52 States in 8 Months

An elephant butte near T or C

Posted in Las Vegas to El Paso by Ulf on May 10, 2009

One of our aims during the Spring Break Holiday was to use as many kinds of transportation as possible. I used a few buses, one train, a taxi, roughly five planes and three rental cars. Is that all? No, we also wanted to rent a boat. This is why we went to the “Elephant Butte Lake” in New Mexico. It was quite cloudy, and I remembered one of Flo’s tricks for making gray landscapes look more interesting: Just take a grayscale picture!

The first marina we went to didn’t lend any boats, but they sent us to another marina. This is where we rented a pontoon boat for 1.5 hours. This is very simple in the US since your credit card is your boat driver permit… The lessor gave a quick introduction on landing, and it turned out that these boats are absolutely easy to control. So we rev’ed the engine and hit the sea:

2009-03-29_11-15-55-springbreak-1140188-paul 2009-03-29_10-09-16-springbreak-7200-ulf
2009-03-29_10-09-24-springbreak-7201-ulf 2009-03-29_10-36-30-springbreak-1140180-paul

The Elephant Butte Lake is an artificial reservoir with a dam producing about 5 MW on average. If you look at the Google Maps pictures, you’ll see that the water level changes a lot. Just open the previous link and zoom out a little bit. You’ll notice that quite a few rocks become islands as the water level rises. When we were at that place, we actually didn’t notice that the water level was that shallow. It’s good that they have these “hazard buoys” to tell us where not to go :-).

2009-03-29_10-51-02-springbreak-7224-ulf 2009-03-29_11-05-55-springbreak-7233-ulf

But what about this Elephant Butte? At this time of year it is actually an island, and a the locals claim that there is a goat living on it. I guess it is a ghost goat ;-). Anyway, this is Elephant Butte:


Unfortunately we didn’t see the goat, but from all stories we had heard we were too frightened to land on the island and to look for it. Instead we floated around it, and looked for the perspective from which Elephant Butte looks most like an Elephant. Did we find it?



5 Responses

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  1. Florian said, on May 10, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Sweeeeeet. Looks like you guys had a great time :-)

    Not sure if you did much post-processing (or just took it grayscale in-camera) but on the b/w picture — if I may suggest something: try increasing the contrast, and/or raise the black point just to make it a bit more punchy. Also, you may want to increase the brightness a little just to make it less dull… or was the shot taken in dusk or dawn?

  2. Mascha said, on May 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    agreed! the contrast will give the picture more depth and punch (unless you make it too contrasty which would diminish the depth)

  3. Pingu said, on May 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Looks like a lot of fun – and like a rather large boat. How much did they charge you for renting the boat?

  4. Ulf said, on May 10, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    Florian and Mascha: Thank you for your hints. I’ll prepare a new version of it and release it on May 12 :-).

    Pingu: I didn’t read the accounting which Paul prepared for the trip, but it was something between $100 and $200. At first they wanted to charter the boat for at least three hours, but then they accepted lending it for just 1.5 hours.

  5. […] look nice? Posted in Las Vegas to El Paso by Ulf on May 12, 2009 A few days ago I published a grayscale picture, and Flo & Mascha asked my to post-process it a little to make it look more […]

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