Tag

el paso 120

Browsing

There are few places in the world where you can stand in one place to watch the moon set then turn around and watch the sun rise simultaneously.  One such place in El Paso, Texas at the top of a road called Transmountain Road that runs through the Franklin Mountains.  The state road connects the east – northeast in particular – with the westside of the city.

I arrived at the location with the intention of capturing the sunrise and light streams of passing cars.  I knew I had to arrive around 6:30 to catch the rising sun and early morning traffic.  To be honest, I was ignorant of the fact that moonset was at the exact same time.  I was also oblivious to the fact that this spot on Transmountain Road would allow me to view the start of the day and the end of the day at the very same time.  

Needless to say my camera got a workout as did I pivoting back and forth to capture the photographs.

The experience had a profound affect on me as I couldn’t quite work out in my brain what a truly special moment this was.   How many places in the world is it possible to see both the sun set and the moon rise with unobstructed views at the same time?  I can’t think of  many.  It was also a special moment to be able to capture the experience with my camera.

Years later the photographs found a home in two of my books, “El Paso 120 : Edge of the Southwest” and “Sí El Paso.”

The experience also got me to thinking about El Paso’s Franklin Mountains.  For me, the mountain range is like an old comforting friend.  I see the mountain as a being as opposed to a thing.  And, as a being, the mountain must have a mood.

The Franklin Mountains display various moods through- out the day.  The temper of the mountain is calm at sunrise, almost in a slumber in the brisk January morning air.  There are no giant pine trees to soften the winter wind whipping around my face, no singing birds or running deer to take my eye off the sky.  Only high-elevation cacti and desert brush crawl along the slopes and boulders, often jutting out like nature’s high rises on either side of the mountain.

Moon SettingLooking west I see the near-full moon sinking below the horizon.  Seconds later, I turn to the east, marveling at a fiery ball nudging above the desert floor, and the royal blue sky rapidly transforms with bursts of splendid golden hues as if Mother Nature’s paintbrush sweeps across the heavens.  In an instant natural fireworks fill the sky as the moon sets and sun rises and I watch in awe.  A moment passes, and the sun’s rays stretch across East El Paso, tickling the sides of the Franklin Mountains, waking them for another day.

Sunrise With Franklin Mountains in View

Mark Paulda, accomplished photographer and wandering wayfarer, doesn’t just showcase scenery in El Paso 120; he makes a powerful statement: “El Paso is not at the edge but instead at the very center of some remarkably amazing landscape.” Paulda subverts the notion that El Paso is merely a desert city in the middle of nowhere by taking his audience on journeys to striking destinations within a 120-mile radius of the border city.

Alongside photographs of mountainous locales like the Hueco Tanks, Paulda includes photos of such variety that some might not believe these locales are within a two-hour drive of El Paso. The breathtaking White Sands of the Tularosa Basin are only ninety-five miles to the north; the untouched rivers, delta, and lake of Elephant Butte, merely one hundred and twenty miles away. Paulda has captured these and many more stunning settings in gorgeous color.

By capturing the magnitude of these sublime landscapes with aerial shots, and bringing viewers to the heart of each scene with ground shots, Paulda reveals the grandeur of a terrain that, for many of us, has been off the map.

From Beautiful Now Website ::

El Paso 120: Edge of the Southwest, by photographer Mark Paulda, is a love song to the Texan border city of El Paso and its surrounds.

“El Paso is not at the edge but instead at the very center of some remarkably amazing landscape,” Paulda tells us.

He shows us with incredible insight and artistry, wIth breathtaking aerial and ground-based photos of the mountainous Hueco Tanks, the White Sands of the Tularosa Basin, the pristine rivers, delta, and lake of Elephant Butte, and within 120 mile radius of the little desert metropolis.

Paulda’s photos are ripe with stunning color and dramatic composition, as they capture scenes, like secret treasures, that we might never come to see any other way.