Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy 2011 from the Big Empty!!!

Here it is, less than a week away from the new year so before I forget, let me wish all my friends, clients and future clients a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2011! Now, I'd recommend you stop reading now if you've come to see my photos. You can scroll down, click on any pic and see them larger if you'd like. This blog post is by far my longest, the least related to my business and possibly the most random I've ever written.
So with that caveat, I've spent the past week at my folks' in Elko, NV. for Christmas and as you can see from my pictures, it's a pretty place and I'm grateful I get to spend this season with my family here. These are my thoughts:
I like photographing my family and shooting around Elko. It really is a special place to me. Instead of waxing nostalgic or sharing about my family, I want to blog about where I'm from as opposed to from whom I came, so I can give all of my mid-western friends a better understanding of what it's like and give them a bit of an explanation of why I am the way that I am. So, if you're not familiar with the Great Basin or Northeastern Nevada, here's a little taste of what it's like to live in this very unique and sparse part of America.

Let me preface all this with a blanket statement. Nevada isn't in Las Vegas. When I say I'm going to Nevada it's assumed that I'm going to Vegas. As you can probably tell by the photos that don't have a christmas tree, or people eating or foods made diehliciously with love by my mom (those Danish Puffs are divine), My folks don't live anywhere near Las Vegas. In fact, to give you a really easy explanation of where I'm at in relation to Vegas, I'm just 8 hours north without stopping and well there's not much to stop for unless you're like me, someone that loves road trips & ghost towns. But if you were to drive from Vegas to Elko, you honestly have to stop everywhere youcan get gas. There's only like 3 places you can get gas between here and there. You think I'm kidding but really, you're foolish if you don't get gas every chance you get. If you don't you'll attach a new association to this area I call, "the big empty". So, in less words, Vegas to Elko is exactly like driving from Kansas City to Indy.
Now I love this area for a lot of reasons. It is full of personality and personalities. Geologically & geographically, the land's persona sort of mimics the people that live here. In fact, I could almost make a case that the people that live here are mirrors of the land from which they reside. I know I'm getting to philosophical but
the people here are fiercely independent yet very giving. The metaphor can keep going in this way. The landscape is unique and rich as well. The high desert requires protection and harbor but when something is needed it's easily found, (more riches come from Elko County's dirt than anywhere else in this hemisphere.) So I'm saying that a sort of byproduct of the land is the people and if I could describe "The big empty" as a person, it would be an independent, helpful, caring, rugged & breathaking soul. Much like the people that live there. Does that make sense? Could it be said that Cape Cod has a personality? The farmlands of Indiana and Illinois, Iowa and Mizzou all reproduce a "way" in its people that is often displayed within its people, right? Perhaps that's just the way the world works???
Another really great part of this region is the scale of everything. Living here you realize things are just bigger, larger, more spacious, more free.

Out here perspective is different. You realize how small you are due to the space. While if you're in Chicago or New York City, you feel small because of the space. Here it's because of the expanse of emptiness and solitude. While in a metropolis it's that you're one of mllions packed like sardines, insignifcant because you're easily replaceable. You don't feel that way here. Everyone is special in the Great Basin if only because you could potentially be the only human within a 50 mile radius!
Now as I seem to be meandering and sounding like the little boy on Jerry McGuire that keeps regurgitating worthless info, since you've read this far, please bear with me.
A neat geological fact about the Great Basin is that it's the only place in the United States where water has no outlet/tributary to an ocean. It's also special to me because there's more land then people. A lot more land than people, hence my favorite nickname for th area. Now, people that live in a place as sparse as this have to be a special breed. Honestly, it's a frontier, much like most of Alaska, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming and a frontier has a spirit and way that sort of models the Indians and nomads of the Far East. The folks out here are independendent, typically passionate outdoorsmen that love the land but use it like a best friend. They don't covet it, horde or abuse it.
Trespassing is done out here, just close the gate behind you. Leave the place you visit just as you found it and there's never a problem. It's a beautiful part of living out here.
Very few people in Elko today are from here. I'd say however that 80% of those that have moved here over the past 25 years are from the aforementioned states, including myself. So going home for me is a sort of special trip. It's not only going home to family, it's going home to a region. Very spacious, mostly unknown and generally special. .
It's not a trip one just does out of the blue, but every time that I do, I'm proud of where I go and am very grateful to my folks and thankful to God that they're still in a loving home in a nice town in the middle of nowhere


Anonymous said...

VERY NICE. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

Dollmaker extraordinaire said...

Ok, so you don't make the trip between here and there often. ONLY 7 hours including a stop in Ely. There is a short cut through Secret Pass in good weather that is fun. Loved the photos and the blogging. Nancy

Brian Diehl said...

Hi Nancy, it's only 7 hours!? I thought it was 8 long lovely and lonely hours between your fair city and my folks.

ElllEfff said...

I think that was one of the bestest posts I have read here! Maybe it's because of the photos of the people whom I love... but the scapes and the dashboard shots are really cool, too! Danish puff... (sigh).

After reading your words, I have an improved appreciation for the Big Empty!

Anonymous said...

Looks like we had nice Christmas! MA

Anne L said...

Thanks for the pictures and the history/geography/social studies lesson Brian. I truly enjoyed it. I've seen alot of this beautiful country and I have been to Las Vegas but have not seen the rest of the state. Lovely.
Good to have a post again too!

Who's this Brian guy?

My photo
I'm one of the few people from Wyoming in the midwest. Born and bred, by default I'm a cowboy, through life though I guess I've kept the wanderlust and taken it urban. Having lived in 11 states now, I feel safe to say that I've found home in Indy. I'd never have dreamed I'd live here but 5 years later, I have no complaints! I've been a "lifestyle" photographer for quite a while. Cutting my teeth in landscape photography and photojournalism out West I've developed a style that focuses on simplicity, beauty and life lived well.