Volcano in evening light.

A little swamped here today, folks, so you’ll have to carry the conversation yourselves. We had middle-school registration this morning, which sort of monkey-wrenched my usual blogging time, and now I’ve got a story to write.

In the meantime, howzabout a pretty picture? My friend Vince Patton is an amateur photographer, and entered a number of his photos in the Oregon State Fair, where they were chosen for exhibition, including one of my favorites, Mount St. Helens at sunset. Click to enlarge:

There’s a People’s Choice award, so you Oregonians should go stuff the ballot boxes. And you can see more of his photos, including images from the Galapagos Islands, Italy, Iceland and elsewhere, at his website. (The Mount St. Helens photos were taken in flight over the last few years, in connection with his last job, as environmental reporter at KGW-TV, in Portland.)

Posted at 1:22 pm in Media |

19 responses to “Volcano in evening light.”

  1. Kirk said on August 19, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    * Perhaps.

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  2. nancy said on August 19, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    OK, tasteless. I’ll change it. I just always think about Johnston’s last radio transmission whenever I see pictures of the mountain. A mountain does have a certain “this is it” air about it, even if it hasn’t exploded recently.

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  3. vince said on August 19, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Holy cow, Nance.
    Thanks for the attention!

    (Flattery will get you everywhere)

    Suffice it to say I never tire of going to Mount St. Helens.
    I’ve seen giant clouds of ash belch from its mouth, wispy steam drift away and mammoth amounts of solidified magma extrude from the depths of the earth.

    The lower 48’s most active volcano was continually erupting from 2004 to 2007.
    Its crater changed daily. A new dome grew in 2 1/2 years that dwarfs the dome that took 6 years to bulge up in the 1980’s.

    It’s quieted down now. But it’s always a fascinating place.

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  4. Gasman said on August 19, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    We live about 20 mins. east of the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The Valles Grande is the gaping yaw of one big-ass dormant (knock on wood) volcano. Now, it is a bucolic paradise home to the largest elk herd in North America. Whenever I see shots of Mt. St. Helens, whether in earlier very active days, or her relatively sedate state today, I shudder thinking of what might be possible. This area of Northern New Mexico used to volcanically active. We would be knee deep in dooky if it ever woke up.

    The photo is absolutely stunning.

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  5. Deborah said on August 19, 2008 at 6:22 pm


    We have land in Abiquiu North and West of you (I think). Have been to the Caldera and it is amazing to view. We want to get out on it but haven’t figured out how to do that. Any advice?

    They say the land formations around us were caused by the big blow of the volcano that resulted in the caldera. We have many “bombs” on our land (nubbly rocks that flew through the air during the main explosion). Some of them are gigantic.

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  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 19, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    And i always think of crusty old Harry R. Truman — was there a “Vancouver, this is it!” caption on the post before i got online today?

    Further northwest of Deborah and Gasman is Pedernal, on the southeastern horizon of Ghost Ranch, where i’ve hoed many a bean plant and stuccoed a few adobe buildings on work trips. Do either of you know if Pedernal is volcanic? It sure looks like a bit of an eroded magma throat — this is a big slaunch-wise flattop mountain that Georgia O’Keefe put in quite a few of her landscapes.

    [Dig the panorama of Valle Grande in this wikipedia entry:
    — i’ve driven past/around it, but always heard that grazing leases meant you couldn’t safely hike over to the rhyolite peak in the middle for fear of the cranky cattle.]

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  7. nancy said on August 19, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    [channeling Ashley Morris] I guess if you folks in New Mexico do get erupted upon, it’s because you should have known better than to live in a volcano zone. Fuckmooks. [/channeling Ashley Morris]

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  8. coozledad said on August 19, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    The colors in that photograph remind me of a Frederick Church painting.
    Beautiful work.

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  9. basset said on August 19, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    very nice, Vince… talk about how you did those.

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  10. moe99 said on August 19, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    OT, but I am flabbergasted that Burger King would do this:


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  11. Gasman said on August 20, 2008 at 2:41 am

    They are still deciding how to use the Valles for the public. Right now, there is very little access to the Preserve. Cows have run of the place through grazing leases, however. If you’ve got a Holstein suit, you could probably get in for free.

    They do open it up for a few days at a time, for a few specific functions. They have a mountain bike ride through about 30 miles of the Preserve. They have had limited fishing in the stream. They’ve had cross country skiing and hiking as well. We have taken the wagon trip through the northwest portion of the Valles Grande. They filmed most of the movie “The Missing” in the Valles.

    JTMO, I do believe that Perdernal is volcanic. Most of the Jemez Mountains and its northern big brothers the San Juans in Colorado are the legacy of tectonic activity. That explains all the hot springs throughout the area. If you’ve done work at Ghost Ranch, I’ll bet you’re Presbyterian. I’m an ordained elder and my wife and I are members at First Pres. in Santa Fe. I’m very familiar with some of O’Keefe’s works and I just did a gig at the O’Keefe Museum in conjunction with the Santa Fe Opera.

    All in all, we’re pretty happy in NM. For a flaming liberal like me that grew up in the sphincter of conservatism – Ft. Wayne – and then lived in Texas (to continue the analogy, the large intestine of conservatism), it is refreshing to be somewhere I fit in politically. Although, Los Alamos – where we hang our hats – is the most Republican county in the state.

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  12. Gasman said on August 20, 2008 at 3:01 am

    I just viewed the Burger King ad. What the hell were they thinking? No wonder the onion is scared. Did you see the size of that pickle!

    The creepiest part to me is that the magazines and newspaper depicted all have images of big pickle boobs. That seems way too Freudian for me. Maybe I’m just weirded out because I’m vegetarian. I’ll bet those tray liners will be collector’s items soon.

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  13. Jen said on August 20, 2008 at 7:26 am

    As an ad for a fast-food joint, those BK tray-liners are probably inappropriate. As a funny piece of art, they’re pretty brilliant.

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  14. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on August 20, 2008 at 7:27 am

    Actually, Disciples of Christ, but polymorphously perverse . . . i mean, ecumenical. The campus pastor at the college church where the Lovely Wife and i met and married was Presby, hence our pilgrimages to the Chama Valley (and i still work with Presbys allatime, with the obligatory Calvin jokes).

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  15. vince said on August 20, 2008 at 10:30 am

    To get those photos, I got lucky.
    I was a TV reporter then and I was the one assigned most often to cover developments at the volcano.

    Every time we flew up there in the news chopper I took my camera.

    During the eruptive phase we had permission to fly into the restricted air space. (Boy did we do that carefully! You don’t ever want to fly into an ash cloud. Quick way to stop your engine.)

    Only once were we up there close to sunset – and the light could not have been more perfect.

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  16. Deborah said on August 20, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Our land in New Mexico is in Abiquiu, big OKeeffe country and that’s also where Pedernal and the Ghost Ranch are. I love the hikes at Ghost Ranch particularly the Chimney Rock one. I have a geologist friend in Abiquiu, I’ll ask him about Pederanal being a volcano, he’s never mentioned that before. We have 100 acres off of Sierra Negra, the finger mesas at the base, we back up to Carson National Forest. We love it. My husband is an architect and we’ve been designing our house for 5 or 6 years, keeps changing, but for the better so it’s a good thing we didn’t start building sooner.

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  17. Jenine said on August 20, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    It seems like a lot of No. NM people on here all of a sudden. I’ll stick my oar in too. I went to school in Los Alamos, 6th – 12th grades. I hope to retire to northern NM if I can figure out how to afford it. I have seen the Valle Grande in sun, snow and fog. It is unfailingly beautiful and I still fantasize about riding across it some autumn day.

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  18. basset said on August 20, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    well, yeah, Vince, but I used to take my camera every time I went with Curt in Sky 10 and didn’t get anything like THAT. lack of volcanoes in Kansas would be the first good reason, I guess.

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  19. poochlover said on August 20, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Middle school registration? You’ve got to be kidding! The last few days, I’ve felt like my life is flashing by in front of my eyes. Wasn’t Kate just 5??

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