Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kingston, New Mexico

The other day, we decided to visit Hillsboro. We had taken a drive there a year or so ago and were so taken with it, we decided to give it a second look.

It was a beautiful day for sight seeing, and when we arrived in Hillsboro, we chose to go a bit farther up the road, just to view some new territory.

Several miles on, we saw a sign for Kingston, but the town itself eluded us, so we kept driving. We went till we were seeing some serious mountains. We knew if we kept going, we would end up at the Gila Cliff Dwellings, so we knew it was time to turn around. Coming back down the hill, we spied a small dirt road that read "Kingston" (which we had totally missed on the way up) and decided to give it a look see.

What a surprise!

It was just a dirt road, and pretty bare, but several hundred feet up the trail we spied some buildings.

Now I want to say something here . . .

Regular readers know I've been playing with different settings on the camera lately, as well as trying different ways of manipulating them. If I would really sit down and read my manual, I might avoid mistakes like I made this day . . .

See, I was playing with the exposure settings on the camera (something entirely new to me, I usually do that afterwards in the computer). But in the interest of learning new techniques, I was trying it in camera. And on my camera, I'm still confused as to what button does what (they're so darned small). So I generally shoot in automatic. Thinking I was being slick, I hit the button that I THOUGHT was the exposure control button and just started snapping away. After an hour or so (I'm not too quick sometimes) I noticed that my camera wasn't focusing properly. Upon actually LOOKING at my buttons, I realized I had pressed the auto focus/manual focus button instead of the auto exposure/manual exposure button.

So that must be why my pictures weren't in focus, Ya Think????

So please, take my stupidity into consideration and don't judge these photos too harshly (you should see the ones I didn't use!).

Anyhow, back to Kingston.

We found one lovely old building that I wanted to see a bit closer, so I got out to explore. To my surprise, it read the Percha Bank Gallery and Museum and there was a sign in the window that said Open.

When I walked inside, I saw these lovely Craftsman tiles

and this sign.

A gentleman walked out to welcome me and introduced himself as Mark Nero, the owner of the Gallery and a printer by trade.

I told him we had friends who have a lovingly restored Craftsman home in Glendale, California, and how beautiful his work was.

He proceeded to tell me a great story.

He had been a printer for years and was always interested in the Craftsman style. Years ago, when chatrooms were fairly new, he was online discussing printing with others when he noticed that someone had signed himself Dard Hunter, a name well known to Craftsman fans. Intrigued, he emailed the fellow only to find that he was corresponding with Dard Hunters grandson!

And out of such serendipity, a relationship was built.

Mark has moved his printing press
into the old Percha Bank,
where he is currently creating art
in the Craftsman tradition.

Other parts of the Bank tell the history of Kingston.

This bank was once
the largest bank in New Mexico.
Kingston boasted a population
higher than that of Albuquerque or Santa Fe.

The town thrived
until the United States
went on the Gold Standard.
That signaled the end of the Kingston boom.

The Gallery also boasts
a small selection of books.
I just had to take a picture of this one.
In fact, I almost bought it, just for the title.
But of course, I now have control,
so I left it for some other lucky cook.

For more information on the Gallery,
you can go to their website.

And if youre in the area,
it's really worth a trip.

Outside the Gallery, I saw these beautiful trees. Marks' wife (to whom I apologize, I can't remember her name), told me these were called Trees of Heaven. Brought here by Chinese workers during the silver boom, they are now quite common in New Mexico.

In this photo,
you see them up against
the original exterior of the Percha Bank.

As always, you can click on any inage
for a full sized version.

And here's a picture of Marks' wife,
who was so friendly!

I love their gate.

We had a great day.

New Mexico continues to excite and amaze us.


Sistertex said...

We will have to make sure we get down there to have a look someday, your photo essay of the place was very enticing. The camera 'thing' really common, at least I understand as I am going through the same thing. I actually love using the manual setting, but have gaps of time between getting to use my camera 'artistically'. So very often forget what is where. :) Which then ticks me off because *just* when I want to use something real quick, I have to look around the camera to find something, find it....then the shot is gone because it took so much time to locate button I was looking for.
Still I thought your photos were just fine, didn't seem so out of focus to me. (might say a lot about my vision I guess.) ;)
Thanks Kate!

photowannabe said...

Love the serendipity that happens to you on a regular basis. Your pictures look pretty good to me as they are. I still can't figure out my camera. The ole brain doesn't absorb as it should and I just keep snapping away in auto focus. Someday I will actually understand that manual. So frustrating to me.
Keep up the good work with your photography. Love it.

Lew and Jan Johns said...

You should have gone to the Top....That's Emory Pass up there. If Old Ms Dolphin made it to the Top you Folks sure can :~) The view Eastward of the Rio Grande Valley is worth the drive. For years my BIL was the Ranger on the Black Range District (USFS). He often needed to make the Commute from TorC to Silver City. Quite an interesting Drive :~)


Jerry and Suzy said...

So we're a couple years late commenting on this one.We loved Kingston when we were there last year, and yes, we also did the Percha Bank tour and met Mark, but we didn't meet his wife. He's quite the gentleman! Sorry about your funny focus, but you have your memory bank to look back on.