Monday, March 12, 2007

And if I'd charged my camera battery...

After I took hundreds of pictures yesterday, I charged my camera battery before going out again and taking pictures at Organ Stop Pizza. But I made a mistake. I forgot how to tell whether the battery was fully charged. The charger for the Canon, if I recall correctly, had a reddish-yellowish light that turned green when the battery was ready. The Nikon one has a light that flashes until it's done, and then stops flashing. The Sony one has a steady yellow light until it's charged, and then the light goes out. But I didn't remember that last night. So after maybe twenty to thirty minutes of charging, I saw the steady light and thought it was done. Then I took more pictures and a twenty-second film, and left the camera attached to the computer a little too long (which would charge my iPod battery, but it drains my camera battery). And because I thought it was fully charged a handful of photos ago, and was distracted by multiple computer problems, I didn't charge it again.

Big mistake. Because today, you see, we went on a four-hour train ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad. It's basically a twenty mile and back again nature tour through a mostly red rock canyon, where eagles winter and a few (named Black and Decker) nest.

And my camera was out of juice. I knew this early on with my first few pictures at the Clarkdale end of the canyon. That upsetting graphic of a battery shape with a line through it kept appearing whenever I turned the camera on. I did my back to nurse it along, but the camera was pretty much completely dead by the time we reached the red rock areas so reminiscent of the Grand Canyon, only on a much smaller scale.

I did get a few decent shots, though, as you see here. Verde means green, of course, and it's easy to see why this is called the Verde River. That's the front of our train in the shot above, curving its way over a bridge.

And here's the beginning of the red rocks. They got better after that--much better. But I couldn't photograph them.

Between that, the severe traffic slowdown near an accident (which made us worry we'd miss the train), the worrisome sight of a crashed motorcycle in the canyon itself, and stretches of road that were poorly labeled both on a map and in reality, we had our share of stress today. Overall, though it was fun, and very pretty. I even saw a male eagle sitting on a nest. I couldn't take the picture, and anyway he was on the opposite wall of the canyon and I saw him only through binoculars. But still, it was pretty darn cool!

After the train ride, we drove about five miles to Jerome, Arizona. This is one of many former mining towns scattered around the state, mostly based on copper and occasionally silver. Once the mines are played out or otherwise abandoned, they tend to become ghost towns. A few, though, retain enough residents to keep going, sustained by tourism, artists and artisans. Jerome is one of the latter, a place where it seems that every second building is the home, store or studio of a painter, sculptor, maker of glass decorations, potter, jewelry maker, etc. I generally have little use for this kind of art, but it means that I can see and enjoy am 1870s town like Jerome, although all we had time to do was drive to the top of the mountainside streets and down again. My battery allowed me one severely underexposed photo of a small part of Jerome, and then died again.

Tomorrow: Taliesen West, I think.

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