June 29, 2010      Of God and Typos

God's Man in Texas, Shuler Theater

After a five-week break for other things -- like putting in this year's vegetable garden and preparing a new course for next school year -- it's good to be back in the game: I'm photographing and writing daily, with features in The Chronicle-News probably every day this week.

The break had a great effect: I'm up working at dawn today, just because I want to. Being a freelancer, I have the advantage of no deadlines. But I'm working on a slew of stories and photography projects and there's nothing I'd rather be doing.

My Chronicle pieces yesterday (left) and today (below) show two of the pitfalls of the trade: errors by both me and the editor. The editor switched two captions today, and yesterday I was responsible for two typos. Christina invited houseguests to breakfast and I worked distracted and rushed. Someday I need to get a real office! (Speaking of which, I did, yesterday, order a new computer, a big blazing-fast Mac Pro, which won't make any difference in what you see but will make a big difference in what I see, and how fast I see it.)

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

I enjoyed a conversation with director Gail Dixon-Willden after her play "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" (right) Sunday. She commented that her joy in theater is the process, not the product. Pondering that on the 45-minute drive home, it occurred to me that most arts do create a product -- a painting, a photograph, a poem, a film -- but that the product of theater is ephemeral: it's here only during its performance, then it's gone. In this case, I considered, the thespians' process extends through the performance itself. It made me think of the art of Andrew Goldsworthy, which works with nature and soon disappears.

Perhaps more than most, stage actors (and their directors) live in the moment...a good place to be.




June 26, 2010      God's Man

God's Man in Texas

In the first of a flurry of new stories and reviews for The Chronicle-News, I drove into Raton last night for the Shuler Theater's presentation of David Rambo's play God's Man in Texas. I'll submit one photo of each of the three characters, including this one of Indiana actor Ian McCabe in the role of Dr. Jeremiah Mears, an up-and-coming pastor in the mega-church business.

The Shuler Theater is presenting its seventh consecutive summer of professional repertory theater with a rotation of four top-quality plays, including comedy, drama, and even a musical, drawing actors and directors from around the country -- an amazing achievement (and gift) for such a small and relatively isolated community. I'm excited to be reviewing all four productions.

But today I'm off to Nara Visa, New Mexico, down toward Tucumcari and 110 miles from home, to develop a feature on a huge all-day country auction. The sun's up, and so am I. I'll be back in Des Moines tonight to sing a couple songs at Live at Studio C!, a preview of my house concert there next month. It's a busy day...I'd better get a move on!




June 25, 2010      As the World Turns

Ferris Wheel

After a four-week break from writing and photography, I'm back and excited, launching into a series of pieces for The Chronicle-News, singing and playing lots of my songs, and processing dozens of photographs from the past week's sojourn to Southern California.

I took this photo of the ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier Monday as I wandered with my wife Christina Boyce and daughter Darcy Day Keller, both of whom kept their cameras busy, too. Darcy used to sing with me on stage but stopped when she reached her self-conscious teens; on this trip, she sang along on every song -- and requested some I haven't done in years -- as my brother Terry and I renewed our musical roots and passed his three guitars around the family circle.

I'm driving to Raton to review plays at the Shuler Theater tonight and Sunday afternoon; between those two shows, I'll drive 108 miles to Nara Visa, NM, Saturday to report on an all-day country auction, returning for Live at Studio C! Saturday night. I'll process photos and write articles Sunday and Monday mornings, getting those to The Chronicle, then turn my attention back to the Los Angeles photographs. By the end of the month, just five days away, I hope to have made up for my relative absence from the blogs, so stay tuned: I'll see you back here soon!




June 4, 2010      When Vacation Strikes, Vacate!

A little irony here. I haven't been blogging, though summer is when I have more time. I'm in the midst of a huge time-consuming project of adding 56 new photos to the photography galleries at TimKellerPhotography. There are other priorities, too -- including my garden, camping, hiking, entertaining, and a family reunion. After 3 months, we've gradually eliminated software conflicts as the source of persistent troubles on this computer: next week, it's going into the shop (200 miles away), where they'll either replace some hardware (I heard "motherboard" mentioned? Logic board?) or they'll tell me to replace the computer.

Thus the irony. Even while I'm hard at work on the photography galleries (between crashes), I haven't been blogging and I don't expect to until the end of June. I hope to launch the photo gallery updates later next week after a camping trip on our land (where I took the photo above on an identical stay two years ago).

By the end of the month, I'll have a new or newly-repaired computer, a wealth of new photos from a picturesque California trip -- our family reunion with a family of photographers -- and a bunch of summer stories coming up for The Chronicle-News. Until then, I may be on one of my long daily hikes, or weeding my garden, or playing guitar under a ponderosa pine, or reading a book. Hasta la vista and good road...




May 22, 2010      A Buoyant Farewell

Balloons, Raton High School Class of 2010

As I reached my classroom door early Wednesday morning, one of my students came running down the hall excitedly telling me that the principal had sent for me to bring my camera. I already knew something was up because the hall was strung thickly with yarns: getting through was like crossing a colorful spider web.

The pictures show what I found in the office. That's principal Mike Sparaco on the phone above and behind the red balloon below. The graduating seniors, following an age-old tradition, had gained entry overnight to fulfill an original prank -- and this was the best I've seen. They'd filled the office suites four feet deep in balloons. (Imagine inflating that many balloons!)

Balloons, Raton High School Class of 2010

It was a fun photo shoot, trying to figure out the best angles to convey the story. When I got down low, the pictures accentuated the depth of the balloons but didn't show their breadth. These are the two I submitted to The Chronicle-News, which ran both on the front page Friday, the day the Class of 2010 graduated. (Front page, 2nd Page) They had a two-page centerfold spread of all their senior pictures, but they may have been more proud of the front page and their colorful balloons, their parting gift.




May 16, 2010      What to do about May?

Gabriella, Raton NM writer

When I sit down on weekends to add to this blog, I begin by going through the photographs I've taken during the week. Sometimes I have one or more in mind; other times, I search. On the photography blog, I try to focus on the photograph and, sometimes, its technical aspects. Here, in TimKellerArts, I concentrate on the story and the writing.

What I see this morning is that all I've had time to cover, or do, throughout the month of May is to finish up teaching school for the year, and to cover the hurricane of school stories that occur every May as various clubs hold their culminating events. (Sports teams would double the stories, but as a freelancer I get to leave sports -- and council meetings -- to others. I've carved out a territory of school events, the arts, and profiles.)

Summer vacation is almost here: the June blog will look very different than May! One of my favorite images of the last couple weeks is this moment (above) when 2nd grader Gabriela came up before an audience of 150 to read her children's book aloud. She had written the story, The Troll Who Ate the Magic Spaghetti, then high school art students had illustrated and published it. This was the first time Gabriela had seen the illustrated book. As she read and turned each page, the screen behind her showed the page to the audience. The whole thing was pretty cute. (And the Raton schools continue to impress.)

Before you go, please click on News up on the left, and also on the photography News: there are new postings there (non-school subjects!) that I won't bother (you) to repeat here. School stories are already winding down: I'm looking forward to getting back out into the (other) real world.




May 9, 2010      Strike Up the Band!

Raton High School concert band 2010

Back from its triumphant concert trip to St. Louis, Missouri, I got the Raton High School concert band to have some laughs in front of my camera this week, not usually an easy thing to do.

I received advance copies of the June issue of New Mexico Magazine, due in mailboxes this week with my featurette and 3 photos on Raton's historic Shuler Theater. More on that next week.

I've devoted two weekends to developing my 1500-word feature on Tom Pryor for RANGE Magazine. I've finished text and photos and will send them off soon. More on that later, too! For now I'm slammed with other things, beginning to hanker for the relative relaxation of summer vacation, now looming less than three weeks away. Yum.




May 2, 2010      School Days

As a reporter planted inside a small-town high school, these are the gravy days: the last two months of the school year are when every club and activity has its culminating event -- state band and mock trial championships, school play, art show...the list goes on. There'd be even more for me if I was interested in covering sports. (That's a big advantage of being a freelancer: I only cover what I enjoy covering.)

Students for Students Publishing, Raton High School

This week Raton High School hosts the 40th annual student art show, Youth in Art 2010, for students in grades 2-12. There are over 200 works, many priced for sale, and over $1000 in prize money. My preview will run tomorrow in The Chronicle-News, then I'll stay in town Wednesday night to cover the event and results.

The following night is the big writers' night: Students for Students Publishing host its annual Eye of the Tiger writing awards for young writers from middle school and high school. That's the student publishing group above; in the center is Hilary Bayliss, 2009 Writer of the Year and a top contender this year. My Chronicle preview will run Wednesday, and I look forward to attending the event -- I'd much rather report on art and writing than football or basketball!

So it's a good time, though right now the writing and photography is nearly a full-time job (I'm working on magazine pieces, too), on top of teaching. In four weeks, the school year will be over and I'll be on my summer vacation: the first thing I'm going to do is catch up on some rest!




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