Monday, June 8, 2015

New Mexico Part 3: Very Large Array, Albuquerque and Acoma Pueblo

Kim, the charismatic woman who is taking over Robert's place as the guide to Lightning Field, suggested we stop at the Very Large Array in Socorro en route to Albuquerque.

I learned more than I ever anticipated about radio observatories thanks to a video narrated by Jodie Foster and a walking tour through the site. After a class devoted to "Aliens and Atoms" in the Space, Land and Concept..., it dawned on me that the American West's relationship to astronomy may be a compelling addition.

We met up with an old friend from Clemson University, Eugene Ellenberg, in Albuquerque and he graciously gave the five of us a tour of the University of New Mexico photography facilities and grad studios. He participated in one of my Instagram cake smashes (my photos of this event are here).

Gene informed us that the final scene in No Country for Old Men was filmed at the Desert Sands Motel and the next morning, we found it.

The grounds looked as seedy as the movie and the pool had seen better days.

Continuing our Albuquerque Hollywood tour, we stopped at the A1 Car Wash (er Mister's) as seen in Breaking Bad.

One may think I drove through Arco, Idaho but in reality, it was the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. The material was overwhelming in scope: diorama after diorama, sound effects bleeding into archival videos playing at full volume, large replicas of Fat Man and Little Boy, and real airplanes and missiles used to detonate bombs.

Unfortunately, the lighting was terrible and it was difficult to photograph the trinitite sample but I learned how radioactive cat litter and Brazil nuts are as well as encountering ...

... this photograph for the first time: Lee Merlin, Miss Atomic Bomb.

It was a clear, beautiful day when we met up with the other half of our crew at Acoma Pueblo. One could see for miles and miles from the top of Sky City.

As my first visit in 2009, I was fascinated with the pueblo's ovens. Tonight I discovered that it visually relates to my love of the Moeraki Boulders, visible on the Otago coastline of New Zealand.

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