That doesn't sound so hard, does it? After all, at some point in my life, I must have taken at least one picture of a horse. Or I could take a new one. After all, this is Tucson, part of the fabled Old West.
Well...yes. I've taken pictures of horses before. And yes, Tucson has its place in Western history.
But no, it wasn't easy to come up with a horse photo.
Attempt #1: Invisible Horses on Tanque Verde Road
I thought it would be nice to actually take a new photo of a horse. But where could I do that, on a Monday evening in the city of Tucson? Contrary to the history and image of the place, it's been a long time since horses on the street were a common sight around here.
But there's horse property on Tanque Verde Road, between the OK Corral Steakhouse and the Catalina Highway turnoff. So after work I turned right instead of left, and headed north and east. But it was sunset, and I guess the horses were in for the night. I didn't see a single one.
Attempt #2: Horses as Business Signs
I kind of had the idea that there might at least be a life sized statue of a horse on top of the OK Corral restaurant. I looked as I drove by, on my way back from looking for the real thing. Nope. There was a life-sized steer on the roof. No horse.
Well, then, what about Trail Dust Town? They have a Museum of the Horse Soldier, and lots of Western props and artifacts. But there was a car behind me as I pulled in, and the parking lot near the museum was full. I couldn't even get a good look at the graphic at the museum entrance, let alone take a picture. No horse statue outside, either. I drove around the complex, but although there were plenty of wagons, none of them had even fake horses to pull them. Drat! I went home.
Attempt #3: The Horsie in the Window
There are two buildings in town that remind me so strongly of each other that I don't always remember which one has a full-size statue of a horse in a lit second story window. That would be a neat trick, I think, and a neat picture - a horse on the second floor!
One of the buildings is a saddle supply shop, the other an animal hospital. Both have huge windows and lit rooms on the second floor. One is a couple of lights from my home, on 22nd St. near Swan. The other is farther north, at Speedway and Swan.
So when I went to get dinner for John and myself, I made a side trip to check whether the building on 22nd is the one with the horse. Bad mistake. The road was torn up at Craycroft, with a night construction crew working. One guy was in a hole up to his waist. The only lane open in either direction was the right turn lane. I was trapped for about twenty minutes, trying to drive a few blocks and then turn around. And - you guessed it - it's not the animal hospital on 22nd that has the horse in the window. It's the saddle supply on Speedway. And I'd already delayed dinner too much to go any further out of my way, just to take that picture.
Attempt #4: Rodeo Shots at the Bar
But when I got to Chuey's, which is half sports bar, half Baja-themed mesquite grill, I thought my luck had finally changed. Some of the tv sets happened to be airing a rodeo! So while I waited for the food, I positioned myself by a likely tv set and started taking pictures. But darn it, those cowboys are fast! This was the best horse picture I got out of about eight shots I took. Mostly, I kept ending up with blurry action shots of the cowboy roping a steer on foot.
Attempt #5: Horses by Breyer
I always knew I could resort to a shot like this if I had to. Here are a couple of old, plastic Breyer horses. The mare is the exact model and color of the Breyer horse I had as a kid. The foal turned up at a yard sale years ago, stained and with legs bent out of postition. It cleaned up fairly well, and although it's not perfect I like it. But Scalzi didn't say anything about pictures of toy horses.
Attempt #6: Horses on File
So I went through the photo files on my computer. I actually don't have a lot of horse pictures on it. Not at all.
How about an "Iron Horse"? This is one of several shots I have of the locomotive at Old Tucson.
This is another Old Tucson shot. The rear end of this horse as photographed is terribly lightstruck, and you can't see the head much at all.
Attempt #7: Painting the Pony
As an experiment, I used the cloning tool on my cheap software to recolor the shaggy horse. How do you think I did? I'm not too happy with it, myself.
Attempt #8: A Photo of a Photo
My scanner has apparently died since I unplugged it recently, so that John could clean it and use it (he did neither). When I click on the scanner icon, it crashes the software. So if I want to show you a physical picture taken 20 years ago, I have to find a way to photograph the photograph without the image getting too flashed out or skewed.
It took a while - three mini-photo sessions and about a dozen shots - but with the right arrangement, careful cropping and some photo editing, I finally came up with a picture that's not too, too terrible. I took this a few seconds before I got a much closer, better picture of the dog on the horse. I won second or third place once in a photography contest with that one, but I've used it in a Scalzi assignment at least once before. So we'll settle for the prequel.
And that will have to do. Good night!
P.S. You would think that would be the end of the struggle, but the Blogger server that hosts the Outpost was having problems last night and this morning. When I hit the "Publish Post" button, I repeatedly got a white screen that nevertheless said "Done" at the bottom (as in, "Done loading the page"). No confirming email, no entry when I refreshed the blog. Arrow back: the entry was still in the Create Post window, anyway. What a relief! I did a Save as Draft in case that helped, and the page showed a draft of the entry and also the actual entry. But the entry still wasn't there. Finally, at Carly's suggestion, I opened the edit window in a different browser, and posted from that. There was at least a minute of the looping notice that it was 0% published. Then, oh joy! 40%! Then 100%, and I heart the new email alert sound. Success!
But this morning, Betty reported that the photos, which are hosted on that same Blogger server, weren't showing up on my crossposting to Musings from Mâvarin. Darn server! Try again, Betty! They should be showing up now.- KFB