from the eMusings Archive...

Volume 3 • Number 2 • December 2010

Dancing Cow and Pigs, Las Vegas, NV, 2000

Playing Hooky


Playing Hooky

by Huntington Witherill

Having just returned from a two-month long cross-country motor trip, I'm reminded of those cherished days (seemingly now so very long ago!) when I would miss several days of school due to illness (or as often as possible, due to some other more creatively inspired excuse).

Back in the Fall of 1958, my brother, Chip, and I both experienced the fortuitous misfortune of catching Mumps during the World Series. (By the way... we both eventually recovered and the New York Yankees came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Milwaukee Braves in a hard-fought 4-3 decision!) It was always a vicarious thrill to "play hooky" from school. But of course there was always a price to be paid in the end. All that darned homework to make up... Yuk!

So, after having been away from home for an extended period of time, I'm now busily pedaling as fast as I can in an effort to catch-up with all of my "homework".

From a photographic standpoint, the trip was reasonably successful though there seemed to be an inordinate number of what I like to refer to as: "days, too much like me". (I.e.- bald and windy!). When attempting to photograph the landscape (in particular) I'm inclined to favor those days in which some form of cloud activity can help to bring the light to a more intense and potentially compelling state. And I know very few photographers who really enjoy an over-abundance of wind! It's great for sailors, but photographers hate the wind! When it's windy, using a good tripod is a must. But of course, if everything in the scene is dancing around like a hummingbird, it doesn't really matter how hefty one's tripod is. It's time to move indoors.

My wife and I visited several museums and various other road-side attractions as the trip progressed. And of course, we also stopped along the way to visit with numerous friends and relatives. As best I can now recall, this was my 19th cross-country trip made over the past 40 years and I have to say, I'm continually amazed at just how many new and interesting sites and experiences there are to behold in this great country. To me, a trip across the USA can be every bit as "exotic" and "worldly" as travelling to Europe, or Asia. Suffice it to say, the sheer diversity of people, places, and things to see and experience, together with a seemingly endless variety of fresh and inspiring photographic opportunities... each and every trip across this nation has been a rare and satisfying treat. 

One of the most rewarding stops we made along the way was at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Colorado. Located near downtown Denver, the museum features some of the most spectacular prehistoric and contemporary wild-animal display dioramas that I have ever seen. Careful attention to minute details, superbly painted backgrounds, and exquisite lighting make for some unusually life-like presentations. Next time you're in Denver, I highly recommend a visit to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We spent most of an entire day there and could easily have spent several more.

Now, with 12,000 miles and one remarkably over-priced set of replacement brakes being added to our aging Ford van, I probably shouldn't bore you with all of the details. Hopefully, a few new pictures will do a better job of communicating the overall experience. I invite you to check out some of the latest work just posted in the Recent Work Gallery.

By the way... here's wishing you all the very best for the upcoming Holiday Season! I remain truly grateful for your ongoing interest in my photography!