National Park Week

Not only is tomorrow Earth Day, today kicks off National Park Week!

Traditionally, National Parks were free for all visitors during Park Week, although this year they are free only *today*. Which means today is the day - get out and explore!

Our photo is a flashback to our trip to Dry Tortugas National Park, the most remote National Park there is! Located about 70 miles away from Key West, we were lucky enough to visit this past January. Naming a favorite National Park is a tall task, but Dry Tortugas is up there on our list!

Hey, as long as we have you here, and we’re already talking about National Parks, now might be a good time to spring some news: we’re spending the summer working with the U.S. Forest Service - Umpqua National Forest in Oregon! We’ll be the official liaisons between the campground hosts and the visitor’s center, as well as helping out with the Saturday night lecture series. We’ll also be photographing all of the wonders the park has to offer - from waterfalls to the Pacific Coast Trail to hot springs!

Next week we leave El Paso and head back to Florida to finally pick up Saul Goodvan from the shop - and, we’ll spend the next month working our way up and through the Pacific Northwest. We can’t wait to share the journey with you here!

Immigration Reform

In September of 2016 Melissa, an immigration lawyer and community advocate in El Paso, Texas, was feeling hopeful. After over a decade of work within the immigration system, she was ready for more progress to be made towards immigration reform.

Yet, instead of the passage of the DREAM act, affirmative legalization, and reasonable immigration enforcement, the change she’s seen in the past year is a growth of fear. Now, thanks to a systematic dismantling of the immigration process, people are afraid to send their children to clinics, to enroll in schools, or to ask for help. People who have lived in America for their entire lives are facing a loss of hope.

Border towns such as El Paso remain some of the safest places in America. Yet, negative and unfounded reputations push policy across America. Most of America is engaging in a myopic view of border towns and immigrants, suffering from, as Melissa put it, “a lack of willingness to see the whole picture.” The value of immigrant lives, labors, or even the taxes they pay, is being ignored.

If you’re interested in learning more, we recommend checking out the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, the Detained Migrant Solidarity Committee, the Hope Border InstituteDiocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc., or the ACLU Border Rights Center in El Paso.

El Paso, Texas. April 2018.

Trinity Bomb Site

The efforts of the Manhattan Project came to fruition in 1945. After years of research and experimentation, the world’s first nuclear device, the “Gadget,” was detonated in the New Mexico desert.

The Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range, in the Jornada Del Muerto Desert, was chosen for its isolation and flat ground. There were very few people living near the Trinity site, and all were paid to leave their land when Manhattan Project officials began constructing the test facility.

At 5:30 a.m. on July 16, the nuclear device was successfully detonated.

To most observers—watching through dark glasses—the brilliance of the light from the explosion overshadowed the shock wave and sound that arrived some seconds later. A multi-colored cloud surged 38,000 feet into the air within seven minutes. Where the tower had been was a crater one-half mile across and eight feet deep.

Radiation levels at the site remain about 10 times as high as natural background radiation. After being closed to the public for many years, the Trinity Site was declared a National Historic Landmark district in 1965. It is now open to visitors twice a year.

Socorro, New Mexico. April 2018.

The Gypsy Robe

Yesterday, Jordyn was lucky enough to join the Actors’ Equity Association for the Gypsy Robe ceremony at Carousel on Broadway. 

The Gypsy Robe is a 60 plus-year-old tradition in which the chorus member who has worked the most Broadway choruses receives a robe on opening night. Each new recipient puts on the Robe and circles the stage 3 times, while cast members reach out and touch the Robe for good luck. The Robe, worn by the new recipient, then visits each dressing room in the theatre.

You can learn more about the history of the robe, and see more pictures from yesterday, over at our Patreon blog

Friona, Texas

Day one of a three-day loop through west Texas and New Mexico meant 500 miles of driving for Justin and our trusty rental car. After spending the day zig-zagging in search of WPA era post office murals, Justin spent an extra hour in the car chasing the light and exploring.

Friona, Texas. April 2018.

More details here.

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