; on Gaye Brown, retiring from leadership of the Mandala Center; on the Kids Academy at Des Moines School; and on Studio C's "Summer Art!" classes in wearable T-shirt art.
The picture above was taken during a break in the T-shirt class. That's Tammy, of Amarillo, standing behind Solomon, Samuel, and Quila, siblings from Blaine, Washington. What a fun bunch of kids. I enjoyed spending time with them, taking pictures and then coming home to write.
July 3, 2009 Time
How much time do I spend working on an article? It varies widely. At the low end, some stories for the Chronicle are dropped in my lap: I take a picture and write a short article -- as brief as a half hour reporting and half hour writing. An average Chronicle piece takes 1-2 hours of reporting and an hour to write. Processing pictures takes time to sort, plus 5-10 minutes to process each picture, on average.
Magazine features are another story. The cattle drive article took three long full days, out before dawn, including a day taken off from work, then many hours of follow-up interviews and photo processing, then perhaps three hours of writing. The Archie West feature took a few hours with Archie one winter afternoon and a few more hours the next morning. Then the photo processing and writing. That took longer because I had to transcribe a recording of my long interview.
(By the way, I always select and process pictures first, then write...but that's a blog for another day.)
I've been working for weeks on my summer youth rodeo project for Western Horseman, a potential cover story, and I'm not even close to writing yet. I've driven to Roy (240 miles round trip), and twice to Laekyn's (left) near Seneca (120 miles round trip), with at least one trip to Laekyn's to go -- we still don't have the cover shot.
I've photographed two rodeos and have one or two more before I'll start writing -- in a couple of weeks, probably.
The magazine features, depending on the magazine, pay 10 to 20 times what the Chronicle pays, but over the long run I make more from the Chronicle because they take so much material. It adds up. Neither pays by the hour, though!
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